Our Team

Lou Penning


Founded Lou Penning Landscapes in 1988, prior to that he was the head gardener at Joseph Phelps Vineyards.  Lou graduated from Sonoma State University where he studied water quality management.  Lou loves designing, installing and maintaining gardens that his clients will enjoy for a lifetime.  Lou is an Irrigation Designer and an Irrigation Auditor CERTIFIED BY THE INTERNATIONAL Irrigation Association.  Lou has lived in Napa since he was 5 years old and has a daughter in addition to his son, Ben.  Lou still lives in Napa with his wife of 34+ years, Julie.  


Benjamin Penning


Benjamin is the second generation of the family to lead the maintenance and installation divisions.  After graduating from San Diego State University, he worked as an Account Manager for a large landscaping company in San Diego.  Benjamin loves working closely with all clients to help bring their outdoor spaces alive.  Training and coaching employees is also an important part of his job responsibilities.  Great landscapes start with great people and Benjamin spends lots of his time working closely with all members of the Lou Penning Landscapes team. He is an Irrigation Auditor with the Irrigation Association, Bay Friendly Certified and Landscape Industry Certified with the California Landscape Contractor Association.

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Debra Montalbano

Account Manager/Designer

Debra has been with Lou Penning Landscapes since 2007 and has many more years working in the horticulture industry. She has a degree in horticulture from Foothill College and worked as a buyer for retail nurseries for many years before moving into the landscape maintenance and design field.  She excels at designing and maintaining perennial and annual color beds.  Debra worked as a color designer in the south bay for many years, designing and installing large flower bed installations at many corporate buildings including Apple and Oracle. Debra works closely with all of her clients to enhance the look and feel of each garden.  She is a Bay Friendly Certified designer with The Bay Friendly Landscape Coalition. 

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Jennifer Kielar

Maintenance Account Manager

Jennifer brings a wealth of gardening knowledge wherever she goes! A horticulture industry veteran, she has spent her career working in the North Bay and we are very fortunate to have her on our team. She has worked in irrigation management, commercial maintenance, sports turf management, but she really loves working at our beautiful estates with our maintenance team. If there is a problem with plants, irrigation, equipment or anything else landscape related she can solve it!


Wendy Carter Jordan

Bookkeeper / Office Manager

Wendy brings lots of positive energy when she enters a room. With 19 years experience working as a Bookkeeper / Office Manager in the home services industry she brings the expertise needed to manage our books and office. Her great experience and a terrific attitude make Wendy a wonderful addition to our team.

Susan Fagles

Administrative Assistant

Susan is one of Lou's longest tenured employees. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Mathematics.  Moving to Napa in 1991, she started as a part time bookkeeper when the company was just starting out and only had a few employees.  She has grown along with the company taking on more responsibility managing the office and applying her excellent bookkeeping skills to our growing company   Susan does a great job at handling the paperwork for a crew of 20-30 people that at times can be paperwork challenged. 

Rodrigo Cervantes

Maintenance Foreman

After many years working on our maintenance crews, Rodrigo was promoted to Maintenance Foreman.  Since 2008, Rodrigo has been beautifully maintaining gardens for Lou Penning Landscapes and in 2015 he was promoted to a leadership role as foreman.  Rodrigo is a great leader and efficiently maintains gardens large and small.  Clients and co-workers all appreciate his strong work ethic and attention to detail.

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Jorge Ortega Mejia

Maintenance Foreman

We have seen Jorge grow and learn so much since he started with us. He has been passionate about gardening from day one and we are very happy to have him lead one of our great maintenance crews! Jorge loves playing music in his Mariachi band with another one of our employees. Jorge lives with his wife in American Canyon.

Juan Vargas

Construction Foreman

Juan was Lou's very first employee, starting with the company back in 1988.  Over the years he has become excellent at carpentry, landscape lighting, irrigation systems, masonry and all other aspects of landscape construction.  Juan's extensive knowledge and experience installing landscapes makes him incredibly efficient.  Just when you think something can't be done or you think it will take too long, Juan has a way of figuring out the problem and executing to perfection.  Juan lives in Napa with his wife and kids.

Gaudencio Parra

Construction Foreman

Gaudencio, or Gau for short has been with Lou Penning Landscapes since 2010.  His previous experience in the construction industry has made Gau an extraordinary landscape foreman. In addition to being one of the hardest working guys on our team, Gau brings a great attitude and laughs to the job site.  Gau lives in Napa with his family.

Ruben Pelayo

Maintenance Foreman

Ruben has been with Lou Penning since 2006 .  Ruben has a great eye for detail along with his hard working attitude.  He is passionate about all his maintenance jobs and enjoys communicating directly with clients when he is on a job site.  Our clients are all impressed by Ruben's enthusiasm for the job and it is easy to see when he is working at your property.  Ruben lives in St. Helena with his family. 

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Joseph Velasco

Maintenance Supervisor

Joe was Born and raised in St. Helena and he has worked in the landscape industry his whole career. But what makes Joe a really great fit for our company and clients is the way he works with our crews. Joe is a great leader, he takes the initiative when it comes to supporting our maintenance field staff. He does a great job training, hiring and making our field operations run smoothly so there is never a drop in the quality to our service to our clients. We are very happy to have Joe on our team!

Luke Holmes

Installation Account Manager

Luke has done it all for Lou Penning Landscapes.  After he graduated with a degree in Environmental Conservation and Restoration from Sonoma State University he worked as a landscape labor and maintenance labor.  Luke was promoted to enhancement foreman and then irrigation tech.  This wide range of roles within our company has helped prepare Luke for his most recent position as Installation Account Manager.  Luke always responds quickly to our client’s needs, whether that means being on site, assisting our installation crews, or quickly responding to an email or phone call.

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Cesar Rafael

Maintenance Foreman
Cesar has done great work for us in every position he has taken on with our company. We are lucky to have a well rounded, hard working guy with an appetite for knowledge. He has done great construction work, irrigation work and has settled in very well as one of our great maintenance leaders. He is passionate about his job and makes sure he practices the correct horticulture techniques. Cesar lives in Napa with his wife and two kids.

Margarito Chavez

Enhancement Foreman

It's easy to see why Margarito is a great Enhancement Foreman.  He brings a great attitude and a passion for landscaping to every job site.  Margarito comes to work every day with a smile on his face, ready to tackle the projects of the day, weather it's a small planting job, new mulch or a larger multi-day project.  Debra and Margarito work closely together to bring the beauty out of your landscape.

Chris Blackard

Irrigation Technician

Chris has all the experience anyone could ask for in an irrigation tech.  With over 30 years of irrigation experience, he has see just about every irrigation challenge there is.  Chris is passionate about installing, repairing and troubleshooting new and old irrigation systems. Chris services our maintenance irrigation accounts and all of our new irrigation clients.


Gerardo Lopez

Irrigation Technician

Gerardo brings his positive energy wherever he goes. Starting at 7am for our morning stretch, Gerardo is ready for work, shaking hands and lending a hand to help co-workers. Gerardo works hard and efficiently to improve all of our client's irrigation systems.


Gemme Vonknopka

Vegetable Gardener

We are very fortunate to have Gemme on our team to care for our vegetable gardens. Her dedication to organic vegetable gardens has improved each one of the gardens she meticulously maintains. Not only do these gardens produce an abundance of fresh produce, they are also beautiful! Gemme was the full time gardener at Mustard's Grill and has spent over a decade planting, maintaining and harvesting produce for Napa Valley clients.

Lou Penning Landscapes, Inc.

68 Coombs Street, Suite #D11, Napa, CA 94559

707 255 8129  •  Contact Us  •  Career Opportunities

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