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2007 Forecast: The State of Landscape Architecture

By Stephen Kelly, regional editor

Ah, the forecast issue, the time of year we reflect on this year and project into the future--always a tricky proposition. Each year The Futurist, a publication of the World Future Society, selects its top-10 forecasts gleaned from predictions of researchers and scholars in the pages of its publication. Just a few examples:

  • Young Americans will increasingly migrate overseas in search of opportunities.
  • Wireless technologies in our thought processing by 2030!
  • Dwindling supplies of water in China will impact the global economy. (The costs of resource and environmental mismanagement will be transferred to the rest of the world, goes the thinking. China already out-consumes the U.S. in food, energy, meat, grain, oil, coal and steel.)
  • Children's "nature deficit disorder" will grow as a health threat.
  • Companies will see the age range of their workers span four generations.

Our forecasting has narrower confines: the state of landscape architecture in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of landscape architects will increase faster than the average (defined as 27 percent or more) for all occupations through the year 2014. Money Magazine predicts a 19.43 percent growth for landscape architecture from 2004 to 2014. Preliminary results of the 2006 ASLA survey reports average total compensation for LAs is $89,700, an increase of 20.2 percent over the $74,600 2004 survey figure.

Our research and stats department collects data and does surveys all year. The graphs in this feature reflect that information. We also surveyed landscape architecture firms. In addition, I have interviewed a number of leaders of landscape architecture to better gauge the state of the industry and what may be in store.

Richard Dumont -- Sasaki Associates

Richard Dumont

The work of Richard Dumont, head of landscape architecture at Sasaki Associates, displays the leading role universities can play in the urban environment. Dumont is co-author of Mission and Place, Foundations for Campus Renewal and Innovation and plays a leading design role in much of the firm's collegiate, urban university and urban design practice. His experience in the U.S. and abroad includes award-winning master planning, urban design and built work for more than 40 universities and institutions including Harvard, Vanderbilt and Cornell.

About Sasaki Associates

"Collaboration is our culture" is Sasaki's testament. This spirit honors the memory of Hideo Sasaki, who founded the firm in 1953, the same year he joined the Harvard faculty. As chairman of Harvard's LA Depart. from1958 to 1968, Sasaki brought in real-world practitioners from a variety of disciplines to give his students the benefit of their knowledge. He also brought promising students into his firm.

The firm has offices in Boston (Watertown) and San Francisco. ZweigWhite, a management consulting and research firm, named Sasaki Associates number four among the "Top 20 Architecture Firms to Work For" in the U.S. in 2006. Sasaki was the only New England firm to make the top 20.

Have you increased your revenues this year?

Richard Dumont: We've had a significant increase in revenues this year and expect that to continue next year. We are in a real growth mode.

Have you been hiring landscape architects this year?

Richard Dumont: In Boston, 22 landscape architects; in San Francisco five new landscape architects. We are overbooked, so we are still looking for great people, those with five to 10 years of experience.

Where in particular is the growth for the firm?

Richard Dumont: Our three main areas of practice are campus or collegiate, city and land development. Each of those has a public and private sector. We are full speed in each of these markets. The most competitive sector is urban, because there tends to be a lot of firms interested in that work. However, this sector has the least amount of dollars available given the national view on these things.

So you don't see a trend to more urban development?

Richard Dumont: There would be if the dollars were available. Urban development is all a response to federal funding. With the federal funds allocated to something else, the investments needed for U.S. cities just aren't there. Cities, and sometimes states, are trying to do it on the backs of their own budgets, but that is difficult. There would be tremendous investments from cities if the funding was available.

How large is your marketing department?

Richard Dumont: Ten to 12 people. We have Tracy who is an organizer, getting-it-done person. She organizes all the inside operations. James McCown is the voice for those outside the firm. Under them, there are two key individuals, relatively new, who look at developing specific portfolios, such as landscape architecture and urban design. Then another person who's job is not proposals but to have a pulse on the entire portfolio. There are seven key people under them who respond to the market, understand how to put proposals together, fees, etc.

