J.R. Thomas, President & Landscape Artist
The roots of J.R. Thomas Landscaping and its methods are grounded in J.R., beginning when he came out of high school in 1974 with no immediate sense of direction. A Cincinnati native with a mechanic background and a love for working on cars, it was another entrepreneur and horticulturist who set him on his green path. Phillip M. Meyers, Sr. gave J.R. the opportunity to join the landscape crew for Williamsburg of Cincinnati, a townhouse development not too far from the Evendale neighborhood he grew up in. Working under true nurserymen who taught him grounds care, planting and harvesting, garden maintenance, machinery and so much more, the seed that guided J.R. to go out on his own was firmly planted. Starting his business with only 1-2 other people, J.R. Thomas Landscaping has flourished and currently operates in Loveland on the 13-acre property purchased to house the company’s office and his family’s ranch home.
Ruth Ann Thomas, Vice-President & Controller
Steve Jancsics, Operations Manager & LED Lighting Specialist
I came to the company in 1994 as a crew member, with previous experience in the life insurance industry. Sensing that J.R. was at a point of exciting opportunities for the future, I felt I could be part of that future. Although I didn’t have an in-depth knowledge of plants, I always loved working in the gardens at my parents’ home and mine.
To learn more about plant identification and design, I took night classes at the University of Cincinnati during the winter months. After progressing to landscape crew leader, I earned more responsibility with purchasing and project planning and eventually my role developed into the current Operations Manager position. I now manage scheduling, subcontractors, fleets, landscape and lighting sales, employment, vendor relationships, hardscape design and more.
I very much love my career here; every day is always exciting and never the same. I get to work with people I respect, interact with amazing customers, enjoy a flexibility that keeps me literally on my feet and reap the satisfaction of taking a customer’s vision and exceeding their expectations.
Ben Jost, Foreman Supervisor & Hardscape Specialist
I started working with J.R. as a Landscape Foreman in February 2002 and have enjoyed my years with the company; overall, I have 25 years of experience in the green industry. After my first year here, I approached J.R. to find out why we didn’t have an “in-house” specialist for our hardscape projects, instead of partnering with outside contractors. He hadn’t considered trying to do the work within his firm, but surprised me and entrusted me (and my engineering background) with the hardscape division; I transitioned into my current role as the lead Hardscape Foreman.
I began installing paver patios, retaining walls and excavation and grading with Bobcat equipment. I also stepped into the project management realm: analyzing hardscape projects to determine if they could be accomplished, assisting with design, budgets, training and being the liaison between the office staff and the field crew.
I appreciate the craft of creating new and fresh outdoor living spaces. I enjoy the hard and physical work – and I love how our company emphasizes the overlooked details like leaving a jobsite cleaner than when we first arrived, respect for the clients’ space, excellent communication and creating an impactful group effort by making great use of so many talented people.
Flavio Bravo, Horticultural Maintenance Foreman
I’ve returned to J.R. Thomas Landscaping every season since 2006, enjoying the family atmosphere of the company and the high standards J.R. sets for everyone on the team. I started off as a crew member, and was promoted to Maintenance Crew Leader in 2009, the position I’ve held since then. I’ve had the chance to return to the same clients’ homes year after year, ensuring that their gardens are beautiful and healthy; I’m proud of the work I do and that many of our customers know and trust my capabilities. I’m also happy to know that J.R. trusts me with so many of our long-term clients.
Each winter I usually return to my native home in Guatemala, spending time with my family and close friends. I appreciate the months I have with my family, and always look forward to coming back to my second home at J.R. Thomas Landscaping.
Danielle Williams, Communications & Content Manager
I joined J.R.’s team in 2015 with zero knowledge of landscaping, but lengthy experience in content creation, communications and business management earned through 10 years working in corporate America. Over the years I’ve found that I have a passion for words and people; I enjoy helping people understand and communicate their identity and value, and now get to use my talents within a small business atmosphere. It’s a great opportunity to work as a family, and I get to witness firsthand the impact of what I do, say and write.
I worked very closely with J.R.’s office manager Beverly before she retired in 2017 – allowing me to learn the unique culture of the company, J.R.’s language, and the basics of the landscaping industry. This foundation was key for my success in the roles I take on, now and in the future.
I love what J.R. and the company stand for – every day our team embarks on a mission to create beautiful spaces that tell their own stories. Everyone here is an expert in their field and welcomes the challenge of exceeding the high standards J.R. has put in place for himself and our work.
