News Release


SmithGroupJJR adds Debra Axelrood and Tony Catchot at Ann Arbor Office

SmithGroupJJR, one of the nation’s largest architecture, engineering and planning firms, has hired Debra Axelrood, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP, EDAC, and Tony Catchot, RLA, ASLA, at its Ann Arbor office.

Debra Axelrood joins SmithGroupJJR as landscape architect after leading her own firm, Debra Axelrood, LLC, specializing in sustainable urban, healthcare and residential environments. With 35 years of experience, she is widely recognized for creating engaging and sensitive environments, including those for the award-winning Munson Medical Center Kid’s Creek, Traverse City, Michigan and Evangelical Homes of Michigan Memory Support Center, Saline, Michigan.

“Deb Axelrood’s expertise, focus on sustainable environments, and evidence-based approach to design brings great value to our team and clients,” said Tom Mroz, Ann Arbor office director, SmithGroupJJR.

Axelrood is a member of American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and active with two of its professional practice networks: Healthcare and Therapeutic Design and Sustainable Design and Development. A graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, she is presently a resident of Ann Arbor.

Tony Catchot rejoins SmithGroupJJR as a principal landscape architect, coming from the University of Michigan, where he was assistant university planner for the past 10 years. A previous 19-year employee of SmithGroupJJR, Catchot was hired by the University of Michigan in 2005 and coordinated with the university’s facility managers, faculty, staff and students relative to ongoing and future planning, design and construction activities. He also played a critical planning and design role on master plan updates for the five University of Michigan Ann Arbor campuses and provided site planning and design support on a variety of the university’s projects, most over $1 million in construction. In his new position at SmithGroupJJR, Catchot will leverage his planning and design leadership skills as he provides optimal function and enduring aesthetic value on projects, ranging from comprehensive master planning to detailed site design development.

Catchot is a leader in SmithGroupJJR’s Campus Practice, which for more than five decades has created master plans for nearly 300 academic institutions. Remarked Campus Practice co-leader Doug Kozma, “The return of Tony Catchot to SmithGroupJJR reinforces the culture and DNA of our firm -- great leadership, strength of character and outstanding talent.”

Catchot holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Louisiana State University and is a long-time resident of Ann Arbor.

About SmithGroupJJR

SmithGroupJJR ( is one of the largest architecture, engineering and planning firms in the U.S. Notable projects completed by the firm’s Ann Arbor office include award-winning landscape architectural design projects such as Miami University M.E.T (Morris, Emerson and Tappan) Quadrangle and Kent State University Risman Plaza and Student Green. A national leader in sustainable design, SmithGroupJJR has 368 LEED professionals and 128 LEED certified projects


For additional information:

Jennifer Miller