Larry Rosensweig is president of LFR Consulting whose mission is building capacity for museums, gardens and other nonprofits. He was the founding Director of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida, growing the organization over 28 years from a startup to a $4 million annual budget, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and a $5 million endowment. As the Norton Museum of Art’s Director of Advancement, he raised $4-$6 million a year for operations and personally solicited and closed gifts from $100,000 to $3.5 million. Larry earned his BA and MA in East Asian Studies from Harvard and University of Michigan, respectively, and lived in Japan for two years. He periodically organizes and leads study tours of Japan, collects and sells Japanese art. In 2005 Larry was decorated by the Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun for his work with Morikami and as a founder of the Japan-America Society of South Florida and the Delray Beach-Miyazu Sister Cities organization.
Ben Chu has an AA in Horticulture and has worked as an arborist since 1978. In 1982, he began working at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG). There, he has supervised the Japanese garden since 1985. He had the opportunity to work with the late Koichi Kawana, the Garden’s designer, between 1985-1990. He currently supervises the South Gardens at MBG: the Japanese Garden, English Woodland Garden, Strassenfest Garden, Victorian District, Boxwood Garden, and the gardens at the President’s Residence. His primary area of interest is the design and maintenance of Japanese gardens. In 2012, he received the Foreign Minister’s Commendation from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his contributions to Japan/U.S. relations in the cultivation and promotion of the Japanese Garden. He has also served in various capacities on the NAJGA board. His passion is arboriculture. He is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and is an ISA Certified Arborist. As chief arborist he is involved in various aspects of tree care including: instructing staff on pruning techniques and conducting tree health and hazard assessments. In 2014 he received ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. Ben teaches pruning and Japanese Garden Design at MBG and through the University of Missouri Extension Master Gardener program. He has consulted, designed and built private Japanese Gardens and regularly consults and prunes at the Japanese Garden in Terrace Park in South Dakota.
Nick Esthus is the Senior Gardener at the Fort Worth Japanese Garden and previously the gardener at Memphis Botanic Garden’s Japanese garden. He attended the 2013 Japanese Garden Intensive Seminar in Kyoto and has assisted with previous NAJGA regional workshops across the country. Mr. Esthus holds a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Horticulture from The Ohio State University.
With a background in non-profit management, Jeanette Schelin assumed responsibility for managing the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden (EBMJG), California State University, Long Beach in 1995. With a staff of three full time employees, approximately 25 part time employees, and more than 500 volunteers, EBMJG’s mission is focused on cultural education for the CSULB campus and community. Under her direction EBMJG has been recognized by garden scholars as one of the most widely utilized and socially conscience gardens in North America. Amongst her academic and creative activities, Ms. Schelin serves as the editor of The Lantern, a CSULB publication that has won numerous awards and co-chaired the International Conference of Japanese Gardens held in Long Beach in March 2009. She is a founding member of the board of the North American Japanese Garden Association, currently serving as Vice President and serves on the CSULB Sustainability Task Force. The EBMJG was acknowledged for Excellence in Sustainability by the California Secretary of Natural Resources and the California Museums Association in 2018. Ms. Schelin is the recipient of the David Gray Leadership Award from CSULB. She serves on numerous boards and community committees including the Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Association, The Museum of Teaching and Learning, and the Howard Asian Art Collection.
Marisa Rodriguez is Manager of NAJGA. Marisa joined the NAJGA team in 2018, first as a volunteer, then as a part-time employee. She is very excited to join NAJGA as a full-time staff member and help build on the work of her predecessors to grow the organization into a strong multi-national network of Japanese garden professionals and enthusiasts. Prior to joining the NAJGA Team, Marisa had been the Operations Assistant at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego from 2009-2019. Marisa holds a BA in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an MA in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego.