Meet the Team

Hover over a team member’s photo to view their bio.

Vaughn Hammond

Orchard Operations & Education Team Leader

Vaughn graduated from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a master’s degree in entomology. He originally came to work with us in 2001 as a member of the Orchard Operations Team. As time progressed, he ultimately became a University of Nebraska Extension Educator focusing on specialty crops and local foods housed at the Kimmel Education and Research Center located on-site. In 2014, he left to help with the development of Union Orchard. We are all happy to say that he has returned to Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard to lead us through our next series of exciting projects. Welcome back Vaughn!

Tyler Vock

Orchard Operations & Business Team Leader

Born and raised here in Nebraska City, Tyler has worked at Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard as a grower for more than seven years. He’s a classic farm kid, so agriculture has always been an important part of his life. Some of his favorite things about working here are seeing repeat guests find new and interesting ways to engage with the orchard each visit, learning and implementing new advancements in the fruit crop industry and providing knowledge to guests regarding where their fruit comes from. His hobbies include golfing and spending time at his family farm as well as with his wife, Erin, and pup, Willow. Really, anything outdoors is up his alley.

Carol Heinke

Payroll and Accounting Manager

Carol works part-time in our business office and she helps in the Apple Barn during festival weekends. This is Carol’s second season at Kimmel. Originally from Blair, Nebraska, she attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln after high school. She remained in Lincoln until five years ago, when she married a Nebraska City farmer, David, and made the big move to the country. After being a “city” gal all her life, she was a bit apprehensive about the change in lifestyle (apparently, she’s watched one too many episodes of Green Acres!), but she absolutely loves the country life and the small-town feel of Nebraska City. In her free time, Carol enjoys gardening, doing yardwork, helping her husband with farm work and spending time with the newest addition to the farm—11 kittens!

Shayna Murrell

Business and Marketing Developer

Shayna just recently joined the Kimmel Orchard team in February. Shayna is in charge of managing social media, our web site, advertising, tour planning, event promoting and grant writing. She grew up not too far away at an acreage in Syracuse and then graduated from Syracuse High School in 2010. She then went to SCC in Lincoln and graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Office Professional. She is now married to her husband Ryan of 5 years and in her spare time she enjoys playing sports, hunting, fishing and being out in the elements.

Carlos Serrano

Orchard Operations Team Member

Carlos has been working for Kimmel Orchard since April 2012. As a member of our Orchard Operations team, Carlos works hard to maintain the beauty of the orchard. He has years of knowledge and experience in all the various crops and trees in the orchard. Carlos brings a dedication and sense of pride to the orchard that seems to be unmatched. When Carlos isn’t at Kimmel he enjoys playing soccer and watching movies.

Jesus Rodriguez

Orchard Operations Team Member
Kimmel Orchard is a family affair for Jesus—both he and his wife, Mayra, have worked here since 2015. Jesus enjoys the outdoors and orchard life. He strives for greatness every day, and is an extremely talented pruner as well as being skilled in orchard maintenance. Jesus and his wife live in Nebraska City, Nebraska, with their four sons. When he’s is not at Kimmel, he enjoys attending his children’s activities.

Mayra Rodriguez

Orchard Operations Team Member

Mayra has been a valued team member since 2015. She and her husband, Jesus, enjoy working at Kimmel Orchard. Mayra has a wide variety of jobs including: picking fruit in the orchard, making apple doughnuts, cleaning, stocking and various other tasks. She is a mother of four boys aged 15, 14, 11 and 9. Mayra and Jesus stay very busy with their children and try to make it to all their events.

Want to become a part of the Kimmel Team? Click below for an application, and send it to