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A Mentor’s Perspective

To design community is to experience the creativity that gracefully complements nature’s education. A foundation built out of lessons unique to every project and gems of legacy-building discovered in the cultivating exchange that takes place when a mentor’s roots pass the baton of penmanship to the next creative. A young mind holds valuable insight into the future solutions that inspire community growth and health, while a great mentor can unlock the potential of that creative’s passion onto the canvas that nature presents. No mere butterfly effect but the next dreamer’s experience of creating community and influencing the course of design. At AndersonBaron, we present a special place where inspired community design lives forever because the investment into the next generation of landscape architects is worth the search into their dreams. This is AB NextGEN.

Introducing Justin Chadwick, a veteran project manager at AndersonBaron. Not only does Justin possess excellent rendering and graphic skills that contribute to his unique eye during project designing, he also thrives in seeing the project process completed efficiently (whether its construction documentation, coordinating engineering and sub-consultants, or providing cost estimation take-offs). Justin’s experience is also complemented by his educational background from Arizona State University’s Landscape Architecture program. Outside of work, he enjoys the family life with his wife and eight children. Justin holds dearly the values of faith, family, and community which contributes to the quality time spent with his love ones. He sat down with AB NextGEN to discuss the value of mentorship and its role in producing a positive and productive work environment; a vital part of AndersonBaron’s culture of creating community:


What are you most passionate about when it comes to community design?

Justin: Relationships are BIG for me! Our lives revolve around them and creating spaces that give people the opportunity to spend time with family and friends is essential to community growth and a healthy life balance. Spaces that work best are the ones with cultivating platforms for fostering relationships.


How do you define leadership?

Justin: Leadership to me is having the ability to help people develop peak performance and the character to do it at a consistency level critical to the diversity of each project. When everybody is performing at their full potential, we all function better at an accountable medium important to the success of the project.


What have you enjoyed most about mentoring here at AndersonBaron?

Justin: I love the one-on-one time element of mentoring because it gives me the chance to really get to know them from what they’re passionate about it and like to do to where their skills are at currently. It also gives me the opportunity to help them with their growth goals (discovering those areas of growth and gaining confidence throughout the process of growth).

What tools or strategies have help you the most in being a successful mentor?

Justin: I think as a mentor reflection has been an important tool. We are all still learning, and the greatest leader is also the greatest student. When things get a little overwhelming for the individual, just remembering what it was like for me in that moment helps me guide them through it. Pressure resolve is very important in our industry and just bannering the concept of team helps with focus when pressure begins to scream the message,” It’s all on your shoulders!”


Throughout your career, what’s been the best advice you’ve received from a mentor and why?

Justin: The best advice is really like my response to the tools and strategies that has help me be a successful mentor. Do my part to its full potential so that others can do theirs. It’s not all on me to complete a project but it’s a team collective effort. All I need to do is focus on the tasks that gives the team the information and direction needed to be successful. Sometimes it’s easy to zero in on getting one detail right and lose sight of the bigger picture which may include the other tasks important to the team simultaneously progressing towards the completion of the project. We’re like a track relay team. A lot of individual things goes into your leg of the race, but the team points of the race can be the biggest difference in winning and losing.


What advice would you give the next new hire preparing to work here?

Justin: Be open to new things and ideals. The people who are most successful here are those that never lose that student mentality. A great attitude is also important because you can train the technical aspect of a project to a person, but you can’t train attitude.


Outside of mentoring, what have you enjoyed most about the culture of AndersonBaron?

Justin: I really like the fun and open office environment. I’m so glad it’s not all walls up even though it can get noisy at times. Being able to collaborate with others so easily in a comfortable environment creates great work ethic and efficiency. The bonus is getting to know those around me on a personal level as well.