After spending the last few years attending school in Washington, D.C., Alan Henderson decided to return to his hometown with the goal of using his experiences to rebuild the city of Jackson.
Henderson, 23, graduated from Howard University this spring where he earned his bachelor's degree in architecture and design.
"I want to be an architect, an urban planner and an advocate for good design. I would like to see Jackson grow as a cohesive city, not just downtown or west Jackson but all areas in Jackson," he says.
A native of north Jackson, Henderson's interest in design started at a young age, and he cites his five older siblings and parents as inspirations. His father owns New Concept Builders, a construction company in Jackson. His mother, a retired Jackson Public Schools counselor, has a knack for interior design. He spent his youth exploring various art mediums such as painting and pottery.
The St. Joseph Catholic School graduate's passion for design doesn't end with buildings. He has also an impressive fashion resume. While in school, Henderson volunteered during New York Fashion Week. As a volunteer, he handled the behind-the-scenes work and helped ready models for the runway.
"I am definitely into fashion. It all (involves) design, whether its fashion, architecture, interior design or fine arts," he says.
At Howard, Henderson worked as a host at the pizza bistro, Matchbox DC and interned as a designing view officer with the National Capitol Planning Commission, a federal organization that regulates new designs in the D.C. metro area. "Our job was to basically approve and disapprove projects that would have an adverse affect on any federal properties," he says.
Henderson wants to take his experiences with the planning commission and apply it to Jackson. He says it's important that new developments in the city are sustainable and have architectural integrity.
The recent grad currently works with in his dad's construction business as he looks for work in his field. He wants to be a part of Jackson's renaissance in any way possible. "I see myself as a sponge and someone who really wants to make a difference. I would like to see a plan of action. I am an inspired individual, and I love taking in whatever I'm surrounded by and letting that influence me in the most positive way possible," he says.
Henderson has big plans for the next five years and beyond. "I want to have an input in the planning of Jackson, which will affect my children, my grandchildren and the overall success in having a better quality of life in Jackson and beyond," he says.
"The road less traveled is the most exciting," he adds.
I am so glad this inspiring young man choose to come back to Jackson... and look forward to pointing out his many designs someday.
- leigh h