we are upward

Our team is here to serve you and make sure everything is looking up.

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Our Founder - Ken Kokkeler

Ken was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. His family was deeply entrenched in the local agricultural/landscaping industries. After graduating High School, he attended Northwest College of the Bible for one year before earning his Bachelor of Science degree at Oregon State University. He graduated Cum Laude with an undergrad thesis in Hydrology. Simultaneously earning a Commission as a Naval Officer through NROTC, he immediately began his journey toward becoming a Naval Aviator.

After earning his “Wings of Gold,” Ken was selected to fly F/A-18s. He made the “Presidential Air Medal” during operation OIF and was later chosen to operate a SOCOM unit embedded with US Special Forces deep within Afghanistan. Later, during a tour as an F-18 instructor pilot, he was selected for the US Navy F/A-18 West Coast Demonstration Team. He currently flies part-time with the US Naval Reserves as an F-18 E/F instructor pilot. Ken is serving as the Commanding Officer of his Reserve Squadron and plans to retire (as a Commander) from service in the not-too-distant future.

Completing his tour on Active Duty, Ken and his wife Sara moved back to their hometown of Eugene with their four children. They began Upward Landscape Solutions with two primary goals in mind - to provide outstanding quality and service to our customers and provide a positive career-centered environment for our employees. Ken and Sara find real joy in accomplishing both.

Ken’s hobbies once included Skiing, Fishing, ATVs, Motorcycles, and woodworking. These have been vastly overcome by his top four hobbies - his children. Having spent significant amounts of time away from his family, Ken thoroughly enjoys each moment he is able to spend with them.

Meet the team

Brad Green

Sara Kokkeler

Sara was born in St. Charles, Missouri. Having moved several times during her childhood, her family settled in Hillsboro, Oregon, when she was eight years old. She attended high school in Eugene, graduating with honors. Her lifelong passion for assisting the underprivileged led her to work as a classroom assistant with developmentally disabled children. Afterward, having married a Naval Officer, she moved with him across the country, and they started a family. She is currently the mother of four children and is deeply fulfilled by creating order out of chaos. Having assisted in office management at a Commercial Agricultural Producer, she is well suited for her position at Upward. She enjoys skiing, sledding, boating, rafting, baking, campfires, and spending time with family in her rare free time.
Brad Green

Cody Kauffman

Cody was born and raised in Junction City, Oregon. He graduated from JCHS, having spent as much time as possible in the wood and machine shop. During this time, he had the opportunity to travel with and assist a Grammy award-winning musician. This time allowed him to hone his outstanding customer service and relationship-building skills. Cody currently lives in Junction City with his wife, Andrea, and his sons, Asher, Ryker, and Kashton. He enjoys mechanical work, camping, and just spending time with his loved ones in his spare time.
Brad Green

Keri Grant

Keri is our plant sourcing and nursery stock manager (AKA Plant Lady). She was born and raised in central Washington but has spent her adult life in Portland and Eugene. Her first career was in the graphic arts industry, but when she burned out on the stress, she decided to retire from that and work in an industry involving plants, which was her passion. After working at a world-renowned nursery for nine years, Keri decided to go back to school to get her college degree. She graduated from OSU with honors, majoring in natural resources and forestry, focusing on plant communities and restoration. Unfortunately, Keri graduated in the middle of a recession, so she decided to make the best and started her small landscaping and design business.
Brad Green

Adrian Hernandez

Adrian was born and raised in Arandas Jalisco, Mexico. He attended school there and was submitted in the field- farming, caring for livestock, and growing agave plants to produce tequila. Adrian traveled to the US at the age of 18 and worked in multiple restaurants and construction jobs(framing and painting) for six years. At 24, he started working with Elms landscape company, where he stayed for 12 years until Elms merged with Upward in 2018. Adrian is a fantastic crew leader for Upward and is head of our Commercial Maintenance Division. When Adrian is not working, he enjoys hiking, boating, rafting, road trips, and spending time with family.