©EDSA | Then and Now | Cameron Hill

Then & Now

Previous interns – now employees, share their perspectives, advice and insights about all things landscape architecture and their experiences with EDSA.

Cameron joined EDSA for an internship during the summer of 2022, later to come on board as a full-time designer after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia. Contributing to EDSA works in the Middle East and North Africa regions, he brings a positive spirit, curious mind and unique designer perspective to some of the company’s most cutting-edge projects. Curious about Cameron’s career journey thus far, we caught up with him to learn more about his experiences and aspirations.

Q: What does landscape architecture mean to you?

A: This was the big one for me. The first thing that came to mind was problem solving and the ability to better people’s lives and mindset through the environment. Not only can you widen perspectives through design, but there’s a unique opportunity to embrace the diversity of the planet and those that inhabit it. At the end of the day, we’re merging culture and history with nature’s beauty to influence connections between people and the planet.

It also means the integration of different skills and talented minds. For example, you can end on a really great design alone, but with collaboration, teamwork and varying perspectives – from inside and outside of the industry, the project output could be that much greater.

The last thing would be that landscape architecture is a positive avenue for working to solve social, economic and environmental issues through tangible action. Legislature is great, but design puts plans into action in a way that people can see, feel and touch – unlike what you can do with a policy.

Q: How did you first learn about the profession of landscape architecture?

A: So, I first learned about the profession in college. I started off as undecided during my first two semesters. At one point I was also leaning towards either economics or finance, but ended up taking a micro-economics class and it wasn’t exactly my favorite. From there I tried civil engineering and that was closer, but it still wasn’t quite it.

I ended up voicing this concern to one of my academic advisors and she asked me what I generally found to be interesting. And, I remember saying something along the lines of creating things that make people go, ‘oh wow, that’s really cool’. Then I remembered that growing up I was always interested in Minecraft and creating things out of shoe boxes and random materials. My parents always would say that I needed to be an architect, but that’s not really something that you remember at six years old. So, it never really clicked for me until college.

But the University of Georgia (UGA) didn’t have an architecture program, so my advisor urged me to look into landscape architecture. I tried out a semester and immediately loved it. One of my first professors, Professor Doug Pardue, took more of an unconventional approach to the class and profession in general and it challenged me to just have fun and be myself. I found everything I was learning to be so interested, so I stuck with it. And I don’t think I’ve made a bad decision yet.

Q: Tell me about your career journey – what led you to EDSA?

A: I just kind of showed up to my senior year career fair with no prior knowledge of the firms that were going to be there. I started off by just going to the booth that looked the most visually appealing, and that booth ended up being EDSA. I met a couple of the employees at the table, one being Vice President Devon King, and we ended up having an hour-long conversation. From that point on, I knew that EDSA was where I wanted to be.

From there, I did my own research and realized there were some awesome people that worked at EDSA that were also graduates of UGA – like Principal Kona Gray. So, between the combination having that initial connection with Devon and the team at the career fair, and learning more about the company culture, works and the people, it was just a gut feeling – I just couldn’t see any other route.

I ended up applying to the internship program and was super excited to get accepted. I then came down to Fort Lauderdale and had a blast the entire summer. I was sad to leave, but I think the emotions that arose when my internship came to an end was a sign that I could see myself at EDSA long term.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: So, it comes from my day-to-day, just picturing myself in different spaces, what I observe when I’m taking part in random daily activities and the things that I like to do and engage in.

One of those is jogging and just being outside. I go for runs a decent amount and just being outdoors and present – I think that that’s the time when I’m most connected to my surroundings and notice it the most since it’s literally just me, my music, the road and what’s around me.

I also find myself pulling inspiration from different art forms like moves, music and art – with an emphasis on music. Music influences my perspective minute to minute, day to day, depending on the song I’m listening to or the genre or tempo. I could completely be stuck on some aspect of a project and I take a break and put on a different playlist and have a completely different outlook.

Finally, I think my curiosity plays a big role. Naturally, I’m a very curious person and have a lot of ‘what if’ ideas. Being a designer, some of those big dreams could actually lead to a project or solution that no one has ever seen before – so what’s stopping me from dreaming big and pushing the limits?

Q: When you think about your time at EDSA thus far, what’s one word that comes to mind and why?

A: For me, strength is the word that comes to mind. I’ve met so many designers who are very resilient and quickly adaptable to any test thrown at them. It’s always very inspiring to see a how quickly they’re able to grasp something and turn out a project that achieves their goals.

Cameron’s closing thoughts:

A: EDSA does a good job early on giving you the tools you need to be a successful – in life and as a designer. Whether you decide to stay with the organization or pursue job opportunities elsewhere, there is always some skill, tidbit of information or slice of knowledge that you learned along the way that can be applied to other aspects of your life. EDSA really stand for personal growth in whatever way it may come.