Articles

    OCASLA Members Featured in The Dirt

    Jerry Smith, FASLA of  SMITH | GreenHealth Consulting and Yumin Li, ASLA of POD Design have been working together on an American-style senior living development in China. Read about their exciting new project in The Dirt.

    U.S. Congress Passes The National Park Service Centennial Act

    ASLA is excited to announce that the U.S. Congress heard your voices and passed H.R. 4680, the National Park Service Centennial Act.

    The bipartisan legislation celebrates the National Park Service's 100th year of existence and provides tools and resources to safeguard America's iconic natural and historical treasures. The Centennial bill also establishes the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund to finance signature construction, maintenance, and educational projects by matching private contributions with federal dollars. The Fund will be essential to help protect and preserve America's national parks, which are facing incredible challenges.

    ASLA supports the mission of the NPS to preserve the natural and cultural treasures and the values of the national park enterprise for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of current and future generations. Landscape architects have a deep connection to our national parks and the profession played a key role in the passage of the National Park Service Organic Act, legislation that established the NPS in 1916.

    For the past two years, ASLA advocates have voiced strong support for passing NPS Centennial legislation, including sending thousands of messages to Congress and advocating for the issue during the annual ASLA Advocacy Days. Once again, your voice played an essential role to achieve this legislative accomplishment on behalf of NPS. Thank you for your unwavering advocacy efforts. 

    Using Native Turf on Your Next Project

    Using Native Turf on Your Next Project:

    By Pamela Simmons, LEED AP BD + C, ARCSA AP, Co-Owner of Turpin Farms, Chairman of the USGBC SW OH Regional Chapter Sustainable Sites Committee, Supervisor of the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District

    Having grown up in the sod industry, I know sod gets a bad rap especially in the world of sustainable landscaping. Because we strive to be as sustainable as possible in our practices at Turpin Farms, we decided to try and produce a turf product that would benefit the built environment by introducing the advantages of native grasses.

    Native grasses are particularly well suited for establishing wildlife habitats, soaking up rain water in a rain garden or for sediment and erosion control. Ohio native grasses add a different leaf texture, color and movement to the landscape.

    Click here to download the full article.

     

    Inside Design: Branch Out

    By Michael Laris, Director, Product Development and Strategy Playworld Systems, Inc.

    I’ve worked in the playground equipment industry for decades and one of the best aspects of my job is getting to see firsthand the pure joy that play brings to children. My team and I work hard ensuring we’re continually innovating and designing equipment that keeps children excited about free play.

    For a while now, we’ve been intrigued by the renewed interest in nature play and frankly, a bit disenchanted by the current state of post and platform playgrounds. Having discussed these two factors extensively, our brainstorms and design sessions eventually led us to Branch Out. Launched in January 2016, Branch Out is a large play component inspired by the play that happens in trees.

    In retrospect, I think designing Branch Out was an extremely fascinating process. While the tree seemed like a good starting point, we were always very sure about not wanting to replicate it. After all, why create something that already exists? Plus, we can’t compete with the beauty of our planet’s natural landscape. Our goal, instead, with Branch Out was to draw more people to the playground and in doing so, we focused on bringing to life an inclusive play component and creating meaningful play experiences for children of all ages in an open, efficient layout.

    Designed for children ages 5-12, it has the scale to become the central hub of any playground. However, it is transparent, non-directional and open. And with play happening on multiple levels and directions, people to can imagine their own story as they play.

    Additionally, the complexity of elements and absence of an obvious play path foster physical and cognitive engagement, effective hand-eye coordination, decision making, greater individual challenge, risk management, a deeper understanding of the surrounding and the opportunity for social interaction among children.

    Our team designed Branch Out as a play component that encourages kids to embrace new challenges and play activities. It is my hope that this piece will encourage kids and adults alike to step outdoors and head to a playground. What other aspects of nature play would you like to rediscover on the playground? - See more at: http://playworld.com/blog/inside-design-branch-out/

    Wet or Electronic Stamp: Ethical Considerations

    Wet or Electronic Stamp: Ethical Considerations by Luther L. Liggett, Jr., Partner, Korhman Jackson & Krantz

    As technological advances race onward to achieve previously unimaginable computerized applications, design professional practice laws remain conservative in order to insure the highest level of professionalism and protection to the public.

    Before the age of computers, traditional practice and law required crimping or signing over a design professional seal, usually with colored ink to identify an original. But paper is a tool of the past, and today’s project owners develop construction documents on computers for ease of correction and transmittal.

    Ohio law accommodates electronic seals, provided that an Architect follows several different sets of rules promulgated for different purposes. This article will review those provisions of law.

