Christina Hite – Chris to most people – has a passion for the water – both at work and play.
When not at her job as a landscape architect, Hite loves to surf, paddleboard, and get on frozen water, too, to snowboard.
“I kind of like a sliding sport where you’re standing sideways,” she said with a chuckle. “I grew up skiing, but as soon as they came out with snowboards, I ditched my skis.”
Being active really makes a person feel young and youthful, she said, reminiscing about growing up in California and Arizona. That includes things you grew up with that you still do – such as skateboarding, another of Hite’s pastimes.
Water is always part of a plan in a professional project, said Hite, president and chief executive officer of Dix.Hite + Partners in Longwood.
“Everything kind of ties back to the water for me, even in landscape architecture – the health of our Earth centers around the health of our oceans and everything we do.”
To Hite, 54, that just comes naturally. Most of her life has been in, around or about water – from the swim team when she attended Northern Arizona University to her master’s thesis at the University of Florida, which focused on the rice terraces of Bali.
Hite’s career journey began at Northern Arizona, where she studied forestry.
“It wasn’t challenging enough,” Hite said of the forestry study. “My mom encouraged me to come check out the landscape architecture program at University of Georgia and I fell in love with it.”
So off she went to Athens, Georgia.
Following graduation, Hite moved to Orlando for her first landscape architecture position. She ended up at UF for her masters after being asked to be an adjunct teacher there.
In 1996, Hite co-founded Dix.Hite + Partners with Jeff Dix. Hite and the company have focused on sustainable landscape architecture and the “positive influence the practice can have on society.”
“A lot of what we do as landscape architects is to guide a community through projects. We’re the conduit – we’re the channel through which their vision and dreams” stream.
“The community has to be involved. It has to be theirs.”
Hite has been influential in SunRail, Central Florida’s commuter rail project, and recently announced Lake Nona linear park.
She sits on the Deans Advisory Council at both Georgia and Florida, where she serves as a sounding board for both the colleges and student projects.
“How are students coming out of UGA at this moment? Are they well prepared for the world? Are we focusing on the things we should be focusing on?”
She asks the same and offers her professional advice and eye at the University of Florida. But where are her football loyalties when it comes to these two SEC schools?
“When it comes to football, if Georgia is playing Florida, I’m all Dawgs!” said Hite, who manages to get to Georgia’s homecoming game each year. “If Florida is playing anyone else, I cheer for them.”
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