How does business compare East to West Coast?

Richard Dumont: The firm in Watertown, Mass. has about 240 people; we have just under 50 people (in S.F.), a much different size and practice, more weighted to architecture on the West Coast. However, we have made some direction and leadership changes. The goal is to attain the same balance for the West Coast operations as we have in Watertown. In Watertown there is a balance of architects, landscape architects, planners, civil engineers, interior designers.

What technologies or software are you finding helpful?

Richard Dumont: Anything that cross-relates knowledge. Obviously AUTO-CADD, 3D VIZ, etc. We just had the head of the design school at the University of Pennsylvania giving a speech to the office in this regard. We are now incorporating the 3D into our working drawings. We want to convey to contractors and builders the design in 3D. The new technology allows you to do this. It makes things more clear.

We've been hearing from firms that clients really like or even demand to see plans in 3D.

Richard Dumont: It's tremendously important for the clients. With these modeling tools they can better understand the information and make better decisions. We can also show them alternatives. Most people can't read plans. The 3D technology, both by hand and with computers, helps for upfront decision-making and clarification of contractor drawings. It takes out "surprises" for the clients.

Any trends you are seeing?

Richard Dumont: We are seeing a tremendous interest in our young people in globalization. Whether it be environmental problems, or the movement of populations in China and India moving from the rural to the urban setting, and the massive infusion of capital to the cities for housing, light rail, etc., we have a lot of interest in solving those problems. We are seeing our young people wanting to contribute to better the environment and contribute to these developing countries and their economies.

What percentage of your business is now international?

Richard Dumont: It hovers between 15-20 percent.

Is it mostly in China?

Richard Dumont: Looking at last year, I'd say 30 percent of the international work was in China. We've restricted ourselves there.

Why is that?

Richard Dumont: We find they are moving way too fast. There are development groups that buy your ideas, then never want to see you again. We want to learn and build, not to have someone simply buy our ideas and say, "Thanks a lot, good bye." We had to go through that to understand their ways. We have no interest in working that way. We now respond strategically to these opportunities. So, whether it is a private development or a public piece, we turn down more work in China that we accept.

The next frontier is India. We are trying to learn from our lessons in China. We are being much more strategic. We have some good inroads to clients, some municipalities that are growing. We are doing some university and urban work there with clients that are smart and educated. We have traditionally done private development in Korea. We are being selective there as well. We've matured enough in our overseas practice to have a few good clients in a few good places. We have to be strategic, as it is a real drain on our people to go after projects that get fruitless results.

Some of our most exciting work is in three former Soviet Republics in the Himalaya region. There is development of K-12 schools in a Muslim area where, contrary to other Muslim sects, women and education of women is a high priority. There is also university and national park development, plus redevelopment of historic Muslim sites in cities. This is astounding work to do and the people there are amazing and wonderful to work with.

How big of a team would you take over to such a project?

Richard Dumont: We take a cross-discipline group of five to seven people with specialties in urban, campus development. We also take several ecologists. What is interesting is we are trying to do our analysis through the eyes of our ecologists, trying to interpret the world differently than we've done in the past.

The work you're doing sounds inspiring.

Richard Dumont: Thank you. Were are going through a very interesting transition. Every 10 or 15 years we go through a leadership transition. This will be our fourth generation of leaders. We put it to our young people Where do we want to go? What are our business objectives? What are our design objectives? And what are our morals and responsibilities? We are trying to get people to understand that you have to operate on all three levels. We keep hearing that there are not enough landscape architecture students.

Do you find that the case?

Richard Dumont: What we are finding, and we think technology has something to do with it, is not in the numbers but in the capabilities of the students when they leave school. Despite all the technology and the ability to visualize in three dimensions, people don't know how to develop ideas by hand anymore. Fifteen years ago that was a skill you looked for, but it is rare today. The 3D technology sometimes isn't as fluid as by hand.