    Click here to read the full article

    Landscape Institute launches `Be A Landscape Architect` careers website

    Posted: 14 Sep 2015 03:08 AM PDT

    Now, the Landscape Institute has just launched another initiative profiling rising stars on its Be A Landscape Architect careers website.

    Be A Landscape Architect  is the Landscape Institute’s new look careers website.  It acts as an information resource for school leavers, undergraduates, post-graduates and career changers thinking about becoming landscape architects.  As well as providing details of how to study in the UK and abroad it includes inspirational content about working in the profession.

    The post Landscape Institute launches “Be A Landscape Architect” careers website appeared first on World Landscape Architecture.

     

    Announcing The Launch of the New Transportation and Health Tool

    The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Centers for Disease Control are pleased to announce the launch of the new Transportation and Health Tool, which provides easy access to data that practitioners can use to examine the health impacts of transportation systems. The Transportation and Health Tool provides data on 14 transportation and public health indicators for each state, metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and urbanized area (UZA). 

    The indicators measure how the transportation environment affects health with respect to safety, active transportation, air quality, and connectivity to destinations.  You can use the tool to quickly see how a state, MSA, or UZA compares with others in addressing key transportation and health issues. The tool also provides information and resources to help agencies better understand the links between transportation and health and to identify strategies to improve public health through transportation planning and policy.

    Explore the Transportation and Health Tool: 

    • Select a state, MSA, or UZA from the map to see how it performs on each indicator;
    • Learn about the 14 indicators and the process used to select them;
    • Discover evidence-based strategies that practitioners can use to address health through transportation; and
    • Read more about the scoring methodology or download a spreadsheet with the complete dataset.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) jointly developed the tool in partnership with the American Public Health Association.

    If you have questions or feedback about the Transportation and Health Tool, please contact tht@dot.gov

    Press Release: Mayor Coleman and Partners break ground on the City’s first Urban Tree Nursery

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    September 15, 2015

     

    Contact

    Erin Miller, Mayor’s Office, 645-0815

    John Ivanic, Columbus City Council, 645-6798

    Web – Facebook – Twitter

     

    Mayor Coleman and Partners break ground on the City’s first Urban Tree Nursery

    Mayor Michael B. Coleman joined today with Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther, the Weinland Park community and more than 20 non-profit organizations to announce a pilot program for an urban tree nursery and to unveil a community wide effort, Branch Out Columbus, whose goal is to plant 300,000 trees throughout the city by the year 2020.

    For the first time in the city’s history, a thorough Urban Tree Canopy Assessment was conducted. The study was led by the Columbus Recreation & Parks Division of Forestry and prepared by consultant, Plan-It-Geo.

    The study shows that the urban tree canopy in Columbus covers 22% of the land, at a total of 31,171 acres. These trees provide a multitude of economic, environmental, and social benefits, conservatively valued at more than $12.1 million annually.

    “The City of Columbus is committed to a 27% tree canopy by 2020, but we cannot do it alone. That is why we are branching out by creating the “Branch Out Columbus” campaign calling for community wide action,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman.

    An executive order will be prepared by Mayor Coleman to preserve and restore trees on all city led construction projects.  To help residents on private property, through our GreenSpot Backyard Conservation Program, the City will pay up to a $50 rebate to plant native trees on their property while supplies last (currently there are enough funds for approximately 400 trees).

    The city, through the Recreation & Parks Foundation, has set up a fund at the Columbus Foundation where businesses and residents can donate money towards the planting of trees in the community.

    “Trees are an important part of improving the quality of life in Columbus,” said Council President Ginther.  “From cleaning the air and water to improving property values and fighting greenhouse gases, trees make Columbus a great place to live and work.”

    Mayor Coleman and residents of the Weinland Park neighborhood also announced a pilot program for an urban tree nursery. The vacant land, owned by the City of Columbus’ Land Bank and Campus Partners, on 8th Avenue near 5th Avenue will be the city’s first Urban Tree Nursery. The vision is for the nursery to be a place where trees can grow to be planted in the neighborhood and where residents can learn about the importance of trees and how to properly care for them.

    The Mayor announced the goal is to have at least four urban tree nurseries established in our target neighborhoods by the year 2020.

    For more information about the Branch Out Columbus- 300,000 trees by 2020 campaign, and to see a copy of the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment, please visit www.columbus.gov/branchout .

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    GBCI Launches SITES, its Newly Acquired Rating System for Sustainable Landscapes

    GBCI Launches SITES, its Newly Acquired Rating System for Sustainable Landscapes

    Author: Marisa Long
    Published on: Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    SITES addresses global concerns such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and resource depletion through sustainable landscape design and management

    June 10, 2015 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) launched its newly acquired SITES rating system, the most comprehensive program and toolkit for developing sustainable landscapes.

