Kevin Tyjeski, AICP, CNU, LEED-AP (1959-2013)

APA Florida and the Orlando Metro Section lost a dedicated member in 2013 with the death of Kevin Tyjeski.

Before joining the City of Orlando, Kevin worked in both the public and private sector in Wisconsin and Florida, including Donohue Engineers & Architects in Madison, the City of Ormond Beach, and Universal Studios Florida in project development.

Beginning with the City in 1995 as Chief Planner for the Comprehensive Planning Division, Kevin led the effort which resulted in Orlando being designated a “Certified Community” under the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Certification Program. The City, through Kevin’s deft guidance, has maintained its Certified status to this day.

Kevin became City Planning Manager in 2003, overseeing all major development proposals in Orlando, ensuring that they remained true to the City’s Vision. In this role, Kevin was intimately involved in establishing and enforcing the policies and development guidelines for Orlando’s Baldwin Park, one of the best and most successful new urban developments in Florida, and perhaps the nation. It has been visited and studied as a model for large scale, mixed-use, walkable communities by planning, development and urban design experts from the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Canada. Kevin obliged all requests for tours and freely provided his in-depth analysis to both students and interested design professionals of what worked well, what did not work so well, and what could have been done better. Kevin had been writing a history of the development of Baldwin Park from its early days as the Orlando Naval Training Center, though the base closure and redevelopment process including the last 10 years of implementation.

Kevin was promoted to Deputy Economic Development Director in 2011. Even as Deputy Director, Kevin remained intimately involved in developments that would reshape the City. Because of his perpetually calm demeanor and extensive real-world knowledge of what works and what does not work, he was able to educate citizens, public officials and developers into like-mindedness regarding project principles, strategies and design implementation.

Kevin was passionate about city planning and in particular the new urbanism. In the early 2000s, Kevin, along with several other local planners and designers, began holding monthly discussions regarding creation of a local chapter of the Congress of the New Urbanism (CNU). These meetings led to Florida becoming the first State Chapter of CNU in 2003. The first three State Chapter conferences were held at Rollins College, 2005-2007. The local “Orlando regional section” still meets monthly to learn about local projects and trends in new urbanism. He was a regular attendee and presenter at Florida Chapter and national APA conferences, and he served on our Chapter Legislative Policy committee from 2006 through 2010.

Kevin served on graduate advisory boards for the University of Central Florida, Rollins College and the University of Wisconsin. From 2002 through 2011, Kevin served as an adjunct professor at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, teaching community planning and design, and his efforts helped in the creation of Rollin’s Master of Civic Urbanism program. Upon hearing of Kevin’s passing, Rollins’ Dr. Bruce Stephenson wrote, “Kevin was a great teacher, instilling neophytes with the idealism and skill to envision a world that was safer, more sustainable, and beautiful.”

Kevin graduated from Iowa State University, BS, CRP, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, MS, URP and Rollins College, MBA.

Kevin was a devoted husband to his wife Patricia (“Pat”), also a professional planner with Littlejohn Engineering (Kevin and Pat met in Ormond Beach, where they were both city planners), and father of two beautiful and talented boys, Nico, and Andres.. His family would no doubt admit that his life’s passion was planning and good urban design, often to the chagrin of his sons. Kevin’s family would no doubt admit that his life’s passion was planning and good urban design, often to the chagrin of his sons. Kevin’s family vacations included time for photography of buildings, streets, sidewalks, open space, parks, and “third places” that portrayed examples of good and not so good community planning and design. Kevin truly enjoyed sharing “third place” experiences with friends, family and colleagues.

If Kevin were to impart his key to making communities better it would be: Establish a Vision with sound, community-based guidelines. Stick to the Vision and pay attention to detail. Be careful, but not too careful, because creativity often just happens.