The Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society awards are presented annually to those individuals who have demonstrated professional leadership, contributions having a lasting value to the parks and recreation profession, and a commitment to the advancement of the Society. The winner of the 2021 PRPS Distinguished Member Award in honor of Robert D. Griffith, from Pashek + MTR, Heather Cuyler.
The Distinguished Member Award is named in honor of Robert D. Griffith, the longtime Executive Director of PRPS, and seeks to recognize those professionals who have consistently contributed to the advancement of the Society, affiliated organizations and the parks and recreation profession.
Heather began her career as a part-time Director and quickly became the first ever full-time Director of Parks and Recreation in Marshall Township. Over the next 20 years, her passion for our field has guided her career, both professionally and as a volunteer. Her efforts and significant achievements as an advocate, volunteer and professional have advanced public recreation and parks and have had tremendous impact on the quality of life in her region and across the state. She has been involved with the Moraine Preservation Fund for more than 20 years, is the co-founder of the Recreation Alliance of North Pittsburgh and is now a Recreation Planner for Pashek + MTR. Heather is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional, Certified Playground Safety Inspector, & Certified Pool Operator.
Heather is deeply committed to PRPS having served on numerous Annual Conference Committees, and the Membership, Governmental Affairs, and Recognition and Awards Committees, as well as holding leadership positions throughout her very active years in District One. As her nominator stated in her application for this award, “Heather has consistently contributed to the advancement of the Society, affiliated organizations, and our profession in countless ways, and been a champion for parks, trails, greenways, and open space preservation throughout the Commonwealth”. Certainly, appropriate words befitting a Distinguished Member.
We are pleased to welcome Jenni Easton as a senior planner at Pashek+MTR. Jenni will share leadership in advancing the firm’s work in community planning with Elaine Kramer and Jim Pashek. As senior planner, she guides communities through the implementable planning process to realize the visions for their communities.
Working with municipalities to facilitate comprehensive plans, zoning ordinance rewrites and targeted regulatory amendments, Jenni’s approach reflects leading-edge best practices. Her planning practice focuses on the relationship between the physical design of neighborhoods, communities and regions and the social and economic issues they experience.
Jenni is passionate about evaluating and retooling the local regulatory frameworks that shape the built environment. She helps communities change the ground rules for development, giving them the tools they need to enable and incentivize the investments they envision.
She combines a fine arts background with advanced training in data and policy analysis. This combination allows Jenni to organize and clearly communicate complex concepts. Her concise analysis and robust illustrations make her work easy to digest, and clients appreciate that she provides both granular details and big-picture context. Her experience in administering ordinances as a contract zoning officer is clear in the practical, internally consistent way she drafts regulatory language.
Jenni’s previous experience includes five years as a community planner with a Pittsburgh based engineering firm, and five years as a housing and community development consultant with a Pittsburgh based planning firm. In her previous role as a housing and community development consultant, Jenni served as primary author of housing market studies, fair housing assessments and similar projects for cities, counties and regional partnerships across 12 states. She has presented to national audiences on transit-oriented development and assessing affordable housing need.
Jenni holds certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), accreditation through the Congress for New Urbanism Accredited (CNU-A), and a member of the Urban Land Institute Pittsburgh.
Jenni holds a Dual Bachelor of Arts degree, Major: Journalism and Interdisciplinary Fine Art, Minor: German, from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Public Administration degree, Major: Policy Research & Analysis, Minor: Urban and Regional Affairs, from the University of Pittsburgh.
Pashek+MTR adopted the following Diversity & Inclusion policies in 2018.
Pashek + MTR Workforce Diversity Policy
Pashek+MTR, Ltd. is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion.
Our human capital is the most valuable asset we have. The collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities and talent that our employees invest in their work represents a significant part of not only our culture, but our reputation and company’s achievement as well. As creative professionals, we draw inspiration and insights from exposure to a wide variety of ideas and lived experiences.
We embrace and encourage our employees’ differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make our employees unique.
