The Year In Review

As 2012 draws to an end, I’d like to take a moment to reflect upon the past year. This has definitely been a year of changes for me.

What did 2012 bring for you?

Shortly after the first of the year, I made a job change that allowed me to advance my career in many ways. I had grown stagnant in my old role. It was a small firm and there was little, if any, room for advancement in what I could see as the foreseeable future.

Leaving the firm was definitely bittersweet. I had enjoyed the projects I was assigned to work on, as well as the people with whom I worked. However, moving to a larger firm afforded me many new opportunities.

Shortly after being hired at the new firm, I was assigned to manage a power-line siting project when another project manager, who had just been assigned the project, left the company. Allowing me to take the lead on this project was a bit unorthodox for the firm, because they usually only allow certified project managers to manage projects.

I was fortunate in finding a certified project manager who agreed to act as a mentor to me and take responsibility for the project while allowing me to manage the day-to-day operations. This was a great learning experience as we worked closely together over the spring and summer months.

During that time I also completed a very intense project manager-training program so that I, too, could manage projects in the future.

Having such an active role in this project allowed me to really expand my network. I worked closely with the vice president of our department and took an active role in the public involvement process, as well.

Managing this project put me in a client-facing position, and though this was not a new experience for me, it was unique in that this client was one of our largest clients. I had never received this type of exposure at my previous firm, and for this opportunity, I am truly grateful.

This year, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) held their Annual Meeting and Expo here in Phoenix during the end of September and beginning of October. Our ASLA Chapter was the Host Chapter, and I served as a member of the planning committee.

It was such an amazing experience to see what goes on behind the scenes and all the effort that goes into making the Annual Meeting a success. It was an experience I will carry with me forever.

As the year came to a close, my projects wrapped up and I was moved to hourly status. This was a scary situation for me, as I heard of other firms laying off planners, too. A colleague of mine at another firm contacted me and asked if I would help her with the planning and design of a municipal park renovation.

Because of my change in status at work, I had available time to help her, and have really enjoyed working on a large design project--something I haven’t done in over four years now.

While my future with the firm is still uncertain, I am excited about the prospects of the New Year and look forward to the changes in 2013.

I hope that 2012 has been a year of successes for you and that 2013 will continue to bring joy and prosperity to each of you.

Have you had any changes in your life this past year? If so, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment below, send me a tweet, or even an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!

Boyd Coleman is a landscape architect in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached on twitter at @CDGLA or email: