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50 Years +

David Fasser, ASLA

David Fasser, FASLA

Where are you from and how long have you been a landscape architect?
I was born in Springfield, MA, spent a few years in Westfield, MA, and essentially “grew up” in Easthampton, MA. I graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a BS in Landscape Architecture in 1963. After a brief stint with the Air Force National Guard, I secured an appointment in 1964 as a Junior Landscape Architect with the New York State Department of Transportation (formerly DPW), at the office in Babylon on Long Island. I say, “Once a Landscape Architect, always a Landscape Architect.” Therefore, I have been a LA for 58 years. However, I retired from NYSDOT in 2002, so I was actually a practicing LA for 38 years.

How did you begin your career journey in Landscape Architecture?
Hmmm. As a student at UMASS, I started out in Engineering. All went well for three semesters. Then a Physics course started talking about forces in motion, and I got lost. At the same time, having joined a fraternity, I discovered one of my fraternity brothers drawing fascinating pictures. He introduced me to Landscape Architecture, and I changed majors.

Now let’s continue with more detail from question #1. My work in the 60’s consisted of creating planting designs along highways in the winter time, and supervising the construction of those designs during the good weather. Sometime in the 70’s, I was promoted, and became manager of the LA group on Long Island. In that position I was responsible for much of the work the engineers did not want to be bothered with. In addition to planting designs along NY state highways, parkways, and the rapidly expanding Interstate Highway system on Long Island and in NY City, there was erosion control, bikeways, recharge basins, budgeting, personnel management, and much, much more.

In 1979, following the retirement of the Director of Landscaping at headquarters in Albany, I was offered the opportunity to transfer to Albany, with the prosect of being considered for the Director’s position at some future date. I accepted.

A couple of years later I became Director of the Landscaping Bureau with responsibility for a small band of landscape architects throughout the state within an organization of engineers from bottom to top. It took me a while to settle comfortably into the position. Then I dropped “Landscaping”, it’s a trade, and began using Landscape Architecture, it’s a profession. Then I successfully argued for the establishment of a licensed position in each of the Departments 11 Regional offices, as the work the LAs did was protecting the public’s health, safety and welfare. That resulted in long overdue promotions and new hires. Ultimately the regional groups became responsible for their own work, leaving me and the main office team to policy and program development, budgeting, and personnel management.

All of that work allowed me to develop my three goals.
I secured membership on the Landscape and Environmental Design Committee of the Transportation Research Board in the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. This allowed me to find out what landscape architects in positions similar to mine across the country were doing, as well as to share with them our successes in NY, and to shape transportation policy nationally. Goal – develop definition of landscape architecture in transportation, and use it to secure professional program responsibilities for LA’s in NYSDOT – accomplished. I am now Member Emeritus (inactive) of that committee.

I secured appointment to the NYS Licensing Board for Landscape Architects, and that led to my securing a spot on CLARB’s Board of Directors. My work there, with others, was to capture and expand the knowledge of what landscape architecture consists of through frequently accomplished task analyses, and a readily updated strategic plan. Goal – develop scope of professional practice, and use that knowledge to argue for licensure, professional assignments and upgrades for landscape architects at NYSDOT – accomplished. I am now Member Emeritus (inactive) at CLARB.

I maintained my long standing membership in ASLA because that organization is responsible for public awareness of the profession. My leadership was recognized by ASLA when I became a Fellow, and I am now Fellow Emeritus. Goal – create public awareness of what LAs in transportation are professionally capable of – accomplished.

So, that was my whole career journey not just the beginning. I am comfortable with what I accomplished, and I hope this inspires others on a similar journey.

What do you think is the most important issue facing landscape architects today?
I retired in 2002, and have intentionally avoided things landscape architectural since then, as my wonderful wife and I have other things that occupy our time. Be that as it may, however, I suggest the most important issue is public awareness of the profession and its capabilities.

What have you gained by being a member of ASLA for 51 years?
Satisfaction in professional growth, and nationwide friendships.

What would you share with others as a reason for belonging to ASLA as a member?
ASLA is your professional organization. It helps the public understand what you do, and it deserves your support.

What would you share with those new to the profession of landscape architecture?
Be tenacious, confident, and humble.

