Thursday, April 23, 2015

LAR 560 Conference Call with Kevin Burke, PLA + PM with Atlanta Beltline, Inc (04.22.15)

I really can’t express enough how enjoyable Burke’s conference with us was. He gave us an incredible amount of information, from his fledgling experiences in the profession to what he has learned as a result of a quite impressive career. His list of companies, from Innocenti to CRJA, all had a variety of projects that take a very unique and diverse skillset. I really enjoyed also what he had to say about his work on the Beltline and how he desired to work on projects like that which fundamentally change the fabric of an urban city. What struck me the most was his advice that he gave us near the end of the conference call.

Some highlights from this included:

“You really have no idea what you’re doing.”
“Seek out people who know more than you and learn from them (drop the ego).”
“Do not mimic-- you can learn from bad habits also.”
“Keep detailed records-- no detail is too small when you need to support a decision you made two years ago.”
“Make no little plans-- go big or go home.”
“What are they going to say? Yes, No, Maybe.”

And, most especially: “Be very careful of burning any bridges-- the person you may tick off today may be someone you need five years from now.”

I recently had a moral dilemma about this last statement, involving a classmate who is graduating this year. He is a very drive, headstrong individual who is incredibly talented but also a bit willful in terms of dealing with people on a social level. He posted publicly to his Facebook, basically saying that he was tired of being “polite” to “superficial classmates” that he would never see again and that now he was graduating and didn’t need any of them anymore. This really struck a chord with me when Burke mentioned to not burn bridges, as I felt that the classmate had burned a bridge with most of the students. While I have a lot of respect for him, I felt this was entirely unprofessional and wonder if, in five years, he will need the aid of one of these people that he burned a bridge with. 

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