Ensite Ensite Ensite

what we do

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."

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sustainable

We seek innovative design solutions which provide a balance of environmental sensitivity, social equity, and economic viability. We are committed to creating sustainable places that meet today’s needs, while being conscious of how we will live tomorrow . We don’t give lip service to sustainability – we live this in our office, in our homes, and in our practice.

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creative

We believe everyone has something to offer. Our firm is based on a flat organizational structure, providing opportunity for all of our staff to be involved in decision-making processes. We find this enhances the design process and results in a superior final product.

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design

EnSite, Inc. is a leading Florida based design firm. Our services include Planning, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, Urban Design, Sustainability, and Graphic Design. Our team is committed to the long-term success of the communities in which we live, work, learn, and play.

our portfolio

#enrichment

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill

Talk it out: Communication helps foster sustainability

Talk it out: Communication helps foster sustainability

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Talk it out: Communication helps foster sustainability

It should be easy to avoid, but we’ve all done it. We work diligently on a project for hours, only to find out that our co-worker down the hall has been doing the very same work. That means one of us has just wasted our time, and we curse our lack of communication and collaboration. An occasional foul-up like this might be impossible to avoid, but the less of them, the better. Newly released research from Concordia University’s Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering shows how municipal governments can save money by taking an analytical approach to reduce wasted effort. Lifecycle costs could be cut by 33 percent and user costs cut in half, according to the researchers, who looked at ways to increase efficiency in the road and water networks of a town in British Columbia. The researchers compiled a database that inventoried road and water networks, and they came up with models to measure the impact of intervention and an algorithm that simulates thousands of scenarios to come up with an optimal work schedule. The study asks, “Why fix a road today if it’s slated to be ripped up for new sewers next summer?” One of the answers they come up with is departments within municipalities tend to work separately and come up with their own plans rather than make plans that dovetail with each other. Efficiency is a core principle of sustainability. It’s impossible to come up with a sustainable way to pave roads, to use the researchers’ example, if the pavement has to be torn up so soon after it’s laid down. Better to tear down the walls between departments than to tear up the pavement. Communication is the key to efficiency. That’s why we place such an emphasis on communication at EnSite. Our plans are coordinated, streamlined and designed to eliminate overlapping and conflicting goals. That’s how we achieve quicker, budget conscious and ultimately more sustainable results.
Water mains provide opportunity to engineer sustainability upgrades

Water mains provide opportunity to engineer sustainability upgrades

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Water mains provide opportunity to engineer sustainability upgrades

The average person uses about 80 to 100 gallons of water a day. Imagine trying to find room for 80 to 100 gallon jugs of milk in your refrigerator. So when running water stops or is compromised because of a water main break, it can result in a major problem. With aging infrastructure, we encounter these problems on a regular basis. There are 240,000 water main breaks every year in the U.S., according to White House estimates. Southwest Florida is no stranger to them. A break in Port Charlotte shot water into the air like a cannon on a chilly January day. Another break forced the shutdown of Pine Ridge Road between U.S. 41 and Goodlette-Frank Road — one of the busiest stretches in Collier County —two days before Christmas. Some 20 water mains broke over the span of a few January days in Tampa, closing several streets and intersections. Some breaks are unavoidable, but widespread issues represent a failure to create a sustainable system. The Environmental Protection Agency put together a guidebook for owners, managers and operators of public water systems, local officials, technical assistance providers, and state personnel that lays out best practices for managing those systems. The guidebook encourages managers to analyze consumer demand and satisfaction and to understand current and future regulatory requirements — two avenues in which the public can influence water policy. There has been much discussion at the federal level to focus on infrastructural improvements as a goal for the next decade, and the fact that there is plenty of data highlighting the number of public utility breakdowns suggests water managers will soon have to meet higher standards and a new set of demands. That’s why taking steps now to foster the sustainability of water systems is so vital. EnSite can help planners design and implement changes that are built to last and keep the water flowing long into the future. From drivers to builders to anyone who turns on a faucet, we all have a stake in creating a water system that works. Call us at 239-226-0024 to learn more about how our civil engineering services make an impact on our region.
Green is far from the only color on the spectrum.

Green is far from the only color on the spectrum.

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Green is far from the only color on the spectrum.