What is your favorite project in your career and why? Would you like to submit/share a picture of it?
My favorite project is the development of the New York State Scenic Byways Program. Why? It gives neighboring communities throughout the state an opportunity to come together and identify what makes them special. Then they package it and promote it. The road or route itself becomes the destination. Local community leaders love the program because it gives them the opportunity to say, “Hey, here we are, come see us!” The program development handbook is an award winner. I’m sure it is long out of print. You’d have to contact the folks currently running the program to find out. Scenic Byways Program managers in other states modeled their programs after New York’s. Great compliment!

What in your view is the most important thing that landscape architects provide?
Boy Oh Boy! Answer this one and earn a Ph. D. One thing I have often mentioned, and even spoke about at an ASLA Annual Convention years ago is that among the three major design professions – Engineering, Architecture, and LA – landscape architects alone are uniquely qualified to be project managers because they can see how each profession fits, and they aren’t compelled to take the whole pie for themselves. I know CLARB, and I suspect ASLA, are constantly on the alert for legislation that would assign responsibility to just one of the professions, when a balance among all three would always provide a better outcome in every case. I could go on and on, but I won’t.

Is there anything else you would like to share to commemorate your 51 years with ASLA?
My entire career was spent with one organization, the NY State DOT. So I identify with that organization more than any other during my working career. I was deeply involved with that TRB committee, and with CLARB, and I had to very carefully balance my time with each because my prime responsibility, obviously, was with NYSDOT. I was very fortunate to have a great group of people to work with. I learned things by working with TRB and CLARB that I brought back to NY. During my career I enjoyed the privilege of teaching local groups and communities throughout New York State how to embrace and capitalize on transportation programs to preserve and improve community quality of life issues following transportation improvements. Furthermore, I believe I was notably successful in NY with the Scenic Byways Program and the Transportation Enhancements Program, and I enjoyed seeing my program development philosophies not only have great success in NY, but also were adopted by several other states nationwide.

Could you please upload a headshot? Or picture of you in your favorite place?
Pic of me in a field of Coreopsis, the official Florida State wildflower.
My favorite place would be either somewhere in the Adirondacks, or in Vermont somewhere along Lake Champlain. However, I’ve been in Florida almost 20 years, and really enjoy the Sun Coast. 

Boston Chapter
Jane Shoplick, ASLA

David Schultz, ASLA

Michigan Chapter
Douglas Schultz, ASLA

Where are you from and how long have you been a landscape architect? Originally Chicago, IL, currently working in Michigan, based in Flint. 1991 graduate from Michigan State, BLA.

How did you begin your career journey in Landscape architecture? Replied to a news article in high school (a position paper for English), the village was doing a streetscape and wanted input on concept options.I wrote in and got a call from the LA.I met him and ended up working that summer on the streetscape project for him.

What do you think is the most important issue facing landscape architects today? Practicality. We need to be able to translate ideas into contractable and sustainable design and our college programs are not grounded well enough in the basics, too much fairytale ideas.

What have you gained by being a member of ASLA for 30 years? The understanding and importance of a diverse talent and job roles of landscape architects.

What would you share with others as a reason for belonging to ASLA as a member? To support and encourage a strong and impactful profession.

What would you share with those new to the profession of landscape architecture? You can learn from every experience and use it to become a better designer, communicator, researcher, land steward, business owner, etc.

What is your favorite project in your career and why? Would you like to submit/share a picture of it? North School Park, Arlington Heights, IL.This was my first internship working for the park district. It was a community park on the grounds of the re-purposed elementary school I grew up attending. I was asked to complete a rendering of the project to raise funding for the project. It’s a must visit spot each time I go back home.

What in your view is the most important thing that landscape architects provide? Quality of life. We can be a connector with various professions that brings understanding of need through analysis, planning, design and completion.

Is there anything else you would like to share to commemorate your 30 years with ASLA? I had been involved in leadership with our state chapter for many years and diverted my efforts to being involved in local efforts, currently as the board chair of the Flint River Watershed Coalition. (FRWC) I found that I can be a louder voice with people outside our profession rather than being in a club with my peers.In that role the FRWC has defended the river in the midst of a national crisis, established a National Water Trail designation, created an environmental education model that thrived through the pandemic and are providing a kayak paddling program for users of all ages, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds. 

