The Team

The Water Works Park master planning project was a collaboration between Sasaki, RDG, and Applied Ecological Services. The team brought internationally-recognized waterfront design expertise (Sasaki), regional design, planning, and outreach (RDG), and ecology-driven design and restoration (AES).

Frequent collaborators—including the ongoing Des Moines regional sustainability plan called “The Tomorrow Plan”—Sasaki, RDG, and AES share a sustainability ethic, a respect for public engagement, a commitment to the richness and life of urban public parks, and a belief in design as a vehicle for positive social and environmental change.

SASAKI is the prime consultant and lead design firm. Leading the process is Design Principal Gina Ford, whose work is nearly exclusively in the realm of the urban American floodplain, including waterfront parks in Chicago; Washington DC; Detroit; and Columbus, Ohio. Gina has extensive experience throughout the region, having led the Cedar Rapids Flood Recovery Planning and Implementation and the Council Bluffs Riverfront Park.

Managing the effort is civil engineer and Honorary ASLA member, Steve Hamwey. Steve is responsible for managing many of Sasaki’s most significant, complex urban landscapes including the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Port of Los Angeles Waterfront, and the Chicago Riverwalk.

Supporting the design team is Alexis Canter – project manager and landscape architect, Zach Chrisco – civil engineer, Kate Tooke – landscape architect, and Anna Scherling – website manager.

RDG is a multifaceted network of national design and planning professionals. Intentionally diverse in knowledge and experience, RDG is boundless in the pursuit of success for its clients. Leading the charge for RDG is environmental advocate and orchestrator of public process and public improvements most notably as Deputy and Interim Director of the Iowa DNR in Des Moines, Pat Boddy. Pat brings an unmatched depth of understanding of regional ecological, social, and technical issues.

Landscape architects, Scott Crawford and Mike Bell with RDG’s Parks and Recreation Studio. They bring an incredible array of park-related knowledge and a portfolio of regional park spaces.

Public artist of international renown and leader of RDG’s Art Studio, David Dahlquist will provide concept design for the project’s iconic elements as well as input on an overall public art strategy for the park.

Applied Ecological Services (AES). is one of the leading ecological consulting firms in the world. Dedicated to bringing the science of ecology to land-use decisions, AES applies science to provide practical land-use solutions that strike the most favorable balance between cultural needs, cost efficiencies, and ecological sustainability. Their knowledge of ecological systems provides a solid foundation for creating balanced ecological designs and solutions that are sustainable, cost-effective, and enduring.

With nearly thirty years of experience in ecological restoration, land-use planning, and habitat management, ecologist Kim Chapman is leading the AES team. He is supported on this competition by two senior scientists—environmental scientist, Douglas Mensing, and civil engineer, Ed Kallas.