We’re All in This Together

While every employee may not be from the Buckel family, Ideal Landscape Group considers every staff person a part of our business family. In fact, many of our crew members have been with us for nearly 10 years, and we even have several employees celebrating 20 and 30 years with our company. In an industry known for turnover, we standout when it comes to employee longevity and loyalty.

At seasonal capacity, we employ more than 100 full-time workers, each of whom is trained in the green industry. Our turnover rate is very low thanks to a company culture that encourages employee pride and sense of ownership in the organization.

Company Leadership


David Buckel

President, Project Construction

Dave has an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and more than 25 years of experience in the Green Industry.  Dave’s expertise is in landscape management, specifically with commercial properties specializing in sustainable products.  His knowledge in landscape and environmental construction is vast including: Erosion Control, Bio-stabilization, Retaining Walls, Brick Paving, Storm water work, Site Grading seeding and sod, Landscape Installation, Concrete curbs and flatwork and Precision laser grading. He has successfully completed and managed landscape projects totaling over $200 million.  Dave currently manages over 100 personnel from office staff to foreman to laborers and union staffers.


Leanna Buckle

Vice President

Leanna, M.Ed., has been equally involved with Ideal Landscape Group for more than 22 years.  Leanna is Vice President, co-manages all aspects of the company in particular the financials, administration, contract compliance, technology, certifications, and the ever-changing employment, OSHA, EPA and IRS regulations.  She also directly oversees the H2B work visa program, manages the office staff, payroll, and is the liaison for community related events.


Stephanie Leveling

Maintenance Division Manager

Stephanie brings many years of experience in Horticulture and account management/sales. After graduating from Illinois State University in 1993 with a Bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness with a Horticulture sequence, she transitioned from an intern to a full time assistant grower at a large commercial greenhouse operation.  Deciding she preferred the challenges of commercial grounds maintenance she was hired as a foreman in the Metro East and within three years moved into account management and sales in the St. Louis market.  Over the last 19 years she has built a strong customer following by providing timely service and professional expertise to the end user.  She is licensed in both Illinois and Missouri for Commercial Pesticide Application.  Stephanie oversees all facets of the Snow and Maintenance Divisions operations including sales.


Mark Howell

Irrigation and Landscape Project Manager

Mark brings to Ideal Landscape Group over 30 years of industry experience. In 1981 Mark worked for Land Maintenance where he learned everything he could about commercial landscape and irrigation maintenance, working in all divisions at some point. He has designed and installed large irrigation and landscape projects at such sites as St. Louis University, the St. Louis Zoo, Monsanto’s world headquarters and also its sister location in Chesterfield just to name a few. He worked for a Jack Nicholas certified golf course construction company installing irrigation on 2-9 hole courses and an 18 hole course in one season. He has worked on the distribution side of irrigation also, working for the Toro Company. Here he taught irrigation design and service schools as well as consulted the areas irrigation companies. Mark is state licensed with the Department of Natural Resources for statewide backflow prevention testing and servicing. He also has a Master Irrigation Installer license with St Louis County as well as a Master Backflow Tester’s license.

Kris Kottmeier

Account Manager – Maintenance Division

Accomplishments: In 2010 after being laid off from my position of fifteen years as an Art Director at MOMENTUM, a promotional advertising company, I started Complete Outdoor Management, LLC from the ground up. Continued my business relationships servicing and renewing annual contracts for multiple years as well as acquiring additional clients each season. During the winter months, sub-contracted with IDEAL Landscape Group, providing snow removal services for one of their high profile snow accounts. After two years working with IDEAL Landscape on snow removal services, their maintenance division approached me for the Account Manager position due to the rapid growth in business. On November 1, 2013 I began working. After two years working with Ideal landscape on snow removal services, Kris joined Ideal’s Maintenance division as an Account Manager in November 2013”.


Dave Davis

Account Manager – Maintenance Division

Dave brings 27 years of experience as a green industry professional. In 1988 he began his career as an entry level groundskeeper. By 1991, he had graduated from St. Louis Community College at Meramec with an Associate degree in Horticulture, became a certified Master Gardener and had been promoted to grounds superintendent at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center serving in that capacity until 1999. In 1999, Dave accepted the position of facilities coordinator at Webster University. He successfully managed the day to day operations of maintenance, grounds and custodial services for the university for over 4 years. Shortly, after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science/Public Relations in 2002 he decided to bring his experience to the commercial landscape maintenance industry as a project/account manager.

Craig Sander

Craig Sanders, CPSI

Division Manager – Ideal Play and Surfacing Inc.

Craig brings 26 years of experience in the general construction field. Construction management courses at the University of Cincinnati laid the ground work for Craig to begin his career and quickly learn the trade through hands on experience. Working in the residential construction field from 1992-2000, then on to the commercial field in 2001. In 2008 Craig became a CPSI (Certified Playground Safety Inspector) and entered the intricate field of commercial playground and recreational equipment. Through management of his own company installation of hundreds of playgrounds was accomplished from 2008 – 2017. Ideal saw an opportunity to bring this expertise to our company and are pleased to have Craig as the division manager of Ideal Play and Surfacing.

Silas Dill

Silas Dill

Operations Manager

After attaining his Associates Degree in General Studies from St. Louis Community College in 2010, Silas accepted an opportunity to continue his education at the University of Southern Indiana as a member of the university’s baseball team. In 2012, while still a student athlete, Silas began his career in the green industry at the University of Southern Indiana as an entry level groundskeeper. In that same year he graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. After graduation, Silas continued to learn and grow in his landscape maintenance knowledge and responsibilities at the university. However, by 2014, the commercial landscape industry began to pursue him for a larger stage. Upon careful consideration of the numerous commercial landscape opportunities available he was offered a crew leader position with a prominent national landscape company in 2014.   By 2015 he had been promoted by that same company to the position of Operations Manager.   He proved to be worthy of that promotion as he regularly exceeded expectations as a tireless, extremely organized manager with natural leadership abilities. Silas joined the Ideal team late in 2017, accepting the position of Operations Manager. Silas resides in O’Fallon, Missouri with his wife of nearly 3 years.


James Harrison

James Harrison

Account Manager – Business Development

James has been in the green industry for 19 years and possesses a wide skill set within the landscape and horticulture field. While earning his Associates in Business Management, he started his own landscape business focusing on design/build and maintenance in Illinois. He was later hand selected to be the Lead Horticulturist for a Missouri Botanical Signature Garden’s collegiate site at Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey, IL. There he expanded upon his knowledge and skills by studying landscape architecture with an emphasis on LEED/green design and sustainable landscape concepts, managed the grounds, greenhouse, and capital construction projects such as green roofs and other LEED credentialed renovations. Under his leadership the campus received the Green Thumb award at it’s Edwardsville location. James moved on to work in St. Louis County for non-profits, managing a community garden program for St. Louis County and as the Facility Manager of Forest Park Forever and assistant to the land management team. He was later recruited by Frisella Nursery, and took on the role of Director of Maintenance Operations. After growing that division, he accepted a position as an Account Manager for The Brickman Group and was later promoted as the new Business Developer for BrightView. James loves a challenge and has passion for the industry and sees potential in every client and every site.