2000-2010 Alumni News Archive

Photo of Brandon MedeirosBrandon Medeiros, ASLA (2002), was one of 20 San Luis Obispo County residents chosen for The Tribune's 2010 "Top 20 Under 40" award. Medeiros works as a Senior Planner for Rick Engineering Company. He joined the firm in 2007 to establish a landscape architecture and urban design division in its San Luis Obispo office. Among his recent projects is the Grover Beach, CA West Grand Avenue Streetscape Enhancement. Medeiros volunteers as chairman for the REC Foundation, a non-profit fundraising corporation which works to create enhanced programs, places and open spaces for quality recreational experiences in Paso Robles. The Top 20 Under 40 awards honor young leaders who have demonstrated excellence in their field and a strong commitment to community service. The 2010 winners were selected from more than 80 nominees by a panel of judges from the San Luis Obispo Community Foundation. Winners were honored for their accomplishments at a special luncheon at the Madonna Inn January 27, 2011. For more information, see The Tribune article about the Top 20 Under 40 winners.

Susan Van Atta (1983) lectured on sustainable landscapes at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, CA on October 7, 2010. The lecture was sponsored by the San Diego Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Van Atta founded her own firm, Van Atta Associates , in 1985, and has a commitment to environmentally appropriate landscape design, habitat restoration, and the use of native plants.

Ryan Ihm (2007) is teaching English in South Korea.

Jacob Nesheim (2004) owns and operates Nesheim Landscape Inc., a firm that provides both landscape architectural and construction services throughout the Santa Barbara, CA area.

Scott Strand (2004) owns and operates Scott Strand AVI, a company that does home theater, whole-house audio/video systems, integration, lighting control, etc., primarily for custom homes.

Adam Peltier (2007) and his wife, Marisa (Markowitz, also 2007), own Peltier Glassworks in Paso Robles, which is breaking into the region's wine industry by creating custom wine bottle labels printed directly on glass. According to Peltier, it's the only glass silk screening company on the Central Coast.

Sandy Ayers (1995), a partner at The Garden Route Company, created a garden exhibit for the 2010 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, March 24-28 at the San Mateo Event Center, and was awarded the top, "best in show," award, the Golden Gate Cup, for the most overall meritorious exhibit. The exhibit also won the Garden Conservancy award, for the garden most likely to withstand the test of time, and a Gold Medal award. In the exhibit, "Re-Generation: The World Without Us," the powerful forces of the natural world shape a post-apocalyptic landscape, a designed space transformed by the elements, yet still standing as a monument to sustainable design/build methods of the 21st century.

Tyler Rinehart (2010) and Katherine Lewis (2010) also won awards for the garden they created for the 2010 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. They received a Silver Medal award as well as the Pacific Horticulture Award for the garden that best demonstrated the regional nature of garden design. Their exhibit, "Pulling Up Daisies," was a conceptual design in which viewers found themselves in the moment of change as the landscapes of the past were peeled back to reveal a new palette of California native plant possibilities both beautiful and drought tolerant. Sunset says, "we loved the concept behind this piece of actually peeling back the layers of destructive landscaping to reveal a lush new pallet of native plant possibilities."

Michael Brennan (2002) and his company, Urban Green Landscape Architecture, were profiled in the April 5, 2010 edition of SDGLN.com. The article discusses what inspired Brennan to choose landscape architecture as his college major, his professional design experience and portfolio, and how he has personally embraced "going green." The article reports that "Brennan can boast of a $13 SDG&E bill, he hangs his clothes to dry outside and, most impressively, he hasn't owned a car for almost three years. He relies on his bicycle and public transit."

Rick Stover (1984) and Andrea Swanson (BS, Horticulture, 1973) submitted the winning design for the Cal Poly 2010 Rose Parade float, "Jungle Cuts," which won both the Bob Hope Humor Award and the KTLA Viewers' Choice Award. Stover and Swanson are principals with Thomas Baak and Associates. The parade float, depicting five barber monkeys styling the hair of various "clients" including a giraffe with a beehive, a snake with a flat top and a zebra with a mohawk, received the Bob Hope trophy for being judged the most comical and amusing entry. It also received the most votes in the KTLA.com contest. KTLA is a television station in Los Angeles, CA.

Photo of BiancaBianca Koenig (2002) was one of twenty San Luis Obispo County residents chosen for The Tribune's 2009 "Top 20 under 40" award. Koenig works as a landscape architect for the Wallace Group, a multi-disciplinary firm headquartered in San Luis Obispo. She serves on the board of the California Central Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council to advocate sustainable design. She also helped found the Deanna Maran Foundation for Non-Violence after her sister's death in 2001. In its fifth year, the Top 20 under 40 awards honor young leaders who have demonstrated excellence in their field and a strong commitment to community service. Candidates for the award were nominated on-line during November 2009, and a review panel from the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation selected the winners in December 2009 at The Tribune's request. Winners were recognized for their accomplishments at a special luncheon at the Madonna Inn January 21, 2010.

Julia Schnorr (2008) has had a project she worked on during Spring 2009 at the University of Colorado-Denver featured in the October 2009 issue of Phoenix Magazine. The project -- designing scenic villages around dozens of Phoenix's unsightly canal sites -- was a joint studio between Arizona State University planning students and UCD urban design students, and was sponsored by Americorps. The two graphics featured in the article are from Schnorr's presentation.

Scott Hazard (1996) had a show, Topographic Ruminations, at Artspace in Raleigh, NC running October 2-31, 2009, Raleigh Downtowner Magazine reports. Hazard graduated with an MFA with a focus on sculpture from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. His undergraduate degree is in landscape architecture from Cal Poly. 

Sharon Finkle (2008) was featured in a Sunset Magazine on-line article about how she and her family designed and built their dream garden. For further information about this backyard makeover in San Jose, California, go to the article on the Sunset.com website.

Susan Van Atta

Susan Van Atta (1983) was elected to the ASLA Council of Fellows, and was inducted as a Fellow at the 2009 ASLA Annual Meeting In Chicago. Van Atta was nominated by the Southern California Chapter of ASLA for the impressive body of work she has created with a two-decade-long commitment to environmentally appropriate landscape design, habitat restoration, and the use of native plants. Van Atta’s award-winning designs pay careful attention to form and detail, but her work transcends mere aesthetic improvements. Instead, she strives to “make places better” by regenerating the land, engaging the public in site understanding and stewardship, and promoting health for both people and the environment. Van Atta earned her bachelor of arts in environmental studies in 1977 from the University of California–Santa Barbara and her bachelor of science in landscape architecture in 1983 from California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo.

Members of the ASLA Council of Fellows are recognized for their extraordinary work, leadership, knowledge, and service to the profession over a sustained period of time. They may use the suffix "FASLA" after their names, denoting recognition of their achievements by their peers.

Photo of Tammara Norman standing by a recently planted tree

Tammara Norman (1992) received a certificate of appreciation from Petaluma’s Parks and Recreation Committee for work in organizing the "150 Trees for 150 Years: Celebrating Petaluma’s Sesquicentennial" program. The tree planting project made it possible to plant 150 trees in Petaluma. The idea for the project began in 2007 and brought over $50,000 back into the local economy. Photo by Nina Zhito.




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