So it shouldn’t be the only aspect of sustainability. What makes our planet truly special is its inhabitants. True sustainability involves not just the environment but the society and the economy as well. Accordingly, each of those aspects needs more than one leg to stand on. Concentrate only on soil but neglect water, and the soil starts to have problems. Concentrate only on children but neglect parents, and the children start to have problems. Concentrate an economy only on construction and tourism — sound familiar, Southwest Florida? — and those who depend on construction and tourism will start to have problems. The economy is strong now, but as the Dow’s recent 1,100-point tumble in a single day reminds us, turbulence always lurks. That’s why a sustainable economy — locally, nationally and abroad — is so important. It’s critical to have somewhere to turn when times are tough. EnSite turned toward the community during the last economic downturn, redoubling its efforts to make Southwest Florida a better place to live. The company is dedicated to working with local schools and encouraging students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math that can lead directly to improvement and change for the better within the community. Urban and land planning is meaningless, after all, unless there are future generations who understand the plans and know how to put them into action. There’s no such thing as a truly linear process — there are always bumps in the road. Acknowledging that and building a sustainable plan that accounts for those bumps is critical. Better to set aside money for the inevitable car repair than to scramble for cash when you’re broken down on the side of the road. The key is to keep on rolling and sustain momentum. And that’s what Ensite is all about.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t always mean love is here to stay

Valentine’s Day doesn’t always mean love is here to stay

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t always mean love is here to stay

Red-and-pink decorations have replaced the red-and-green ones of a few weeks ago — yes, Valentine’s Day is coming soon! Hallmark and the like have mastered the art of telling you how to put love in your life for Feb. 14. But for true romance to flourish for more than a day, you need to know the basics of a sustainable relationship. Check out a few expert tips:
  1. Expecting perfection is the best way to end up with a broken heart. Fairy tales don’t tell you what really goes on during the “happily ever after” part. The only reasonable commitment your partner can make is to be with you as you endure whatever life throws your way, no matter how challenging that may be. Approach the relationship as one between two equal adults, and embrace the change necessary to transition the passion of a new relationship into the true intimacy of a long-term bond, Randi Gunther says in Psychology Today.

  2. It’s not you, it’s me. Or maybe it is you. The more growth as a person you experience because of your partner, the more committed and satisfying the relationship is, according to multiple studies highlighted in The New York Times. Chances are, you won’t be the same person at 60 years old that you were at 30. A lifelong partner is someone who helps you become the person you want to be.

  3. Is this really what you want? Some love the thrill of the chase, and brain chemistry is a big part of that, as Damon L. Jacobs, author of “Rational Relating: The Smart Way to Stay Sane in the Crazy World of Love,” told women’s health. Sustainable relationships involve commitments that some just aren’t willing to make. That could be you, or that could be your partner. Find out before you dive too deep.
  The flowers, candy and restaurant reservations come on Feb. 14, but real love begins Feb. 15.
Ideas to get traffic flowing again

Ideas to get traffic flowing again

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Ideas to get traffic flowing again

Season in Southwest Florida means gridlock on the roads. Precious time ticks away while you sit in a stationary car stuck behind hundreds if not thousands of others on U.S. 41, Interstate 75 or one of many jammed east-west corridors. And relief might not be coming anytime soon. Counties charge impact fees to new businesses to, in part, offset the effects of the extra traffic coming to and from the development. That money goes to build new roads and expand existing ones. Those impact fees went down in Lee and Collier counties during the most recent recession. But as the economy has rebounded, the fees have yet to rise back to the levels seen before the bust, as a recent Gulfshore Business story highlighted. So that means less money for relieving congestion. But more and better roads aren’t necessarily the only solution. The idea of a commuter rail system is on the radar of municipal governments in Bonita Springs, Estero and Fort Myers, as Gulfshore Business details. Still, that’s likely more than a decade away, at least, from coming to fruition. No easy solution to congestion exists, but the Los Angeles Times — which covers an area with traffic so crippling it makes Colonial Boulevard at 5 p.m. look like a desolate highway — suggests four possible fixes: 1. Eliminating gas taxes and replacing the revenue with tolls that go up at peak times, thus discouraging rush hour traffic. 2. Giving tax incentives to companies that stagger start times or let employees work from home. 3. Turning carpool lanes into truck-only lanes. 4. Making it easier for kids to walk or bike to school. Which idea is your favorite? Head to our social media pages to let us know.
Don’t get burned: Use fire-resistant gardening and landscaping

Don’t get burned: Use fire-resistant gardening and landscaping

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Don’t get burned: Use fire-resistant gardening and landscaping

