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College of Design

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Landscaping with a Side of Business

This past week we all got a dose of reality. With classes going strong, getting out to events and being as social as possible (nudge nudge wink wink): landscaping picnic this Thursday at Minnehaha Falls Park.2012_LA picnic-1.pdf. I also have my first meeting for the group U Students Like Good Food THIS Thursday at 4:30pm at Folwell Hall (right next to Rapson!) You all should come check it out. We are doing good things for campus dining life and your health! Lets see, Its going to be a crazy week for me.

So I am lucky enough to still be in contact with my summer work Tree Trust, which has a commercial landscape component as well as the non-profit aspect that got the company its' start. Last week I set up an interview with the current Project Manager Jeff V. I went to Jeff's office in St. Louis Park. So I had this awesome interview with the PM. I asked him about his path into the landscaping field and how he came to where he is today.
Jeff came from U Madison where he began as an engineering student, quickly realizing that was not his calling his advisor introduced him to the landscaping major and he graduated in 1997 with his BS in Landscaping...a degree that no longer exists. Now we have to get a masters degree in Landscaping and a undergraduate in design. Jeff talked with me about his experience working in the "biggest sector of landscape", Residential Design Build.
What I thought was really interesting about Jeff's current situation is that as a project manager I thought Jeff would be doing all the design work and orchestrating construction execution. But Jeff was clear that at a small company like Tree Trust he was accountable for more concrete details. He takes care of the financial reports, estimating, client meetings, site visits, as well as managing people and doing some designs. It is a all encompassing. His advice while we are taking design classes, take business classes too! "You are going to need to know how businesses are run" he told me. So I learned a lot talking to a working professional. I might even be persuaded to get myself into a business class before I graduate.

Just so you all know, I looked up some business courses offered at the U this semester. The subject of Business and Industry has been changed to Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development - OLPD and offers classes like Leadership, You and Your Community and Introduction to Organization Development. This is one way of entering the business world, another more right brained route would be taking a class under the subject of Business Administration - BA, which offers courses like Career Skills and Carlson Funds Enterprise: Growth. To me these seem helpful if you, like me, have very little experience with thinking like a business person. I want to expand my company and make it profitable. But how? take a business course and find out!

till next time,