Welcome back to part III of our interview with Rick Stout, a landscape architect and project manager with FVE.
GRAE: I understand that good project management requires a certain amount of mentoring. What types of advice do you pass along to your interns and future PM-ers when they ask “how do you do what you do”?
Rick: It’s really simple…when I’m on the property, I kind-a put my hand up to my ear, and tell them, if you really listen closely, the property will tell you what to do. It can only bear so-much. So if you are really in-tune; from solar angles, to topography, to trees it will tell you what you can do. Everything from the house design, to site design variables…there is a ‘balance’, and it’s not that difficult if you can get over what I call, your own designer-orgasm need. The goal really, is to see not only what’s attainable, but it has to be feasible, and functional as well. This is where it helps to have a good read on the owner.
GRAE: So you’re not afraid to make your clients do a little work?
Rick: Not at all! It’s our job to give the owner the correct choices…and challenging them to make decisions does that. It’s not a confrontation, it’s simple leadership. They’ve hired us because they value our opinion…because they’re novices, so they rely on us to provide leadership.
GRAE: Interesting…does that work the same way when you have other professionals on your team like architects or engineers?
Rick: I believe we must be receptive to other professionals and to what their perceptions are. Let’s say we’re talking about slope stabilization. The engineer may say to drive sheet wall. Well, that solution will definitely work, but it may be 3x the cost compared to a bio-engineering approach using saplings, root bundles, or cuttings to re-establish vegetation and allow the root mass to build up. So I like to ask them if they’ve considered this, and that way, I’ve not only listened to their solution, but collectively, we’ve come together and found an optimal solution for the client.
GRAE: Sounds like it helps to have a full-service team on the job..?
Rick: Absolutely, and knowing the language of the engineers and architects is key to effective communication. So by knowing the client, and working toward their master-plan we satisfy their needs first and foremost. Again, the LA’s leadership helps make sure all disciplines have evaluated the constructibility concerns and are working to that ultimate end…which of course is, a successful project for the client.
GRAE: Well, we certainly appreciated your expertise Rick, thanks! One final thought, I understand you have some golf course design training…any chance we could get some more of your ideas for an article on my GR Golf Examiner site?
Rick: That’s right, I had a few classes at MSU…and would love to share my experiences!
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Success come’s in can’s; not can’ts…(author unknown)
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