AMES, Iowa — Jen (DeWall) Cross, PLA, ASLA, a landscape architect with HDR in Omaha, Nebraska, is the recipient of a 2023 Design Achievement Award presented by the Iowa State University College of Design.

The award was established to recognize outstanding creative and professional achievements of alumni in all the college’s disciplines, which include architecture, art and design, community and regional planning, graphic design, industrial design, integrated studio arts, integrated visual arts, interdisciplinary design, interior design, landscape architecture, sustainable environments and urban design.

Cross received a bachelor of landscape architecture from Iowa State in 2009. She will be recognized during Homecoming at the ISU Alumni Association’s 92nd Honors and Awards Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. CT, Friday, Nov. 3, at Stephens Auditorium in Ames and streamed live online. A dessert reception will follow. Both the ceremony and reception are free and open to the public.

Cross, originally from Pocahontas and now of Omaha, has spent the past 15 years transforming communities across the country, using collaborative design to regenerate the spirit of spaces by fusing natural systems and the built environment.

As a site design leader since 2020 at globally recognized architecture and engineering firm HDR’s Omaha office, Cross specializes in urban design, streetscape revitalization, parks and recreation, campus planning and healthcare design. She previously was an associate landscape architect with Genus Landscape Architects in Des Moines, a park planner for the City of Omaha and a landscape architect and parks and recreation-focused market leader with RDG Planning and Design.

Cross’s award-winning projects include the Charles E. Lakin Foundation Pier at River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs; Thompson Park in Overland Park, Kansas; and the Integrated Technology Center Courtyard at Western Tech College in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She is leading the development of the Omaha Central Library, set to open in 2026, and the Henry Ford Hospital replacement in Detroit, with construction scheduled to begin in 2024.

Her work has been recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Federal Highway Administration, the American Institute of Architects Central States chapter, the American Society of Landscape Architects Central States and Nebraska/Dakotas chapters and HDR.

Cross is the public relations chair of the ASLA Nebraska/Dakotas Chapter Executive Committee. She served as the 2019-2022 Nebraska/Dakotas chapter president and 2021-2022 ASLA chapter presidents council chair and co-chaired the 2020-2021 ASLA Central States Conference. She previously was a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Architecture’s Professional Advisory Committee and the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards.

Cross is a member of ISU Alumni of Omaha/Council Bluffs and a life member of the ISU Alumni Association, which named her an Iowa STATEment Maker in 2017. She has served as a professional mentor for Iowa State landscape architecture students since 2020.


Jen Cross, HDR,
Saylor Upah, College of Design Events and Alumni Relations,
Lauren Johnson, College of Design Strategic Communications,