Start first LA job with Civil Engineering Firm and Career Path Suggestion??

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Start first LA job with Civil Engineering Firm and Career Path Suggestion??

Viewing 16 post (of 16 total)
  • Author
  • #150938


    I tend to agree with you…..that working with smaller CE Firms is easier and less complex than working with the “large” CE Firms….and I’ve worked with both many times.

    Not sure why, but the CEs in smaller firms do listen to LAs and show more respect for what we bring to a given project.

    However, my experiences working with “large” CE firms was never very good.

    One large CE firm up in the Midwest (withholding name of Firm)…they have approx. 100 CEs, MEs and Surveyors….plus, they have a staff of 12 LAs.  At the request of a client, I was asked to consult with this CE firm (with both the CEs and the LAs on board).  The CEs seemed almost clueless. The Head of the LA department had a “whole 10 yrs. of Exp.” at the time vs. my 25 yrs.  He seemed irritated that I was being asked by the client to be involved in a major project of theirs.  But, the LAs on this staff were IMO, not high quality or all that talented….compared to other LAs I have worked with and for).  The LA who was their #1 LA was actually a Partner in the firm too.  Their design work and graphics were less than impressive…but, the CEs they worked for didn’t seem to understand enough about our LA profession to see that…..but, I did.  Those CEs, even the LAs did not, IMO, show very much respect towards me, and, seemed to resent that I was part of the “design team”.

    Working recently with a Licensed LA in Florida (on an upscale CONDO development), I was given the opportunity to review the CEs Site Plan.  It was poorly done.  The site consisted of a major entry area, 9 (5 story buildings), associated parking areas and (2) large ponds.  The layout didn’t work and the pond shapes were not well thought out.  I did an over-lay and within less than 2 hours, came up with, what I felt was a much better Site Plan…including a quick prelim. resort style pool amenity area (that related to the ponds and the Clubhouse).  The feedback I received from BOTH the Florida LA and the Property Owner was very positive.  The LA told me that the Owner directed the CE to “revise” the Site Plan, using my “revised Site Plan input”.  The CE Firm for that project was a mid-sized firm.  I really feel that Developers should get LAs involved in major projects much earlier than they do…seems, all too often, the project CEs or Architects are asked to design the Site Plans…..and the results too often are disappointing.

    Well, I wouldn’t discourage a young LA from going to work for a CE firm (regardless of the size of that firm)….because, getting ANY experience early on is going to be a plus.  Even, going to work for an Architecture Firm is not a bad idea….many of those firms have a small LA design department.  I just believe……that, in most cases, you will most likely find the most talented LAs in a mid-size to large LA firm.  Though, I understand, a young LA could get pretty lost in an LA firm too.  BUT, I still maintain, “experience” early on is very important.  Young LAs need to get on board any design firm they can….be a “sponge” and learn everything they can from the Firm they join.  And… time, as they gain professional experience….they will be in a better position to possibly pick and choose another design firm… that they feel will be a better direction for THEIR LA career path.

    Thanks for your insight here, Andrew, with regards to CE firms… have actually been on board CE firms, so, you have first hand knowledge……that other LAs need to know about.



Viewing 16 post (of 16 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Lost Password