The American Architectural Foundation (AAF) is pleased to announce Mary Suhm, as the Senior Fellow of AAF’s Center for Design & the City . Mary served as City Manager of Dallas, Texas from 2005-2013 and guided the city through a transformative time in its urban renaissance. As AAF Senior Fellow, Mary will help to lead the development and implementation of the new City Managers’ Design Academy  as part of AAF’s Civic Design Leadership Initiative .
Mary’s extensive professional portfolio sets an ambitious example for the city managers attending a City Managers’ Design Academy session. During her eight years as city manager, Dallas experienced significant urban redevelopment (particularly in the downtown) and a significant decrease in crime, all while effectively managing a billion dollar budget. Mary played a pivotal role in the development of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge , and several libraries and downtown parks (including Main Street Garden, Belo Garden, and Klyde Warren Park), and she was instrumental in the development of Dallas’ Citydesign Studio . As a committed urbanist and community leader, Mary believes that “good design promotes long-term sustainability, which is critical to the quality of life in any city.”
Prior to her appointment as Dallas City Manager, Mary worked in several other municipal positions including Executive Assistant Director of Dallas Police, Director of Courts, Assistant to the Mayor, and Branch Library Manager for the City. Through all of these experiences, her 35 years of employment with the City of Dallas demonstrates her dedication to her city’s betterment and future.
For her many accomplishments, Mary has received numerous accolades and awards from her peers and the community including Public Administrator of the Year by the American Society for Public Administration and Woman of the Year by the Women’s Council of Dallas County. In addition, she was recognized by the Greater Dallas Planning Council’s Urban Design Gala with the Kessler Award for her role in shaping Dallas’ future and her commitment to urban design.
Of her new position at AAF, Mary shared, “Excellent design experience for city managers will benefit everyone. I am pleased and honored to be a part of the development and activation of this program.” AAF is delighted that she will share her expertise and strategies for success to city managers across the United States who are equally committed to developing strong, resilient, and sustainable cities.