    SITES was developed through a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort of the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden. The rating system can be applied to development projects located on sites with or without buildings - ranging from national parks to corporate campuses, streetscapes and homes, and much more. 

    “Landscapes knit together the fabric of our communities,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO, GBCI. “And sustainable landscapes are critical in their ability to reduce water demand, filter and reduce storm water runoff, provide wildlife habitat, reduce energy consumption, improve air quality, improve human health, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities. SITES is an important addition to our toolkit, and GBCI appreciates this opportunity to support this additional contribution to healthy, thriving communities and neighborhoods.”

    “It is exciting to see years of work developing and field testing SITES culminate with the availability of this rating system,” said Fritz Steiner, FASLA, dean of the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. “The depth and breadth of approaches that were implemented by pilot projects demonstrates how valuable SITES can become for revolutionizing our relationships with built landscapes.” 

    “Landscape architects and members of all the related design and planning fields know that the issues addressed in SITES are increasingly important to creating livable and resilient communities,” said Nancy C. Somerville, executive vice president and CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). “GBCI will take SITES to the next level and ensure its future growth and influence, and ASLA is pleased to provide continued education and communications support.”

    “SITES is a powerful tool for enhancing built landscapes precisely because it puts ecosystem services, the benefits humans derive from functional ecosystems, front and center,” said Ari Novy, executive director of the United States Botanic Garden. “This approach will help maximize our collective ability to create sustainable and healthy communities. Making SITES available through GBCI will be a great boon for the quality and resilience of our built landscapes.”

    The SITES rating system uses progressive industry standards for landscape design and incorporates additional recommendations from technical experts in the fields of soil science, botany and horticulture, hydrology, materials, and human health and well-being. Some of the credits for sustainable landscape performance have been developed in alignment with similar credits in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, the world’s most widely used green building program. 

    SITES, originally modeled after LEED, includes best practices in landscape architecture, ecological restoration and related fields as well as knowledge gained through peer-reviewed literature, case-study precedents and projects registered in the SITES pilot program.

    “Adding SITES to GBCI’s rapidly growing list of certification systems and credentials it supports not only expands GBCI’s capabilities, but it also helps us to further our mission to enact global sustainable change,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president, GBCI.

    SITES draws on the experience gained from a two-year pilot program involving more than 100 projects. Forty-six of these pilot projects have achieved certification, including landscape projects at corporate headquarters, national and city parks, academic campuses and private homes.

    Interested project teams can visit sustainablesites.org for more information and to register their projects and access the SITES v2: Rating System For Sustainable Land Design and Development, a guide that provides best practices, performance benchmarks and tools for creating ecologically resilient landscapes and rewards successful projects through certification.

    The Wildflower Center and ASLA will help GBCI create and implement SITES credentialing and certification offerings such as training project reviewers and will provide educational opportunities for pursuing SITES certification.

    The Columbus Dispatch: Columbus parks director announces he'll retire

    By Mark Ferenchik • The Columbus Dispatch  •  Wednesday March 11, 2015 

    Alan McKnight is retiring as executive director of Columbus’ Recreation and Parks Department after more than 38 years with the city and eight as the department’s leader. 

    His last day will be May 31.

    McKnight, 61, led the department during some turbulent times as he dealt with budget cuts during the Great Recession, and was forced to close recreation centers and pools, decisions he called gut-wrenching. “Folks are very passionate about their parks and rec centers,” he said.

    Read the full article here.

    Healthcare In Transition - A Landscape Forms' Roundtable Discussion

    A Leaders Roundtable on current issues and approaches in healthcare facilities planning and design, created and sponsored by Landscape Forms. The discussion included directors and administrators of three of the country’s largest medical centers, architects from international firms, architects and landscape architects from regional practices.

    See full article here...

    GOINGnative: False Solomon’s Seal

    GOINGnative: False Solomon's Seal By Barry Glick

    Article from Washington Gardener, Summer 2012

    I had to go to England!!! Yes, I had to go to the UK to be enlightened about a plant that grew in my own backyard. In my defense, I was so much younger then and much less enlightened. But here’s the short of it. In 1992, my friend, Dan Heims, and I spent two solid weeks travelling around the UK visiting gardens, plant collections, and friends. It was a plantsman’s dream trip starting off with two nights as the guests of Agatha Christie’s daughter, a day with Beth Chatto, a day with Elizabeth Strangman, and many other legends of British gardening and culminating with a full day, sun up to sun down, of Dan and I strolling around Wisley with Graham Stuart Thomas just the three of us. (I’d use a few exclamation points here, but I’ve been told that I use too many!)...

    Click here to read the entire article.

