Meredith has been working at Total Habitat since 2019. Meredith is from Overland Park, Kansas and currently lives in De Soto, Kansas. Her favorite thing about working for Total Habitat is the variety of work. "We are always learning something new, or ways to improve upon something. Everyone is expected to be able to complete any task that we might encounter so it is never boring or routine, and we're learning from each other in the process." When asked what her favorite tool was, she said the oxy acetylene torch or a really perfect black pen.
Outside of work Meredith loves everything to do with the outdoors. She loves going on hikes with her dog Anakin. In particular she loves looking at insects, flowers and rocks when hiking and has an extensive personal rock collection. She also enjoys swimming (in chlorine free water of course!) and reading in her spare time. Meredith said she loves the opportunity to travel with the company because she gets a chance to explore and hike in different climates and environments across the country.
Waylon has worked at Total Habitat since May of 2018. He is from Concordia, Kansas and has recently moved to Topeka, KS. When asked what his favorite tool he said the Omni Driver. His favorite project so far has been the Natural Swimming Pool in Tonganoxie in which they built up the rock walls in a spiral shape inspired from the nautilus shell.
Outside of work Waylon enjoys spending time with his with his children. When weather permits he likes to ride his motorcycle and do customization work on it. You can see the work he has done on his motorcycle below as well and showcasing his love for the Grateful Dead. He was thrilled to get to visit some famous Grateful Dead landmarks in San Francisco in the summer of 2019. If you ever get the chance to meet Waylon make sure to ask him about it, he is an exceptional story teller.
Logan has been working with Total Habitat since May of 2018. He is from, and currently lives in Lawrence, Kansas. His favorite thing about Total Habitat is the people. "It sounds cheesy, I know, but truthfully, I am extremely grateful to get to work with these individuals. They bring a variety of knowledge and background to the table and make working at Total Habitat far more than just a job."
Logan's favorite project so far has been the Natural Swimming Pool we built in Tonganoxie, which was built in a spiral shape inspired by the shell of a nautilus. Logan's favorite tool is the human brain, which is no surprise because one of his favorite subjects to study is Psychology.
If you get the opportunity to meet Logan you’ll know that he likes to take in the world around him. He enjoys observing the nature wherever he travels, insects & animals in particular. On a recent job near Seattle he enjoyed scooping a jar from the local lake making a temporary aquarium to identify and observe the lake organisms. This goes hand-in-hand with his talent for photography which you can see in the pictures he took of our NSPs below. Logan has an interest in Psychology which he studies extensively in his free time. His focused interest is in Personality Psychology and learning about interpersonal relationships and communication.
The long awaited opening of The Kay McFarland Japanese Water Garden at the Topeka Zoo has arrived! The official opening ceremony was held on August 27th, 2020. What was once a parking lot and an empty field is now a gorgeous space dedicated to former Chief Justice Kay McFarland's and her dream of a renowned Japanese garden in Topeka, Kansas.
We were honored to be part of this massive project by building all of the water features in the garden. We also provided water plants (along with Water's Edge & the Water Garden Society) and with the help of amazing volunteers installed all the water plants within the garden. Many of the plants you will see in the garden today were transplanted from Kay's personal garden, as another way for her memory to live on within the Japanese Garden.
*Read more about the specifics of this project in our previous post here
The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony featured performances by the Japanese drum group Three Trails Taiko. Speeches were made by the project leaders involved as well as Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, and guest from the Japanese Consulate in Chicago General Kenichi Okada. General Okada stated about Kay McFarland, "She wanted to have a place of beauty, serenity, and peace for the people of Topeka, and now her vision has been completed."
Many of the speakers and attendees spoke of the pride and joy they felt in now having a piece of art in the Kansas state capital. Patrons from all over will come to visit and share in its beauty as they walk the through the different paths of the garden.
Speakers: Brendan Wiley: Zoo Director, Michelle De La Isla: Topeka Mayor, Koji Morimoto: Lead Japanese Garden Design Expert, General Kenichi Okada: Chicago Japanese Consulate, Pat Colley: FOTZ director, Elaine Schwartz: Trustee
*Watch full Three Trails Taiko Japanese Drum performances here, or visit their Facebook page for more information
"Once in a lifetime do you get the change to build something that is this meaningful, and this important to present and future generations. We are honored and delighted to have played such an important part in this fabulous creation. Enjoy the Garden!" - Mick Hilleary, Total Habitat CEO
Follow our Instagram and Facebook as we share more pictures of this beautiful garden as it changes with the seasons.
Evan has been working with Total Habitat since 2014. He is from Pittsburg Kansas but has lived mainly in Lawrence, Kansas since 2000. Evan enjoys working at Total Habitat because of the variety of the workload, the fact that he is always learning something new or improving a skill. He also mentioned he loves working with his fellow “caring and supportive” crew members. His favorite tools are the Quickie Saw & Jackhammer, he is also one of our very skilled machine operators and loves using the Excavator on a job site. His favorite project so far has been a Natural Swimming Pool in New York. This particular pool had a huge jumping rock that had to be tested by numerous dives and cannonballs by the Total Habitat crew, for safety reasons of course.
