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Forty Under 40: G.W. Justin Platts

Principal, RDG Planning & Design


What are your goals in your role at your company?
With each effort my primary goal is a meaningful result. My work is fundamentally about making meaningful connections. Through meaningful design we connect people to their community. Space + meaning = Place. Through thoughtful processes and careful listening we build lasting relationships among our people and with clients.

What are your goals for community involvement?
As chair of ULI Iowa my goals have been to add more structure to our all-volunteer organization and to make more people in Iowa aware of ULI and our mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities in Iowa.

What’s your biggest passion, and why?
I’m most enthusiastic about the family and life that my wife, Jessica, and I have created. Professionally, working with people of all backgrounds to know their issues, understand their challenges, and then artfully articulate their preferred future together is extremely gratifying.

What is it that drives you?
My father died when I was 25 from a rare illness that might be hereditary. He was 49. Before he died we spoke of things he wished he had done. Whenever I feel tired or demotivated I remember that I don’t ever want to have that conversation with my children.

What are your future aspirations?
To help others achieve their goals through design. To use my talents and experience in combination with the unique training, talents and experience of others to make meaning. There is great power when people work together toward a common goal. I want to help focus that power where it is needed.

Reasons he’s a Forty:

1.) Justin has assisted municipalities and institutions in Iowa and across the United States from North Carolina to Oregon to Louisiana to achieve their goals of making meaningful places for their communities.
2.) He is engaged in the communities in which lives and works. Whether teaching Girl Scouts the basics of drawing, elementary students the fundamentals of design, or assisting nonprofit organizations to fulfill their missions through the connecting and convening of decision-makers.
3.) He served on the city of Ames Planning and Zoning Commission from 2007 to 2010.
4.) He has served as the chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Iowa District Council since 2016.


See all 2018 honorees

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