    About the Author:

    Barry Glick is the self-proclaimed “King of Helleborus” and owner/manager of Sunshine Farm & Gardens (http://www.sunfarm.com/), a mail-order plant nursery nestled on 60 acres on a mountaintop in Greenbrier County, WV. Barry grows more than 10,000 different plants and specializes in native plants and hellebores. He can be reached at 304.497.2208 or mailto:barry@sunfarm.com

    Join ASLA: Membership Benefits

    Visit the ASLA National membership page: http://www.asla.org/join.aspx

    For more than 100 years, ASLA has promoted the practice of landscape architecture and advanced the profession through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship. ASLA members enjoy many benefits and discounts with their annual dues but the value of membership extends far beyond discounts. Joining ASLA is an asset to your professional development.

    Check out this video to see why you should join ASLA today!

    Green Infrastructure: Nature’s Way

    Wade Trim

    West Creek Stream Restoration Project, Parma, Ohio by Wade Trim

    A natural approach to the problem of stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflow has been the idea of green infrastructure—systems and practices that use or mimic natural processes to infiltrate, evapotranspire, or reuse stormwater and runoff on the site where it is generated.

    Many regions and municipalities are working on projects right now that address the important issue of combined sewer overflow. Many older cities must reduce the amount of stormwater that overflows into their sewer lines, as mandated by the Clean Water Act.

    The problem with the combined system is that when the rainwater system gets overwhelmed, it can put raw sewage directly into the storm runoff receptacle. That means streams, rivers and Lake Erie are seeing more sewage than they bargained for.

    Landscape architects are uniquely positioned to help solve this problem.

    “Our approach with green infrastructure is that it’s not a silver bullet,” says David Anthony of Cleveland-based Wade Trim. “It is a part of a toolbox as you explore a long-term control plan for combined sewer overflow.”

    Anthony says it’s a challenge for communities to pay for these projects over a declining population base—many of which have been decreed by the Department of Justice. And they need creative ways to address the problem.

    “It’s a situation where … green infrastructure and a gray solution, that combined solution hasn’t been fully vetted yet,” he says. “The new technology we’re working on has pretty small data sets. We need more data to prove that the technology works to achieve the end product to remove stormwater from the combined system.”

    Wade Trim is in the early stages of working with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District on the management of its stormwater program.

    Green infrastructure can also be seen as a modification of a gray infrastructure: streets, roofs, parking lots, and city storm water and sewer systems.

    In addition to countless municipal projects underway throughout the state, one of the most recognizable examples of a green infrastructure project is at the Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden in Bexley, which has been a showcase of sustainability for the past 15 years.

    The use of permeable pavers in the driveway and parking lot are a great example of green infrastructure, according to Gary Meisner of Meisner + Associates/ Land Vision in Cincinnati. Rather than water flowing quickly off of a paved surface and into the storm drains, permeable pavers allow water to flow to plant-covered ground where it can be slowly absorbed.

    Springfield

    Springfield Regional Medical Center Green Roof, Springfield, Ohio by Meisner + Associates

    Meisner also worked on the green roof at the Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Ohio. “It’s combining functional storm water management with aesthetics, which is important for planning and design.”

    Hospitals have been setting standards for this kind of work, Meisner adds. “There are many different ways to be green. Each assignment has its own potential.”

    Anthony notes: “As we move forward in the next five years, we will use green infrastructure as a way to create stormwater features that fit within the context of neighborhoods.”

    If your firm has a green infrastructure case study it would like to share, please contact us at:

    info@ocasla.com.

    Transportation Enhancements: Building a Better Future

    URS

    Euclid Avenue Corridor Healthline, Cleveland, Ohio by URS Corporation

    The public funding appropriated to Transportation Enhancement projects has given landscape architecture a vibrant role in the design of streetscapes, multipurpose trails and environmental and scenic revitalization.

    With Ohio landscape architecture firms at the helm, local entities are getting funding assistance, design leadership and guidance to see their projects come to fruition.

    One of Ohio’s largest Transportation Enhancement Program projects in recent history was the Euclid Avenue Corridor Healthline enhancement in downtown Cleveland. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and the City of Cleveland commissioned URS Corporation to conduct the conceptual and preliminary design of an improved streetscape.

    “It was built to enhance transit by shortening the ride, but also as an economic development tool,” said Thomas M. Evans, Manager, Landscape Architecture/Green Infrastructure Design Services at URS in Cleveland.

    Landscaped medians and sidewalk streetscape design improved the physical appearance of the corridor and the public transit experience. The area has seen multibillion-dollar business investments since the project was finished.

