After 27 years of pioneering RVi’s park design practice, Barbara Austin is moving on to her next adventure: retirement! As Senior Vice President, Director of Park Planning and Design, and Managing Principal of RVi’s Austin office, Barbara’s influence on our firm cannot be understated. A natural leader and mentor, she has taught us many lessons – how to design in harmony with nature, how to build public support for a project, how to manage ourselves and others, and perhaps most importantly, how to have fun in the process.

For all that she has contributed internally to RVi, Barbara’s work as an advocate for parks, trails, and open space across Texas will continue to have a far broader impact. Barbara successfully built RVi’s park practice into what it is today, with an underlying philosophy of respecting the land and a goal of making the outdoors more accessible to more people. She has contributed significantly to the park, trail, and open space systems in many communities, including those for the City of Austin, Travis County, Dripping Springs, Georgetown, Corpus Christi, Hays County, Williamson County, and many others. She has been instrumental in the planning and design of some of the region’s most beloved outdoor spaces, such as Austin’s crown jewel Trail at Lady Bird Lake, the nationally recognized Jacob’s Well, and the award-winning 140-acre park and trail system at Mueller, part of a landmark project that has set a national standard for sustainable, urban infill development in the midst of a bustling city.

So what’s next for Barbara? “I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my kids and my grandbaby! And of course, I am excited about being able to travel again as the pandemic begins to subside,” she says.

And what’s next for RVi? “I’m leaving you all in very good hands. We are excited to announce the promotion of Drew Carman to Director of Park Planning and Design. I have worked extensively with Drew over his six years at RVi, and I am confident that he has the leadership and passion it takes to manage RVi’s park practice. Drew is not alone – he has an incredibly talented team of senior directors, project managers, and designers who have all worked together on many of our parks projects over the years,” she said. As for the role of Managing Principal, we are equally excited to announce that we have tapped Mark Smith for this role. With over 40 years of experience – 19 of those with RVi – he will move seamlessly into this position.

Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter, where we will introduce you to Drew, Mark, and their new roles. In the meantime, take a few minutes to congratulate Barbara on an outstanding career by clicking the link below!

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