People Matter: Kathy Riley, PLA
Kathy Riley first fell in love with urban environments as a young child living outside of San Francisco. “It wasn’t the FAO Schwarz toy store, Ghirardelli Square and its chocolate factory or Golden Gate Park that got me excited about trips into the city. It was a narrow courtyard between two buildings that had a pizza place and a street magician.”
I am a true believer that the places you live and environments you experience form who you will become.
Growing up, her father’s career moved the family to other iconic cities including Atlanta and Austin, Texas. “I am eternally grateful for the various places we lived, with each city offering amazing urban experiences and creating fond memories.”
“I am a true believer that the places you live and environments you experience form who you will become.” For Kathy, it was a landscape architect. “As a child, I’m sure I would have found it way cooler to work at the San Francisco pizza place.” Instead, her family’s time spent in different cities lead her to major in Landscape Architecture at Clemson University.
“My story is exactly what excites me about what we do at LandDesign. To have the opportunity to create places that inspire lasting memories, not only for a young child, but for people of all ages. I feel a great responsibility to do it with thought and care.”
It’s an exhilarating career where no two projects are the same and every day presents a new challenge.
Kathy joined LandDesign out of college in 2006, spending her first eight years in the Charlotte office before relocating to Dallas to help establish the firm’s new office there. Her work involves site planning, design development and regional planning for a variety of projects.
“In the decade I’ve been with LandDesign, I can’t think of one project type I haven’t worked on.” Those projects include planning for the Sugar Point port-of-call, a waterfront development in Barbados, to the University Research Park area plan in Charlotte. “It’s an exhilarating career where no two projects are the same and every day presents a new challenge.”
Her newest challenge includes being involved in outside activities that are increasing LandDesign’s presence in the Dallas market, working alongside Heth Kendrick, PLA, ULI, ASLA and Brian Dench, P.E., directors of the Dallas office. “Heth has amazing persistence and organizational skills, and I’ve learned so much from him as we continue to gain new opportunities from clients all over the Dallas-Fort Worth region. It’s hard to believe in the few short years we’ve been here just how many people we have met and the relationships we are building.” Her relationship-building also extends to ULI North Texas where she is involved in the ULI Partnership Forum that serves as an opportunity for young professionals to exchanges ideas and learn from local developers and city officials on an intimate level.
Kathy enjoys being back in one of her home states of Texas. “My husband and I love to ride bikes around White Rock Lake and run on the Katy Trail. I am my happiest when I’m outside on a pretty day.”
College football is also a favorite pastime. Her husband is on the coaching staff at Southern Methodist University. And, her beloved Clemson Tigers just won the national championship in a thrilling upset over Alabama that is certain to go down in the history books as one of the greatest games in college football.