It’s a simple word that evokes danger, fear and panic. Fire! And in Florida, California and other states ravaged by wildfire in the past year, it brings up painful memories. But fire is a natural – and necessary – part of life. The Florida Forest Service regularly conducts prescribed burns in the Everglades to, in essence, fight fire with fire. Burn vegetation in a controlled environment, the thinking goes, so it’s not there when an out-of-control wildfire sweeps through. There is no such thing as a fire-resistant plant, but fire-resistant landscaping is possible, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. That involves high-moisture plans that grow close to the ground and have a low sap or resin content, and fire-retardant plant species like rockrose, ice plant and aloe. Avoid plants that drop needles, leaves and other detritus that can dry up, research from CNN and “This Old House” says. Gravel and stone pathways can help fire from spreading. Basic landscaping maintenance plays a major role in wildfire prevention, according to these tips from the National Fire Protection Association:
  • Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house.
  • Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
The threat will never truly go away, but proper design can help create sustainable homes and communities built to withstand wildfires.
Take the work out of your workout

Take the work out of your workout

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Take the work out of your workout

The new year has only just begun, and already, millions of Americans are already trudging through their runs, hanging clothes on their elliptical machines and trying to find ways to trick their Fitbits. About half as many people who begin new exercise programs drop out within six months, according to scientific research. One of the keys to sticking to a workout is doing one that doesn’t feel like work at all. Find exercise that’s fun for you, and you’ll be more likely to keep doing it, says University of Utah psychologist Nathaniel Lambert, Ph.D. There might be more efficient ways to burn calories than the one you choose, Lambert points out, but none are more effective than the exercise you’ll keep at day after day, week after week and month after month. Walking is the most popular form of exercise, Fitbit research shows. You might think you’ll need to invest too much time walking to see much of a benefit, but life expectancy can increase by two hours for every hour you walk, according to the American Heart Association – so walking can make twice as much time as it takes. Other ideas include dancing, fantasy sports camps, and using music and audiobooks to distract your mind from the workout, as WebMD suggests. Getting discouraged is common for anyone who starts a new exercise routine – that’s why finding a way to encourage yourself is so important.
Think green? How about think big!

Think green? How about think big!

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Think green? How about think big!

When someone mentions the word sustainability, you might picture recycling and eco-friendly efforts. Here at En-site, however, we think that the environmental component is just an ingredient of the sustainability pie.  Mmm, did somebody say pie? Thinking about the environmental impact of a project is a great starting point but that narrow focus causes so many projects to miss the mark. True sustainability requires consideration of not only environmental impact but also the impact on society and economics. Like a master baker measuring ingredients, we carefully consider all three components on all of our projects. Doing this requires some big thinking on the part of our team. But when we look at a project we tend to agree with Albert Einstein when he said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Just as Einstein viewed the world around him differently, we encourage you to think big and look at sustainability differently. After all, a pie just isn’t the same without one of the key ingredients.
Chasing the unicorn – work-life balance

Chasing the unicorn – work-life balance

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Chasing the unicorn – work-life balance

Work-life balance is often seen as something of a unicorn. It’s not a mythical creature here at EnSite, though, but an integral component of our organizational structure. Our team is the key to our success and creating a positive workplace that supports a balance between work life and home life is paramount to our ability to continue to grow. This type of environment isn’t created out of thin air. There are a few things an organization can do to better align its staff in succeeding with the balancing act.
  1. Create a quiet space for employees.
    1. This space does not have to be a whole office or contain over the top features like Zen gardens or soundproofing. It just needs to be an area where employees can step away from work and take a moment. Having an area where your employees can take a much-needed break can be immensely beneficial.
  1. Allow schedule flexibility
    1. This can be the hardest tip to implement but can be a game changer for retaining quality team members who engage at a higher level. We understand that not all businesses are well-suited for working remotely, but building in flexibility where possible is critical to helping employees balance their home life with their work life. Little things like allowing weekend makeup time or providing flex time options let your employees know you see them as people not just a means to an end.
  1. Hear your employees
    1. Every workplace is different with no cut and dry solution for each one. Asking your employees what they need in order to better balance their life opens up the conversation and lets them know you are aware a balance is needed. This is something we do often our company continues to expand.
Balancing life and work will always be a challenge both individually and as a business. But if you’re anything like our team at EnSite, you see challenges as opportunities.  Now, who’s up for a little unicorn chasing?
Collaboration as our greatest sustainability tool

Collaboration as our greatest sustainability tool

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Collaboration as our greatest sustainability tool

