Founders : Environment + Sustainability

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Ken O'Dea of Place Workshop

How did you start your business?  
I was employed at Vivian Llambi & Associates for more than 12 years. I finally realized I wanted to try something new. With the support from my family, I resigned from my positions and started Place Workshop.

How did you come up the idea for your business?
I have thought about this endeavor for a long time. I wanted to create a “design first” company that strives to make unique and memorable places using all of our knowledge.

Sometimes, landscape architects can focus too much on planting design. While plants and trees are a very important part of what makes a place, planting design is only one of many tools that can be used to create a dynamic environment. We leverage our urban design skills to look at spatial form, color, functionality, lighting, color and ambiance.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
Springboard was a big help. We needed to create a smart business plan and they helped us get it going. The collaboration with the other entrepreneurs was priceless – it was a big help and a big ego boost to talk to people taking the same leap into business ownership.

Your business is very, very new.  How have the first few weeks been?
It’s been exciting. People told me it wouldn’t be 8-hour days, and they were right.  Right now, I wear a lot of hats – creating marketing material, setting up appointments to talk with clients and more.  Today, I’m putting together our office furniture; I’ve got my arms around the whole company at this point.

What’s next for you and your company?  
I would like to hire one or two new designers within the next year and open a Kentucky location.

Interview by Robin Donovan

Questions with Ken O'Dea of Place Workshop