THE ECOSYSTEM DESIGN GROUP team is experienced in both environmental consulting and scientific research. To further our commitment to sustainable design practice, the team also conducts professional workshops and teaches graduate classes at The University of Texas at Austin.
Mark Simmons, Director of Ecosystem Design Group
The director has worked on a wide variety of land restoration and conservation projects, solving environmental problems in urban and rural landscapes in North America and Southern Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in rangeland ecology from Texas A&M University, a master’s of science in botany from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Lancaster, U.K.
Emily Manderson, Consulting Program Manager
The senior environmental designer’s work focuses on sustainable landscape development and conservation design, implementing low impact development and increasing natural systems in the built environment. She holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from UT-Austin, a master’s degree in physical geography from Texas State University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Skidmore College.
John Hart Asher, Environmental Designer
Environmental designer and project manager Asher’s expertise includes sustainable roadside design, sustainable water quality and detention practices, soil restoration and composting techniques, invasive species removal and native plant selection. He has a master’s degree in landscape architecture from UT-Austin and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Mississippi.
Matthew D. O’Toole, Environmental Designer
Environmental designer and project manager O’Toole’s specialties include master planning and facilitation, site analysis, soil health amelioration, invasive species management, land management and restoration. He holds master’s degrees in landscape architecture from Texas A&M University and range and wildlife management from Sul Ross State University as well as a bachelor’s degree in geography from UT-Austin.
Michelle Bertelsen, Designer
Ecologist Bertelsen’s expertise is in ecological research. She works on site analysis, ecological and land management, water resource protection and landscape restoration. She has a master’s degree in recreation, parks and tourism from Texas A&M and a bachelor’s degree in ecology, evolution and conservation biology from UT-Austin.
Julia Raish, Environmental Designer
Environmental designer Raish has experience in green infrastructure research, sustainable design and implementation, master planning and facilitation, site analysis and sustainable roadside design. She holds dual master’s degrees in sustainable design and community and regional planning from UT-Austin and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and Spanish from Trinity College.