Pashek + MTR Diversity and Inclusion Vision
Pashek+MTR, Ltd. is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. We recognize that diversity is a driver of creativity and innovation in our practice that helps us serve our clients and communities better. By creating a diverse and inclusive workplace we can better attract and retain talented professionals, contributing to our company’s success.
Our diversity and inclusion vision:
- Pashek+MTR is an inclusive and welcoming environment.
- We are mindful of issues of inclusion, equity and representation in our design and planning work.
- We contribute to building a diverse and inclusive design profession.
In accordance with guidance from Pennsylvania Governor Wolf we are implementing alternative work strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Our employees will be working remotely and are available as usual via e-mail and phone. We will conduct project meetings, presentations, team coordination, etc. remotely via webconference or other digital platforms. Site visits and in-person meetings are temporarily suspended.
Pashek+MTR is committed to providing the same level of service that you expect to receive from us while providing for the safety of our employees and our community during these changing times. We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt our operations as needed. If you have any questions, please contact John Buerkle at 412-321-6362 x102.
We are pleased to welcome Keely McDonald as a designer at Pashek+MTR. Keely is a recent graduate from the Masters of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Georgia. While completing her studies in Georgia she discovered a passion for public landscape projects. Her assistantship work took her all over the state to work on a wide variety of landscape projects from small town streetscape designs to public park master planning.
Keely previously earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Horticulture from Colorado State University with a concentration in Landscape Design and Contracting and Nursery and Landscape Management. Her background in horticulture and love of plants provides an invaluable knowledge on plant selections and care requirements. Keely’s prior experience in landscape management gives her a unique understanding of the day to day demands that come with various landscapes.
Since joining our team, Keely has been assisting with design work on projects for the Pennsylvania State University and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. When not at work Keely is enjoying exploring the neighborhoods in Pittsburgh in search of any and all tasty eats and relaxing outdoor spaces. In her free time, she enjoys relaxing with her cats, reading, photography, sketching, and painting.
Pashek + MTR has been certified by PennDOT through the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program (PA UCP) as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise as a Women Business Enterprise. Pashek+MTR received this certification after a rigorous ten-month application, review and vetting process.
This is a designation awarded by the PA UCP program in conjunction with U.S. Department of Transportation requirements. The DBE program helps ensure that small disadvantaged business enterprises have fair opportunities to compete for federally funded transportation-related projects. It also gives small businesses exposure to public agencies, projects, large contracting companies and consulting agencies that have established DBE participation goals to meet.
Pashek+MTR also holds Women Business Enterprise (WBE) and Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certifications through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). WBENC Certification is a similarly rigorous process which validates that a business is at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated and managed by a woman or women.
Please contact us if our qualifications can help you meet your Landscape Architecture and/or Community Planning project needs.
Entry Level Landscape Designer
Opening for a passionate and energetic entry level landscape designer interested in starting their professional career by working side-by-side with our talented landscape architects and designers.
Gain meaningful and gratifying experience while meeting our clients’ needs and improving the environment. The experience you gain will provide you with the foundation to sit for the LARE and become a registered landscape architect.
We are located in the pedestrian and bicycle friendly East Ohio Street Business District of Pittsburgh’s vibrant East Deutschtown Historic District, http://deutschtown.org. East Ohio Street and the surrounding environs offers a variety of casual lunch opportunities. Meeting downtown, no problem, use one of our office bicycles to make the 10-minute commute to the Golden Triangle.
The ideal candidate will be a proactive self-starter with the following abilities and experience:
- BLA or MLA degree from an accredited College or University with excellent oral and written communication skills, and the ability to manage time and multiple tasks.
- Attention to detail, ability to problem solve, strong organizational skills, and sustainability focused.
- Proficient in AutoCAD 2018 or newer, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Design Suite.
- Experience with grading, planting design, materials and technical aspects of landscape architecture; experience with construction detailing and/or construction administration; ability to working with project teams on projects of various sizes.
- Proficiency in Arcview is a plus.
Typical tasks include project design, attending client & public meetings, preparing renderings, cost estimates, construction documents, permits and municipal approvals, contract administration, and construction observation. Projects range in scope from master planning through construction documentation and administration.
