Janet Marie Smith
- Mississippi State University
- City University of the City College of New York
Janet Marie Smith is a Major League Baseball (MLB) executive, architect, and urban planner. Smith has built and managed renovations of several major and minor league baseball parks in the United States, including Baltimore, Atlanta, Boston, and Los Angeles. She became one of the first women to hold an executive position with any major league baseball club when she was promoted to vice president of planning and development with the Baltimore Orioles in 1989. Smith is best known for her work developing Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which set a new standard for ballparks. She incorporated historic, old-fashioned ballpark architecture with state-of-the-art modern conveniences. Through her work, Smith demonstrates how to seamlessly blend the best elements of the past with those of the future.
Smith is a native of Jackson and a class of 1975 graduate of Callaway High School. She earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Mississippi State University in 1981. In 1984, she obtained a master's degree in urban planning from City University of the City College of New York. Prior to working in baseball, from 1981 to 1989, Smith led and managed several civic projects for the cities of Los Angeles and New York City, and from 1994 to 1988, she was President of Pershing Square Management Association in Los Angeles, in charge of the redevelopment of Pershing Square. From 1981 to 1984, Smith was the coordinator of architecture and design for Battery Park City in New York City, NY.
Since 1989, Smith has overseen multiple MLB stadiums. As stated, Smith directed the design of Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which marked a new era of MLB parks. Camden Yards was the first of the "Retro Ballparks" and was unique in that it honored many qualities of ballparks from the classic era ballparks like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, but also incorporated modern elements and building techniques to improve the overall fan experience as well as the views. Smith's work in major league baseball stadium design and renovation has influenced ballpark design since 1992. It has been said that every ballpark built since Oriole Park’s opening owes some debt of its design to that park. Oriole Park became known as "the Baltimore ballpark that changed baseball." Janet Marie Smith's "fingerprints are all over baseball."
Other notable projects completed by Smith are the transformation of Olympic Stadium in Atlanta to the Braves' Turner and the renovation of Fenway Park in Boston—which gave new life to the oldest ballpark in the major leagues and included innovations such as the Green Monster Seats as well as the use of Jersey Street as an inside the park concourse.
Smith is an associate member of the Urban Land Institute, the American Institute of Architects, and the American Planning Association. In 2019, Smith was named one of the "30 Most Powerful Women In Sports" by Adweek. Other awards and recognitions include, but are not limited to:
- 2020 Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
- 2019 Maryland Top 100 Circle of Excellence
- 2017 Sports Business Journal Class of Champions
- 2016 Sports Business Journal's Power Player for Design and Development
- 2014 WISE Women of Inspiration Award, Los Angeles
- 2012 Sports Business Journal Game Changers: Women in Sports Business Inaugural Class
As of 2021, Smith is the Executive Vice President of Planning and Development with the Dodgers organization and has been since 2012. Smith completed her most recent project—working on Polar Park, the new Triple-A stadium in Worcester, MA, which opened in May 2021.