Editorial: 02.16.2021

James Parks Leads Castle’s Civil Design Team

James Parks

A tight budget, fast-track schedule and complicated site are three scenarios where Senior Design Manager James Parks, P.E., does his best work.

It’s those specific project challenges that set up Castle’s civil design-build delivery method to excel.

“With civil design-build, we can mitigate the risk of civil construction, which can be one of the riskiest things on a project,” he says.

Parks works closely with Design Manager Amy Huller, P.E., on assignments that range from expanding a congested urban campus to developing a suburban site. “Amy’s primary focus is on production and getting designs going and plans pulled together,” he says. “I assist with problem solving in developing those designs, communicate with the client and other design professionals, and focus on developing proposals and contracts.”

A couple of recent project highlights for Parks have been collaborations with Foss Swim Schools and Midas Construction on the Residence Inn by Marriott in Clayton. “We had great camaraderie with these clients, and it felt like we were working with true partners, “he says. “Having a good rapport where you can crack jokes makes the collaboration more fun.”

Both Parks and Huller worked in the civil design department of Glasper Professional Services before joining Castle in 2018. “Amy and I have been working together for about seven years and we get along great,” Parks says. “We both know what each of our strengths are, so we’re able to tackle projects efficiently.”

Now they make up the in-house design team that gives Castle a competitive advantage in the St. Louis marketplace.

“Our team can plug in early—during the concept phase or even earlier by helping out with site selection,” he says. “Having those conversations early helps save time and ensures that clients have a well-informed design that meets their budget and other criteria.”

Whether he’s representing Castle to potential clients or potential coworkers, Parks likes to emphasize the company’s unique approach to delivering projects.

“We're focused on creating partnerships with our clients and other team members to deliver the best experience we can,” he says. “I love the people that I work with and I believe in the service we are providing.”

Growing up in the North County area of St. Louis, Parks originally planned to follow in his dad’s footsteps and work for a general contractor. After earning a civil engineering degree from the University of Missouri–Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology), he began working as a civil engineer design consultant with Crafton Tull and Associates, a civil engineering firm based in northwest Arkansas.

His strong civil engineering background serves him well at Castle. “I am constantly doing different things—preparing estimates, writing proposals and contracts, reviewing plans, problem-solving,” he says. “The more complex the project, the more rewarding I feel it is.”

Parks lives in St. Charles County and enjoys fishing, camping and vacationing in Destin, Florida. “My wife and I just bought a travel trailer this past fall, and we're planning on putting some miles on that this year,” he says.


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