2013 Recap and What's Ahead in 2014
It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone so quickly. With VERDUNITY’s three year anniversary coming up this year, now seems like a great time to look back at where we started and celebrate how far we have come in the last three years. VERDUNITY was officially established on April 25, 2011, in the midst of the toughest economy that the DFW metroplex had seen in a long time, possibly ever. One of the questions that we heard most frequently was “Why would you start your business in this market?” I will admit that there were days that I was asking myself the same question, but, the answer can be found in the reason that we started VERDUNITY in the first place. Our core philosophy is centered around helping communities to become more financially resilient by maximizing the value of places and reducing long-term infrastructure costs. Reduced municipal budgets meant smaller projects and lower consulting fees, and while this was difficult for larger engineering firms, it presented an opportunity for a hungry startup firm. We knew we needed to structure our organization around an approach that integrated planning, engineering, urban design and landscape architecture to offer our clients unique and sustainable design solutions, and we've built a team to do just that.
We have had many accomplishments in our first three years that I am proud of. We were officially incorporated in 2011, and also received our WBE/DBE certification from the North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency. In 2012, we became a charter member for the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) and Kevin was selected by ISI to be one of the first forty ENVISION verifiers in the country. We also participated in the Texas Land/Water Sustainability Forum (LWSF) Low Impact Development (LID) Design Competition and were one of the finalists for the South Lamar Green Street project. Last year, we added three amazing and talented people to our team: Don Raines, Jr., MLA (formerly with WRT), Erin Magee, PE (formerly with Pacheco-Koch), and Mikel Wilkins, PE, ISI ENV SP (formerly with Freese and Nichols). With the addition of these three, we have significantly broadened our technical capabilities in areas including landscape architecture and urban design, water and wastewater, parks and trails, green infrastructure, and storm water management. In August, we opened an office in north Dallas which now serves as our team’s “home base”, but we still encourage working remotely to minimize commuting time and allow our employees to work wherever they feel they can be most productive and responsive to our clients. Finally, we've partnered with two organizations, Strong Towns and impact infrastructure, who are providing research, ideas and tools to help us help our clients make smarter infrastructure investments. You'll hear much more about our efforts with these two groups in upcoming blog posts.
We have many things to look forward to in 2014. One of our goals is to start sharing our ideas and promoting our firm aggressively via social media. We just rolled out an all-new website and are starting our much anticipated “VERDUNITY Community” blog. We look forward to using our blog to share and vet ideas, discuss projects we’re working on, and promote events where we will be speaking. Speaking of speaking… Kevin and Mikel have been presenting to groups across Texas on our VERDUNITY model, ISI/Envision and quantifying economic benefits of green infrastructure, and we already have several more events lined up for this year. Feb 5th - 7th we will be sponsoring a series of Curbside Chats where Charles Marohn of Strong Towns will be leading candid conversations about the costs of our current development pattern and strategies communities can implement to secure a more financially resilient future. If you haven’t seen or heard Chuck before, please come out to Arlington, Garland or Dallas to check him out. Last but not least, we’re involved in some awesome projects! We’re continuing to refine our business case evaluation of LID implementation strategies for Trinity Uptown in Fort Worth, several infrastructure rehabilitation projects we designed are going to construction, and we will be getting started on a number of new jobs including the Carpenter Park Master Plan in Plano, a Sanitary Sewer Alignment Study for Sachse, and the Cedar Springs Complete Street project in Dallas. We've been shortlisted on a number of planning projects in Dallas, Midlothian and Forney that we're optimistic about as well.
In summary, we have much to be thankful for here at VERDUNITY, and plenty to look forward to in the years ahead. We are always looking for people to exchange ideas with, teaming partners, and communities and other clients who believe in our message and are looking for assistance. If you’re any of these, or if you just want to follow our adventure and read some interesting stuff, please join our mailing list, read and comment on our blog, and/or track some of our team members down on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you to everyone who has helped us get to where we are, and we hope you will join us in building more VERDUNITY Communities!