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Jim Manskey wins Distinguished Member Award from Texas ASLA

Bill Odle

Please join us in celebrating Jim Manskey and his recent winning of Texas ASLA’s Distinguished Member Award!


The Distinguished Member Award is the highest honor the Chapter can bestow, and is intended to correspond to the Fellow election nationally. It may be presented to a current Member of the Texas Chapter with a minimum of ten years standing with ASLA, who has made outstanding contributions to the profession of landscape architecture and to ASLA in Texas. The nominee must have provided leadership to the profession in one or more of the following ways: through quantity or quality of executed related works; administrative work in a related public agency; in related school instruction; in related speaking and writing; and/or related political or public service. At the discretion of the Executive Committee of the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, one Distinguished Member Award may be awarded annually to a member of the Texas Chapter for outstanding service to the Society and profession in Texas.

Continue reading to learn more about Jim and his contributions to TBG and the profession of landscape architecture.

Since graduating from Texas A&M University four decades ago in 1979, Jim Manskey has embraced the landscape architecture profession as a powerful medium to bring people together, make the world a more memorable place, and help combat the effects of climate change. In recent years he has worked tirelessly to elevate the value and impact of the landscape architecture profession through his involvement with the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), his support of academic institutions educating the profession’s future practitioners, and through his five-year tenure as the second-ever President of TBG Partners.

After graduation, Jim joined the City of Arlington Parks Department before moving on to 3D International and later SWA in 1982. He joined TBG in 1998 to open the firm’s Dallas office and would later be chosen to succeed Earl Broussard as the firm’s second President in 2013. In this role Jim elevated the value of both TBG’s work as well as the profession as a whole by highlighting landscape performance, which provides a tangible means of quantifying the industry’s value in the world of design and development. In order to codify a process that could be integrated into TBG’s everyday practice, he spearheaded development of the firm’s Creative Guidebook, which was created as a solution for establishing design and language consistency across a multi-office, multigenerational firm — from initial pursuit efforts through project evaluation following construction completion. The Creative Guidebook was recognized by Texas ASLA in 2018 with an Honor Award in the communication category. Jim also spearheaded TBG’s Idea Lab program, which began in 2018 and provides select participants with time and financial support for participation in a year-long research project to explore an issue of their choosing — one that might advance both TBG’s practice as well as the future of the profession.

In 2015 Jim was invited to join the LAF Board of Directors, and in that role he has sought to support the profession and glean best practices from other leading practitioners, much of which he has brought back to TBG and Texas to elevate the practice regionally. Jim was instrumental to LAF’s 50 & Forward campaign — its first significant capital campaign in 50 years — which significantly exceeded its goal of raising $3.5 million and greatly enhanced the organization’s efficacy through enhanced research, scholarship, leadership and by helping to fund the Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future at the University of Pennsylvania. The Summit led to the LAF’s New Landscape Declaration, which serves as a call to action for the profession to lead the way in combating complex social and ecological issues of our day, including climate change. He is currently the Chair of the Development Committee, which is integral to sustaining LAF’s viability as a non-profit organization with an impactful mission for the profession.

He has worked diligently in the world of academia to connect professional practitioners with the industry’s next generations and to highlight the importance of landscape performance. He served on Texas A&M University’s Professional Advisory Board for multiple years and was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus by the College of Architecture in 2015. He has established a future endowment there to fund a private practitioner’s professorship on an ongoing basis as well. More recently, he has partnered frequently with the University of Texas at Arlington to study and promote landscape performance. UT Arlington students performed research for two LAF Case Study Investigations (CSI) on TBG projects to quantify landscape performance, and in April 2019 Jim and Barbara Deutsch will be facilitating a workshop on landscape performance at UT Arlington. In addition, Jim was part of a panel including LAF, UT Arlington and a leader from Momark Development at the national ASLA conference in Philadelphia last year that spoke on landscape performance. He also spoke on the subject at the Texas AIA conference last year, and he has provided expert witness testimony on multiple occasions to defend the profession’s role in promoting the health, safety and welfare of the community.

With his five-year tenure as TBG President now concluded, Jim has fully reengaged with design projects and continues to advance his knowledge in creating user-focused, empathetic experiences — particularly in the healthcare realm, which resonates with him strongly from his own experience raising a child with special needs. Simply put, Jim’s dedication to the profession over the past 40 years has elevated him to an eminent status in the world of landscape architecture — and the State of Texas has benefited greatly from his service.