Presidents' Panel Question Two: The Economic Recovery. Shawn T. Kelly, FASLA
Shawn T. Kelly, FASLA
LAND: As the economy slowly turns a corner and improves, how can landscape architects best position themselves to take advantage of the recovery?
Practitioners must become visible and available to access the increasing workload. One technique is to participate on community or regional boards or volunteer positions to announce your presence and perspectives. This marketing effort advances the profession along with your practice. The pro bono board position of today may well mean funded work in the future. Publicize your presence. While this may seem uncomfortable now, the net effect is a better work climate for our profession by association, and you by direct contact.
The creative firm should plan for recruitment. Now is an excellent time to attend career fairs at universities and become familiar with the soon-to-graduate students. Become involved in charrettes or critiques, and make your presence known to the faculty and students. This will reap short-term and longer-term benefits, for you can easily get to evaluate and monitor the growth of the new practitioners.
Outreach to LA programs now will also help in your future recruitment of students. Sponsor a Student Chapter meeting; conduct a workshop at your office, targeting students. One such workshop could be a daylong interactive seminar on a particular software package. The benefits here are for the program in LA, the students, and for your canny employees to monitor and evaluate the students who participate.
Post an internship opportunity on JobLink. Consider participating on JobLink Live at the annual meeting. Participate in the portfolio reviews at the annual meeting. These all will yield a heightened awareness of the students and programs that are producing them. You may also meet postgraduates who are considering improving their current positions.
Ramp up skills
This is an excellent time to make sure your office will be competitive in the markets you intend to pursue. Review current staff capabilities and measure them against the skill sets you will need to be competitive in the next push. Review the offerings in the LATIS series at asla.org. Review the Member Services affinity providers for discounts on education or software. Invest in your future market by educating your firm.
Read Kelly’s Concepts and Aims statement and bio.