We aim to achieve unique results and deliver remarkable service through enduring professional relationships, while providing opportunities for team members to grow personally and professionally.
To be the leader in custom residential landscape construction.
Relationships with landscape architects and clients are the foundation of our company. We want to lift others up and be a reliable teammate.
Having our client’s best interests at heart, we strive to be honest and transparent throughout our process. Everyone is appreciated and heard.
We are a destination company for our associates. Investment in training and continuing education harbors an environment to grow personally and professionally.
We set high standards for quality and excellence, working with intention and efficiency. Our team has unwavering dedication to finding quality solutions.
Meet the Team
Kohler Brafford, Principal
Kohler Brafford has loved working outdoors his entire life. As an eighth-grader, he got a summer job working on the grounds crew at Norwood School in Bethesda, Maryland. He used his paychecks to buy landscaping equipment and start maintaining pool grounds in and around Potomac.
Kohler went on to major in horticulture and turfgrass management at the University of Georgia, with an emphasis on landscape contracting. He refined his craft at one of the most prestigious landscape design firms in the D.C. Metro Area before striking out on his own with Black Pearl Management, a landscape construction company. Now with White Pearl Management, Kohler aims to bring his detail-oriented management style to full-service maintenance clients.
Tom Kniezewski, Principal
Tom has always had a love for the outdoors and for plants. From the time he was eight years old, he was helping out on his neighbor’s farm in Pennsylvania. He came to Washington DC to attend American University where he earned his degree in Applied Mathematics. Even during college, he ran a small landscaping business to keep his hands in the dirt, but stopped when he graduated to accept a full-time office position related to his area of study.
After a very short time, Tom realized the “concrete jungle” atmosphere was not how he wanted to spend his days. Ultimately, he returned to the landscape industry where his passion resides.
Tom is married with two boys. He is an avid ultra trail runner and obstacle course racer. When he is not working or training, he loves to go hiking with his family and play in his landscape at home.
Kristy Guthrie, Project Coordinator
Kristy grew up in a “green thumb” family and has always had a passion for gardening and spending time outdoors. She has been in the landscape and construction industry for a number of years and has thoroughly enjoyed it. One of Kristy’s passions is to help “grow companies” and she has channeled that aspect into her work with White Pearl and Black Pearl Management. Her focus is collaborating with our teams, enhancing company culture and
improving operations & processes within The Pearls. In her spare time she loves spending time with her kids and husband. Their favorite things to do on the weekend are have movie nights
and try out new recipes together. They also enjoy hiking on the trails with their pups.
Tyler Maly, Project Manager
Growing up on a farm in Oklahoma, Tyler quickly learned about the importance of hard work and it is one of his key traits. Through his education in Landscape Architecture and Landscape Management at Oklahoma State University, Tyler gained book knowledge and leadership skills
through his involvement in NALP. Tyler moved to Northern Virginia with his wife 6 years ago to have an adventure and has had the opportunity to work on some incredible projects ranging from residential and commercial maintenance to high-end residential installation. The green industry has allowed Tyler to find the perfect blend of construction, plants, attention to detail, and problem-solving along with creating relationships. In his free time, Tyler enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and sweet Chocolate Lab, Sadie.
Ben Siegel, Project Manager
Jen Schadoff, Estimator/Public Relations
Prior to joining the Black Pearl team Jen earned her B.A. in Sociology from George Mason University and then earned her Masters in Education from Marymount University. She was in the education field but decided to change career paths and explore her passion for photography. Jen started a photography business 5 years ago and you can now see some of her work featured on White Pearl’s/Black Pearl’s websites and social media. Jen has also begun to delve into the realm of estimating and has become quite adept at wearing multiple hats for the company. When she is not in the office, or out in the field taking photos, she enjoys cheering on her favorite soccer team, Chelsea FC and hiking.
Wilber Ayala, Project Leader
Wilber has been working with Black Pearl Management for over two years and has dedicated himself to providing quality work and craftsmanship to all of our clients. He is a talented Foreman and loves working with his team. He is highly organized and has been an integral part
of the Black Pearl team.
Sharon Strube, Estimator
Before joining the Black Pearl team, Sharon Strube graduated with a degree in Physics from the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and taught high school physics and engineering for
six years at Sandy Spring Friends School. As a teacher, she developed a new engineering
program from the ground up and taught students how to think critically, solve problems, and persevere in the face of adversity. She now brings her math and science skills and her passion for design and construction to bear as an estimator for Black Pearl Management. She is
continuously working to scientifically fine-tune the estimating process, with the goal of optimizing its adaptability, accuracy, and efficiency.
Sharon loves learning new skills and creating new things, and spends her free time developing new recipes, designing and making clothing, drawing, painting, running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and sketching up landscape design ideas for her new home. She also loves to hike, kayak, bike, and run short obstacle course races with her husband, Anthony. She currently lives in Charles Town, West Virginia with Anthony and her extra-fluffy orange tabby, Butternut.
Jorge Molina, Landscape Professional
Franklin Diaz, Landscape Professional
Melbin Sanchez, Landscape Professional
Jose Portillo, Landscape Professional
Charlie Menjivar, Landscape Professional
Adilio Rodriguez, Landscape Professional
Rigo Sorto, Landscape Professional
Dago Henriquez, Landscape Professional
Javier Portillo, Landscape Professional
Jose Rodriguez, Landscape Professional
Ginkgo, Squirrel Defense Officer
Black Pearl Management believes it is important to give back to the community that nurtures our company and our families. That’s why we endeavor to support organizations that help lift up worthwhile causes that enrich the lives of everyone in our community.
We are proud to sponsor the Iron Dog Competition. The event is hosted by The Fauquier Canine and Community Organization, in conjunction with the Virginia Police Canine Association. The competition tests the skills of about 50 police and military K-9 teams from across Virginia and D.C.
Black Pearl Management was proud to participate as a foursome in the 2022 F.H. Furr Golf Classic at Reston Golf National Course in support of McLean High School Athletics. High school sports build character and teach kids hard work and teamwork, and at Black Pearl, we think those are values worth supporting.