    URS also worked on the adjacent E. 14th streetscape, commissioned by PlayhouseSquare and partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to continue the Euclid Avenue urban aesthetic. The north sidewalk was widened by four feet to allow pedestrian flow and room for outdoor cafes, and more than 100 in-ground LED lights add a theatrical feel to the PlayhouseSquare District.

    The Panhandle Passage Trail in Dennison, Ohio, is being developed by Akron-based Floyd Browne Group as an initiative of the Tuscarawas County Trail and Greenspace Plan. The plan will provide for a multipurpose paved trail linking the Twin Cities of Uhrichsville and Dennison along the Little Stillwater Creek Greenway.

    Dennis Mersky, Senior Principal at Floyd Browne Group, said it’s a great example of federal dollars filtering down to local planning projects: “This involves a series of initiatives, including the Ohio & Erie Canal Coalition and Tuscarawas County. There are many partners and we serve a design leadership role.”

    The project is aimed at stimulating tourism in a rural area as well as providing residents with green space and protection of Little Stillwater Creek.

    Mersky said the transportation enhancement program is an innovative segment of landscape architecture. “It’s providing an alternate way to experience the landscape, to find forgotten sights.”

    From restoration to urban growth and development, the Transportation Enhancements program provides the opportunity for innovative and constructive thinking. Ohio landscape architectural firms are playing a key role in changing and reinventing how people get to work or school, run errands and experience their everyday journeys.

    There have been efforts made recently by some government officials to reduce or eliminate the TE program funding. At this time, those efforts await legislative action. ASLA strongly supports the reauthorization of the TE program, as the benefits of this program provide key opportunities for both community transportation projects and landscape architects alike. The continuation of this program will allow Ohio landscape architectural firms to continue to “move” the next generation.

    If your firm has a TE program case study you would like to share please contact us at:

     info@ocasla.com

    Three Rules of Career Management for 2012

    The biggest difference between today's employment world and that of our fathers' is the rapid pace of corporate change. Expectations of company stability and long lasting employment are a thing of the past. If one isn't tuned into the signals of corporate change it can mean an unexpected layoff and months of unemployment and job searching. Do you have a career management plan to ensure your career growth in times of corporate chaos?

    To prevent career disaster, live by these three rules of career management:

    Expect Change

    Adjust quickly to change

    Build a strong professional network in good times

    1. Expect change

    Change in the work place is far less traumatic when it is expected as the norm. One of the most important career management skills is the ability to detect signs of corporate change. For instance:

    * Rumors of corporate merger or takeover

    * Corporate profit levels spiraling downward

    * No end-of-year bonuses given

    * Hints of layoffs to trim the budget

    * Upper management suddenly resigning

    * Your peers jumping ship to the competition

    Don't get caught off guard by holding on to a false sense of security or displaced loyalty. Those who fear change trust corporate loyalty rather than face the reality of their precarious position in the corporate food chain. Expect change and keep your eyes and ears open—or you could be the last in line when it's time to find new career opportunities.

    Don't wait for change to strike. While your job is secure and your work environment is stable, take steps to keep your skills highly desirable in the job market. For starters:

    * Stay current with technology trends of your industry

    * Get certified if appropriate

    * Keep your resume current at all times

    * Be ready to interview at a moment's notice

    2. Adjust quickly to change

    Your ability to keep your career momentum building in the midst of corporate chaos depends on your skill at adjusting quickly to change. First, don't over analyze your dilemma. Too often valuable time is wasted trying to figure out ways to make a bad situation work. Second rule, don't take it personally, or you won't be able to plan your exit strategy clearly. Third, take action as soon as possible.

    If your resume is kept current at all times you will be ahead of the pack when others consider moving on as well. Your resume should be updated every six months. For quick updating keep an ongoing record of your accomplishments as you overcome work challenges.

    Maintaining confidentiality during a job search while still employed is a challenge that requires discretion and level headedness. Ideally, no one in your company should even suspect that you are looking for other employment. Resist the urge to speak to coworkers about your decision for action. Not only do loose lips sink ships, but why put ideas in the minds of others who may become your interview competition? Keep your regular work hours and try to schedule interviews during off-work time. Avoid posting your resume online where your employer may find it.

    3. Build a strong professional network in good times

    One thing that hasn't changed over the decades is the fact that a majority of people still get new positions faster through networking. What used to be called the “good ol' boy system” is as active in the job market as ever. Technology will never replace the need to be connected to a vast network of people who can help you find new career opportunities quickly.

    The problem is that most people ignore their network until they need it. Bad idea. If you haven't kept in touch with former coworkers how will you know how to find them when you need them?

    If your professional network is slim to none, get working on it right now. There are many great venues for building your network: professional associations, college alumni groups and former colleagues to name a few. Take time to meet with non-work people on a regular basis. Get to know them as friends and develop relationships built around mutual interests, friendship and trust. Make relationship building your lifelong habit and you'll never be without help when you need to make a career change.

