Zerek Kroll joined RVi in early 2022 as a project manager to lead and oversee urban design within the Austin, Texas office. Since then, Zerek has managed a wide variety of projects and applied his professional skills, which include urban planning and design, schematic design, 3D modeling, design development, and BIM documentation.
What initially inspired you to pursue a career in Landscape Architecture/Planning?
From a young age my mother recognized my creative ability as I would spend hours building intricate structures with my Legos. Encouraged by her, I initially pursued architecture in college. However, my innate connection with nature drew me back, leading me to landscape architecture and planning. The convergence of my creativity and my desire to shape outdoor spaces ultimately guided my career path.
Could you share a memorable moment or experience that solidified your passion for Landscape Architecture/Planning?
I had the privilege of collaborating with David Price (the Red Sox/Dodgers pitcher and Cy Young Award winner) and his charity Project One Four to create an all-inclusive park and miracle field in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Initially, it seemed like any other park project but witnessing David’s dream come to life and seeing the joy on the faces of children with special needs during the park’s opening day was an overwhelmingly emotional experience. This unforgettable moment solidified my passion for Landscape Architecture/Planning and reminded me of the profound impact our work can have on communities and individuals.
This park was also featured on Dateline NBC.
What are some of the key motivators that drive you to excel in your professional field?
As a Landscape Architect, several key motivators drive me to excel in my professional field. First, the desire to create meaningful and innovative spaces motivates me to push the boundaries of design. I am passionate about crafting environments that inspire and enrich the lives of people, foster connections with nature, and enhance well-being. Second, the opportunity to contribute to a diversity of projects drives me to seek innovative solutions and promote problem-solving. Last, the collaborative nature of our work which includes working alongside talented architects, engineers, and clients, inspires me to continually learn and grow.
Can you tell us about an (RVi) project or achievement that you’re particularly proud of in your career?
In my time at (RVi) there is a particular project that I’m incredibly proud of – Bouldin Village (South Lamar Multifamily). Over the past year, I had the opportunity to work on this project and utilize Revit for the first time. It has been an immensely rewarding experience to witness the project’s development using this technology and its remarkable capabilities in coordinating with other disciplines. The use of Revit has greatly enhanced our collaboration with architects, engineers, and other professionals involved ensuring a seamless integration of design elements.
How do you stay up to date with the latest developments and trends in your industry?
To stay up to date with the latest developments and trends in my industry, I rely on a combination of ArchDaily and Pinterest. ArchDaily provides a valuable daily newsletter that keeps me informed about inspirational design trends. Additionally, I find Pinterest to be an excellent resource for gathering inspiration.
Have you faced any significant challenges in your professional journey, and how did you overcome them?
Throughout my professional journey I encountered significant challenges, particularly in my early years after college. The first few jobs I had did not live up to my expectations. However, I learned that it is crucial to find a position that provides opportunities for learning and collaboration with experienced professionals who are willing to mentor and guide you. Overcoming these challenges involved seeking out positions that aligned with my goals and values where I could gain valuable experience and grow as a landscape architect. Finding mentors who could help me navigate the field and discover my passion within it was instrumental in overcoming these initial hurdles. Embracing a mindset of continuous learning and seeking out opportunities for professional development has allowed me to overcome challenges and forge a fulfilling career in landscape architecture.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in Landscape Architecture/Planning?
Like anything else worthwhile, it takes time. If you are embarking on a career in Landscape Architecture/Planning my advice would be to recognize that it is a field that requires time and patience to develop. When I first graduated from college, I had ambitious expectations and envisioned immediate success. However, I soon realized that mastery and growth in this profession come with experience and dedication. Embrace every opportunity to learn, whether through internships, mentorships, or continuous education. It is crucial to build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills while cultivating a passion for the field. Remember that landscape architecture is a multidisciplinary practice that combines art, science, and environmental stewardship. Stay curious, seek inspiration from various sources, and always strive for innovation.
Beyond your professional life, what are some of your personal interests or hobbies that bring you joy and fulfillment?
Outside of work I have many interests. These include hunting, fishing, and spending time with my wife as well as my two German Shorthaired Pointers named Mac and Roni.
Lastly, if you could choose one word to describe your professional philosophy or approach, what would it be and why?
“Collaboration.” I firmly believe that collaboration is essential in any field, especially in Landscape Architecture/Planning. Recognizing that we can never have all the answers in our own minds, collaboration allows us to tap into the collective wisdom and expertise of others. By embracing diverse perspectives and working together we can achieve innovative solutions. Collaboration opens doors to fresh ideas, fosters creativity, and propels us toward our shared goals. It is through collaboration that we can effectively navigate the complexities of our work and make a meaningful impact in shaping the environment.