We're big on collaboration. None of our projects exist in a vacuum. Many are in fact metaphorical expressions of our love of working with communities to design a better future. McGregor Boulevard Veterinary Clinic, for instance, invites passersby to interact with the space, incorporating the sidewalk and even a public park as integral design elements. Similar features are essential to the Cape Coral Hospital and Alliance for the Arts campus enrichment projects. You also may know we're big on emphasizing sustainability as a multi-component perspective that informs everything we do. Environmental stewardship is critically important, but so are the economic development and social equity considerations that we treat with equal seriousness. We were pleased this morning to discover a roundup from The Nature Conservancy highlighting some standout stories about sustainability successes earned in collaboration with global partners to achieve measurable gains to advance all three sustainability components. As we approach the end of a somewhat chaotic year, it's encouraging to count gains being made around the world by leveraging strategic partnerships in: 1. Conserving the Landscapes that Supply Our Water 2. Planting Trees for Healthier Cities 3. Smarter Farming for a Healthier Planet 4. Innovating Our Way to a Sustainable Future 5. Nature’s Role in Responding to Climate Change 6. Making Smart Investments in Coral Reefs 7. Communities Lead on the Path to Climate Progress Even more impressive than this dynamic overview, plus some gorgeous photos and an infographic that make us jealous, is the combination of partners at play in these advances, from economists, farmers and community leaders to NGOs, tech companies, tourism companies and governments.
Remembering Marjory - a for-Everglades friend

Remembering Marjory - a for-Everglades friend

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Remembering Marjory - a for-Everglades friend

In Greek myth, Cassandra was blessed with the power of prophecy. Her curse was that upon foretelling the doom of Troy, no one believed her. The southern part of Florida's peninsula had its own Cassandra. Is it too late to listen? Many - but too few - have listened and many more are rediscovering the simple power of her words. In honor of the Everglades National Park's 70th birthday, next week, we revisit the wisdom and strength embodied in Marjory Stoneman Douglas - journalist, feminist, environmentalist and tireless champion of the Everglades. Everglades National Park will likely get to her contribution in its upcoming Facebook posts highlighting its history, but we'll get the ball rolling because we can't afford to let her legacy fade away in the popular imagination. Douglas published her book, "The Everglades: River of Grass," in 1947. That same year, Everglades National Park was established. She helped people understand the importance of the flow from Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. In the 1950s, Douglas warned that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ canals, levees and dams could destroy the delicate balance of our wetlands. What would our region look like if her warning had been heeded? We contend that there are still areas where prescience - and preventative action - could do better than hindsight. In 1970 Douglas formed the Friends of the Everglades, giving her a pretty big microphone. Florida Governor Lawton Chiles said, "Marjory was the first voice to really wake a lot of us up to what we were doing to our quality of life. She was not just a pioneer of the environmental movement, she was a prophet, calling out to us to save the environment for our children and our grandchildren." Douglas lived to the age of 108, which her biographer said was the only thing that could "shut her up." He added: "The silence is terrible." Today, we can choose to hear her voice. Her beloved River of Grass has enjoyed great longevity, but it's too early to call it the "For-Everglades." As Douglas said, "There is always the need to carry on."
Lead or follow, but get out of your own way

Lead or follow, but get out of your own way

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Lead or follow, but get out of your own way

The holidays are a time for introspection - one of the most important activities for a business leader. Whether you are a leader or part of a team that's being led, there's no better reward than knowing your work is backed by integrity. It's a character trait that's always in demand! Leaders are not infallible, and are often limited by the culture of their organization. But there are some common pitfalls to avoid. So we were happy to see an article at Forbes delineating five common mistakes that leaders make. Chances are, you've seen some of these in action. Are you guilty of them yourself? There's no shame in taking a personal inventory and deciding to do better. You can (and should) read the whole article here. But here's a quick roundup: 1. Most Leaders Confuse Control With Delegation 2. Most Leaders Care More About The Title Than The Job Requirements 3. Most Leaders Want To Take Credit For The Wins, And Shift Blame For The Losses 4. Most Leaders Work Less Than Everyone Else, And Expect More Than Everyone Else 5. Most Leaders Treat Others The Way They Were Treated Did any of the five make you say "Ouch?" Congratulations - you're human and your self-reflection muscles are working better than most. We all have areas we can improve upon. New year's resolution time is coming, people!
Who are cities for?- equity for tomorrow

Who are cities for?- equity for tomorrow

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Who are cities for?- equity for tomorrow

