Presidents Message

David L Stipe, ASLA, LLA

For the last month or so, I have been slowly working my way through our membership rolls and cross-referencing them against the state’s list of licensed landscape architects.  The primary reason for my efforts was two-fold:

  1. To understand just how many practitioners in the state are not members of ASLA or WASLA.
  2. To get a sense for the distribution of members and licensed practitioners throughout the state. 

As most of you would instinctively realize, a majority of our members are located in King County and that same majority exists amongst the licensed LAs.  What surprised me the most is the number of non-member licensed LAs there are in Washington State.  Given the many important programs, initiatives, professional development and legislative efforts that are supported by not only your membership dollars, but your active participation in our chapter efforts, I was expecting to see a much higher rate of membership amongst our professions licensed practitioners.  Some 400 LAs and landscape designers, our chapter members, are doing significant work for so many more who are not active participants.  Over the next year, I would like to see the gap between members and non-members shrink by an admirable amount.  We are a larger state chapter than most states, but we by no means capture all, or even a majority of the licensed LAs as members or participants.  When you add in the non-licensed landscape designers in the state, which are difficult to track, the gap grows even more. 

Why is this important you might ask?  I will boil it down to two things we all understand; money and time.  First your membership dollars are spent to do so many important things to advance the awareness of the profession and protect the practice both locally and at the national level.  Additional membership means additional financial resources to do even greater things for landscape architecture.  The chapter would have more resources to reach out more frequently to young professionals, children considering different professions while they finish up their high school careers, along with helping those preparing to take the LARE to succeed.  But our efforts go beyond ensuring that we have talented people to fill our shoes once we as established professionals decide to hang ‘em up.  The dollars also are critical in ensuring there is a vibrant and expanding profession for those energetic and talented young professionals to flourish in.  With additional dollars, the new programs and initiatives we have been discussing at the executive level become possible, but without a large and active membership volunteer time is limited. Those programs and initiative envisioned by the Executive Committee and all of the sub-committees are slow to get off the ground or end up on the cutting room floor when volunteer resources just aren’t there. 

So if you are a member, thank you.  I have not had the chance to say that to many of you in person.  We appreciate your dedication to the growth and preservation of our profession.  If you know of someone in your office, your circle of colleagues or your graduating class who is not a member, encourage them to join us.  If they have doubts about the value of your membership and active participation have them contact me or our new membership coordinator Tim Slaznik, joining us from the St. Louis chapter.  Tim is a past chapter president and will be assisting us in a membership drive over the next 12 months.  He recently relocated from the mid-west to Seattle and is beginning his new role as a Landscape Architect at GGLO. Our contact information can be found here -

Yours truly,

David L Stipe, ASLA, LLA 

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