Founder | Chief Visionary
Jesse Herrera the heart of the organization. A fierce visionary and relentless realist, Jesse draws upon years of research, professional acumen, and life experiences to understand the underlining causes of today’s challenges and implement scalable social impact. Driven by passion, he ensures a fulfilling purpose and mission is imbued within the organization and the lives we impact. Fueled by an endless curiosity, Jesse looks at the big picture of today's challenges, constantly exploring the intricate nuances and how each fits into the larger system puzzle. A designer, construction manager, and educator by experience Jesse gained an early appreciation of the interdisciplinary, multi-faceted nature of design and its potential to solve complicated problems.
His first discovery in architectural design was its incredible inability to effect positive change. Granted there were exceptional clients here and there that would dabble in experimentation; sadly though, the prime focus for most commercial development is the bottom line, with no way for either designer or builder to influence any social metric outside of that. It’s predicated by the system in which we live, so understandably these traditional designs are limited in their capacity. Curious to find a way to answer this discovery, Jesse is focused on testing how the creative capital learned in his professional experience could be applied to improve the well-being of people. How could one discover a new mindset on design and develop the necessary tool sets to direct change? The journey began. Taking a life-changing trip to Jakarta, Indonesia to research innovation in planning and social systems, the first seeds for Urban Theory were planted.
A graduate of the University of Texas in Arlington (UTA), Jesse earned a BA in Architecture and has been a native of Fort Worth, Texas for many years. Jesse enjoys helping his community and serves on a multitude of local organizations including: Blue Zones Project, Tarrant Transit Alliance, Greater Fort Worth Real Estate Council, Tarrant Food Policy Council, and Texas Health Resources Community Impact Council. He is a contributor to Visible Magazine and Plantyourself.. Outside of work and community, Jesse loves to escape with a good book, cooking a new recipe, painting, or traveling across the globe to further his research.
However, Jesse's childhood chapters were not always so vibrant. Raised in a working-class household, his early years were spent as a troubled youth involved regularly in gang activity. Driven to this life by bullying, primarily though his own people, what started out as a means to find comradely ended with a standoff that resulted in bullet being put in his best friend’s neck by a rival gang. Shortly after, a near life altering experience resulted in him testifying to a detective to defend himself for a crime he was not involved in. He left this old life behind right after and pursued his education. Confused and lost, he pieced his life back together by sharing his story, but more so by listening to his story. This helped him understand the reasoning behind his decision to pursue this life and it reignited a dormant curiosity. Charged by the desire to understand the nuances of the world, why things happen, and how people overcome them, he embarked on a series of global research trips. From the colonial relics in Europe to innovative new cities built from sand and ocean in SE Asia, Jesse has seen how design, culture, technology, social programs, economics, policy, and infrastructure can affect a city, and its inhabitants.
As we conclude this journey, who is Jesse? An activist, a visionary, and a thought leader satisfy the buzz words, but he would think himself more of an activator and a change agent. Jesse searches beyond the face value of an issue, looking deeply into the underlying contextual roots and the influence each contributes. He is a relentless force for social impact, and he will stop at nothing to see a better world for all