Starting and Running a Planning Firm
“Entrepreneurs,” “startups,” “independents”—they're all the buzz. But what about for the planning profession? How do we unleash the creative entrepreneurial spirit of the planning professional? Now, more than ever, there is a need to provide planners with the tools, insight, and support for starting and successfully operating their own planning consultant firms. In recent years, both private sector and public sector planners have seen the professional landscape shift. In this changing economy, a viable option for many is to start their own firm or become an independent contractor. This is not easy and many planners lack the experience and resources necessary to give it a shot and succeed, giving rise to questions like: "How do I get started? Who is my target customer? How do I stand out in a crowded and competitive field? Is this a good idea given the economy?" Over the past decade, Houseal Lavigne Associates has grown from two people working out of a small room to a national practice with a studio office in downtown Chicago and a portfolio of more than 250 municipal clients in 20 states. We will show what worked and what didn’t, and the strategies and techniques utilized to grow during one of the nation’s worst economic climates. This fun and engaging session will answer the questions on everybody’s minds and ignite the passions of the entrepreneur in all of us.
, Houseal Lavigne Associates
Confirmed SpeakerDevin is a Principal and Cofounder of Houseal Lavigne Associates with special expertise in urban design, land use and site planning, illustration and development visualization, web development and geographic information systems. Devin is recognized as a leader in the planning profession for his illustrations, graphics and for his ability to communicate planning and development concepts clearly and concisely. Devin’s contribution to his firm’s graphics and plans has helped distinguish Houseal Lavigne’s body of work and garnered national attention and recognition. Devin has managed, directed, authored, and contributed to numerous plans throughout the country, and has received multiple awards for these efforts. Devin is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Illinois, where he teaches an urban design studio. Devin is also a SketchUp Visiting Professional (VPP) – one of twenty recognized experts available to lecture about the use of SketchUp. Devin received his Bachelor’ degree from the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto, Ontario. Prior to cofounding Houseal Lavigne Associates, Devin was the Senior Planning Manager for URS Corporation and Trkla, Pettigrew, Allen and Payne (TPAP).
, Houseal Lavigne Associates
Confirmed SpeakerJohn is a Principal and Cofounder of Houseal Lavigne Associates and has established himself as one of the nation's top urban planning professionals, recognized as a leader in planning innovation, community engagement, and contemporary development practices. John has directed planning, outreach, urban design, economic development, and zoning related assignments for communities across the country. His leadership, innovation, and effective approach to implementation helped to garner his firm the 2014 APA Excellence Award for an Emerging Planning and Design Firm. John received a Bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in environmental and urban planning from Arizona State University. John has been a featured nationally as a speaker on issues related to innovation, urban planning, zoning, design, visual communication, transportation, context sensitive design, and environmental issues.