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Senior Staff


Ken Schutz

The Dr. William Huizingh Executive Director

Ken Schutz has held executive leadership positions in cultural institutions for more than 20 years. He has been with the Desert Botanical Garden since 2001 and during his tenure he has managed construction of $17 million in new facilities at the Garden, more than doubled local attendance, initiated a number of exciting new education and research projects, and raised more than $10 million in gifts and pledges for the Garden’s endowment. Prior to moving to Phoenix, he served as the Executive Director of the Science Museum of Western Virginia, and before that he was Director of Marketing and Development for the Baltimore Zoo. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia, an M.S. degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S. from Bucknell University.

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Kevin D. Cullens

Director of Security and Site Operations

Kevin D. Cullens is responsible for leadership and oversight of the Information Systems, Facilities, Safety and Security teams providing proactive, cost-effective management of Site Operations in support of all business operations.

A native of a small farming town in Northwest Kansas, Kevin joined the Desert Botanical Garden in November, 2011 after having most recently served as the Facilities and Services Manager with the Phoenix Convention Center and Theatrical Venues. He served 10 years active duty in the U.S. Navy deploying to more than 24 countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa. As a Board Certified Security and Facilities Management Professional, Kevin has 19 years experience managing and directing technical and operational teams responsible for the design, engineering, project and operational management of Buildings and Facilities, Information Technology Systems, Security and Fire/Life Safety for both Public and Private sectors.

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Beverly Duzik

Director of Development

Beverly Duzik is responsible for leading the office of philanthropy staff in planning, developing and managing the Garden’s contributed income and membership activities that support the operating fund, endowment program, and strategic initiatives.

Since joining the Garden staff in September 2000, Beverly closed the final $1M gifts for the $17M Growing a Legacy for Generations capital campaign; recruited significant community support and marketing resources which helped the Garden double local attendance and membership; and most recently she planned and implemented the successful $16M Tending the Garden Campaign, which exceeded the goal with $17.8M in recorded pledges.

Beverly has 28 years of experience in non-profit management in Arizona, including 12 years as Executive Director of the Phoenix Boys Choir (1984-96) and three years as Director of Major Gifts for the American Cancer Society’s Southwest Division (1996-1999). As a former Peer Consultant for Arizona Commission on the Arts, she has facilitated board retreats for 17 organizations around the state. Beverly holds a B.A. degree from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina and did graduate work in interdisciplinary humanities at Arizona State University.

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Marcia Flynn

Director of Event Services

Marcia Flynn is Desert Botanical Garden’s Director of Event Services, and has been with the Garden since 2000. Prior to her arrival, Marcia held a similar position at Denver Botanic Gardens from 1995-2000. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. degree in International Relations and International Business.

During the past 10 years at the Garden, Marcia has provided leadership in the development and growth of the Event Services Department. The department includes Adult Group Tours, Facility Rental, Special Events, Concerts and Fundraisers, as well as the Gardens Food and Beverage programs.

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Brian Kissinger

Director of Horticulture

Brian Kissinger brings to the Garden 24 years of experience and knowledge as well as being a published horticulturist and landscape designer. His work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Better Homes and Gardens, Sunset Magazine, Traditional Home and Phoenix Home and Garden to name a few. His work has been featured on HGTV,  “Secret Gardens”, KCTV5 “In The Garden”, and recently his work on the ‘Belleview Estate’ was documented by the Smithsonian Institution’s  Archive of American Gardens.

Brian holds a bachelor of science in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Missouri in Columbia. His client list of large estate gardens and smaller gardens is extensive, and his personal garden in Paradise Valley was on the Patrons Circle Spring Garden tour as well as Phoenix Home and Gardens Grand Tour of Gardens. Brian brings to the garden a “new set of eyes” to create a new world class vision for the garden and it's future.

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MaryLynn Mack

Deputy Director

MaryLynn Mack joined the Garden in 2004 and in collaboration with the Executive Director, serves as a co-leader in all aspects of the operation. She is responsible for the vision, planning, and growth of the “visitor-based” aspects of the operation, including Admissions, Retail, Guest Services, Marketing, Facilities and Security. MaryLynn has over 18 years of staff management, strategic planning, and project development experience in the areas of social services, gardens, and museums. She graduated with a degree in Business, did a four-year stint in the U.S. Navy, and was the founding Director of Operations of a 75-bed facility for battered women and children. Her program was recognized by the Points of Light Foundation and the city of San Diego as one of the most innovative and successful long-term residential programs for women. Before moving to Phoenix, Arizona, MaryLynn also worked at the San Diego Natural History Museum.


