No path is straight in design.

If there is one thing that I can take away from this past week it is that many career paths are not straight. We had the opportunity to hear from Cadence, a landscape architecture firm base in Florida and from Jefre Manuel of Studio JEFRE.

Each of the professionals who spoke with us had a very interesting career trajectory that seems to keep coming up again and again. Many professionals move through a few firms and try a variety of experiences. One trend that seems to be moving through our profession is the resurgence of smaller specialty firms who are able to bring a variety of skill sets. This is certainly a trend that is found in other professions as the 40 year tenure fades.

One of the benefits of being multi-experienced is the agility to market oneself into numerous areas and negotiate oneself through a variety of complex job types. Jefre has worked in architecture, landscape architecture and now as an artist who works with both of those professions.

Cadence has developed a strong community engagement model by engaging their community through a strong social media face, amongst other methods. Social media is not seen as a key driver for generating leads but rather a way of staying in touch with the community and generating positive influence in the community around the firm.

A third example of agility in the profession of design was exhibited this week at the ET-ASLA monthly lunch and learn. The industry representatives from Xeripave hosted us this week and had one of their clients come in and talk about their Xeripave SP Pavers. While we received an informative session on the product and the features and benefits, I enjoyed hearing more about the presenter’s story who Xeripave brought along to sell their product. He is a representative of sorts for the company who speaks on their behalf. He became involved in the industry when he wrote a white paper on the differences between perviousness and permeability. Now he travels to speak on the topic. Again here is the example of someone who inadvertently became involved in an area he enjoys through happenstance and his interests. I am excited by this trend. I look forward to seeing the journey that I take throughout life and how each new opportunity can be a complete game changer.

The fourth opportunity that we had was to teleconference in a lunch and learn with Zach Wolf of the Stone Barn Center. The center is a business, organization, restraint, educational center of sorts that engages communities in the beneficial realms of farming. Their mission is found here. There is a great video that talks about their efforts and purpose. I really enjoy that there is a changing future for farming that is rising up in the states and I assume globally. Resiliency and sustainable farming practices are key to this. A unique opportunity came up after this meeting where I was meeting someone to buy a new book bag off craigslist. During my conversation with the guy he told me he was moving out to Virginia to start a farm and practices the exact sustainable practices that I had learned about. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to connect him to Zach and the Stone Barn Center. http://www.stonebarnscenter.org/home-our-work/mission.html

In our studio we presented to Drew Wensley of Moriyama & Teshima Planners He is serving as an advisor and critic for our studio this semester amongst other things within our college.

Today we presented our competition boards for our design concepts. I certainly learned a lot and have a bit of refining to do as I learn to better present my ideas and concepts. Amongst the top, I need to learn to more succinctly state my ideas and focus on the key concepts that are driving a project. Below are the two boards that I presented today. One is an aerial perspective and the other is my diagrams board. The most critical and beneficial feedback that I received was to stay focused on my guiding theme and be sure to engage the ‘client’ within each presentation. All in all, a good week for learning and engaging professionals within and surrounding our field.