Employee Spotlight – Ann Sever, Senior Landscape Architect April 20th, 2018

My name is Ann Sever. I was born in Virginia, the middle of three children. My father was an up and coming astronomer, so we moved a lot in my early years to follow his pursuit of a PHD (Virginia, Chicago, and Wisconsin). My first memories come from Elkhorn Wisconsin where we lived close to the Observatory. I remember seeing the telescope dome peeking out over the trees and thinking, “how can we be so far from the Capitol and yet I can see the Capitol Building?” Once my father graduated with his doctorate we moved to a small community on top of a mountain in California. It was Lick Observatory. This was (in my opinion) the best place to be a kid. I went to a one room school house (kindergarten to eighth grade), roamed the fire roads and trails criss crossing the top of the mountain, listened to the wind in the pine trees, sold mud pies to tourists, looked down on top of the foggy clouds in the San Jose area, and played in the winter snow. In the middle of my third-grade year my family moved from our tight-knit little community to the bustling city of Santa Cruz. I went from a class of three third-graders to a class of 30 children. That was quite an adjustment to make. Fortunately, there was a sweet redhead girl who lived just down the street and we quickly became tight friends. It’s a friendship that has lasted through the years to this very day. Another advantage to our new home was that it was located adjacent to a large natural open space park with trials, golf course, ponds, creeks and tree swings. In my junior high years, I became the owner of a horse. My horse and I rode all over the wild-lands.

My first career choice after high school was Veterinary Technician. I worked in the field for over five years enjoying my time working with animals. Unfortunately, that career doesn’t pay much, and gets very repetitive. To help choose a new career, I took a job interest test and it pointed to Landscape Architecture. Instantly, I knew that was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I applied to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Graduated in 1991. That year was a small recession, making job hunting quite a challenge. I looked far and wide and found a position in a firm that specializes in habitat restoration in Sacramento California. It was in Sacramento that I met my husband and had two children. In 1999 an opportunity to live and work in San Luis Obispo came up and we jumped at it. Having been a coastal gal most of my life, I just love living and working in such close proximity to the ocean and the beach.

  1. Wallace Group:
    1. I came to Wallace Group in September of 2006. I had been at several firms before WG but none compared to the sense of family and dedication to quality work like Wallace Group. This is a good group of people who care about their community and their work. We also like to have fun (during and after work).
    2. My personal passions in Landscape Architecture are projects that include: parks and recreation, trails, restoration, and Low-Impact Development (LID). Of course, having outstanding relationships with my clients and co-workers goes a long way to making my job something I enjoy and look forward to each day.
    3. As an addition to my work at Wallace Group, I am part of the Fun Committee – planning and facilitating employee events outside of work. Some of the events I have facilitated are: Zip Lining, PCPA Theater events, pot luck lunches, and hikes to name only a few.
  2. Outside WG:
    1. The main charities that I am involved in are: the American Cancer Society (giving back because of all they have done for me); The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County (Specifically I am a docent at the Pismo Preserve and lead hikes about once a month); Special Olympics (supporting friends); and High School Running scholarships (supporting friends and family).
    2. A group I got involved in by winning a year membership is the Five Cities Orchid Society. I never thought about joining before but now I am hooked and have over 30 orchids of at least 7 different species. I even purchased a green house last year to help house my growing collection.
    3. I am also involved in my local church which I consider my extended family. Singing in my church’s choir is an activity that I have participated in for over 12 years.
    4. I also volunteer as the High School Cross-Country Coach for Coastal Christian School.
  3. Family:
    1. I am the middle child of three. I have an older sister and a younger brother. My birthplace was Charlottesville Virginia. We lived in several East Coast and Mid-West towns before arriving in California when I was 4 years old. My first three years of public school were in a one room schoolhouse on the top of Mount Hamilton (above San Jose). I remember snowy winters and summers spent roaming over the vast mountain tops that we called home.
    2. My first college career was a two-year degree in Veterinary Nursing that I worked in for 5 years. Low pay and repetitive work drove me to look for another career.
    3. I went to back college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 1988 – 1991 and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Landscape Architecture. This career is perfect for me.
    4. Currently I am married and have two sons. Both sons are in college – One in Phoenix Arizona (Grand Canyon University) and one at UC Riverside. My husband is retired and enjoying it!
  4. Favorite pastimes:

    1. Hiking
    2. Gardening
    3. Travel – I have been to the Great Wall of China, Machu Pichu, the bottom of the Grand Canyon, traveled through the Panama Canal, bartered (successfully) for a carpet from the Blue Nomads in the Moroccan Desert, went snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, ascended the Eifel Tower, went punting on the Cam in England, and cross-county skiing in the Alps, to name a few.
  5. Favorite movie
    The God’s Must be Crazy
  6. Favorite food
    Chocolate – is there any other food worthy of being a favorite?
  7. Describe your dream vacation
    It must involve travel. Cruise ships are great or spending a couple weeks in one place discovering all its treasures that are off the beaten path is also wonderful.
  8. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
    Riding my horse through the forests around my home in Santa Cruz.
  9. What’s your secret ability?
    Secret dis-ability – I can’t roll r’s. This makes speaking Spanish very difficult. Or, Ability – I can milk a goat and make cheese.
  10. What is the furthest away from SLO you’ve been? Sydney, Australia
Anne Sever, Landscape Architect at Wallace Group