Candidate Presentation - Vaughn B. Rinner, ASLA

I love being a landscape architect, and am very grateful I found my way to this profession. I am also thankful for the many years of fellowship and growth I have experienced as a part of the ASLA. Today I am incredibly honored to be speaking to you about my qualifications to serve you as as President-Elect of the Society.

I have thought a lot about what in particular you and I should work on together if I am selected to lead the ASLA. I believe we need to focus on:
  • Continuing our sound fiscal and program advancement 
  • Retaining and adding to membership - especially among younger professionals
  • Increasing support for Chapter activities and advocacy 
  • Assisting our education programs
  • Growing our increasingly effective communication


I have been in private practice for well over three decades. I’ve worked in small landscape architecture firms. I was a managing owner of a regional interdisciplinary firm for many years, and a partner in a large multi-disciplined firm. I’m now happily consulting on my own, working from a home office. Throughout my career, I have provided needed pro bono services to my community, and now, with increased control over my schedule, I am able to devote a large part of my time to community and organization service.
To do good work, it is important to live and love what you do. My work life has been an interesting adventure, intricately interwoven with my family life. My husband is a landscape architect. My son has completed his MLA, is enthusiastic about his work, and is preparing to take the LARE. Both are members of the ASLA. My daughter is an artist with an environmental message. My 2-1/2 year old grandson readily identifies Bamboo, Monkey Puzzle Trees, and Mugo Pines. My family really is part of the ASLA, and the ASLA has been an extension of my family.

I know the ASLA. I have served actively on national committees, including Membership, Government Affairs, Licensure, and Professional Practice. I recently completed a 2-year term as Vice President of Finance and Investments. My work with the budget and financial reports from many years of service and leadership on the Finance and Audit Committees has given me an overall understanding of the programs and processes of the ASLA. I know the staff. This broad familiarity will enable me to be effective from the very start of my term.


After graduation from Iowa State, I became a member of the Upstate New York Chapter of the ASLA, and I have been an active member of the Virginia Chapter since 1985. I held every office except secretary, chaired numerous committees, organized multiple meetings, and even revised the constitution and bylaws twice. I understand the issues that chapters face as well as the importance of active chapters to our members.

I believe that it is essential that the ASLA continue to ratchet up direct support to the chapters, helping them to be more effective. Growing membership is critical, and we need to actively engage with our graduates and young professionals. They need to see the Society as relevant and meaningful. They know, as we do, that people succeed in groups, but they do not always understand how effective our national advocacy, public relations and visibility programs are. Direct experience is essential.


The ASLA is the voice of the profession, and all landscape architects benefit from the work that is done at the national and chapter levels. This is a core purpose of a professional organization, to speak for us and keep us visible. It used to also be essential to belong to your professional organization in order to have access to information and to enjoy the fellowship and support of your peers. This is still important, but we find ourselves in a time of freely available information. We have numerous ways to use technology and social media to locate, communicate with, and work with our peers. Non-member landscape architects need to recognize the continued importance and effectiveness of the ASLA as our combined voice, and we need to better communicate this message to them.


One reason that landscape architects have so much to offer is because our practices are so diverse. At the same time, the diversity of what we do can make it difficult for graduates to understand the value of the ASLA or see the value of licensure. I served eight years on the Virginia Regulatory Board and was active in CLARB throughout that time. I have been in the front lines in advancing licensure and a voice supporting landscape architect’s ability to prepare site and stormwater management plans. Having a license is important, even if a landscape architect is doing large-scale planning or managing real estate or even farming. It is our identity and speaks to the broad understanding we have of natural, social and cultural processes as well as how that understanding helps protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.


We have many exciting initiatives underway at the ASLA. We need to continue and expand on our successes. One of the most exciting developments is the growing strength of the Professional Practice Networks. I attended several of the webinars put on by PPN members this spring, and every one of them was fantastic. I learned a lot about specific, interesting and really extraordinary things that members are doing in their practices. I thought how valuable this would be to recent graduates, to experience how creatively landscape architects are using their education and their passion to make a better world and address really huge global issues - food, climate change, regenerative landscapes.


I am a big-picture thinker, but attentive to details. I think of the long-term results, but am focused on implementation. I like to get things done. At the same time, I have cultivated patience and alert listening in order to understand varied points of view. I am an excellent facilitator, trained in mediation. I am a collaborator. I believe one very important role of landscape architects is to connect the dots. We enrich the connection between human and natural environments. We connect allied professionals to each other. We connect the details to understand the big picture. We connect high performing landscapes with quality design. The ASLA must constantly increase collaboration and connectivity – with allied professional and other landscape architecture organizations, with our universities, and among students, emerging professionals and ASLA members.
We are needed. The work of Landscape architects is essential to our global future. We design in the fourth dimension, always aware of growth and change that takes place over time. We understand the cycle of life as a process, and work with it. Landscape architects are needed as leaders, bringing this perspective to address issues of environmental quality and social equity, to make the world a better place.


My knowledge and understanding of the goals and programs throughout the Society have equipped me to serve well as the President of the ASLA. I also bring the following to work on your behalf:
  • Genuine interest in people and their ideas
  • Great respect for others and the world in which we live
  • Deep concern about the present and the future, and
  • An immense curiosity
I am prepared and ready to serve as your President. I have the organizational and leadership experience as well as the skills to do the job. Just as importantly, I am able to firmly commit the time and energy necessary to fill this role. The ASLA will be my priority for the next three years. I ask you to grant me this opportunity to further serve you.
Thank you very much.


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