Meet the Civitots: Jessica Doig
Who or what brought you to Civitas? Why did you choose to work here?
I grew up in Golden, Colorado and earned my degree at Colorado State University. After graduation I moved to Portland, Oregon for a short period, but ultimately decided to move back home because I missed the Colorado sunshine. My joining Civitas is actually a funny story that I owe to my parents. My parents attend a local yoga studio in Golden, and my mom was telling her friends in the class that I was moving back home (as mothers do) and briefly mentioned that I was looking for a job. As it turns out, one of the other yoga members is a close friend of Craig Vickers, a principal at Civitas, and she helped make an introduction. I met Craig, and two other principals, Scott Jordan and Chris Parezo, for an interview, and I realized while we were meeting that I had previously met Scott at an ASLA honors awards while I was in school where he was a judge. Lucky for me, he remembered meeting me years before and we instantly connected! My journey has come full circle, and this May will mark six years of me working at Civitas.
How would you describe your personal approach to design?
I like to come in and approach a project by way of storytelling. Our projects revolve around the land, people and communities, and I find you can often tell a story by pulling from those aspects. My background is fine arts and graphic design, so I have an extremely visual approach and enjoy creating visual poetry to create an overall essence of a project. Oftentimes with public work, the story of the project comes from the community and it unveils a deep history of a place. I love to take these aspects of a project and make a visual rendering that catches the overview vibe/vision of the project. I have made over 800 of these visual displays during my time with Civitas and it is one of my favorite parts of my job.
What experiences (or people, or places) have had the most influence on you and/or your design approach?
The people at Civitas have definitely had a major influence on how I’ve grown and have taught me to look at things from a different perspective. Every project teaches you to be more open minded and think outside of the box. Outside of work, Jane Choi was one of my professors at Colorado State University and she was the first person to make a lasting impression on me in regards to landscape architecture. She put the idea in my head that the purpose of this job is to get people to pause and be present in the spaces we create. She showed us a documentary on Maya Lynn, who is most famously known for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Learning about her and her work was a major lightbulb moment for me as her process and approach to landscape architecture illustrated just how artistic this field could be.
What is your proudest accomplishment so far, either at work or in life in general?
I’m really proud of my current project that I’m managing, the Jones Center. Our early master planning process was really amazing in terms of learning about the people we were designing for. I feel a strong sense of connection and purpose with this project. We are creating a meaningful and impactful place for the local community and it is very special to see it unfold. The project came about during the peak of COVID, and it really pushed us to think creatively when connecting with the community in order to learn more about their culture and history. I quickly learned that this entire close knit community in Arkansas felt unseen, even though they make up the majority of the population. I was excited to create something just for them as the idea of helping this community feel heard and seen was very revitalizing. I love what has come out of that project, and the local townspeople love and appreciate it just as much which is extremely rewarding. I am eager to move forward on it and continue to make it a place for the local community. We are starting CD (construction documents) in early April of this year.
What accomplishments do you hope or aspire to reach in the future?
My biggest hope for myself is that I can always be artistic in whatever work I do. I want to always be on the creative side of this industry, whether it’s a creative lead role or a content creator, and I hope to never let go of that part of me. As far as a long term plan, I want to get to a point where I have the skills and knowledge to handle any type of project we take on.
What are your favorite types of design projects to work on, or design challenges to solve?
I really don’t have a strong preference on one type of project versus another – I like all the different types of environments we get to work on: water, plaza, park, etc. I really enjoy projects with great clients that are aiming to produce something to give back to the environment and are community driven. I really love any project that is community centric.
What do you do outside of work to have fun, or relax, or learn, or volunteer?
My family, friends and I are all really active and love to take advantage of the good weather in Colorado, whether it’s by hiking, skiing, or walking. I love to walk my cocker spaniel around and explore. I am an avid paddle boarder and I try to get on the water as often as I can either in a lake home or on a vacation to visit relatives.
What are you reading or listening to these days?
I love to read and I’m currently reading Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. I recently finished Recursion by Blake Crouch and also Near the Bone by Christina Henry. Near the Bone is a horror book which I was hesitant to read because I don’t enjoy horror movies, but I surprised myself and really enjoyed the story.
What is your favorite food to eat, or recipe to cook?
Anything freshly home cooked that’s not too spicy. I love southern food and have recently been trying different meals from Minnesota like wild rice.
Describe one item that you never leave home without.
Chapstick and sunscreen are always a must!
1200 Bannock St.,
Denver, CO 80204
Civitas is always looking for talented individuals to join our creative team. If you (or someone you know) is seeking a meaningful career in landscape architecture and urban planning, feel free send your resume to email@example.com. We hope to hear from you!