Saying “Yes” to Thomas Woltz

Thomas Woltz’ exuberant personality is wildly contagious. From his fashioned suit to his elegant words, his presence is greatly reflective of his personal and business success. After his life’s overview, three things stuck out from his speech: saying yes, transparency, and generalism.

Saying “Yes!”, is such a loaded demand. In the field of design, where nothing is certain, the act of accepting challenges and taking less travelled paths can be frighteningly daunting. But to hear Woltz describe that his tuning as a landscape architect was a result of saying “yes” to the uncertain–such as when he started under Warren Byrd’s sole reign–told us that it is ok to be uncertain about a designer’s path.

Secondly, he describes a necessity for transparency within landscape architecture. From his own firm, he believes that NBW stands for something unique, and because of that, its clients know what they are getting. To Woltz, transparency stands for its openness of mission statement and permeability of skills and employees within the office. As he describes, his firm is “one big happy family.”

Lastly, a transparency within NBW leads to his attraction to generalism. As important as a highly specialized professional can be, the ability to research and understand something at a breadth of levels is crucial in design. Between the historical deep-dive of a site and maintaining intentional relationships with clients, there needs to be an awareness and understanding of context in both realms.

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