Kathleen McAlpine

Director of Guest Services

Kathleen McAlpine joined the Garden in 2013 and serves as the Director of Guest Services. Before joining the Garden’s leadership team, Kathleen served in the following organizations: Orange County (CA) Environmental Management Agency, City of Tempe, America West Airlines, US Airways, and the City of Phoenix. With more than 25 years of experience leading program and cultural development in organizations, her passion is creating an organizational culture of incomparable customer service and high performing service teams.

Kathleen earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Texas A&M University (where she also studied Political Science) and achieved a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University.  Kathleen has a diverse professional background including roles in organizational and leadership development, customer service, team asset management, economic development, contract administration, emergency management, community service program planning and parks and recreation administration. Kathleen is an active volunteer, serving on several community Boards.

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Dr. Joe McAuliffe

Director of Research

Dr. Joe McAuliffe has been with the Desert Botanical Garden since 1990 as a Research Ecologist. His current research focuses on plant-soil relationships in desert regions of the American Southwest. Ongoing projects include the study of long-lived creosotebush clones in the Mojave Desert of California, landscape and vegetation changes in the Painted Desert region on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, and the ecology and conservation of desert grasslands in southern Arizona. In 1995, Joe received the W.S. Cooper Award from the Ecological Society of America for his research contributions in plant ecology.

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Elaine McGinn

Director of Planning and Exhibits

Elaine McGinn has been with the Desert Botanical Garden since 1997. As Director of Planning and Exhibits she is responsible for leading the planning, exhibit development and design process for permanent and temporary exhibits at the Garden. She has extensive experience in exhibit development, design, strategic planning, and education. During her tenure with the Desert Botanical Garden, she has led the exhibit development of major exhibit initiatives including: The Sybil B. Harrington Cactus and Succulent Galleries, The Ottosen Entry Garden, The Berlin Agave Yucca Forest, and The Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail. Temporary exhibitions include seasonal butterfly exhibits and art installations by Arizona artists John Waddell and Mayme Kratz, and internationally recognized artists Patrick Dougherty, Pablo Picasso, Allan Houser and Dale Chihuly. In 2009, McGinn received a Virginia G. Piper Fellowship to study garden design and the exploration of place-making.

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Michael Olson

Director of Finance and Adminstration

Michael Olson works closely with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director, and senior staff in institution-wide strategic planning, creating an annual budget , providing timely financial statements, complying with financial standards and regulations, and overseeing  all aspects of the Garden’s business office and human resource functions.

Michael, a Certified Public Accountant, joined the Desert Botanical Garden in April, 2011 after having served as Vice President for Financial Services/Controller at the Missouri Botanical Garden for nearly 22 years.  He also worked as an auditor for many years before that, serving numerous not-for-profit clients. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from Northern Illinois University, and brings an understanding of the complexities of fund accounting, particularly for botanical gardens with a research element.  Michael began training for work in the natural science arena when he was about 8-years old, watching birds, chasing butterflies and collecting other insects in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois.  His passion and appreciation of the natural world, paired with his professional training and experience is an ideal fit for the needs of the Desert Botanical Garden.

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John Sallot

Director of Marketing

John Sallot is responsible for communicating the Garden’s message to members, visitors and the community. John joined the Garden in 2003 as the Institution Giving Manager and was responsible for managing relationships between the Garden and corporate and foundation donors. During this time, he wrote successful grants for funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and The Kresge Foundation.

A native of California, John graduated with a degree in communications from California State University, Fullerton. Prior to working at Desert Botanical Garden he worked for Mary Tyler Moore Studios, AIDS Project Los Angeles, ehobbies.com and the Palm Springs Desert Museum.

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Tina Wilson

Director of Education

Tina Wilson has been with Desert Botanical Garden since 2005. Prior to her arrival she taught at Broward College in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and served as the Horticulture Extension agent for Woodford County in Versailles, Kentucky. She has over 13 years of science education experience and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a M.S. degree in plant science.

As Director of Education, she is responsible for the overall supervision of the Sonoran Desert Adventure school program, Volunteers in the Garden, and Adult and Family programs. She is currently guiding staff members of the education department in the development and management of innovative programming to promote environmental literacy.









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How to Read a Plant Label

As a place of education, research, exhibition and conservation of desert plants, the Garden provides information about plants using many different techniques. One of these methods is through labels. These labels provide the Latin name used by the scientific community, its common name, where it grows and when it blooms.

You can customize your Garden experience further by downloading the Garden app. It includes trail guides, maps, garden tour, plant information and pictures, and a learning center that helps you care for your plants at home. You can download the app through iTunes or Google Play for 99 cents.

The Garden app was developed by Clarisoft & MuseumXP and Garden staff members.

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