Upland Design Ltd founding principals Michelle A. Kelly and Heath A. Wright are honored to announce the promotion of Senior Landscape Architects, Maria Blood and Elizabeth Dafoe, to equity partners and principals. Michelle Kelly shares, “2023 is the 25th anniversary of the firm-making this an amazing time to expand the leadership. Liz and Maria and been integral to the growth of the firm, and have built so much of their careers here. We are thrilled to have them take on these larger roles with Heath and I.”

Maria and Liz started with Upland Design at the same time eleven years ago and have grown in their roles through the years as the firm has grown. With offices in both Chicago on Goose Island and in historic downtown Plainfield, the two have helped grow the firm’s work across Illinois as well as Indiana and Michigan.

Maria is instrumental in leading projects with multi-disciplinary teams at Upland. With fourteen years of experience, she has focused on engaging with clients and communities to create wonderful outdoor public spaces. From large community parks to campus sites and public plazas, Maria uses her creativity to successfully guide a project through master planning to a built project. She directs the Plainfield design team. Maria graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture. She is a Registered Landscape Architect in Illinois, a Certified LEED AP BD+C and an NRPA Certified Playground Safety Inspector.

Liz directs the Chicago design team and takes a leadership role creating great landscapes and outdoor spaces for communities. She has a passion for designing public spaces that connect communities to the outdoor environment. Liz is recognized by clients as being an advocate for well-built spaces with layering of activities from play to learning and passive recreation. From  urban plazas and streetscapes to large parks, Liz is committed to engaging communities and creating designs that reflect local needs.  Liz graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and is a Registered Landscape Architect in Illinois and an NRPA Certified Playground Safety Inspector.

As we look to the next 25 years partnering with communities to create public spaces, this expansion of leadership will allow Upland Design to continue our focus and commitment to excellence, great design and quality work.