Meet the Team

Mike Blake

Operations Manager

In his younger days, Mike went skateboarding in empty swimming pools.  The risk, of course, is in all that hard concrete…and eventually, he decided he’d had enough.  He still wants to skydive someday.  And he’d like to go whitewater rafting in Costa Rica.  The physical conditioning won’t be an issue, because he hits the gym each weekday morning at 4 a.m.

On his favorite (and most interesting) vacation, Mike spent most of a month snow skiing in Austria.  The trip included travel to Germany and the Netherlands.  He’s also given many, many free hours to his vegetable garden.  Gardening, he says, is a great stress reliever, although it’s not an option at his current home.  Volunteering at his church is another of his off-hour activities.

Asked about the most life-altering experience of his life, he gave a truer answer than most of us think of.  It’s parenthood.  His kids are Trevor (30), Tiffany (26), and Cameron (21), who works with Mike at LUSA.

Educational & Professional Credentials:

  • C-27 Landscape License
  • C-29 Masonry License.
  • 28 years in Landscaping

Cassandra Ludden

Business Development

Cassandra is an avid fan of humanity. She says, “I love people! I love listening to people, getting to know people, helping people. Did I mention I love people?” She is also fond of dogs, particularly her German Shephard/Belgian Malinois named Jack, who is her frequent hiking buddy. And she is a life-long learner, with a distinct interest in history and science.

Although Cassandra grew up in San Diego, she has not tired of its beauty, or the beauty of its surroundings. Nothing, she says, beats the sight of the sun setting over the Pacific. As a girl in this city, she dreamed of someday becoming a famous singer, and it might have worked out, except that she claims her voice is no good. She now sticks to singing (alone) in her car.

She lived for several years in Colorado. There, she climbed mountains, collected gems, and (admirably!) serving as a volunteer fire fighter. The largest fire she fought was on Ted Turner’s immense ranch/wildlife preserve! She hopes for future adventures that don’t involve fires, including a trip to Israel.

Amael Vizuet

Account Manager

Amael was born in Morelos, Mexico, just south of Mexico City. He got his start in landscaping in 2004 when he began working at Valley Crest and discovered his love for horticulture and the outdoors. Amael enjoys the challenge of working in landscaping. He constantly pushes himself to learn more about the plants he cares for and what makes them thrive. Amael is certified in irrigation management for both recycled and potable water.

Amael likes working at LandscapesUSA because of the people. He says he has a smart, solid team that continues to help him grow in his career.

When not at work, Amael likes spending time with his wife, two daughters, and young son. They are an active family and enjoy the outdoors where they often go hiking, mountain biking, and to the beach.

Vicente Hernandez

Jose Cornejo

Operations Specialist

Jose is a instrumental part of our team. He is one of the longest tenured members of our management teams.

Jose assists all of our managers and clients troubleshooting any problem that comes along.  He has deep knowledge of plant material, irrigation and pesticides.  And he always digs in with a smile to take care of whatever is needed.

He enjoys time with his wife, three accomplished adult children and his grandchildren.


Administrative Assistant

Karina is, first and foremost, a mother of three.  Her oldest daughter, Joselyn, is 24.  Ruben Jr is 14, and Bianca is 12.  Karina is not “just” a mom; she’s also that special breed known as a “soccer mom.”  She keeps happily busy doing soccer mom stuff—driving Ruben and Bianca, her players, to their many games and practices, giving rides to teammates, bringing team snacks, and so on.

Karina began life in Guadalajara, but has spent most of it in San Diego.  Soon, she plans to purchase a home of her own.  She loves this city’s weather and food, but she is also open to visiting Hawaii (with family, of course) and checking out food and weather on the islands!

Karina is an organized, get-it-done kind of person.  These are essential qualities when your second job is “soccer mom!”

Spencer Carlton


Spencer is a lifelong Austinite who has given generous amounts of time and energy to the old hometown.  He’s worked with the Boys Scouts, served on the Caritas advisory board, and participated in Caritas food drives.  At his boys’ high school, he’s been on the Board of Directors and, along with his wife, Dixie, twice taken on the demanding job of football Team Parent.  Their three football-playing sons—Brett, Reed, and Smith—are all in their 20s now; but whether the “nest” has emptied out is debatable.

Spencer hunts, fishes, ranches, bikes, paddle boards, and exercises regularly.  His favorite vacation was a trip to Belize where he went spelunking and dived the Great Blue Hole.  Even when he isn’t participating in something active, he’s a big sports fan.  He roots for the Longhorns (Texas is his alma mater), Cowboys, Astros, and the US National Soccer Team.

Spencer is people-oriented.  In his job, there is nothing he enjoys more than teaching others, helping them find success, and building a terrific work environment.

Educational & Professional Credentials:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting – University of Texas
  • Certified Public Accountant

Dennis Dautel

CEO – LUSA Holdings, LLC.

Dennis is a recognized leader in the landscaping industry, with an outstanding track record of success spanning almost a quarter of a century. He was the founder and CEO of Clean Cut, Inc., which became part of LandCare. After growing Clean Cut to one of the largest companies of its type, with success based in large part on its unique style of management and client satisfaction programs, Clean Cut became the largest landscape maintenance subsidiary of LandCare after it went public on the NYSE.

Dennis is also Co-Founder and past CEO of faithHighway, which produced and licensed television commercials to churches around the world that have been seen by tens of millions of viewers over a decade, as well as providing technology services and applications used by over ten thousand church and ministries clients across the USA.

Dennis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Kansas State University, as well as complete the “Birthing of Giants” graduate program at MIT. He is a four-time finalist of Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award; his companies have been the recipient of more than 70 state and national Environmental Improvement Awards and have appeared on Inc’s list of the 500 Fastest-Growing Companies. Dennis currently serves on the Economic Board of Advisors at Kansas State University and has served as President of the Austin (TX) Chapter of Young Entrepreneurs, a past member of the Young Presidents Organization, and served Big Brothers for seven years. He also served the Texas Association of Landscape Contractors and Member of Associated Landscape Contractors of America and Mission America Coalition. Dennis is a private pilot and is married with four children.

Eric Johnson

CTO – LUSA Holdings, LLC.

Eric Johnson has been a business leader and company officer for 35 years. Primarily involved in business processes and using technology to improve operations, Eric has used software development as a tool, and as the world of technology shifts and changes so quickly, it is important to move with it and discover how to stay ahead. A deep analytical knowledge of operations and processes is required to make a product valuable to businesses. Eric makes constant re-tooling of the use of technology a backbone of how he works.

Eric has been a co-founder in 3 successful technology startups and has been heavily involved in leadership and operations in each. He is expanding his business management skill as well as technology skills at an equal pace these day’s and venturing in to franchise management is right on track for his goals.

What is one thing that has helped you get to where you are today? “My wife Stephanie. She is so productive and full of life. I see it in my children and seeing her is a driving force for how I live each day.”

If you could sit down with one person, who would it be & why? “My grandfather Carl Bernard Johnson. He died before I could get to know him. But he started a business that is still going today and turned 100 years old in 2015.”

How do you balance home life with work life? “Never miss a baseball game or band concert. There is always a way to schedule work around family. And always a way to schedule family around work.”