First and Last name:  Jared Cunningham

Hometown (city and state):  Madisonville, Kentucky

Graduation Year:  2007

 

 

1)     If you have had a study abroad experience or completed an internship, tell us a little about either your study abroad experience or your internship that you completed as a Landscape Architecture student.

 

While going to classes, I had the opportunity to be a part of two internships.  My first was with the Louisville-based Mindel, Scott & Associates.  It was a great opportunity to get my feet wet in the profession and I learned a ton from a former UKLA graduate, Morgan Dye.  Next, I had the opportunity to work with Molly Davis, also a former UKLA graduate, at Parsons Brinckerhoff.  During that time, I worked almost exclusively on the update to the Lexington Area MPO Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.

 Jared Cunningham

2)     What was your first job like after graduating? Where did you go after you graduated from UK?

 

After graduation, I moved immediately to Madison, Wisconsin so that I could start my first post-graduation job with JJR.  This could not have been a better fit.  I began working on projects I would not have ever expected including a corporate campus designing outlandish things like drawbridges and mid-evil moats, veterans cemeteries and marinas all over the world.

 

3)     What’s one thing you learned as a Landscape Architecture student that’s been especially useful post-graduation?

 

I actually think there are two things I learned while being a student that are critically important.  The first is time management.  When you’re in college and you have no worries and all the time in the world, it’s easy to pull ‘all-nighters’ and work well into the mornings.  Once life happens, this becomes very difficult to do and will also cause you to burn out.  The second is grading.  It’s amazing how many people in the A/E profession can’t or are not comfortable picking up a pencil and trash paper to grade a site.

 Jared Cunningham

4)     Tell us a little about what you’re doing now.

 

Recently, I along with two coworkers decided to take a leap of faith in the ever-growing Nashville area and open Catalyst Design Group.  The company is growing and off to a great start.  This is a big change from the larger corporate firms I’ve work for in the past, but so far things have been great and we are getting to do what we do best and that’s design great spaces!

 

 

 

 

5)     What’s one piece of advice you would offer to prospective college students?

 

I would say be prepared to work hard, but with hard work comes great rewards.  I’ve worked with a lot of graduates from other Landscape Architecture programs and Kentucky graduates are usually right there at the top with the best of the best.

 

6)     What are some skills you’re using in your current job? Are there skills you’ve had to pick up on your own?

 

We live in a very digital world these days.  Sometimes I find myself on the computer jumping right in to a project.  Other times, I find myself with a roll of trace and a bundle of red/blue pencils.  My goal since graduation has always been to not lose touch with either world.

 

In school, it’s just not possible to do enough writing or public speaking to prepare you for the real world.  I feel both of these require on the job experience that you just can’t get in a studio environment.

 Jared Cunningham

7)     Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?

These questions are always so tricky!  Five years seems like tomorrow and ten years seems like next week…honestly, I just hope we can continue to grow and flourish at Catalyst.  I hope every day continues to be a little more fun than the previous and that I can continue to have that feeling you get when you see someone for the first time using the spaces you’ve designed.