The National League of Cities released a new report this week that should make some elucidating weekend reading. "The Future of Equity in Cities" presents a view from a crossroads. The report beautifully illustrates the third component of sustainability - listed last mostly because of the three, it has yet failed set fire in popular consciousness. That's a mistake, but it's not too late to fix it. We at EnSite have put a good deal of effort into promoting an interconnected set of considerations that comprise sustainability: environmental, economic and equitable - the 3 Es, if you will. So we're pleased NLC has devoted 52 pages to the question of what kind of visioning and effort we can dedicate to the third component as we face the future. NLC's report captures what's at stake, why it starts with cities and why it should matter to everyone. As it says in the intro, "Cities are reshaping the story of America." Does that story look the same to you as it does to every other resident of your city? No one loses when we get closer to realizing that aspiration. In fact, we - all of us - only stand to gain.
Welcoming Brent Kettler to EnSite

Welcoming Brent Kettler to EnSite

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Welcoming Brent Kettler to EnSite

In case you haven't heard the good news yet, we get to work with this guy! Our principles and motivations have been aligned for a long time, but it's wonderful to have this milestone to celebrate. Please join us in welcoming Brent Kettler to our team. Here's the official news:

Brent Kettler joins EnSite as director of economic research and strategy Economic development and IT expert brings regional change perspective

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2017) – Economic development professional Brent Kettler has joined the award-winning team at EnSite, Inc. as its director of economic research and strategy. He will lead the planning and design firm in building, growing and developing a data-driven design element for current and future business. Kettler brings a unique economic development background, focusing primarily on workforce development, small business expansion and regional collaboration. Most recently Kettler served as the executive director of the Hendry County Economic Development Council. A seasoned IT analyst, he also served as the business intelligence and technology manager on the business recruitment team at the Lee County Economic Development Office. EnSite tapped Kettler to lead a new planning approach emphasizing the inclusion of site, and overall business and community impact analysis. This approach will be added to the firm’s projects, ensuring a net community benefit and alignment with the EnSite mission. Kettler’s understanding of the local business landscape, as well as pending regional workforce efforts, the key stakeholders involved and their potential impact on growth in SWFL, extends beyond the purview of traditional planning and engineering firms. The EnSite team is positioned to grow and lead by example with a dedicated focus on high-impact elements such as corporate social responsibility as a core business function and a true data-driven philosophy to design solutions that meet the needs of all community stakeholders in a sustainable fashion. Internally, Kettler will be responsible for building out several new business support tools and systems, as well as expanding the value of EnSite’s services through enhanced reliance on emerging GIS solutions. Through his continuing involvement in the Futuremakers Coalition, an initiative of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, as well as various other SWFL boards such as the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, Kettler has demonstrated his dedication to regional collaboration and the fostering of key partnerships to create livable communities that cultivate their own robust workforce pipeline. EnSite Principal and Director of Landscape Architecture Jonathan Romine said, “Brent brings a unique mix of technical skill, big picture thinking and passion for the values that EnSite has grown up on over more than a decade. We couldn’t ask for a better fit to expand our presence and align the objectives we share with our communities.” Kettler said, “EnSite values relationship building, collaboration, education and questioning anything that doesn’t necessarily make sense, and that pretty succinctly describes who I am as a person. We have a golden opportunity to approach opportunities to help growing communities make the correct decisions at a blank slate level and to help others get out of their own way to reinvent a more sustainable future.”
Building arts into the community

Building arts into the community

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Building arts into the community

You did hear about the results of the wide-ranging Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, right? The Lee County Alliance for the Arts held an unveiling a few months ago. Read the Creative Placemaking article linked in the Americans for the Arts tweet above, and you begin to see the foundation of the Alliance's Master Plan. It's bigger than that - although that campus enrichment plan is going to result in a spectacular transformation. We can adopt these "creative placemaking" principles to transform our communities on a macro scale. Our Jon Romine was on WGCU Public Media's live call-in talk show Gulf Coast Live yesterday to talk about some of the placemaking aspects represented by the planning process for Gardner's Park. Give it a listen!
The future sets sail at Mote

The future sets sail at Mote

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The future sets sail at Mote

In need of an uplifting midweek story? We're excited to learn about the great work Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium up in Sarasota is doing to help kids make the right kind of waves. The AMI Kids slogan is right there on the side of the boat, "Separating a troubled past from a bright future." We will cheer on any organization that helps kids discover their inner resources and become the most productive, self-fulfilled members of society possible. At EnSite, for instance, we've been active with the STAMP and Take Stock in Children intervention programs, providing mentorship for teens as they navigate adolescence and the possibilities for college or career. And we're also big on the power of outdoor learning and field trips. It makes so much sense that giving kids a direct experience with the natural environment helps them learn to love science and want to protect our natural resources. But it also imparts confidence, builds teamwork and develops leadership skills in a really powerful way! Here's a link to a larger description of Mote's program. What's your favorite program to help kids chart a course to the future?
The missing letters in

