Zak joined Cameron McCarthy in 2018 as an associate, assisting project leaders with drafting, design, illustrative graphics, and plant research. His horticultural background, construction experience, and extensive knowledge of native Pacific Northwest plants are all assets he brings to the team.
Education & Professional Expertise
Zak earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon in 2017, graduating Summa Cum Laude. He also earned the 2017 ASLA Student Merit Award for his scholastic achievements. As a student, he participated in the Kyoto Study Abroad Program, where he studied traditional Japanese gardens and construction methods, Zen Buddhism, and worked on a multi-disciplinary team on a city planning project in the heart of Kyoto’s market district. An avid gardener and agriculturalist, he volunteered at the Urban Farm program throughout his time at the U of O. His capstone project focused on agriculture and education, where he designed an educational and agro-tourism facility for the Alder Creek Community Forest in Canyonville, Oregon. His design provided a learning kitchen garden, a central lodge for classes and a kitchen for demonstration cooking, and treehouse cabins for forest ecology education and unique lodging opportunities for visitors. His concept of cross-pollinating forest ecology and agriculture was well-received by the board of directors at ACCF, and the project is slated for construction in 2019.
Before his studies at the U of O, he spent 7 years as an organic farmer at Sweetwater Nursery in Creswell, Oregon, raising vegetables, poultry, livestock, herbs, and edible mushrooms for their CSA program. During his tenure at Sweetwater, he also learned the basic construction, gardening and horticulture skills that would lay the foundation for his landscape career.
Zak started his own gardening and landscape design business in 2006, and kept his business going throughout his scholastic endeavors. His team of employees helped carry the workload during the school year, and he returned to major projects during school breaks. In this manner, he was able to continue to work through school, synthesizing and testing skills he learned in the U of O Landscape Architecture program. After graduation, he moved on from his business to pursue his passion for landscape architecture.
Raised in Eugene, Zak grew up with a love for people, music, nature and outdoor adventure. He is the proud parent of a 20-year-old son, who also shares his passion for gardening. An accomplished professional musician of over 20 years, Zak plays guitar, banjo, and electric and upright bass in several local bands–one of which performs and travels internationally. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, helping his family and friends, and working in his home garden.
‘Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.’ – Muhammad Ali