Meet the Team: Mark Klone
Welcome to Meet the Team—a blog series where we’ll be introducing members of our team to give you an insight into our culture and the people behind our projects!
We’re celebrating World Landscape Architecture Month by introducing you to our landscape team members, and next up is Mark Klone. Mark is a native of Kearney, Nebraska, and a proud alumnus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, and Kansas State University, where he received his Master of Landscape Architecture. Read on to learn more about the tallest employee in ELM’s history!
Tell us a bit about your career, and how you became interested in landscape architecture.
I have been practicing landscape architecture since 2002, with a brief break from 2010 to 2015 prior to joining ELM. I was initially drawn to Architecture as a profession through an interest in construction and how things are built; while I was pursuing my undergraduate degree, I began to look at how I could combine my interest with my passion for golf.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I decided to follow a new path for graduate school and pursue Landscape Architecture as a means of designing golf courses. This new course of study opened my eyes to the vast profession of Landscape Architecture: the variety of scales and project types, the interplay of hardscape, landscape, and buildings, and how the land could be manipulated to create memorable, engaging spaces. Landscape Architecture allows me to help shape the physical world while being a good steward of the earth.
What is your role at ELM, and what are your favorite parts of the job?
I am an Associate Landscape Architect. The great thing about this job, is that it's not a job. The variety of projects provide a fun challenge every day, I enjoy coming in to dive into projects and often find it difficult to find a "good stopping point" to make myself go home. When you enjoy the people you work with, enjoy the projects you are working on, enjoy the daily challenge, and it's something you are passionate about, it's no longer a job and is a piece of who you are.
What type of projects do you enjoy most?
I enjoy any type of project that challenges me to step outside of my comfort zone, but I especially enjoy working on projects where I can deconstruct a sketched concept and begin to figure out how it gets built.
What are some of your favorite projects that you've worked on (both at ELM and in previous jobs)?
Shearwater has been a big part of my time here at ELM, and has been a really fun project to see emerge from the ground. The best part is that our client team has been fantastic to work with. Likewise, I am currently working on a project in Austin, Texas, with a very good client and a site that presents some really fun design and construction challenges.
What advice would you give to somebody looking to become a landscape architect?
Always challenge yourself to try something new or different. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails. While it always feels great to knock it out of the park, my greatest learning experiences were when I received critiques that challenged my projects. When you are presenting a project to a jury, always put your best foot forward, but understand that you will learn infinitely more from your failures than you do from your successes.
What are your favorite things to do outside the office?
I love to spend time with my kids and wife, whether we are playing outside, travelling, jumping in the pool, or sitting down for dinner. I also enjoy an occasional round of golf.
What is a favorite place that you've traveled?
I love Europe. But I especially love the way old European cities surprise you. Spend some time walking around Rome or Venice or Florence, it's easy to immerse yourself into the city. My favorite part of that immersion is when you are walking through buildings and tight corridors and unexpectedly find yourself in the middle of a plaza, open space, or in front of a historic building.
What do you enjoy most about living in Jacksonville?
I really enjoy that Jacksonville is made up of distinct neighborhoods that all have their own characteristics - San Marco, Riverside, Downtown, Springfield, the Beaches. This really starts to give Jacksonville a "small town" sort of feel, as you go to each neighborhood. But, as a whole, Jacksonville (and northeast Florida) offers a lot of the amenities that are found in large cities - the Jaguars, the Jumbo Shrimp, the Times-Union Center, Daily's Place, beaches, Veteran's Memorial Arena, the World Golf Hall of Fame, St. Augustine, and other entertainment options.
What's your favorite local restaurant?