For new college graduates and those looking to soon enter the workforce, a variety of challenges await them. Limited industry experience, the uncertainty of what type of career they want to pursue, and adjusting to the professional work environment are a few challenges that are often seen in our industry. Fortunately, these challenges can be conquered with experience, an inquisitive mind, and seizing new learning opportunities. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with RVi leadership and uncover their guidance for new professionals’ success. Here’s the advice they provided:

“Be engaged in the community, volunteer, build a network of colleagues that are not your co-workers. These people will help you grow professionally and personally. They also have the potential to become a client! Try to connect the dots with people and help them without asking for anything in return. Build meaningful relationships, it will pay dividends in the future.”

Chris Crawford, President

“Just say yes! Raise your hand and take on as much as you can. This will accelerate your learning process by exposing you to more work and demonstrate to leadership that you are self-motivated and eager. This approach will also put you in a great position to get desirable work assignments and cement your place as an indispensable part of team.”

Alexis Crespo, Vice President of Planning

“Regardless of your position, a new employee, or a seasoned one, everyone is marketing all the time.  You can build those relationships now with your colleagues, which later may prove to be a business opportunity.”

Chris Lalich, Vice President of Operations


“In recent years, a lot of focus has been given to “exploration” as one enters their early professional years. This is solid advice for discovering interests and developing passions. However, I’ve found that a great deal of success lies in setting a goal and allowing oneself the patience and resilience to ride out the highs and lows throughout the journey of goal realization.

So, go forth and be bold in the pursuit of new ideas and experiences. But, when passion is found, use it as motivation to endure through inevitable moments of failure to succeed in capturing a worthy long-term goal. After all, the fruit of labor in landscape architecture and planning disciplines generally follow a similar pattern of delayed satisfaction – but a project ribbon cutting ceremony never gets old.”

Ryan Seacrist, PLA, ASLA, Director of Florida Operations

“Covid-19 changed the way we work. While our design services haven’t changed much, where we perform those services and how we interact with project teams has. Though videoconferencing tools enabled us to work remotely through the pandemic, they didn’t solve everything. Those same wonderful tools placed limits on our ability to fully collaborate and interact with others. We now know that we do not achieve the same level of team collaboration and interaction through video as we do in person. Recognizing that many “pandemic era” graduates completed their education remotely, some may have no experience with in-person creative collaboration and may underestimate its crucial role in the professional design experience. Recent graduates should target firms that embrace and practice in-office collaboration and learn this vital skill set as quickly as possible.”

Mark W. Smith, PLA, Vice President & Managing Principal

“Ask a lot of questions, and don’t be intimidated or afraid even if you think the question might be a dumb one, it’s not. Try to establish relationships quickly with people at all levels in the organization, peers, leaders, etc. and seek mentoring whenever you can. Take initiative, learn the tools/software quickly, and ask for feedback on how you are doing and things you can work on or do to improve. Lastly, stay organized and take lots of notes that you can refer to.”

Mark Reddie, Vice President