For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Mary Lilja
Lilja Communications for Murphy Warehouse Company

Richard T. Murphy Jr. elected ASLA Fellow by American Society of Landscape Architects

Murphy combines his LA training with nationally recognized green practices at his logistics campuses, plus 25 years of teaching, to receive ASLA’s highest professional honor

Murphy RichardMINNEAPOLIS — (August 6, 2014) — When the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) awarded its prestigious Fellow designation to Richard T. Murphy Jr., it was an out-of-the-box choice. Originally trained as a landscape architect (LA), Murphy went on to become the fourth-generation leader of his family’s logistics business and no longer is a full-time practicing LA professional; he has served as Murphy Warehouse’s president and CEO for 21 years.

Yet the time Murphy would have poured into tending others’ spaces, he has devoted to his own logistics campuses, transforming them into showcases of environmental sustainability. And then he has made a point of sharing what he’s learned with other business owners.

For this reason, Murphy’s recent election to the ASLA Council of Fellows is well deserved, according to Chris Behringer, president of ASLA-MN, the Society’s Minnesota Chapter. Murphy will formally receive the award later this year.

“Richard is an evangelist for environmental sustainability among his business peers,” said Behringer. “Whether tracking ROI on native prairies on a former superfund site, or designing a stormwater management system to preserve water quality and eliminate a hefty stormwater fee, Richard has combined his LA training and design aesthetic with a CEO’s eye to the financial impacts of such investments.

“Though he doesn’t run a landscape architecture firm, or even work in one, Richard is making a big impact – more than most of us – as a business leader advocating sustainability and landscape architecture,” Behringer says.

Murphy earned his undergraduate LA degree from the University of Minnesota and his master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University, and then began teaching and practicing landscape architecture. In 1983, he returned to Minnesota to take up the reigns at his family’s logistics business. Though he continued his love of teaching as an adjunct professor of landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota College of Design for 25 years, his responsibilities were focused on managing his family’s expanding logistics business.

But Murphy would be the first to say that his LA training has helped him be an effective business leader. “Much of what I learned, practiced and taught as a landscape architect I have applied to running my business,” Murphy says. “Design thinking is a current hot topic in business and MBA schools, and this design world of creative problem solving is my heritage. Thinking outside the box (versus in silos) is a natural outgrowth of my design training and practice, and has helped me immensely career-wise.”

Today, Murphy Warehouse Company is one of the Upper Midwest’s largest asset-based logistics companies, and is well known for their implementation of sustainable business measures in an industry with an especially large environmental footprint. From solar powered and LED lit facilities, to stormwater-managed campuses surrounded by native prairies – Murphy is dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint within the logistic industry’s 5 billion square feet under roof (that’s a four-foot-wide walkway to the moon!). Murphy is the first privately held company of its size in Minnesota to publish a fully compliant and registered GRI Corporate Sustainability Report, which they did just this past July, to showcase their sustainability initiatives to a worldwide audience and prove that all companies have the ability to implement environmentally sustainable practices.

ASLA has more than 18,000 members nationwide and nearly 300 in Minnesota. Murphy was one of only 32 professionals to be awarded a fellowship this year; he will be recognized along with the new class of Fellows at the 2014 ASLA Annual Meeting this November in Denver, Colorado.