The kids tend to be smarter today. They are much more fluid in many areas. But we really have trouble finding those with five-10 years of experience. There is a missing group of people here! They are very difficult to find. We've had good fortune this year in finding people with five to seven years of experience. That has been inspiring, as they bring a whole wealth of knowledge and are very motivated. Being in Boston and San Francisco is a drag on getting people here because people can't afford to live here, even though we have some of the highest salaries in the nation.

Michael Terry--Belt Collins Hawaii Ltd.

Michael Terry, president, Belt Collins Hawaii Ltd.

About Belt Collins

When you think of Belt Collins, the tropical clime of Oahu comes to mind. While planner Walter Collins and civil engineer Robert Belt founded the firm in Honolulu in 1953, the firm has two "mainland" offices in Seattle and offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Guam and the Philippines. This expansion, coupled with 12,000 projects in 70 countries on its resume, makes Belt Collins one of the leading design and consulting firms in the world.

"We're civil engineers, environmental scientist, planners as well as landscape architects," says Michael Terry, president of Belt Collins Hawaii. The Honolulu office is primarily a landscape architecture practice; the newer office (Seattle) has just started focusing on engineering. "We think there is a market for us for master planning and services in engineering in the Seattle area and in the west. We hope to be able to work back and forth with our staff from Seattle and work on projects quite a bit from our offices overseas, which will give us a little more flexibility if we organized it properly."

What is the outlook for your firm in 2007?

Michael Terry: The outlook for our firm looks very good. We are a broad based multidisciplinary practice that is active in a number of markets. Most prognosticators are saying home building and other real estate development will slow down over the next few years. This will have an impact on many design firms who cater to that market. Fortunately for Belt Collins, we continue to be busy in other markets, such as commercial development, civic projects, community facilities and agricultural subdivisions.

Where is the growth for your firm?

Michael Terry: We continue to look for new services to provide to our clients and new markets. Several of our Belt Collins Offices are now doing work in the Middle-East, which is relatively new for us. We think that there is growth potential there. We also think that there is growth potential in the environmental sciences and related design--such as wetlands design and re-naturalized environments.

Have your billings increased this year?

Michael Terry: Our increase from last year to this year was quite healthy, percentage wise in the magnitude of 15 to 20 percent. This year we don't have the final numbers yet and we're hoping to be at that same level this year.

Where is the growth in the industry?

Michael Terry: For the past few years, growth for design firms has been driven by the healthy real estate markets in much of the U.S. There will be pressure for our industry to diversify away from private real estate related work and take on much needed work related to enhancement of community facilities and upgrading aging infrastructure.

We all hear about the phenomenal amount of building going on in China. Is this impacting your growth?

Michael Terry: There has been substantial growth in our Hong Kong office. The office has grown from about 40 people to 160 in only a few years. Mainland China is a big market for us, but is always changing and we try to follow it and stay up-to-date with the demands for services there. We've spent many years working in China diligently to promote our brand. Our brand recognition is very good there and has a lot of value.

How do you market your services?

Michael Terry: Our core competency is providing civil engineering, landscape architecture, land planning, environmental science and process planning as an integrated package. This approach is very attractive to our clients who are looking for innovative and effective ways to resolve difficult site issues and to optimize the integration of practical solutions with aesthetics.We don't want to expand too rapidly. We try to be conservative. We need to see enough indications of a potential market before taking an added risk of adding elsewhere.

What are the new trends?

Michael Terry: It is more and more difficult to separate environmental science from civil engineering and landscape design. We find that we have to offer design services that incorporate environmental science principles to be competitive with the top design firms. We are fully cognizant of a growing trend toward sustainable design and the need to husband natural and cultural resources and we try to fold these elements into our designs.

What technologies are you using?

Michael Terry: We have a full time director and staff who assist us with technology issues and help us to keep up-to-date with the latest soft ware applications. Several of our latest efforts include using GIS systems more effectively. We are training staff in GIS and acquiring the equipment and software. We are also using electronic modeling programs, such as Sketch-up, as design and planning tools.