Outside of work Evan loves spending time with his family & their dog Kaizer. Evan & his partner share a love for old homes and live in their own turn-of-the century house that they are renovating. He also enjoys singing & song writing, photography and is an avid rock climber.
JoAnna Writt (Nickname Jo) has been working with Total Habitat since 2016. She is from and currently lives in Lawrence, Kansas. Jo’s favorite thing about being at Total Habitat is the creative and driven people she gets to work with. Jo said, “Everyone is wonderful and quirky in their own special way, and we all care about each other and the work that we are doing”. Jo loves the fact that she gets to work outdoors on projects that are always unique and challenging.
JoAnna has been bitten by the wanderlust bug. If you ever get to know Jo, you’ll notice she doesn’t stop moving for very long. Anytime we go out of town for a project you can bet that Joanna will be out on foot, wandering through which ever new city or landscape she happens to find herself in.
Some of Jo’s hobbies include playing games (board games, table top, puzzles), drawing, and reading. Her favorite genres to explore are sci-fi, fantasy, horror, graphic novels and non-fiction. When asked what her favorite quotes were she exclusively referenced literature. One of them being by Neil Gaiman from The Kindly Ones, “We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we wouldn’t be ourselves.”
Matt Stallcup has been with Total Habitat since October of 2014. He is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, but has lived in Lawrence, Kansas for 10 years and now lives in De Soto, Kansas. Matt enjoys working at Total Habitat because of the creative freedom and opportunity for interesting problem solving tasks.
When asked what his favorite tool was, he responded with, “whatever tool is right for the job at hand”. Making the most of your time and effort is his ideal way to complete a project. Another phrase you will hear frequently within Total Habitat is, “work smarter, not harder”.
Matt is definitely a motorhead, he loves all kinds of motorsports. He raced go-karts when he was younger and continues to work on cars and motors today. Matt loves bringing his fabrication skills from work into his hobbies. In the past he has built a racing rig with friends for racing simulation games, and he is just starting to do a full rebuild on his old Toyota pickup truck.
When Matt isn’t tinkering or building something he is spending time with his wife and their dog Anakin.
Dale has been working with Mick since 1998 when they met at the Sedgwick Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, and has been working full time with Total Habitat since early 2001. Dale is from and currently lives in Wichita Kansas. His favorite thing about working with Total Habitat is that “looming sense of accomplishment” you get when creating something new for a project. When asked what his favorite tool was he jokingly stated, “Whichever tool that just broke, every time!”.
Dale is extremely creative both at work and outside of it. He created the stamp we use put on some of our larger concrete projects that you can see above. He has made some terrifyingly accurate zombies costumes, and designed numerous t-shirt, patch, and sticker designs. When he isn't designing something new, you can find him spending time with his 5 dachsunds (Jesse, Mira, Juno, Sadie, Rudy) or singing. You can often find Dale singing karaoke in Wichita, and he especially likes when he can find live band karaoke to participate in across the county when traveling with work.
His favorite joke is, "How many psychologists does it take to screw in a light bulb? One, but the light bulb has to want to change."
Sophia (will also respond to Soph or Ace) has been designing with Total Habitat since 2013. She is originally from Wichita, moved to Bonner Springs in her teens, and has now called Lawrence Kansas home for the last decade. Sophia’s favorite work tools are Vectorworks for creating our construction detailed drawings, and Realtime Landscaping Pro to quickly visualize spaces in 3D. What Sophia enjoys most about working with Total Habitat is seeing her two-dimensional drawings coming to life in the world. She said it is extremely rewarding seeing people enjoying their completed project knowing it started out as a simple idea on a piece of paper.
Outside of work Sophia sings and plays in a band named Artful Darling, they play grunge folk music and perform around the Kansas City area. She is a member of the Kansas City Roller Warriors, the roller derby league in Kansas City. She is on the Victory Vixens team and they are Rink of Fire Championship winners as of July 2019!
Katherine (or Kat) has been with Total Habitat as our resident accounts person since the very beginning. As she said, "I remember when it was just a sparkle in my husband's eye". We were lucky enough to snag her as our Office Manager full-time after she retired from teaching in 2016. When asked about her favorite tool she said the old-school adding machine. She said she had a mishap with the memory save option on a paperless method and won't go back, stating comically, "crying at your desk isn't good for office moral!".
Outside of work Katherine enjoys getting together with friends and family, playing music, and painting. She plays guitar and dabbles in several other instruments. Katherine has been performing since she was young when she was in a band with her sister, and still continues to play with her family and friends at the Kit Kat Club in Bonner Springs.
Check back with us each month for tips, new project pics, news, and more, here on our Total Blog!