RVi is excited to congratulate our own Jarka Pharis on becoming a U.S. citizen this month! Jarka now holds dual citizenship in the United States and the Czech Republic.
Jarka grew up in the town of Opava in the Czech Republic. Opava is known as the white pearl of Silesia and prides itself on being a historic center of culture and education. Jarka attended the University of Olomouc, the second oldest university in the Czech Republic, as an English major before moving to the United States in 1998. She first lived in Austin, Texas, her then fiancée’s hometown. She and her husband, Brent, were married in 2000 while Brent was attending law school at the University of Texas. After law school Brent accepted a job with a firm in Los Angeles and Jarka went back to school to pursue a degree in landscape architecture at UCLA. Jarka shared that “living and studying in Los Angeles was a fantastic opportunity to learn about Western history, culture, and design but also great exposure to the different natural environments that people in the USA are so lucky to have. It was very inspiring, and I feel very lucky.” At the end of her second year at UCLA she accepted an internship position at EDSA, a planning, landscape architecture, and urban design firm in Santa Monica with offices internationally. She worked at EDSA until her graduation from UCLA in 2007.
After graduation Jarka worked for Melendrez, now known as RELM, a landscape architecture and urban design practice in downtown Los Angeles. Two years later Jarka and her family moved back to the Czech Republic and lived in Prague for a year before moving back to Texas in 2011. Jarka recalled how great it was being close to her family again, especially with her own kids in tow. She and her husband took that year as an opportunity to slow down, and she only worked on residential projects while her husband studied at The Charles University. At the end of their stay her husband accepted a position with a firm in Houston. Upon moving back to Texas Jarka worked for TBG for three years prior to joining the RVi family in Houston in the summer of 2014.
Jarka loves the cultural melting pot that is so prevalent in the U.S. She is drawn to the positive attitude of the people she has met along the way in all the places she has been lucky enough to experience. Although living so far from her family in the Czech Republic is hard at times, Jarka says that with modern day technology she is now able to communicate with her loved ones on a regular basis much easier and more frequently than when she first came to the U.S. in 1998. Jarka, her husband, and her two children try to travel back to the Czech Republic each summer. Jarka is passionate in wanting her children to grow up understanding their heritage which will help them become more well-rounded people as adults.
RVi is grateful to have Jarka and her amazing talent as part of our team. She has been a valued member of the Houston office for the past five years. With over ten years of professional experience, she has proven herself as a highly creative and versatile designer with projects including residential gardens, school campuses, commercial sites, parks, master planned communities and even a specialized park for the patients at Texas Children’s Hospital, one of her favorite projects to date. She enjoys RVi’s culture and working with her colleagues and clients daily, she shared that “RVi is a fun place! I truly enjoy working with this bunch of creative, smart, and caring people.” Congratulations to Jarka on officially becoming a United States citizen!