Calvin Abe--ah' be

Calvin Abe

Calvin Abe received his MLA from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He has over 20 years of professional experience. He teaches design in the department of landscape architecture at the UCLA Extension and is active in the Southern California chapters of the ASLA and the Asian American Architects and Engineers Association Southern California Chapter (he was president of both associations).

About ah'be

ah'be offers comprehensive landscape architecture and environmental planning. The firm's statement is "transforming public landscapes." The work encompasses gardens, public and private parks, recreation facilities, trail systems, habitat and other landscape restorations and reclamations, watershed-related projects, landfill conversions, public plazas and streets, schools and institutions, business improvement districts, mixed-use commercial development, multi-family and public housing, and transportation.

Did your revenues increase this year?

Calvin Abe: We increased revenues about 15 percent from last year. Last year things were pretty hot, but the multi-housing market in Los Angeles is starting to slow down. Developers have put two or three of the firm's downtown area multi-family unit housing projects on hold until the first quarter of 2007.

Developers are trying to figure out how to position their product with the inflated prices of land in southern Calif., coupled with ever-increasing building costs. Developers are worried they won't be able to sell enough condo units. I believe developers are leaning toward building more apartment complexes instead. Still, the housing market will continue to be strong in L.A. because of the housing shortage.

Has the firm hired landscape architects this year?

Calvin Abe: The firm hired three full-time landscape architects this year and this summer, because of some overseas design competition work, hired four interns. Of the three LAs hired, one is no longer with us. The firm is looking to hire one or two more people. We conducted interviews of students at the ASLA Expo in Minneapolis. Such hires would be entry-level positions, of course. Hiring recent grads and developing them has worked well.

What sectors are you marketing to?

Calvin Abe: About 10 percent of gross income comes from oversea projects. We are not specifically marketing to the international market. It would mean setting up offices overseas. A number of the housing-related projects in China were not solicited but via referrals; the one in Singapore was via a design competition.

We are looking to tap work in northern Calif., Arizona and Nevada. We have one person dedicated to marketing, plus me.

Any trends you are seeing?

Calvin Abe: One trend is renewed development of the urban core to draw people back to the city centers. We expect a growing demand for more open space development in those new urban development areas. It is already happening. One case in point is Minneapolis. If you attended the ASLA Expo you know that there is a lot of housing going up and new housing in the city. The city has also recently added a light rail system to make commuting to and from downtown easy and cheap.

The demographic shift of the aging baby boomers is significant. Developers will be building more retirement communities and senior housing complexes. This demographic has brought the firm more housing-related work.

Many firms are now getting involved in water quality issues. We are finding a huge potential for storm water management, water clarifying and bio-remediation. He also thinks there is going to be a shift in how we think about public parks. The firm is now working on a streetscape project in downtown L.A. (not approved but now going through "B permit") that will be L.A.'s first project to capture street water in the parkway. Through a series of planters and landscaping we will filter the run off. The DOT has not allowed this in L.A. before. With the city council's support we know have a small pilot project on Hope Street to deal with storm water in this fashion. The support of the city council was pivotal in getting by the objections of the Public Works Dept. Although Portland and Seattle have been dealing with storm water runoff in this manner for years, there was no precedent for this method in southern Calif. This type of storm water management is becoming integral to public space planning.

What technologies is the firm using?

Calvin Abe: The firm uses Microstation and Form Z. We are starting to shift to Autocad 3D and have sent some of our people for training in that software.

What's on tap for 2007?

Calvin Abe: We anticipate a slow-down in the housing side, which has already affected the firm. About half of the firm's work is in the public sector: streetscapes, parks and college campus work. We are positioning the firm to broaden its base by tapping into out-of-state development, particularly urban open space projects.