We are an award-winning 15-person landscape architecture and community planning firm committed to improving our environment. Our work spans the public and private sectors, including education, healthcare, parks and recreation, botanic gardens, and community planning. We create exceptional places that connect people with the natural world and each other. Learn more about us by visiting www.pashekmtr.com.
We offer a flexible, causal work environment and competitive salary. Please submit your resume, references, portfolio and technical writing samples to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In honor of Veterans Day, we’ve asked Max Geise to share some of his experience as a Vet and how he landed at Pashek + MTR.
Veterans Day is a special time for my wife and me. We met sometime in November of 2004 (she doesn’t know the exact date either), while training at Ft. Hood, TX. We were being deployed with an Army aviation task force for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. Although we didn’t start dating until January, we use Veterans Day to celebrate our relationship, reminisce about the transformational times we had in the military (19 years combined), and remember the great friends we served with.
After ten years of living in Illinois, we decided to come back to Pennsylvania and make Pittsburgh home. Saturday will be our second Veterans Day here, and my first with Pashek+MTR. It seems only fitting to reflect on how my military experience as a helicopter mechanic has lead me to a career in Landscape Architecture.
I enlisted in the U.S. Army as a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter Crewchief in 1993. When I joined, I knew that I would be a mechanic. What I didn’t know was that my duties would also include being a flight crew member, and manning an M-60D as the door gunner. This meant that I would log many hours viewing the world in flight, from the aircraft I worked on.
My first flight crew assignment was with Company B, 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment at Ft Campbell, KY. On base, we raced across the tree tops, and dropped down under the tree level in fields and roadways, often while using night vision goggles.
Flying outside of the base’s airspace, we typically flew between 500 and 2,000 feet above ground level. In the pre-smartphone era, this was the perfect height for a young soldier to scout out nightlife areas in neighboring towns and map a route back later. I always loved to drive, so looking for interesting places from the air and trying to find them again in my car became a new hobby.
My second duty station was in South Korea. K-16 Seoul Airbase is near Seongnam on the southern edge of Seoul. This was my first experience outside of the U.S. and Canada, and I couldn’t get enough of the city. From the air, orderly rows of tall apartment buildings and hilltops of greenspace were islands in a sea of small buildings whose rooflines overlapped to hide a network of small roads and alleys.
By regulations, my rank was too low to own or drive a car in S. Korea, so most of my exploring was done by foot, bike, bus and subway (most). I spent as much time as I could trekking around the city, trying to find places I saw from the air.
I couldn’t read a lot of the signs, and soon became aware that I was looking for subtle queues in the landscape to help me navigate on the ground, and that those queues were designed for that reason. Returning to the states, I started recognizing the same kind of queues that had only registered passively or subconsciously before. One fence said “follow me to the entrance”, where another said “go away”. That was the beginning of my fascination with the built environment.
I also began to casually think about these things with changes in scale from pedestrian to aircrew. I started thinking about why a town was located where it was, and had it developed before or after the highway or railroad passing through it. It was fun to pick out the clues from the air.
I wasn’t able to do much ground exploring on the deployment, but I did spend countless hours flying over Kosovo and other small countries that had once been Yugoslavia. I thought about the ways in which the landscape and infrastructure impacted the cities and remote mountain villages during the war. Luckily, I did get to see the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia from the air and the ground. It was disturbing to think about how the walls that once protected the city from cannon fire only served to prevent people from getting away from modern artillery.
After ten years of flying around the U.S., S. Korea and Europe, I hung up my flight helmet and decided to go back to school. As luck would have it, I met a landscape architect when I was deciding what to study.
Landscape Architecture seemed like a perfect fit, and I couldn’t be happier with the decision. Since joining Pashek+MTR a few months ago, I have already been a part of projects ranging from designing playgrounds to joint municipal comprehensive plans. I no longer observe the natural and built environment from the air, but my work in landscape architecture allows me to continue learning about and shape the ways in which communities create and use spaces. I get to design at eye level, and plan at 10,000 feet. People are often surprised to hear that my time as a Blackhawk crew chief in the U.S. Army led me to what I do now, but for me, the path has made perfect sense.