Mike Lackey- Engineer & Philanthropist
Meet Mike Lackey, Board Member and former chairman of the San Antonio River Foundation. Lackey, a native of San Antonio and 10th generation Texan, has spent years involved in the non-profit community with organizations including Texas Public Radio, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and numerous professional organizations. Throughout his charitable activities, he has especially relished his time with the Foundation and loves the fact that they were able to add public art and beautify the River, which was once an eyesore. He believes that the Foundation has brought a new sense of art and place with the installations along Museum Reach—it is what inspired him to become part of the organization.
Lackey is a registered mechanical engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M, a Master’s from the University of Houston and now owns his own LEED accredited professional engineering firm, Lackey de Carvajal Cx. From a young age, he has had an interest in engineering. He remembers a strong inclination to take things apart in order to learn how they functioned, “I just wish I would have been better putting them back together,” he laughs. During a world history class in high school, Lackey discovered the ingenious technology of the Roman aqueducts and was astonished that the water features continued function thousands of years after their construction, “that is when I decided to be an engineer.”
Family is central to his life. Lackey’s large extended family live close enough so family gatherings are frequent and vibrant. Currently he is working with his niece, an accomplished young photographer, to compile a book of photographs of bridges along the San Antonio River. It was after riding on a River Barge down Museum Reach and the Downtown Loop that Lackey became drawn to bridges: the artwork, history and subtle design elements. “A bridge is a metaphor for transition,” Lackey expresses, “from one side to the other, they unite people and different parts of the community...that has always touched me.”
Lackey has long enjoyed exercise: biking, jogging and walking down the River. The section of the Riverwalk south of Blue Star Arts Complex is his current favorite stomping ground, but not too many years ago, he would run from Lexington Ave through the Downtown Loop and back on a Saturday morning when, “it was just me and the gardeners.” “I am really proud of the work that SARA has done to restore this significant feature in our community,” says Lackey about the San Antonio River, “and improve its accessibility and availability to everyone.” He is equally eager about the work on restoring San Pedro Creek, which has even longer history than the River as its headwaters were where the city’s founding mass was said. Lackey considers the river and its tributaries the key players in the settling and development of San Antonio and remarks, “I believe it will continue to be vital in our collective future.”