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Meet Our Team

Joel Kirby

Joel Kirby

Owner, Landscape Architect & Creative Director

After graduating from Clemson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture, Joel worked for Arbor Engineering for 8 1/2 years. He started Curly Willow Designs, LLC in 2001 at the advice of friends and family to pursue another one of his passions; event planning and production. While events occupy some of his work week, Joel maintains his initial love for landscape design. Joel is a registered landscape architect and enjoys giving clients warm, inviting, and stylish outdoor spaces.

 
Barb Gunter

Barb Gunter

Office Manager

Originally from Park Rapids, Minnesota, Barb Gunter moved to Simpsonville in 2009 and started with Curly Willow Design in May 2010. Before moving all the way from Minnesota, she was the marketing coordinator for an international company based out of Minneapolis. She is interested in anything creative, such as scrapbooking and crafts, reading, traveling and Minnesota Twins baseball. Barb loves to be active in her community and local sports, which is something she has encouraged her kids to be a part of. She has five children Erica, Kyle, Kilee-ann, with Jaymee and Zach still at home, and one granddaughter, Ava and an adorable grandson, Jase.


 
Jay Burriss

Jay Burriss

Co-Owner & Operations Director

While living in Charleston, South Carolina for 12 years, Jay attended the College of Charleston and went on to embrace a real estate career where he was named 'rookie of the year' his first year. In 2003 Jay relocated to Greenville SC to not only find out about the buzz going on in the upstate via real estate, but to widen his creative side as a part time event manager for CWD. Jay found he enjoys the day-to-day operations of the company, but more than that, Jay loves to get involved with any hands-on project, rebuilding, redesigning and repurposing items from the past into fantastic designs for CWD events.

Jay's interests outside of Curly Willow Designs include Spinning, Running, Painting and he loves to attend an estate or thrift sale to find great objects to re-invent!

 
Ray Piper Bryant

Ray Piper Bryant

Events

Against the wishes of her former 1st grade teacher, Ray loves to "color outside the lines.” She delights in decorating with color and exploring the feelings that color gives us. Ray combined her love of art, photography, and psychology at Converse College by majoring in Art Therapy. She went on to get a Masters Degree in Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA.

After grad school, Ray married a graphic designer, who delves into color in a more scientific approach. They lived in Charlotte, NC for 12 years, where she taught art and started a photography and monogram business. Recently, Ray, her husband, and two boys moved "back home” to Greenville, where she jumped head first into helping Curly Willow Designs with their events. Her favorite thing about working for Curly Willow is that it is always something fresh and unique. "I love watching people’s amazement when you create something beautiful out of something unexpected.” In her spare time, Ray enjoys adding splashes of color to the "beige” home they purchased and spending time outside with her active boys.

 
Jeanie Gilmer

Jeanie Gilmer

Events

Jeanie Gilmer graduated from Wesleyan College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Public Relations. In 1996, she turned her passion into an interior design business, starting J. Gilmer Designs. She is a community advocate in raising money for worthy causes such as the McCall Hospice House of Greenville, Cancer Society of Greenville County, St. Joseph’s Catholic School and the All In Foundation in Clemson. Through these events, she started collaborating with Curly Willow Designs. One thing led to another, and Jeanie now adds her creative vision to the talented design team. "I enjoy creating beautiful spaces in both homes and corporate events, while respecting the client’s budget.” She enjoys residing in downtown Greenville with her husband and two daughters.

 
Melissa Solesbee

Melissa Solesbee

Landscape Design, CAD Operator

A graduate of Clemson University in Landscape Architecture, Melissa has been a registered landscape architect in South Carolina for 14 years. Melissa is currently self employed working with Curly Willow Design providing AutoCAD drawings and details for clients. She worked for Arbor Engineering for 10 years working on residential master plans, engineering drawings, and rezoning projects and also worked for Gray Engineering for eight years providing landscape architecture designs for large and small commercial developments. Melissa is involved in her local church, Boy and Girl Scouts and is a member of Lake Hartwell Sail and Power Squadron.

 
Barbara Jones

Barbara Jones

Events

As a small child Barbara Jones was always creating things. She was the one that was decorating her bedroom and rearranging the furniture. At a young age her parents knew that she had a "special talent of creativity".  Barbara attended school in Georgia and became a counselor to Homeless Women and Children/Substance Abuse.  She continued her love of decor by working part time as a Wedding Planner. Prior to moving to Greenville, SC, Barbara designed and participated in weddings in Alabama, Georgia, and Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga.   Her love of changing the ordinary into something extraordinary and unique has found its place with Curly Willow Designs. Barbara is continuously amazed at what the CWD team creates together. She said her dream has come true working with CWD. Barbara lives in Greer, SC with her husband, David. They have two children, and two grandchildren. As her family says, Barbara is happiest when she is using her creativity to bring a smile to someone else. 
 
Jimmie Lynn Dykes

Jimmie Lynn Dykes

Landscape Architect

Jimmie Lynn has earned a Bachelor of Science in Design from Clemson University, as well as a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia. As a Registered Landscape Architect and South Carolina Master Gardener, Jimmie Lynn helps clients transform their landscapes into special places. She also specializes in creating custom jewelry and metal working. Jimmie Lynn enjoys spending time with her husband, Andy and their two children, Clayton and Dovie Rae.