Philip DiMaria, 30
Early on in life Philip DiMaria knew he wanted a career that directly benefited the public. But he took his time figuring it out in college, to make sure he found something he truly enjoyed. “It really hit me midway through college,” he says. “Once I was introduced to urban planning, it all clicked.”
DiMaria got his start working for Manatee County, first as an intern property manager and then eventually making his way to assistant to the county planning official. His current employer, Kimley-Horn & Associates, was a consultant with the county and that’s where he was introduced to the firm. “I’ve never really looked back,” he says, after leaving the county to work for Kimley-Horn about five years ago.
Since then, DiMaria has completed multiple projects he’s really proud of. He says helping plan and manage the Bay Park project in downtown Sarasota is his proudest project, which is now one of his favorite places to visit.
DiMaria has had a number of mentors in his career, calling them professional, understanding, compassionate and empathetic. One mentor who stands out is John Osborne, a former deputy county administrator in Manatee County who now runs his own firm, Green Street Associates. Osborne has helped DiMaria understand how to act, make good decisions and ultimately be a decent person. “He’s spent so much time with me,” DiMaria says, while demonstrating patience and willingness to answer every question.
Like DiMaria, Osborne has worked in both private and public sectors, so he was able to guide DiMaria through the differences and challenges in both.
DiMaria remembers times when he would call Osborne at 9 or 10 at night to talk through an issue, whether it was personal or work, and Osborne was always around.
That mentorship has been especially helpful when DiMaria is put in a tough position. While there’s expected to be some negative responses from time to time in development, DiMaria admits he doesn’t have the solution for everything.
“There are always tough questions,” he says. “(I learned) the confidence to admit not knowing everything very early on in my career. Sometimes I don’t have the answer.”
Even without all the answers, as DiMaria comes into his own as a leader he’s learned everything will work out — with a bit of empathy. “It seems straightforward,” he says. “The golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated has translated well into the workplace.”
— Amanda Postma
City of Residence: Sarasota
Birthplace: Queens, NY
Years in the area: 19
Marital Status/Children: Engaged / Corgi dog
Alma Mater/Degree: University of Florida, Arizona State University / B.S. Geography and Urban Planning
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Florida Planning and Zoning Association Gulf Coast Chapter
Are you working from the company office, home office or hybrid? Company office
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Or the weirdest task you've ever been assigned? Writing a backyard chicken zoning ordinance. I learned more than I needed to know about domestic farm animals.
What's your top tip for being productive? Surrounding yourself with a highly motivated group of people. Closing out of email with a good cup of coffee for periods of focus. Communicating effectively with clients and teammates to set clear goals and expectations.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Travel agent. Planning my travel is nearly as much fun as going on a trip.
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Watching a Mets game. Mountain biking Balm-Boyette. Cooking a good meal and sharing it with friends and family.
What's the most significant item on your life bucket list — and what's keeping you from completing it? Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a big one - just need to find a month to take off…
What's your favorite podcast? 99% Invisible
At what percentage on your phone do you start to get Low Battery Anxiety? 15%
What are the top three apps used on your smartphone? Outlook, Deltek Time Collection, News
What books are you reading now? The Paris Architect & Soft City
What's your go-to music genre, band or act to be inspired? Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is my "time to get creative" soundtrack
Who would play you in the movie of your life? Left field answer for a left field question. Kevin Bacon, incredible actor, and his father was an urban planner so I feel like he'd understand the role.
Where is your happy place? The Bay Park in Sarasota and the Mist Trail in Yosemite.
Describe yourself in three words: Persistent, positive, creative.
Who is your mentor for your career and why? I'm blessed to have several people who have invested time and effort into my growth as a professional, but John Osborne played a pivotal role early in my career. He believed in my ability as a planner, when I didn't see it in myself.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? Lead by example and hold yourself to a higher standard. A good reputation is hard to build but easy to lose. There's no substitute for hard work. Always have fun and be kind.