    More than ever, proactive career management is essential to professional growth. Keep these rules of surviving corporate change as the building blocks of your career management plan and you'll stay in control of your professional growth and income potential.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Deborah Walker, Certified Career Management Coach

    Read more career tips and see sample resumes at:

    http://www.alphaadvantage.com/

    email: Deb@Alphaadvantage.com

    Beware of the Top 5 Interview Mistakes

    We’ve all heard stories of job candidates who looked great on paper but who were absolute disasters in person. With fewer interview opportunities available in our competitive job market, it’s essential to make the best possible first impression.

    Learn from the mistakes of others and avoid these top five worst interview blunders:

    1. Not preparing for the tough interview questions.

    Like every job seeker, you probably have your own set of tough interview questions you hope will never be asked. The best strategy is to prepare ahead of time with answers to ALL of these questions. A career coach can be a great resource for helping you work out suitable answers with a positive spin on negative or challenging career situations.

    2. Failure to match communication styles.

    Making a great first impression is easier to do when you communicate effectively with your interviewer. The best way to do this is by mirroring his or her communication style. Allowing your interviewer to set the tone of the conversation will put him or her at ease and makes the conversation flow more naturally. For instance: * If the interviewer seems all business, don’t attempt to loosen him or her up with a joke or story. Be succinct. * If the interviewer is personable, try discussing his or her interests. Personal items on display in the office can be a clue. * If asked a direct question, answer directly. Then follow up by asking if more information is needed.

    3. Talking too much.

    In my recruiting days, I abhorred over-talkative candidates, and so did most of my client employers who interviewed these candidates. Over-talking takes several forms: * Taking too long to answer direct questions. The impression: This candidate just can’t get to the point. * Nervous talkers. The impression: This candidate is covering up something or is outright lying. To avoid either of these forms of over-talking, practice answering questions in a direct manner. Using role-playing in preparing for your interview will help you avoid excessive, nervous talking.

    4. Saying negative things about your current or past employers or managers.

    Even if your last boss was Attila the Hun, avoid stating your ill feelings about the person or work situation. No matter how reasonable your complaints, your negative comments will be viewed as disrespect towards your boss. When faced with the challenge of talking about former employers, make sure you are prepared with a positive spin on your experiences.

    5. Giving away too much salary and earnings information.

    Candidates often weaken their future earning potential by speaking too freely about their current income. No matter the official salary range of the position you are interviewing for, your current earnings have an enormous effect on the size of the offer. Investing in a career coach to help you answer salary questions can add thousands of dollars to your new job offer.

    You already know that it takes a strong resume that sets you apart as a candidate of choice to be invited for an interview. The next step is to hone your interviewing skills to actually win job offers. Polishing your interviewing skills can mean the difference between getting the job and being a runner-up.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Deborah Walker, Certified Career Management Coach

    Read more career tips and see sample resumes at:

    http://www.alphaadvantage.com/

    email: Deb@Alphaadvantage.com

    Five Tips to Ace Your Next Phone Interview

    In today's job market a phone interview is the first step toward a face-to-face interview. Yet most job seekers dread phone interviews. The lack of facial cues and body language tends to unnerve interviewees. If you feel this way as well, the following tips will help you feel more in control and confident for your next phone interview.

    Eliminate distractions:

    Choose your environment wisely. For best results plan to interview at home in a room cut off from kids, TV and pets. Use a good quality land line and disable phone features like call waiting.

    Print out these documents:

    The best thing about phone interviews is that you can have as much supporting documents handy as you need. Minimally, have your resume and the job description printed out. Optimally include a list of your accomplishments that you can share. Additionally, you can have a list of answers to the toughest questions you anticipate at hand. For unplanned phone interviews, keep these documents within easy reach so that you are always ready refer to them.

    Watch your own body language:

    The toughest thing about phone interviews is the lack of physical cues, but they will be able to “hear” the positive energy in your voice when you smile as you speak. Your voice will carry better when you sit up straight, or better yet, stand as you speak.

    Ask the right question:

    Be prepared with a short list of questions to ask that will uncover your interviewers “hot buttons.” This will help you to hit the right selling points when you answer his/her questions. You'll be less dependent upon body-language ques when you already know what he/she wants to hear. Your questions might include:

    What qualities are you looking for?

    What are the most significant challenges of the position?

    Sell yourself:

    If you don't sell yourself you won't be invited for the face-to-face interview. Specific examples are the best way to demonstrate how well you've done your job. Stories sell. Before the interview practice talking about your best accomplishments. Don't think of it as bragging. After all, potential employers are looking for people who can solve problems. If you don't tell them how you've solved problems they will never know that you are the best candidate for the job.

