Kevin Burke is a man of a high pedigree. With a long-list of experience as a landscape architect, I was not surprised that he is the overseer of the Atlanta Beltline’s construction. However, it is his long-list of diverse experiences that raises questions about the evolution of his career. As he stated, he graduated university at the end of the oil recession, when business was booming. After working at his first job, he started his own group because he thought he could do his former firm’s work, but better. Unfortunately, economic disruptions caused him to close down his firm. Further down his career path, he seemed to be in and out of firms rather rapidly. Whatever the reasoning for his short-term appointments were, one thing that stuck with me about his was his intrepid personality.
His knowledge and abilities as a leader were demonstrated as he discussed the process of the Beltline’s construction. With a goal of 30 miles of streetcar transit and 46 miles of improved streetscapes, overseeing the design process from the client’s side demands a skill that not all designers possess. Although he does not operate too much under the design side, he is very skilled at seeing the overall day-to-day design operations of such a massive project. I’m glad we had the opportunity to sit down have a conversation with Burke. Although I do not have an immediate desire to be a project manager of such large-scale, it is encouraging to see the various career paths that landscape architects can explore down the road.