D|F Benchmark Series – Danielle Valdes
Danielle Valdés – Land Planner
Davis & Floyd (D|F) was built on passionate professionals who enhance the world around us. D|F Benchmarks aims to highlight incredible team members who embody our purpose and values.
Meet Danielle Valdés! Danielle is a Land Planner in our Planscape Department. She holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia, with a focus on using native coastal plantings and addressing societal issues related to rising sea levels and frequent superstorms. She also has a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from the University of Hartford.
Danielle recently gave us a sneak peek at her life in and outside the office.
- What’s your favorite part of working at our company?
The people. The feeling of having a “family” when I’m not from the area. Also, I appreciate the support landscape architects get. We can go after the kind of work that interests us the most.
- What do you like most about the work we do here?
I like that you get to work on different projects from all the different market sectors such as transportation and civil site.
- What are you most proud of in your career so far?
My plant sections for the Folly Beach projects our team has worked on. I also was proud of the Royle Road overpass opening.
- How would you describe our company’s culture?
It’s fun, especially when you get to learn what everyone’s working on.
- What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on here?
Either Palmetto Commerce Interchange or Glenn McConnell Parkway Widening. My renderings for these projects were featured on Live 5 News and my old roommate who worked there specifically mentioned me!
- How long have you been with the company?
It’ll be 5 years in June 2023.
- What do you think makes our team culture unique?
Everyone’s ability to remember things that matter in your life – whether it’s “your fiancé bought a nice backpack” or “what theme will we be doing for your birthday this year?”
- What are your goals for the next few months/years?
My goal is to get my license after taking the four landscape architecture exams!
- What’s one thing that you wish people knew about your job?
It’s more than just coloring and plant selection. It’s creative, but scientific at the same time. Thousands of plants can alleviate storm surges when combined with the proper drainage techniques from hydrology and hydraulics. I’m specifically interested in resiliency and helping coastal communities prepare for sea level rise and more frequent storm surges/king tides that are predicted by NOAA.
- What’s one thing that surprised you about your current role?
There’s a lot of reading for zoning ordinances and required conditions for any developments.
- What’s one thing people don’t know about you that they would be surprised to find out?
I’m Korean and Cuban with a dash of German. And on a darker note… I was hit by a car once.
- What’s one thing on your bucket list?
I want to go to the countryside of Germany and see some of the castles on the Rhine River.
- If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you pick and why?
It’s hard to pick one person, so here are three:
First, Frank Gehry. The world-famous architect of the Guggenheim, Louis Vuitton, the Dancing house. His “drawing skills” are the inspiration for one of my tattoos.
Second, Gaudi. He is one of the most incredible architects ever (La Sagrada Familia, which I saw in Spain and cried during the tour, LOL).
And third, Leonardo di Vinci. His architecture and sketches are wildly unknown, but incredible. He had a great ability to produce visionary designs and objects.
- What would you eat if you had to eat only one meal every day for the rest of your life?
Tacos – any kind, any place.
- What was your first concert?
I saw Eric Clapton in 2004.
- Any other interesting facts you would like to include?
My dog, who is named after a line in a Wu-tang Clan song, is part husky and will often talk back if he’s told no and will throw temper tantrums.
Patrick and I plan to retire on a sheep farm in Ireland.