    A face-to-face interview is the goal of the phone interview. Don't be shy to ask to be included in the next phase of interviews. Let your enthusiasm for the employer and position come across loud and clear. Once you've aced your phone interview you'll be on your way to wowing them in person.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Deborah Walker, Certified Career Management Coach

    Read more career tips and see sample resumes at:

    http://www.alphaadvantage.com/

    email: Deb@Alphaadvantage.com

    360-260-4965

    Public Health: Application and Trends in Landscape Architecture

    Scioto Mile

    Scioto Mile, Columbus, Ohio by MSI/KKG

    The notion of “Public Health” in the past has referred to health, safety and public welfare. The meaning has expanded to achieving health of mind, body and soul. Promoting public health has come to the forefront of societal awareness, so much so that it has even been incorporated into the criteria for landscape architecture projects. Open space recreation systems have emerged throughout the public and private sector, as evidenced by pocket parks, bike trails, walkways, gardens and scenic spots of reflection that have been created in cities, with the idea that these spaces would promote physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

    And in places where there is and has been much development, creating and maintaining these spaces is critical for a city to thrive, according to Ohio landscape architects.

    “Great cities are defined by what degree of balance they achieve among systems that comprise the city, including open spaces,” says Keith Myers, FASLA, principal at MSI/KKG, a landscape architecture firm in Columbus. “ In Europe, there’s always some open space system that emerges, from piazzas in Italy to parks in England and gardens in France. These open spaces have become part of the city’s vocabulary.”

    In the United States, one cannot consider New York City without thinking of the 800-acre Central Park, and similarly, or Chicago without Grant Park. Cities such as these have become defined by their open spaces — free and accessible parks where people can walk, jog, bike, picnic, play sports, walk dogs, roller blade and more outdoors in fresh air. The open space provides a refreshing escape from urban city life, a function that dates back to the industrial age when landscape architects envisioned systems where people could go to clear their lungs from unsanitary city conditions.

    In the past decade, emerging research has spread awareness about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, leading to programs geared toward combating obesity and promoting sustainable practices to further lessen environmental impact of development through the accepted LEED building standards. Since 2007, the definition of sustainability has been broken down even further by the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a rating system consisting of five components: vegetation, hydrology, soils, materials and human health and well being.

    This is an expected trend, says Jerry Smith, FASLA, owner and principal of Smith/Green Health Consulting and member of the Sustainable Sites Initiative Technical Core Committee and Human Health & Well-being Subcommittee.

    “Human health is at the forefront of our work,” says Smith, who has a background working in health care architecture firms. “We’ve always said a garden is wonderful for its beauty, but research from the last 20 years has brought to light a [health] trend. We’re seeing more community projects encouraging people to get outside, walk more and climb stairs.”

    Adding the health and well being component happened when Smith and his fellow committee members focused on the role health care played in a LEED sustainable rating system.

    “We applied health intent to see if there were health outcomes based on the design of a built environment — in this case, health care facilities,” Smith says. “What we found was that stress is such a prevalent negative factor on health that by providing an open space [for patients] with positive distractions helped relieve stress, shortened length of stay in the hospital and reduced the amount of pain medication required … prevention is the best medicine we can provide.”

    The study also showcased positive outcomes, as well as economic benefits, through the space’s effects on staff.

    “In facilities where gardens are provided for staff, the [employee] retention rate is higher,” Smith says, adding that potential hires also are attracted to the facility because of nicer outdoor environments. “There are fewer medical errors where this exposure to nature and sunlight occurs. And all that pays off in the final ROI [reports] for these facilities.” By providing health gardens and green spaces, it’s a “win-win” situation for both patients and providers.

    And even in a downward facing economy, Smith is optimistic about the present and future of these spaces.

    “There has been more focus on parks than even before.”

    A prime example is in downtown Columbus, the site of the new Scioto Mile. Completed in 2011, the project, which was led by MSI Design, transformed a crumbling riverfront into a revitalized multi-use path and park that welcomes thousands of visitors.

    The large investment made may not yield a large ROI, as the area is free to the public, but Myers says that there are other ways to benefit economically. The Scioto Mile’s restaurant Milestone 229, pays rent to the city, which owns the Mile, and that money is used to help offset maintenance costs. Myers also looks to the growth of the Arena District as an example of how a park has helped an area thrive: simply the presence a proposed two-acre park in MSI’s Arena District Master Plan was attractive to potential tenants, who didn’t hesitate to move in.

    “It drove home the point that even a simple open space can create real economic value,” Myers says.