Paul Andriese--Grissim Metz Andriese

Paul Andriese

Paul Andriese, ASLA, principal, Grissim Metz Andriese. Paul began his career as a draftsman and staff landscape architect. During his tenure with GMA, the firm has grown by over 400 percent. Paul has provided site design and landscape designs for hospitals, automotive plants, schools, colleges, municipal facilities, churches, parks, residential communities, libraries, office buildings and retail.

About Grissim Metz Andriese

Grissim Metz Andriese (GMA) is based in Northville, Michigan and has an affiliate office in Napels, Fla. The firm, which has grown through more than four decades of design excellence, has 17 people, our of whom are principals.

Tell us about the affiliate office in Florida.

Paul Andriese: Instead of opening a Florida office, we are working with Wayne Hook and Associates in Naples, Fla. to pursue work. We felt it was better to take a small step first. We now have a couple jobs under construction through that office. Wayne is a seasoned practitioner that we have a lot of faith in. We now have some jobs there under our belts and feel comfortable with him.

Is there much work in Florida?

Paul Andriese: There is a lot of work in Florida. We're primarily doing retail there: the Mall at Millenia (see our April issue), for example, and we are starting another mall project (University Center in Sarasota) for Forbes Co., a developer in Florida of high-end shopping centers. Forbes brought us into the retail market. We are looking to branch out from the retail to do university and multi-residential projects in Florida with Wayne.

Has the firm increased revenues this year?

Paul Andriese: We have slightly increased revenues this year in spite of the economy. Our economy in Michigan just stinks. Our economy has been based so much on manufacturing and the auto industry, that it is now lagging behind. We are 49th in the U.S. as far as growth. A lot of architectural firms are so slow right now. It's a real battle and firms are struggling.

All the better to expand your base.

Paul Andriese: That's right. We saw this coming and there isn't a quick fix to this economy. Some in the state talk about changing the governor (laughs). The last governor inherited problems too. That is why we took this opportunity in Florida to get something going. Hooking up with Wayne has been the key for us.

With the depressed economy in Michigan, it must be a very competitive market for you.

Paul Andriese: Yes, but about 80 percent of our projects is repeat clientele. It's not like we're pursuing work fresh all the time. We get architects and developers coming to us that we have worked with before. As far as pursuing competitive work, we just put our best foot forward and show our experience. We don't try to low-ball the fee just to get the job. We notice that in the construction industry where guys are doing work just to keep busy but they aren't making money.

Do you have a dedicated marketing person?

Paul Andriese:The principals are the primary marketing people, along with Kathy our business manager. As most of our work is repeat clientele we don't a person fully-engaged in marketing. Each principal has a responsibility. You have to continue to provide excellent service to your clientele so that they will come back. That's part of the marketing scheme.

Has the firm hired landscape architects?

Paul Andriese: We've hired two people. They are not landscape architects, more CADD technicians with an architectural background. It's hard to anticipate if we will hire next year. If we get a bit stretched then we have to consider what level of person we need to hire. Do we need someone who can do project management, or someone to help with graphics, someone who can put working drawings together, or just a draftsman? Typically, we hire a person a little more seasoned than just a draftsman, someone who knows how to put construction documents together.

Are you seeing any trends in the field?

Paul Andriese: We are seeing a trend in sustainable design and projects going for LEED certification. We are involved in this in varying degrees. One of our people is just back from the Blue Cross/Blue Shield headquarters. The company wants a green roof, a panelized system. That will be a big job for us. We're also seeing corporations becoming more sensitive to environmental design and concerned with the work environment of their employees. They also want to attract good people.

Where do you see the growth in the firm?

Paul Andriese: We have a lot of hospital work. We are seeing more college, university and municipal work. Retail work is still strong in Florida.

What technologies/software, etc., are you using that you find helpful?

Paul Andriese: We use Sketch-Up quite a bit. We use Auto-CADD of course. We use PhotoShop. We find we've gotten better at operating these systems and making better presentations. We also want to set up a ftp site.

We are optimistic about 2007. We have put out a lot of proposals. We are interviewing for projects. Work is still coming in. We feel very fortunate. A lot of people are preaching gloom and doom, but we are optimistic.