Nate Jancsics, Hardscape Crew Leader
I started working here at J.R. Thomas Landscaping in May 2013 and now have 5 years of experience in hardscape and landscape work. Initially brought in as a crew member, I was able to work under Ben and learn a lot from him within my first 2 years with the firm. With time and hard work, I’ve been able to take my skills to the next level; I really enjoy being able to translate what our landscape designers create in the office into a reality for our clients at their homes.
I love working for a company like J.R.’s where everyone takes so much pride in their work; we all go to great effort to pay close attention to all the details, big and small. Now a landscape foreman, I look forward to using my skills with hardscape and landscape installations, stone work, lighting and horticultural maintenance to lead a project from start to finish; helping newer team members learn the J.R. way and excel within our small company is also an enjoyable and rewarding challenge.
Kyle Butler, Maintenance Project Manager
As a current University of Cincinnati student graduating in May, I’ve been motivated to stay with J.R. Thomas Landscaping for several reasons, transitioning from a maintenance/landscape crew leader to most recently a project manager. I enjoy working for a quality-driven landscape firm that really cares about the clients and their needs. The company culture allows me to take pride in my work; I’m also surrounded with a great team that challenges me to learn and improve daily.
I truly enjoy the work I do. I enjoy the large-scale projects that require different aspects of the company to come together and complete the tasks; such as a complete backyard renovation that combines all our areas of expertise with the installation of a paver patio, a new off-the-house deck, L.E.D. lighting and new plantings and trees. These projects are where I seem to learn the most and where our experienced team members truly shine.
Working with J.R. has benefited me physically and mentally – keeping me healthy while giving me the ability to work with my hands in a way I didn’t know before. It’s given me true respect and understanding for how great companies, both large and small, should operate. My career here has even shaped my education at UC; my hands-on experience with the company caused me to change my major from Accounting to Operations Management and I couldn’t be happier.
Michael Cousino, Crew Leader & Deck Specialist
I began my work in the green industry 15 years ago and have now earned 10 years of experience in hardscape, masonry and carpentry work. This experience includes paver patios, retaining walls, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, decks, pergolas and more. I take extreme pride in my work and enjoy showcasing my finished projects.
I joined J.R.’s firm in 2016 and have found it to be a thrilling and worthwhile match. I find fulfillment in being able to add another layer and facet to the hardscape division with my experience; contributing to the handful of decks his business has already created by leading and designing new projects is valuable work. I feel a breath of fresh air working for a respectful, knowledgeable and quality-driven business owner.
As we move forward, I’m excited to see what the future holds – I’ve definitely found a wonderful work family and plan to finish out my career with J.R. Thomas Landscaping.
Heath Hood, Maintenance Crew Leader
Prior to joining J.R. Thomas Landscaping, I had been out of the industry for 20 years. After working with several landscape businesses in the past, I chose to direct my focus to construction work, despite my in-depth landscape knowledge and experience.
My passion for landscaping was ignited again, however, when I was hired by J.R.’s company; I was only here a few days when I realized what an awesome family I had joined. J.R. gives me diversified responsibilities here within the firm, making full use of my experience and the different hats I’ve worn in the industry over the years. I appreciate the principles that J.R. models and expects from each of us, it makes what we do that much more valuable. I look forward to my growth within the team and using all my talents to add to our overall success.
Marissa Geiger, Office & Tech Support
I am very excited to be a part of the J.R. Thomas Landscaping team – I’m in awe of the quality of work, attention and detail that goes into every client. A relative newbie to the landscape field, I have over 15 years experience working with children; as a teacher, behavioral specialist, and nanny. I’ve also immersed myself in the restaurant and food industry, creating a side business as a personal cook.
Having earned my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Xavier University, I’m now finishing up my second Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy from Capella University. Although my career path is not in the green industry, this is a perfect position for me as I interact with a variety of people, tackle daily office and technical needs, get to practice my time management and multitasking skills, and provide a positive impact on the overall flow of the company.
The work I do here allows me the space and time to focus on school and my internship while using the skills I’ve gained to help the office run as smoothly as possible. Danielle and the team here are amazing to work with and I look forward to coming into the office each day and ensuring everyone has a delightful experience.
In addition to our long-standing staff members, we have several other committed employees who have joined our team in recent years and work with our leaders to make great first impressions and creative visions for our customers.