    Metroparks have also experienced demand, even though grant funding is scarce these days. As Jon Zvanovec, ASLA, landscape architect at Metroparks of the Toledo Area, sees the situation, it’s the budgeting of the past decade that has made activity in open space recreation systems more appealing than ever.

    “People who weren’t previously park users are becoming such — they’re not hopping in their cars, they’re not taking vacations,” he says. Instead, they’re turning to the rail-trail conversions, expanded trails in metroparks nearby, where landscape architects have designed multi-use paths that have become viable circulation routes, allowing users to walk, run and more for miles.

    Recruiters Not Calling You? Five Reasons Why—And How To Fix It

    You’ve been hoping for a new job, but your phone is silent. No recruiters calling, no job offers; it’s so quiet you can almost hear the crickets outside. Maybe it’s time to reassess.

    Does this sound like your job search efforts?

    • You’ve sent out hundreds of resumes to countless job postings but received little or no response.
    • You’ve left dozens of voice mails to recruiters explaining why you are a perfect fit—and they never return your call.
    • You’ve tweaked your resume so many times you no longer recognize it.

    If this describes your situation, you are not alone. Many talented, qualified job seekers get ignored by recruiters and hiring managers simply because their resume has one or more of the following problems.

    1. Your resume highlights your lack of industry experience

    Most recruiters are looking for a point-by-point candidate match when screening resumes. Industry background usually ranks high on the list of qualifying issues. If you don’t have experience in that industry, your resume is going straight to the circular file—unless you can give them a compelling reason to keep your resume in the stack.

    If you lack specific industry experience, but you know you have the basic skills for the job, try highlighting your transferable skills instead. Job seekers who lack industry experience can make it past the resume screener by proving their ability with skills they have that transfer from industry to industry. Examples of transferable skills include expertise gained in sales, customer service, finance, accounting, negotiation, cross-functional communications, and/or team building. Look at the skills they need, then figure out how your background is a match.

    2. Your resume shouts “Overqualified!”

    Nothing scares off a recruiter faster than a candidate who is obviously overqualified for the job. The two main concerns are (1) that the candidate would soon get bored and leave at his earliest convenience, and (2) that the candidate would be too expensive to hire. Even worse is the assumption that the over qualified candidate is on a downward career slope—a has-been with all his best years behind him.

    There are, however, many valid reasons job seekers wish to downsize to jobs with fewer responsibilities. Whatever your reasons, tailor your resume to fit your current career objective. This means you’ll want to play down your prior responsibilities, list only relevant education (don’t list a PhD if you are applying for a mid-level management position!), and emphasize tactical experience over strategic planning when appropriate.

    3. Your resume is crammed with information, but not the right kind

    Pity the poor recruiter who must get through 200 applicant resumes before lunchtime. If your resume is in the pile, it will get a quick scan and pass over if she can’t find what she is looking for in less than 30 seconds. If you have a resume that is disorganized or full of dense blocks of text, how will the recruiter learn anything about you?

    You’ll catch the recruiter’s attention if you have a clear, easy-to-read resume that highlights your skills and accomplishments, even at a glance. The first rule of resume effectiveness is relevancy, so edit out the past data and redundant facts that aren’t relevant to your current career path. Fill your resume only with the skills needed for that particular job, and you’ll go a long way toward getting a recruiter’s attention.

    4. Your resume has too little information

    While the “strong, silent type” may be attractive in men, it just plain flops in a resume. A resume that looks more like an outline just doesn’t give the reader enough to work with. Recruiters don’t want to guess what you did at your last job. You need to include enough information to give prospective employers a vision of the possibilities if they choose to hire you.

    If you struggle with what to include in your resume, use job descriptions to help you understand what recruiters will want to find in your resume. Then review your previous jobs to determine what skills you have that will be a good match.

    5. Your resume doesn’t include accomplishments

    If you haven’t thought lately about how your employer has benefited from having you as an employee, it’s a sure bet that your resume is lacking in accomplishments. Remember, as a job seeker you are selling your talents, and you are competing with many others who have the same qualifications as you do. Accomplishments give recruiters a reason to choose you over others for the interview short list.

    Give screeners ample reason to select you for interview. Highlight how you have saved time, increased efficiency, cut cost and increased client satisfaction. After all, if you don’t tell them, nobody else will!

    If you use this five-point checklist to restructure your resume, you’ll soon hear back from recruiters who appreciate qualified, articulate and confident candidates. The time you spend enhancing your resume could shave off months of fruitless labor and frustrating effort in your job search.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Deborah Walker, Certified Career Management Coach

    Read more career tips and see sample resumes at:

    www.AlphaAdvantage.com

    email: Deb@Alphaadvantage.com

    360-260-4965

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/DebWalkerCCMC