©EDSA | Careers | Then and Now Stories | Robert Jackson

Then & Now

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

Robert was introduced to EDSA by a graduate school professor during his time at Mississippi State University, later joining the team as an intern during the spring of 2014. Now a Senior Associate, he has since spent over eight years with the firm and is known for his impressive hand graphic skills. We recently checked in with Robert to talk about his career path and his time thus far at EDSA.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a landscape architect?

A: I love the variety of experiences. You never spend too much time on one particular task. From hand-drawn master plans to computer graphics, there is always a new project or something out of the ordinary that comes through the door. It’s also great to be able to touch base with clients and understand what they’re trying to achieve for themselves and the end user.

Q: What is your design philosophy?

A: Haha – well, that’s still a work in progress. But I try my best to remember the guest. Ultimately, it’s about the end-user and the memories they will make in the spaces we create. These are the places that people are utilizing to live out their best lives, so what should that mean to us as designers? What can we do to elevate that experience in a more fulfilling way?

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

A: Growing up, a couple of my friend’s parents were landscape architecture professors, so I’ve known about the industry from a young age. I had the chance to see what they were doing day-to-day, and many times they would bring their students over to the local schools as part of their outreach into the community. In addition to that exposure, I always found myself doodling plans. I actually didn’t know I wanted to be a landscape architect until it was time to pick a college major and I realized what I was passionate about fell in line with the profession.

Eventually, when I was finishing up grad school, I asked my department head if he had any recommendations for internships or where to apply. He mentioned EDSA, and once I got the opportunity to join the team, I thought it would be a nice little vacation in Florida before going off into the “real world”- years later I’m still here!

Q: What is your favorite EDSA project?

A: I would say it was The Bay Villas at Costa Elena in Costa Rica. It was one of the first projects that I was able to pretty much run on my own following the initial concept phases. The site consisted of very challenging topography, so it was a lot of fun trying to merge the residential design into the overall master plan in a way that was environmentally sensitive and functional. From the developer to the engineer, it was great to have the chance to collaborate with allied professionals and ensure the project output was the best it could be.

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

A: I would say relationships. There are so many moving parts to the work that we do – no way that we could accomplish everything successfully without taking a multidisciplinary approach. Much of our industry is based on how we interface with clients, the end-users and the surrounding communities. It’s the collaborative dynamic that exists between our internal team and beyond that defines a project vision that will benefit everyone – even the environment.