RNL--Marc Stutzman, Jeff Lakey

Marc Stutzman, RNL associate principal

Jeff Lakey, head of the RNL LA Studio

About RNL

Founded in 1956, RNL is an architecture, interior design, engineering and planning firm headquartered in Denver and with offices in Los Angeles and Phoenix. The firm is also opening an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. RNL's work realm includes education, transportation, civic, corporate, religious, criminal justice, urban housing, transit-oriented mixed-use development and community planning.

In a 2006 national survey conducted by Zweig White for the best architectural firms to work for in the U.S., RNL ranked number eight.

RNL is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2006. Recent completed projects include the Elati Light Rail Facility and the LEED-silver certified Colorado Springs Utilities Environmental Services Laboratory in Colorado Springs.

The majority of your landscape architect work is in what sector?

Marc Stutzman: I would save the majority of the work is for private developers. There is also a good chunk that is civic development. (Editor's note: We featured examples of RNL's work in our Feb. 2005 issue ("Denver's Civic Center Plaza Granite, granite, glass and steel, don't forget the cherries") and in the April 2005 issue ("Fontana's Civic Center Park & Greenway--roses are red, white and yellow").

Where is the growth in the firm?

Marc Stutzman: We are seeing growth in large, international master-planning projects on a scale all the way from 60 to 25,000 acres. Other growth areas are mixed-use projects that are transit oriented; civic and governmental projects; military closures and new building on military bases. Here in Colorado we have Buckley Air Force Base and Fort Carson. Both are active bases and adding new facilities.

Has the firm hired landscape architects this year? Do you anticipate hiring next year?

Marc Stutzman: We've hired two landscape architects this year. The Landscape Architect Studio has grown from eight LAs to 16 members in the last two years.

We anticipate probably another two or three more hires for the studio. The studio has nine landscape architects and the other members are urban designers.

Has the firms increased revenues this year? If so, what percentage?

Marc Stutzman: For 2005 our revenues for the Landscape Architect Studio was two million. We will be at $2.5 million this year, so a 25 percent growth within our studio. The firm as a whole was approximately $18 million in 2005. We are expecting to be at about $19.6 million this year, so about 11 to 12 percent growth for the firm overall.

Are you seeing any trends in the industry?

Jeff Lakey: We're seeing a greater call for outdoor urban space. A lot of our projects now are commercial-oriented. The business owners who are selling or operating in the retail sector are interested in creating public gathering spaces near the retail establishments, whether it is a small park, plaza or the nature of the street. So there is a higher demand for attention to those kinds of spaces. There is also a greater demand for green building.

Marc Stutzman: We've been utilizing LEED-ND. (Editor: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design has different versions of its rating system depending on project types. The ND version stands for "neighborhood design." It emphasizes smart growth, compact design, proximity to transit, mixed use, mixed housing and pedestrian/bike-friendly design. LEED-ND was launched as a pilot program this year.)

We are using LEED actively on all of our site plans. Our firm as a whole has a commitment to design our projects to a LEED certification level as a minimum. That has no real effect on the client's cost to build the project. It is just our commitment.

To what sectors are you marketing?

Marc Stutzman: Landscape architecture, civic, governmental, institutional, hospitality and international master planning.

Can you talk a bit about the scope of your international work?

Marc Stutzman: We have been for the last several years working out of Dubai. We have several people on the ground there. We have a major presence in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and China. We are getting close to entering the Indian market. We have a couple of developers we are working with in the Middle East that have relationships in India. We have not yet won a project there, but we are proposing on several. Internationally we've been doing large site planning projects, several in the 300-acre range. We have a five sq. mile in Abu Dhabi. We do the conceptual master planning. Many times we do the design guidelines for the entire development, then move into constructural landscape architecture.

So you see the international sector growing significantly?

Marc Stutzman: Yes, it has been growing significantly over the last four or five years. We thing we will continue to see that, especially in India and China.

