Economic Impacts on Industry??

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    Maggie Hallidy

    Hi all,
    I live in Fort Collins, Colorado a town of about 130,000 people with roughly 5 firms in the town. I’m currently working for a multi-discipline company ( architecture,la,interior) that focuses there target industries within Health Care, Schools and some commercial. In response to our current Economic Crisis the trickle down effects is starting to take notice. Hence, school bonds not expecting to pass this Nov 2nd and the Health Care industry freezing current jobs.

    I was just curious if due to my firms Regional work that we are feeling this or if it is an overall experience throughout our industry?? My assumption is that like many industries ours is beginning to feel the turn of the times. As a recent graduate I notice the purse strings of budgets tightening and layoffs becoming imminent. I just wanted to check and see if there were parts of the country that there might be more hopeful prospects.

    Please don’t perceive this as a cry for help. More just a call for awareness.

    Andrew Spiering


    Our firm is heavily dependent on commecial / retail / restaurant clients. We have been hit very hard. We are a national firm and fortunately as an LA I have a bit of a niche in this office. However, the work has dried up so badly over all the office is struggling a bit. No raises, bonuses etc. I am fine with that if they keep the doors open and I can keep my job. After the first of the year I will be working for a client doing complete drone work on projects that don’t come anywhere near resembling Landscape Architecture but I like to eat so I will do what it takes to get us through the tough times. Hopefully by the middle of next year something new will pop up. We really have to start getting creative to find ways to get the few clients that every one is chasing these days.

    Maggie Hallidy

    I hear what your saying….Since I posted this I was layed off from the firm which I expected being the newbie with a limited work load.. With their only being 5 firms in the general area (all going through layoffs) I have decided to temporarily switch my job hunt toward graphic design (something not as reliant on the construction industry.) Quite honestly there is such an influx of people looking for work as a new graduate on the scene with limited experience…well. I’m holdin’ on and agree that things should turn around hopefully by the middle of next year.

    Now in retrospect I believe that this recession will do very good things to help cleanse our society of our “living on credit way of life.” Hopefully we will all learn the lesson to live within our means and want less. What a phenomenal impact that would have on so many things in our lives. This perspective keeps me laughing when I am turned away due to “lack of business.” Keeping a light heart about the situation seems to be my best survival mechanism.

    Good luck with your “drone” work. And just keep on trekkin!!



    I’m sorry to hear about your situation, like so many other recent grads from CSU and elsewhere. I think your attitude about the situation can work to your advantage. Being optimistic and open to new methods, I think, will help pen you up to a broader range of opportunities. Also, think about all the tangible skills you learned at CSU…drawing, drafting, graphic design, photo-manipulation, model-building, plant identification, etc, etc…Those are skills, like plumbing or carpentry, you’ll always have and will always be of real value. Our country thrives on our ability to inflate imginary value of intangible and useless “things.” In that sense, I would be glad and proud that you have real, quantifiable, marketable skills to offer. I think its also a good idea to expand your search to different geographic regions (while I understand your situation) as well as other industries. I would think there would be work in graphic art companies where you could offer some help, as well as places which require cad drafting such as any number of engineering firms, etc. Theres hope, keep your head up!


    I live in San Francisco and was laid off almost 2 months ago. California has really been affected by the economy even though my firm does mostly international work. I just graduated in May and moved out here and was laid off only 2 months after I started working. It seems like no one is hiring right now and I’m hoping after the New Year things will turn around some. I’m trying to figure out what other work I can do to benefit my career while I wait out till the economy turns around. So now I’m studying for the LEED exam which I take in a little over a week.

    Claudia Chalfa

    I had a thread a couple of weeks ago about this topic. It’s on all of our minds right now – particularly recent graduates or those who are graduating this spring, like me. You can look up and read the great comments many people added in there.

    I have wondered what the ASLA could do about this situation? Don’t they have a responsibility to their professionals? It seems like they could have some brainstorming sessions and help the profession cope with this economy. I attended the ASLA conference in San Francisco in 2007 and was struck by how expensive everything was (as a student I was unable to afford any of the tours, etc) and I came to realize that this organization must make quite a bit of money from such meetings. Maybe they could use some of that for marketing us? I am just so frustrated to see bright, talented young people losing jobs and floundering in their careers at a time when our environment is in distress, and our communities desperately need good planning strategies.

    I am optimistic that the new President will have a good economic stimulus package ready for us, with lots of public sector work to get us back on track.

    On another note, I would bet that places like Texas and New Orleans still have some jobs available…it seems like they would have to rebuild no matter what the economic situation is like.

    Clayton Munson

    It’s definitely tough out there. I’m working for a residential design build in Phoenix, which I think is one of the areas that was hit the hardest. Two years ago you couldn’t keep up with the amount of work that was coming in. The company I was hired by in 2006 went from 4 designers and 2 cad techs at the start of 2007 to just 1 designer by the end of 2007. As well as going from 150 plus field workers to 20 now. It’s to the point where even with a signed contract you can’t guarantee work. There are many homes that are standing with frames only because the homeowners have decided to pull out of the construction. That’s if the home even got to the construction point, many are being put on hold on the drawing board.

    One thing we can all do is take stock in what our company can offer and see if there is opportunity to expand the specialty. If you typically do residential look into commercial or muni.

    Christopher Scott


    I live in Rhode Island and I was laid off almost 2 months ago also. I’m hoping for better times also. I was planning to study for the LEED exam over the winter between job searches. Did you purchase study materials from PPI? Do you have any recommendations? Good Luck on your exam!


    I agree with Claudia about the timing for recent grads and people just about to graduate, it seems especially grim. Apparently California is now ranked as the state with the 3rd highest unemployment rate, just after Rhode Island and Michigan. I am originally from Houston and graduated from LSU, most of my classmates still have their jobs, but my heart’s set on San Fran. I just heard from a Harvard survey that they’re projecting 2010 as the year when the housing market will start picking up and people will start building again.

    What are all the laid off Landscape Architects supposed to do until then? Any ideas for ways to better your career without going back to school, until the economy turns around, please share them!

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