The missing letters in "success"

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The missing letters in "success"

How do you spell success? Hard work, determination and innovation? Certainly those can be critical determinants in going from the idea stage to successive (ahem) milestones. A big piece of the puzzle, though, is often missing from biographies of the great American tycoons. Yes, intelligence is a basic prerequisite for growing and maintaining a business. And emotional intelligence has rightly gained prestige in the MBA textbooks - managing relationships is a basic concept to any entrepreneur. That takes care of IQ and EQ. But those letters fail to give the A-to-Z big picture of success. What's missing? Well, we didn't think to use the abbreviation LQ until we happened upon this Inc. Magazine article. That's right. The founder of China's Amazon equivalent, Alibaba, sites LOVE as the most essential element of success. Maybe that word sounds a little bit mushy for the marble halls of corporate lexicon. Go ahead and argue with a man whose net worth is valued at almost $40 billion. With a B. But let's leave the almighty dollar for now. It's not the mighty part of the equation, anyway. At EnSite, the importance of LQ is a "duh" concept, and it's how we've differentiated ourselves over the more than 11 years since we've opened our doors. How do we spell success? By walking the walk when it comes to corporate social responsibility. By aligning our mission with causes that strengthen our community. By giving our team members the space to live their ideals and contribute in the way that let their talents shine. In short, by loving what we do and loving the place where we live, work, learn and play (those are all four-letter words, and we're not afraid to say them - so why would love be any different?). Actions speak louder than words, right? We believe actions that contain a good LQ speak the loudest of them all.
Growing a solution for public health - trees

Growing a solution for public health - trees

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Growing a solution for public health - trees

We happened upon this intriguing Facebook post and thought it would be a great share as we head into the weekend. Naturally, we caution a little skepticism with the headline. While "urban greening" is an important component, any approach to enduring public health solutions must consider many complementary factors. There is no component that can claim to be "the" key. That being said, go ahead and click the above link for a good overview of a new report from The Nature Conservancy. Smart Cities Dive is an industry-specific aggregation media site for busy people. Know anybody like that? If you're like us, though, you'll want to go straight to the report and dig in. You might find that your weekend plans include planting a tree. We enjoy the Conservancy's treatment of funding and policy as fundamental considerations. Is your health worth the money? Comment on the Facebook post that brought you here!
Economic inclusion for growth: look to the cities

Economic inclusion for growth: look to the cities

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Economic inclusion for growth: look to the cities

“Preparing a broader and more diverse set of firms, workers, and communities to reach their productive potential offers a compelling opportunity for growth. Metropolitan America should seize it.” That's the conclusion of a comprehensive new report released by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. The results are summarized in an article the institute published yesterday titled "Opportunity for growth: How reducing barriers to economic inclusion can benefit workers, firms, and local economies." Diversity. Inclusion. When it comes to urban policy, these are not warm and fuzzy catchphrases bandied from ivory towers. Growth initiatives, if they are to be truly effective, cannot remain separate from inclusion initiatives (contrary to the habit many cities have cultivated, intentionally or haplessly). Brookings lays out these key findings: - The economy is not working for all people and places, and cities and regions are a critical scale at which to address the challenge. - Reducing barriers to economic opportunity in U.S. metro areas can enhance economic growth. - Growth is necessary to make regional economies more inclusive. - Growth actors - employers and the economic development organizations (EDOs) that represent them - have an important role to play in joining inclusion actors - community development, workforce development, and social justice organizations) - to reduce the barriers that prevent firms, workers, and communities from meeting their productive potential. There is a lot to digest here. A major takeaway, though, is that when we set the stage for educational success, entrepreneurism and upward mobility, growth accelerates in a manner that allows more stakeholders to benefit. "Cities and regions are a critical scale at which to address the challenge," Brookings asserts. Shouldn't we start there? Read the entire report here.
Alliance Community Cleanup day - Sept 23 2017

Alliance Community Cleanup day - Sept 23 2017

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Alliance Community Cleanup day - Sept 23 2017