Would you please send us a headshot or a picture of you in your favorite place? My favorite place, sailing…anywhere.

Ohio Chapter

Christopher H. Manning, FASLA

International Chapter

Victor Kallos, ASLA
New Jersey Chapter
Elizabeth Kim, ASLA

Alabama Chapter

Christina A. Argo, ASLA

California Sierra Chapter
David W. Campbell, ASLA

North Carolina Chapter
Andrew H. Maller, ASLA

Oregon Chapter
Lauren W. Ransone, ASLA

Virginia Chapter
Charles E. Rapp, ASLA

Boston Chapter

Christopher Michael Rucinski, ASLA

California Northern Chapter
Yuki Igarashi, Associate ASLA
Carrie L. Rybczynski, ASLA

Florida Chapter
Steven C. Eaves, ASLA

Michigan Chapter
Jun-Hyun Kim, ASLA

Minnesota Chapter
Jordan Hedlund, ASLA

New York Chapter
Shigeo Kawasaki, ASLA

Texas Chapter
Kimberly A. Gilbertson, ASLA
Hope H. Hasbrouck, ASLA
Kathryn B. LaGasse Nelson, ASLA

New Members
Arkansas Chapter
Eric J. Bartels, ASLA

Boston Chapter
Chris Murton, ASLA
Fangli Zhang, Associate ASLA

California Northern Chapter
Jennifer A. Bromme, Associate ASLA
Jingwen Guo, ASLA
Victoria Jorgenson, Affiliate ASLA
Xucan Zhou,ASLA

California Southern Chapter
Ana Tabuena-Ruddy, ASLA

Colorado Chapter
Brynhildr Halsten, PLA, ASLA
James N. Hines, Affiliate ASLA
Anna Virginia McAlister, Associate ASLA

Florida Chapter
Nathan A. Raimondo, ASLA

Georgia Chapter
Laurel Fox, Associate ASLA
Brandy Hall, ASLA

Illinois Chapter
Debbi La Rue, Associate ASLA

International Chapter

Tina Marie McMullen, ASLA
Qinchuan Tong, International ASLA
Linxian Wang, International ASLA

Maryland Chapter
Brandon Hartz, ASLA

Michigan Chapter
Zachary Young, ASLA

Minnesota Chapter
Ryan Scott Hermes, ASLA

North Carolina
Lisa Jane Roberts, ASLA

Nevada Chapter
Diandra Kamille Roth, ASLA

New Mexico Chapter
Mary Elizabeth Mays, Associate ASLA

Prarie Gateway
Jessi Sky Garrett, Associate ASLA

Texas Chapter
Alexandria N. Dial, ASLA
Alexander Gonzalez, ASLA
Silke Henstebeck, Associate ASLA
Conner Trent, Associate ASLA

Virginia Chapter
Sahar Hamdard, Affiliate ASLA
Benjamin Garret Hartmann, ASLA

Washington Chapter
Eric Bechler, ASLA
Rhiannon Neuville, Associate ASLA
Student Chapter
Kundanika Adkuloo, Student ASLA
Adrian Alexander, Student ASLA
Selby Anderson, Student ASLA
Hilary Bryant, Student ASLA
Sam Green, Student ASLA
Shuyi Hao, Student ASLA
Adriel Jesus Jimenez, Student ASLA
Darius Kennedy, Student ASLA
Christopher Kill, Student ASLA
Callie Kourtis, Student ASLA
Anastasia Marie, Student ASLA
Evan Quigley, Student ASLA
Shandy Tan, Student ASLA
Jinyi Wang, Student ASLA

Student Affiliate
Brian Blake Houghton, Student Affiliate ASLA
Kate Nowell, Student Affiliate ASLA
Gia Pettibone, Student Affiliate ASLA
Jessica Yap, Student Affiliate ASLA

Student International
Martin Cerveny, Student International ASLA
Firat Dalgin, Student International ASLA
Ruby Kabuiku, Student International ASLA
Burcu Nur Korkmaz, Student International ASLA
Xiaoyang Liu, Student International ASLA
Jumoke Rabiat Salami, Student International ASLA
Nursena Topal, Student International ASLA
Dave Ivan Turing, Student International ASLA
Amy Zhang, Student International ASLA

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