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ASLA's 125th: Maryland Chapter

MDASLA 50th Anniversary Celebration, Fall 2022 / Emily Reider Photography

By Vernon Hustead, PLA, ASLA, CBLP Level 2

The Maryland Chapter of ASLA was organized in 1974. Originally part of the Potomac Chapter, there were ample landscape architects from Baltimore and surrounding areas that the founders believed it warranted creating a new chapter. 

In 1972, Jack Daft, Spencer Ellis, and Ed Kilduff organized brainstorming sessions for landscape architects in Maryland. This was performed to gauge interest in creating a separate chapter, as well as identifying and discussing industry issues and trends. One of the topics discussed was how to better promote the landscape architecture profession to other design professionals (civil engineers and architects), and to the public. Another prominent issue was how to promote a path forward for licensure within the state; this included encouraging members to become licensed as well as developing the laws to have licensure within Maryland. In addition to these three founding members, John Slater, Sam Crosier, Bill Kirwin, and Kip Shrack were instrumental in creating the Maryland Chapter. 

Once the Maryland Chapter was established, the group started to grow in membership, building resources and increasing its ability to promote the profession. Most of the early meetings were informal gatherings that showcased a wide range of industry topics as well as products of interest to design professionals. 

The initial licensure law in Maryland was established in 1971, and over 250 landscape architects became licensed at this time. These professionals served both public and private positions within the industry. 

One of the Chapter’s earliest projects was promoting the type of work that landscape architects perform. Working in conjunction with ASLA National, the Chapter developed a film to display the landscape architecture profession and its abilities. Legacy for Living was viewed at several chapter events, affiliate organizations and on Maryland Public Television. 

In 1987, the Chapter hosted the national conference in Baltimore and collaborated with national leaders to develop field sessions, hotel reservations, and logistics. 

In the early 1990’s, the Maryland Chapter became one of the first to hire a lobbyist to promote the profession and develop opportunities for its members. The Chapter quickly grew and expanded its efforts to promote education, legislation, and sponsorship, in addition to high quality design all of which continues strong today.

Vernon was president of the Maryland chapter in 2003 and received the Maryland ASLA Award of Excellence in 2023. "Vernon has been an exemplary member of the Maryland Chapter for over 25 years. He epitomizes ethics, professionalism, and service to the profession. Throughout his time with the chapter, Vernon has fostered a feeling of inclusiveness and bonding. He encourages participation and keeping the chapter youthful. He is the definition of Chapter Service, mentoring upcoming leaders, creating programs, and always going beyond the expected. His involvement in legislative efforts includes highlighting the work of landscape architects and playing a key role in avoiding the sunsetting of our license in 2010.” Michael Pullano, ALSA, PLA

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