What technologies are you finding helpful?

Jeff Lakey: For several years we've been using Sketch-up. It is an important tool for us. It is helpful at the front end to quickly help clients visualize urban design projects. We do use it on landscape architecture work, but it seems particularly effective for urban design projects. We also use Auto-CADD and there is also quite a demand for photo-like imaging of design work, animation and 3D. We have farmed some of that kind of work out but we are building up our staff in that area.

Marc Stutzman: About 90 percent of our international clients, maybe 100 percent, are looking for the photo realistic computer renderings on all of their projects.

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol--Jennifer Guthrie

Jennifer Guthrie

Jennifer Guthrie is a graduate of the University of Washington with degrees in landscape architecture and architecture. Examples of recent projects include the Art Institute of Chicago's new north wing, the Lurie Garden in Chicago's Millennium Park, Seattle's three-block Civic Center open space, and the University of Washington's School of Medicine in Seattle's South Lake Union.

About Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol was founded in Seattle by partners Kathryn Gustafson, Jennifer Guthrie and Shannon Nichol. Today, GGN also has a London office. GGN is a full-service landscape architectural firm, providing conceptual design, construction documents, technical specifications, and construction administration in the Americas and Asia.

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol's recent project awards include the ASLA National Design Excellence Award, theTucker Architectural Award, and multiple WASLA Honor and Merit awards for design. Kathryn Gustafson is an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architecture and is the recipient of the Chrysler Design Award and London's Jane Drew Prize.

Have you firm increased revenues this year? What percent?

Jennifer Guthrie: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol has seen tremendous growth this year. Revenues have increased over 200 percent.

Has your firm hired landscape architects this year? Do you anticipate more hiring in 2007?

Jennifer Guthrie: In 2006, we doubled in size. New personnel include a mix of landscape architects (8), architects (3), and a marketing coordinator (1), bringing us to a total of 24 people. And, we are still looking to hire 2-3 more trained landscape architects or architects with 3-10 years of experience. Ideally, we would complete our hiring in 2006 though, realistically, we anticipate that we will still be looking in 2007. Finding quality personnel has been a challenge in this market.

Our overall growth strategy keeps us at a size no greater than 30 people so we hope not to grow too much more.

Where is the growth in your firm?

Jennifer Guthrie: Our primary growth has been in the private sector with work ranging from corporate campuses to cultural venues to private residences. We have not ventured oversees to do this work; instead, our focus has been exclusively in North America.

The majority of your work is in what sector?

Jennifer Guthrie: Currently, the majority of our work is in the private sector though, historically, we have been approximately 50% public and 50% private.

Are you seeing any trends in the industry?

Jennifer Guthrie: Over the past several years, we have seen an influx of public/private partnerships on projects that would historically be considered public domain. Projects with these partnerships have been varied; however, a couple examples include: (1) public land which is developed by a combination of public and private dollars with long-term maintenance of the project funded by and managed by a private entity, and (2) public land which is sold to a third party for development and then sold back (in whole or in part) to the public upon completion. All scenarios include a client body with many stakeholders (private and public representatives) and often complicated budgets, schedules, and property lines; however, the end result is often a better product. Both parties in the partnership collectively represent the best interests of the public, the design vision, the long-term care of the site, and the bottom line.

Do you have a marketing department? How many people? To what sectors do you market?

Jennifer Guthrie: We have one full-time marketing coordinator. Most of our work comes to us through previous working relationships and/or from referrals.

What technologies/software, etc., are you using that you find particularly useful?

Jennifer Guthrie: We still rely greatly on our brains and hands to conceive a design (i.e. through sketching or through physical model form); however, when it comes to digitally communicating an idea, we often use Adobe pdf Professional, Sketch Up, the Adobe graphics packages (In-Design, Photoshop) and, of course, AutoCad. We have also dabbled in Maya (graphics) and Net Meeting (white board with camera) as well as 3D scanning and 3D printer technology.

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