P R O F I L E
Vision: Thad Kudela Founding principal of Kudela & Weinheimer (Houston, TX), a landscape architecture firm that has produced beautiful, exceptionally built environments for more than 25 years.
By LIISA ANDREASSEN Correspondent
K udela & Weinheimer first got its start in a laundry room where a washer and dryer doubled as a drawing table and a single desk was a shared workspace. Amid the 1991 recession, Thad Kudela and Darin Weinheimer saw an opportunity to start the foundation for a passionate landscape architecture firm that fulfilled the need for functional design while meeting clients’ budgets and goals. With sacrifice, long hours, and endless support from their families, they grew the two-man company into a leading landscape design firm. Today, Kudela oversees all design. He believes there is “design’” in everything we do. “Professional development is very important,” Kudela says. “We maintain awareness that they’re people and not machines. We have a good track record with our employees and have minimal turnover. It’s all about being flexible and working together. Oh – and there are tacos too.” A CONVERSATION WITH THAD KUDELA. The Zweig Letter: How has COVID-19 impacted your firm’s policy on telecommuting/working remotely?
Thad Kudela: Historically, K&W has been a very collaborative, in-office, firm. We did not have flexible policies on working from home or other locations. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our firm has had to rethink the structure of our office. The health of our employees is paramount so K&W was immediate on implementing the work-from-home arrangements. Over the weekend of March 14, the firm prepared everyone’s workstation for VPN and Sharepoint. By March 16 the entire firm, all three offices were strictly working from home. TZL: How much time do you spend working “in the business” rather than “on the business?” TK: My partner, Darin, and I tend to split duties up. I’m the design principal and Darin is the construction principal. It’s always a challenge to divide time working in the business versus on the business. We both love landscape architecture. It’s what we do and the business end sometimes gets pushed to the side. As we grow, Darin
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