Caroline Herre, who joined the firm this past July, works as a Land Use Planner in the Arlington office. Prior to joining the Firm, she worked as a summer intern at the District of Columbia Office of Planning. As a summer intern, she worked with the Citywide planning team, researched the financial feasibility of mixed-use and joint-use developments, and helped compile a report on D.C.’s housing supply. Caroline also participated in community outreach efforts and neighborhood transportation studies with a focus on creating access to amenities for all D.C. residents. In addition to D.C., she also interned in her hometown at the City of Norfolk’s Planning Office and, more recently, at the City of Alexandria’s Historic Preservation Department. Caroline graduated from the University of Virginia School of Architecture with a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning. In this month’s Employee Spotlight, we will learn a lot more about Caroline. Read on!
The Land Lawyers: Are you from this area? And if not, where did you grow up?
CH: I grew up in Virginia, but not around here. I’m from Norfolk and I spent a good amount of time on the Eastern Shore of Virginia as well.
TLL: What did you think you wanted to be when you were younger?
CH: Oh it probably changed daily – basketball player, teacher, veterinarian, photographer. At one point I think I wanted to be a doctor until I watched my dad in surgery (he’s a cardiologist) and I passed out. Nothing really stuck until college.
TLL: What interested you about the planning field?
CH: I studied economics for my undergrad degree, but I have always been drawn to public service and environmental advocacy. I worked closely with the architecture school’s chair of the urban planning department in UVA’s community garden, and he encouraged me to take classes in planning. When I got to the architecture school, I loved being surrounded by such a mess of creativity and I got interested in projects that combined my econ background and graphic design – like geographic information systems mapping.
TLL: What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
CH: I’ve only been here for about two months, but I’ve loved it when I get to use the graphic design skills from grad school by helping translate technical drawings and zoning ordinances into something that clients and citizens can understand and respond to.
TLL: Are you involved with any organizations?
CH: Around here, nothing yet, but I plan on getting back involved in local planning efforts in D.C. (I live in Columbia Heights).
TLL: Aside from a very busy schedule, what do you do for fun?
CH: I love playing pickup basketball at the courts in my neighborhood, riding my bike around the city (I also commute to work on my bike!), and hiking. My housemates are a pretty nerdy bunch, so we play a lot of board games and are starting a book club!
TLL: Where’s the best place you’ve traveled to, and why?
CH: I spent a summer in Chile studying Spanish and the health care system, so I got to travel around quite a bit in the region and worked in a vineyard. By far my favorite was the Atacama Desert — the driest spot on earth — and the sand hills there. People get pretty crafty when it hasn’t rained for a century, so I got to try sand boarding (like snowboarding but in sand).
TLL: What part of the world would you most like to visit?
CH: There are so many places I haven’t been — but I’ve always wanted to go to the national parks out west.
TLL: Words to live by: What are yours?
CH: I don’t think I’ve been asked this before, so I’m not sure! Two things, though: I try never to take myself too seriously, and I always make time to have coffee (or tea!) with friends new and old.
TLL: Why do you think Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh is a great place to work?
CH: From the very beginning, everyone here has been invested in helping me learn the ropes, which made the transition to this job so easy. I work on something different and interesting every day with some incredible people. Definitely a great place to work.
TLL: Thank you, Caroline!