After practicing landscape architecture for 40 years, I have announced my retirement. As they say…it is the perfect time. I am looking forward to a new “volume” in my life story. My retirement comes at a point when strong successional planning has developed SWT Design into a firm that is being led by visionary ownership to accomplish new, innovative design.
I have been asked on many occasions, what are the keys to the longevity of a successful design career? First and most importantly, are the long-term personal/professional relationships and partnerships that I have developed within the AEC industry. As design professionals we need to work collectively with clients to create the greatest environments. After much reflection on my own experiences within the design industry, I advise this:
- Check your ego at the door
- There is no “I” in team
- Consistently work smart, efficiently and collaboratively
- Provide great value to your clients
- Understand that as a career, the beauty of landscape architecture is that you will be challenged on a daily basis and learning never stops
My wife, Kim, has been the key in my sustained success in landscape architecture. There were many times she listened to my concerns and reassured me all will be well. My “second wife”, Ted Spaid has been the best business partner and friend one could have. Additionally, the entire SWT Design team has been the foundation of the firm’s prosperity.
Finally, in reflection of the past 40 years there is one aspect of my career I wish I would have done better. CELEBRATE THE WINS!!! In our fast-paced and stressful professional climate, I feel I did not take the time to fully enjoy our firm’s big and small accomplishments. It was always quickly focused on to the next one.
In a blink of an eye, four decades have passed. How is that possible? I am very proud of the local, regional and international projects that I have been a part of creating. I am very grateful that I have been able to touch tens of thousands of people’s lives through design. Now I am excited to witness SWT’s future growth and successes.