New look, new people, new ways to serve

New look, new people, new ways to serve

Back in August, I wrote about our company’s journey and some changes on the horizon for our crew. We’d like to share a quick recap of what’s happened over the last few months and what we have coming up on our to-do list.

Our team is growing!

Connecting dollars to planning and infrastructure decisions is a huge part of what we do. Felix Landry, AICP joined our team in June to expand and lead our fiscal analysis and planning related efforts. Prior to becoming a Verdooner, he worked in the long-range planning departments for the cities of Waco, Fort Worth, and most recently, Colleyville. Felix enjoys using map-based fiscal analysis to explain the ROI of cities’ development patterns and inform land use, growth management and development policies. Felix is based in WeWork’s Clearfork location in Fort Worth, Texas.

 That's Felix with his wife, Faith.

That's Felix with his wife, Faith.

 That's Tim, shortly after all we went out for breakfast tacos. He's actually a very smily person.

That's Tim, shortly after all we went out for breakfast tacos. He's actually a very smily person.

Our newest Verdooner is Tim Wright, a civil engineer-in-training (EIT) based in Shreveport, LA. We met Tim at a Strong Towns event a few years ago and got to know him much better during our time planning and delivering the Cultivate workshop in Shreveport earlier this year. Tim’s primary role will be supporting our site development and municipal engineering efforts. We’re also excited for him to contribute to our citizen education and engagement efforts, drawing on his experience forming and co-leading the seriously-badass nonprofit Re:Form Shreveport—a group that is bringing together neighbors, local business owners, and city leaders to make neighborhoods in Shreveport more vibrant and prosperous. Tim is working from Cohab coworking space in Shreveport.

Are you interested in joining the Verdunity crew? Click here to learn more about our culture and tell us a little bit about how and why you think you can contribute to our mission and work.

We’ve got a new look.

To reflect Verdunity’s refined focus, resident “creative guy” Jordan Clark (that’s what he went with on his business card, anyway) helped us refresh our  logo and overall brand. You may have noticed that we’ve done away with our previous “leaf" logo in favor of a new mark and different shades of green. It’s a bit more versatile than our previous look. Does it make us different people? Probably not, but we thought this was a good time for a (small) rebrand.

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Our new business cards, illustrated by Jordan Clark.

This all coincided with the launch of our new podcast and blog, Go Cultivate! One thing we’re going to be focusing on is creating graphics that are playful and approachable. Our work is largely about explaining trends and topics that can be complicated or intimidating to the average person. We think it’s important that our audience (be they city officials or concerned citizens) feels comfortable engaging with what we have to say. The message of building collaboration and genuine sustainability is something we can’t afford to have lost in translation.

Building an online community for cultivators to connect and collaborate

The top request we’ve gotten from our friends in city leadership roles and attendees at our workshops is to create an online community for community leaders who have bought in to the need to build and run cities in a more collaborative, fiscally-informed, and people-friendly fashion—but who want to discuss ways to deal with their own challenges in their respective roles and cities. Frankly, we think it’s a great idea for strong community leaders to have a gathering place online.

We know that there are large organizations for city managers, for city government officials, and so on. But there isn’t a community that we’ve found that's explicitly for city leaders dedicated to running and building a city with these principles—and for sharing experiences with other like-minded leaders. We want to help facilitate that discussion.

We thought about going the Facebook Group route, but we weren’t thrilled about dropping our discussion in the midst of that melee, for various reasons. Instead, we did some research and decided to create our own network via a platform called Mighty Networks. This platform gives you the member complete control over the content you see, people you connect with and more— all through a really easy-to-use website and mobile app.

In January, we’ll be opening the Go Cultivate Network up to community leaders who want to discuss real-world ways they can and are cultivating stronger neighborhoods with their peers. We’ll manage the community, and we will host regular members-only Q&As. It will also be the primary place to discuss the content that we’re ramping up production of these days. Want to learn how to do a beginner ROI map for your city? Maybe you want a focused discussion on the practical implications of something you read on Strong Towns, Governing, your local newspaper, etc? Or maybe you want to follow up with us on a podcast discussion we’ve just had? The Go Cultivate Network is going to be that place. We’ll also be using it as our live chat forum for our regular webinars on a variety of topics.

Initially, we want to get the discussions going with as many similarly-committed community leaders as we can, so that the network becomes more and more valuable. We want to be clear that we do want this to become a premium network eventually, so that it truly is a fruitful discussion among a self-selecting group of passionate city leaders working for stronger neighborhoods and communities. Maybe that means the whole network will become a paid subscription, or maybe it means that we’ll leave the broader network open and build a subscriber network within it. We don’t know how things will play out, but we’re trusting you all to help us find the right answer, and the one that most benefits you. This is (like many things we’ve started and then built upon since our founding) an experiment, after all. And we'll follow up with more details the more we're able to flesh them out.

Want to get in on the ground floor? Follow this link and we’ll email you when the site is officially launched. We can’t wait to see you over there!

Announcing our brand new webinar!

The second-most frequent question we’ve been asked is if we have recorded versions of our presentations and workshops online that can be shared. We are working on developing an online version of our workshop content, which will be available soon on our Go Cultivate Online Community mentioned above. In the near term, we’re going to be doing a free webinar on the role fiscal analysis can play in growing a more socially vibrant and fiscally sustainable city. We’re planning to deliver it live on Friday, November 30, at 12:00 CST with a Q&A session afterward, and then we’ll make the recording available for download on our website. There are limited spots, so if you’re interested in catching it live and chatting with our team after, you can sign up here. Please share and spread the word so we can have a great conversation.

We’re extremely blessed to be able to do what we do everyday, and appreciate every person who has hired, supported and partnered with us. We hope the new online community and webinar content will help our followers take new steps in learning, applying and sharing ideas and lessons learned to make our communities and neighborhoods stronger. Go cultivate!

Announcing a new webinar on fiscal sustainability & community engagement (UPDATED)

Announcing a new webinar on fiscal sustainability & community engagement (UPDATED)

Nine lessons for putting Strong Towns principles into practice

Nine lessons for putting Strong Towns principles into practice