Presidents Message

David L Stipe, ASLA, LLA

Reviewing the draft of the recent newsletter this past week, I was struck by how our chapter is quickly being transformed and revitalized by all of the young professionals who have become involved over the last couple of years. Many of our committees are becoming flush with enthusiastic, energized 20-somethings. I can’t help but reflect on the first ten years of my career and how I was engaged in a few self-serving activities. Nothing I was doing after 5pm or on the weekends was helping to advance the practice of our chosen profession. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I did not care.  I just wanted to be outside on a bike or rock climbing.   

I have come to what is likely the third period of my career and the second year of my presidency and am looking around realizing, that for the first time, it is possible that everyone in a studio/office/meeting may in fact be younger than me. What the hell happened and how did it happen so fast? 

Careers have a nasty habit of speeding up, with opportunities coming along maybe once or twice. If you are not paying attention to those career opportunities as a young professional, viewing them as such, you might just mistake them as another job or task that you have to take on to earn a paycheck. That is how I approached the first period of my career, with a few exceptions that have brought me to this point. This is not what I am seeing from folks like Laura Thompson, Julia Culp, Luca Vannice, Blake Erlandsen, Katie Bang, Amber Raynsford, Steph Stroud, Jillian Reiner, Kate Richards and all the other first-period professionals that serve on our committees. They are seizing opportunities to serve the chapter with great enthusiasm. In many cases it is the only place early in their careers where they get to lead some initiative. Sure we have a few second and third period Landscape Architects that are committing time to the advancement of our profession, but we are easily outnumbered by our younger peers. 

I would like to hold out our young engaged members as an example to all of our established practitioners. These active members defy the definition placed on them as ‘millennials.’ They are active and engaged, volunteering their time to serve the chapter. I suggest that our older more ‘seasoned’ members step up and help advance our cause. If you accept my challenge, go to the committee’s page at and reach out to a committee chair, likely a 20-something, to offer you support and assistance in the work they are doing.

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