Audrey McLaughlin dhm design | Senior Designer | explorer

Audrey McLaughlin, a Senior Designer in DHM's Carbondale studio, is not your average coworker. Outside the workweek, that's where her identity lies - exploring the vast and great outdoors every chance she gets. Stand up paddle boarding, rafting, mountain biking, and motorcycle rides are just a few of the things that feed her adventurous spirit and round out her professional passion to celebrate and protect the natural world.

Audrey's journey of exploring and working with the land has taken her all over the West. Washington, Oregon, and Colorado are places she has called home.

She spent most of her childhood living on a Christmas tree farm, while her parents flipped houses for a living. She helped manage their property and visited job sites with her dad - hammering nails, laying out tiles, and excavating foundations. Hands-on, dirty work pulled her into the landscape architecture world and inspired her degree at the University of Oregon.

Audrey's heart lies in land management. She's been managing a large ranch development project in Telluride, Colorado, which has tested her time management and contractor coordination skills.

"Working closely with multiple contractors, on three different projects, all at a location four hours from home, forces me to be really organized and prepared for each day."
A good relationship between designers and contractors leads to better results.

Being around excavators and contractors all her life, Audrey feels very comfortable on a job site. Her advice to novice construction administrators is to utilize the contractor as a resource - find a balance of being confident yet open to learning from the people around you. That will help you gain respect and success - the goal is to follow through for the client.

"It can be scary to get out of your truck on a job site and be the only chick. But I've done it so much, I feel pretty comfortable. Being on site and having a positive communication dynamic with the client and contractor facilitates problem-solving and is critical to the success of each project."
The Telluride property is at 9,000 ft elevation, is extremely exposed, and was hit with particularly extreme summer weather - drought, high winds, heavy snow, and immense amounts of runoff - throughout the duration of the construction season.

Connecting to and understanding the land is instinctual to Audrey, both on and off the job site. Learning how to read and create site plans and maps for a living has given her great skills to navigate topography when planning out a ride or a hike.

Audrey sees and experiences her surroundings at different scales and paces, whether that's analyzing the textures and colors of a plant up close or whizzing down a dirt path on a motorcycle and smelling the fresh mountain air. That's where her authenticity sparks from and ignites those around her.