Many hands make light work, the saying goes, and we saw that concept in action last weekend when dozens of Southwest Florida citizens descended on the Alliance for the Arts with chainsaws in tow, plus plenty of community spirit. The News-Press latched onto that spirit with this uplifting article, some much-needed good news after the fright and tribulations associated with Hurricane Irma. We've witnessed many acts of kindness after the storm. Sometimes events that are bigger than us serve as a kind of crucible, forcing the true nature of our community to bubble up to the surface. More hands are needed at the Alliance, so another clean up day is scheduled for this Saturday. Go get your booster shot of community spirit. It will be good for you.

what inspires us

shellie johnson

shellie johnson

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shellie johnson

The Mother Hen The quality of life that a community has to offer is only as good as what its residents are willing to work for. The people at EnSite make Shellie Johnson excited to come to work everyday. “I work with a fantastic, energetic and creative group that is respectful of one another and most important, likes to have fun,” she said. Working with and taking care of the needs of a small firm is a natural extension of small-town home life for the LaBelle resident. Loose ends are a foreign concept to Shellie, as her focus on details runs deeper than even her credentials from the American Institute of Certified Planners can testify. Shellie is one of EnSite’s owners and in her role as Planning Director, she assists private clients in gaining development entitlements to property. She also assists government jurisdictions with daily planning tasks such as development reviews and regulatory amendments, and with long-range planning projects. When she’s not at work, Shellie volunteers as President of the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corp. The group’s efforts have not only made good on its name, but it has also caused a resurgence in residents’ pride in their community and instilled a sense of ownership in the beautiful historic downtown. She enjoys being part of a small town and contributing her time and energy in preserving its sense of community while creating opportunity to encourage younger generations to stay there and prosper. Shellie is a recent widow who enjoys being close to her three stepchildren. Her three dogs run her life. She likes spending time in the outdoors, hiking, and kayaking. She loves to eat great food.
brent gibson

brent gibson

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brent gibson

The Solutions Guy Work smarter, not harder. Brent Gibson enjoys the laid-back, open culture and family-like atmosphere of the EnSite office, which he thinks promotes creativity. “Also, everybody has a voice in what happens with the company. Whether you’re the newest employee or one of the owners, your ideas will be heard and considered.” That flat organizational structure also has a way of encouraging folks to reach beyond their job descriptions to do whatever it is that has to be done. As Lead Designer, Brent does most of the civil engineering design. He also oversees production management, and is responsible for scheduling and getting the designs and plans out the door to clients and municipalities. He also serves as the in-house IT guy. The McGregor Veterinarian Clinic is one of many projects that served as a proving ground for Brent’s creative problem-solving skills. While employing low-impact development techniques, the EnSite team met the challenges presented by Lee County’s newly drafted Compact Communities Planned Development zoning code. This code emphasizes mixed-use and compact development, rather than separate uses with the large setbacks often seen in sprawl development. Brent has been married to his wife Emily for 16 years, and the couple has three boys and a girl between eight and 15 years old. He enjoys playing golf and basketball, and coaches youth basketball at the local YMCA. He’s also on the board for Big Brothers Big Sisters and is a mentor in the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools STAMP program. Twitter: @BGib4
brian smith

brian smith

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brian smith

The Design Doctor Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The Golden Rule was frequently evoked by the single mom who raised Brian Smith and his older sister. Another favorite quote was “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Brian said, “Watching her struggle through life taught me the values of hard work and determination to make a better life for the family. She is certainly my early inspiration and drive to do better and to work hard and value what I have and to cherish family always.” Fortunately, coming to work at EnSite means much more than a paycheck to him. An EnSite owner, Brian values his co-workers, the atmosphere, and the variety of projects the team gets to work on. As Director of Land Design for the company, Brian is responsible for site planning and project management. It’s thrilling to prepare a plan that exceeds the client’s expectations, whether it is a 4,000-acre new community or a .75-acre commercial project requiring innovative design solutions. “Problems” is a word he banishes from his vocabulary. There exist, rather, solvable issues, and the team works with surgical precision to work out solutions to those issues. Few people are aware that Brian’s alternative career path would have led him to being an emergency room doctor. He maintains that laughter is the best medicine, and employs plenty of humor in his work and family life. He and his wife of 15 years, Christy, have two boys, aged 13 and 11. In keeping with his mom’s example, he says, “They are everything to me.” His family enjoys spending time outdoors.
jonathan romine

