The GreenMan Blog: view all entries at blog.devonblosch.com
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I have so many things to be thankful for: a loving family, everyone's support, my new job, a nice home, and our many travels & experiences throughout the year. This year we traveled to: South Padre to visit Joe & Barbara's condo (March), Riviera Maya, Mexico for our friends destination wedding which happened to also coincide with my 30th birthday (April), Las Vegas (June), our Family fishing trip at Nelson's Resort in Minnesota/Canada (August), touring the vineyards in Napa Valley for Jay's 35th (September), Iowa for Dr. Joe K. Moody's distinguished faculty award ceremony (October), and a weekend trip to Austin on Jay's actual birthday (November). Looking forward to a great holiday season with lots of dinner parties and visiting loved ones. Should be a nice wrap up to the year. Happy Holiday Season to you and yours!
It's been a big year! I turned 30 this year and made my first big career change. After 6 years at Archiverde, I switched to Studio Outside to become a Project Leader. Studio Outside (sO) is relatively the same age as Archiverde. The main principles (Tary Arterburn, Chip Impastato, Mike Fraze, and Bill Millsap) formed sO in 2010. While based in Dallas, sO has significant commissions across Texas and the United States and significant experience in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Asia. The major differences between the firms is size and project type. sO has over 40 employees and is still growing. The projects range from residential, ranches, public gardens, campuses, public parks, retail/mixed use, and subdivision/planned communities. I'll primarily be focused in the commercial and retail/mixed use sector. A big change from high-end residential, but a welcomed new experience. The firm itself is located at the entry gates to Fair Park in Dallas -- only a 12 minute drive from my house. The office's space was beautifully renovated to accommodate all the new hires over the past two years. The people are welcoming, smart, and focused. I would guess the average age of the employees would be around 37ish.The office has a good focus on team building by holding many social events, retreats, after hour happy hours, and volunteer opportunities. One of the major perks of the new job is the benefits package: medical/dental/life insurances, disability, 401K, jury duty compensation, maternity/paternity leave, potential 7.5% yearly bonus, yearly continuing education stipend, holidays (with half days before all major holidays), and 3 weeks paid vacation for under 5 years and 4 weeks paid vacation for over 5 years, both with 40 hours of rollover per year. That means I could potentially have 4 weeks paid vacation starting in 2016 and 5 weeks paid vacation in 2020. Oh! and the other major perk: the office maintains a half day Friday schedule year-round: 9 hours M-R, 4 hours on Friday. Awesome! More later...
Well, it's here... CE
It finally happened. 2015 is the first year I have to start my CE (continuing education). I guess it's true, my profession is always evolving, growing, and changing... but really? I just went through a 5 year program to get my degree, a year internship, and then 3 years of professional licensing exams... only to have two years off before starting my yearly 12 hour CE requirement to renew my license (every year, BTW). It's just... I guess I understand, it's just frustrating. All registrants must complete at least 12 Continuing Education Program Hours (CEPH) per calendar year. All 12 CEPH must include the study of subjects related to your profession and be pertinent to the health, safety, and welfare of the public:
- At least one of the twelve hours must be related to sustainable or energy-efficient design
- At least one of the twelve hours must be related to barrier-free design.
- At least eight of the twelve hours must be structured activities, (classroom/classroom equivalent)
- A maximum of four hours may be self-directed.
At least 4 of the hours can be self-directed. Such as, reading from books or professional magazines. Even touring and visiting buildings, historic sites or landmarks that incorporate elements of your design profession fall under self-directed study. But some activities that you would think would work, are not approved. The other 8 hours are required to be structured classes (in a classroom or online course) -- which cost money. Not only is my yearly license renewal fee $305, I have to pay for 8 hours of classes. At RedVector.com (a CE provider), they have online classes you pay for packaged or individually. The packaged Landscape Architecture 12 hour class is $377! Or you can pick and choose classes. Selecting the minimum requirements comes to about about 4 classes, totaling $288. With the cheapest option, renewing my license every year comes to about $600. There is another option. You can go to the National (or State) Landscape Architecture Annual Meeting and EXPO. But if it's not in the city you live, you have to factor in travel cost, lodging, and the registration fee. The Texas ASLA Meeting and Expo is coming up so I'll use that as the example. The registration price (for early bird ASLA members) is $265. The event is in Galveston, TX, so we need transportation; flight from DFW to HOU is $220. But that's only to Houston, so we need to rent a car for 3 days, coming to $180. Did we add the hotel yet? Additional, $226 (and that's at the Red Roof Inn). Totaling a whopping $891 (not including food, tips, taxes/fees, entertainment, so on). And the national meeting is about double that price. All in all it's just expensive to be a Landscape Architect. I guess all this weeds out the people that don't have a passion for it. P.S. If you are just starting out like me, the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners offer a 1.5 hour course over CE Practice and Procedures for about $35. It gives a few helpful hints. For instance, 1 CEPH is a Continuing Education Program Hour. One CEPH equals a minimum of fifty (50) minutes of actual course time.