Steve Lauzun, Landscape Architect & President
A graduate of Michigan State University with dual degrees in Park Planning & Design and Landscape Horticulture, Steve began his career as a park and playground designer with the city of Orlando, Florida.
In 1988, he relocated to upstate New York to take a position with Leathers & Associates, an architecture firm internationally known for its wooden community-built play areas. As technical director and landscape architect, Steve was responsible for compliance with CPSC and ASTM safety standards and with regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991. During his tenure at Leathers, he worked with over 100 communities throughout the country on designing, organizing and constructing their play environments.
In 1995, Steve left Leathers & Associates to consult with the product-development team at Landscape Structures, Inc. (LSI). In 1996, Steve founded Parkitects and became the upstate New York designer and distributor for LSI. With an emphasis on whole-site design that integrates structure and landscape, Steve now works closely with local communities on play-area projects.
As a parent of a child with a disability, Steve also specializes in creating play areas for children with special needs.
Diane Armstrong Lauzun, Designer & Vice President
Diane is co-owner of Parkitects along with her husband Steve. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Design & Environmental Analysis. Diane began her career with traditional architecture firms where she specialized in computer modeling and rendering. She has removed herself from Parkitects on a full-time basis to pursue a career in writing.
Karen “KJ” Armstrong, Recreation Project Manager & CPSI
Karen graduated from SUNY Cortland with a BA in Sociology and a concentration in Gerontology.
By nature KJ is a great storyteller, and a very animated woman with a knack for working with people.
She worked as a social worker for several years before joining Parkitects in 2004, where she began as Inside Sales & Client Services. She also managed the office until the beginning of 2007 when she began working as the Recreation Project Manager.
KJ works with municipalities in Central and Eastern New York from initial concept designs to volunteer/supervised installs and everything in between.
As a new homeowner, KJ takes on many of her own projects, and enlists help from friends/family to avoid electrocution and dismemberment. In her spare time she has taken up many hobbies including: gardening, jewelry making, any other craft she can get her hands on, and now adds Chair Caning to her repertoire. She also loves spending time with her nieces, who like Auntie's craftiness, and nephew, who enjoys just having quality time with his Aunt.
Ben Frasier, Western Region Project Manager
Armed with a degree in mathematics from SUNY Brockport, Ben joined AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps, where he worked on a variety of projects and was the training coordinator for his region. With NCCC he rehabilitated public housing units, worked to preserve trails, streams and beaches, tutored in inner-city schools, created recreation programs and even fought a forest fire in Idaho!
Ben next went to work for KaBOOM!, a national not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission is to unite major corporations with inner city and other low-income communities to sponsor playground projects.
In 1999, Ben returned home to upstate New York to become the Western Region Project Manager for Parkitects. He works with communities in the Rochester, Buffalo and Jamestown areas from initial design to volunteer installation and anything in between.
Erin Eastman, Inside Sales and Marketing
Erin is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Management with a BS in business administration and a concentration in marketing. She enjoys the creative side of marketing, and joined Parkitects in 2007 to handle promotions and fill the Inside Sales role. Prior to joining the Parkitects team, Erin was responsible for the promotion and coordination of events at the local mall, and she assisted with the user group conference of a local software company.
A native of Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region, Erin enjoys snowmobiling, boating, and going for motorcycle rides. She is also the proud aunt of three playground testers.
Bill Johnson, Certified Playground Safety Inspector
Bill comes from a construction background and retired from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as a Recreation Supervisor. He has been a Certified Playground Safety Inspector for over 10 years.
Upon joining Parkitects in 2007, he began traveling throughout the state inspecting playgrounds for Parkitects' clients. He also speaks to Early Childhood Education classes at Cobleskill College.
Bill and his family reside in Cobleskill, where he has been a volunteer fire fighter for 37 years.
Brian Bethke, Designer and Construction Coordinator
Brian brings to Parkitects an extensive background in AutoCAD and construction. He enjoys his spot in the Parkitects family as the playground designer and construction coordinator. In 2007 he and his wife Lori moved to the area from Rockford, Illinois. Before moving, Brian worked at Benson Stone Company where he did installs, worked with CAD, and did other miscellaneous jobs.
Since moving to the east coast, Brian has really taken a liking to the scenery that upstate New York has to offer. When he’s not working, you can find Brian outdoors or working on one of his many projects around the house.
Matt Kinast, Business Manager
Matt is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a BS in Business. After relocating to Upstate NY in 2000, he worked for a continuing medical education company in Ithaca for 9 years, working his way up to Controller. Matt joined the Parkitects team in 2009.
Away from the office, he can usually be found running around with his 2 young daughters. When the little ones aren’t keeping him busy, he is usually involved in some type of house project or trying to relax with his wife, Liz, while watching a good football or baseball game.
A native of Pittsburgh, Matt has a passion for Steelers football that usually requires him to watch the games by himself, for everyone’s safety.
Lynn Mason, Landscape Architect
Lynn, a registered Landscape Architect, has a Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Buffalo and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona.
Her main focus of work since 2004 has been on the Buffalo Public School reconstruction phases and outdoor learning and play environments for children. In 2007 she played a key part in convincing the Buffalo Public School District that all elementary schools should have playgrounds. She has worked closely with Ben since then in developing playgrounds to fit the schools’ needs and often tight site constraints.
While Lynn had developed a working relationship with Parkitects through her employment at a small Landscape Architecture firm in the Buffalo area, she joined the staff at Parkitects at the end of 2010. She is thrilled to be able to continue her work and passion for playground design and natural play environments with Ben in the Parkitects West office where she serves as the Landscape Architect.
If you happen to see Lynn in late July or early August and she has scratches on her arms and legs, she did not get in a fight with her cats, but was rather out picking wild blackberries on her property where she lives with her husband, daughter, and son.
Kirsten Richardson, Production Coordinator
Kirsten joined the Parkitects team as Production Coordinator in early 2011. An upstate NY native, Kirsten recently returned to the area after spending four years in San Diego, where she worked in customer service and sales management. Upon her return, she was the project and department coordinator for a local solar company. She loves the challenge of finding new and innovative solutions and streamlining operations.
In her free time, Kirsten plays for the Ithaca Bluestockings, a local roller derby team, and enjoys traveling. She also loves animals, especially her dogs Pedro and Sprocket, who hope to accompany her while she hikes the Adirondack High Peaks.
When she’s not busy knocking girls down on rollerskates or climbing mountains, much of Kirsten’s free time is spent with her family – especially the newest addition - her niece, Gwendolyn.