William Packolyk - Landscape Architect

Works at EDA Planning & Urban Design Inc.
Years of experience: 14

Last updated: April, 2022

Career Journey




Career Milestone 1

2012 - 2018

Career Milestone 2

2018 - Present

Career Milestone 3


Future Ambitions

2007-2009 - Northern Alberta Institute of Technology - Honors Diploma in Landscape Architectural Technology
2009-2011 - University of Idaho - Honors Degree in Landscape Architecture

Carlyle + Associates/ Dialog
Junior Landscape Designer

Little Creek Landscaping
Landscape Designer (2012 - 2016)
Senior Manager (2016 -2018)

Sessional Instructor

EDA Planning + Urban Design
Principal Landscape Architect

I would like to earn my MBA, continue and possibly increase my volunteer efforts with the AALA and CLARB.
I would like to deepen my understanding of the ecology of the landscape, living systems, micro and macro economics, sociology and phycology.

Question and Answers

After graduation, what was the first position you had? How did that shape where you are now as a Landscape Architect?

After graduating from the University of Idaho, I was hired by Carlyle and Associates as a Landscape Designer. I worked mostly on working drawings, detailed design, had exposure to presentation graphics and design reports.
This experience placed an emphasis on design excellence, a critical eye for detail, and an uncompromising expectation for professionalism in every aspect of my work.

What is something that surprised you at the start of your career? or What is something that surprises you about being a Landscape Architect?

I think the most amazing thing about landscape architecture is the diversity of the profession as it relates to our scope of practice. I have collogues who work in the oil and gas sector on land reclamation, in the energy industry identifying risks to power lines, golf course architecture, national park planning, city planning, residential design, irrigation, urban design and many other niches within our industry. I find it exhilarating how many potential areas Landscape Architects work in and influence.

What are some of your roles and responsibilities?

As Principal of EDA Planning and Urban Design I am responsible for business development, the management of staff, client and stake holder relations and as we are a boutique firm I am involved in every stage of project procurement through delivery.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day in the office for me involve meetings, a lot of meetings. Between emails, phone calls and meetings I am tied up for 8 or more hours each day. Of course I have proposals to write, designs to develop, projects to oversee, a team to lead, office administration and numerous other duties. Needless to say I am never bored and no two days are ever the same.

What skills do you feel are important to have as a Landscape Architect?

I think the most important skill for a Landscape Architect is critical thinking. I would define critical thinking as the ability to assess a situation, identify gaps, question the situation and find solutions to them.

What are you passionate about as a Landscape Architect?

There is so much within our industry that I am passionate about but what initially drew me to this profession is the idea of legacy. I think it is exciting to know that our projects often improve with age as plant material grows, the communities in which they are built develop a cultural attachment and ultimately leave an intangible mark on society.
Often I will imagine my Grandchildren one day walking through one of my projects and saying that I had something to do with it.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have been a part of.

I have had the opportunity to work a huge range of exciting projects including institutional, commercial, residential and natural areas. A couple of project I will highlight include the Royal Alberta Museum, Walterdale Bridge, Jasper Avenue New Vision, Royal Tyrrell Museum, Rogers Place, Heritage Valley District Park, Northern Lights Cemetery, among a host of others.
What I would highlight as a common thread among these projects is the necessity of understanding the projects holistically. There are so many disciplines that work on a trail project or a site development project. Having an appreciation of other disciplines expertise and at least a basic knowledge is critical to successfully contribute to a project.
I can recall one specific set of stairs at the Royal Alberta Museum which spanned over an LRT tunnel and led directly into the building. The paving pattern mirrored interior finishes, had lighting integrated into wing walls and had planting flanking it. Every time we discussed this specific set of stairs we had Architecture, Civil, Interior, Electrical, Structural, Mechanical and Landscape around the table. As simple as the stairs seemed the impacts to every discipline were very real. I would say that if you did not understand what the potential impacts were, you would not be able to identify which people to bring around the table which would ultimately lead to unsuccessful design.

Describe something that you have found challenging as a AALA?. How did you overcome this?

I find that Landscape Architects typically do not get the respect they deserve based upon their training and their capacity to take on scope. Often I find that we are by default relegated to planting plans and monument signs. I have found that through building trust and relationships with our clients and other consultants I have been able to gain their respect and grow our scope. Often times now I find that my team is directly involved in almost every aspect of every project.

What advice would you give a new Landscape Architect?

Be curious, grow your knowledge. Your journey has only begun once you hold your degree and full membership. A relentless pursuit of knowledge, professional development and design excellence is critical to becoming a successful professional.
Do not be satisfied with the status quo, push yourself and your collogues to continually get better.
Be generous with your time. You did not get here by yourself, and you should provide your insights and knowledge to any who cares to hear it.

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