jonathan romine

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jonathan romine

The Big Picture Thinker There is no limit to what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit. - John Wooden EnSite owner Jonathan Romine is obsessed with metrics. Aside from hard numbers, he has a major soft spot for people. Every day represents a new opportunity to help someone succeed or empower a whole community of “someones” to make a better future. Of course he pays close attention to the many details of running the business, from finance and investment to R&D and marketing strategy, but it’s the big picture that really matters. By maintaining everything in ship-shape condition, EnSite’s team can consistently deliver optimal results for its clients. His biggest consideration is the company’s culture, which is at the heart of everything EnSite does. On the practice side, Jonathan’s official title is Director of Landscape Architecture, but he describes himself as a “mentorholic.” All staff members are given room to grow their creative talents, develop their leadership skills, and pursue their dreams. Moreover, the organizational structure is horizontal, meaning no one holds a monopoly on good ideas. Jonathan’s passion is making a positive impact on the community in which he lives, works, learns, and plays. Therefore, he’s especially proud of EnSite’s public sector and non-profit projects, such as parks, community planning, redevelopment/infill plans, and arts and cultural institutions. Jonathan has a daughter, Ava, with wife Megan. He loves sports and travel, and supporting these community organizations: The Imaginarium Science Center (current President of the Board), The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools (Board Member and Mentor), Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce (Board Member), Rotary Club of Fort Myers South. Twitter: @rominejl
matt horton

matt horton

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matt horton

The Boundary Pusher It’s in the doing that the idea comes. Like every team member at EnSite, Matt Horton enjoys the horizontal structure, which affords him the opportunity to work in the trenches, where the best ideas come from. Top-down organizations often suffer some delusion when they think innovation can come from the ivory tower. As Director of Urban Design, Matt has been able to push boundaries and enjoy the freedom to develop innovative solutions. Every EnSite project is special, but a particularly gratifying one is Gardner’s Park in downtown Fort Myers. “This was probably the most fun of my career, because the owners and residents were very enthusiastic and helpful throughout the project,” he said. Starting out as a guava farm in the 1800s, Gardner’s Park is a lively district featuring community events, galleries, boutiques, cafés, theater, and attractions such as The Burroughs Home & Gardens, The Butterfly Estates, and the Langford-Kingston Historic Home. When he’s not leading EnSite’s urban design activities, Matt is doing the important work of being a dad to his two sons, ages eight and nine. Beyond those two jobs, he finds there are even more boundaries to push: having completed the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in Sarasota after losing a bet, he was hooked and has been training and competing ever since. He’s done three Ironmans, but not the big one in Hawaii…yet.

what makes us awesome

"All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions." - George Bernard Shaw

2012 Horizon Council General Business Award

2012 Horizon Council General Business Award

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2012 Gulfshore Business 40 under 40 Award - Jonathan Romine

2012 Gulfshore Business 40 under 40 Award - Jonathan Romine

2012 Florida Commissioner of Education Business Recognition Award

2012 Florida Commissioner of Education Business Recognition Award

2012 Chrysalis Award for Sustainability

2012 Chrysalis Award for Sustainability

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2012 Lee County School District Business Partner of the Year

2012 Lee County School District Business Partner of the Year

2010 Blue Chip Finalist

2010 Blue Chip Finalist

2010 Creating Better Places Design Competition - First Place Overall

2010 Creating Better Places Design Competition - First Place Overall

why ensite

"If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" - John Wooden

EnSite, Inc. has been passionate about improving the Southwest Florida community since it was founded in 2005. The firm is focused on sustainable design that engages and inspires. It achieves its award-winning results through a fanatical commitment to communication plus its unique combination of creativity, technical expertise, project management efficiency, and intelligent teamwork. We believe that any company’s ability to deliver results that exceed expectations is a necessary function of its organizational culture. EnSite’s culture, which is at the heart of everything we do, strongly emphasizes empowerment and accountability, collaboration, innovation, and a meaningful investment in the communities where we live, work, learn, and play. It’s a privilege to offer our services, which enhance the quality of life of the place we call home, including land planning, landscape architecture, civil engineering, and urban design. Every client receives focused personal attention by working directly with a principal of the firm, while EnSite’s collaborative team structure increases design efficiency and promotes creative problem-solving and creativity, leading to well managed projects and, most importantly, customer satisfaction. EnSite’s unique business model enables our clients to enjoy the talent, assets and results of a large firm, but with competitive fees and top-notch personalized service. Our principals possess great communication skills and are intimately involved in every project from start to finish—they personally plan, design, permit, inspect, and certify every single one. Our community engagement doesn’t end with our many projects. EnSite’s team members are engaged in many service organizations and projects outside of work. And as a team, we reach out to local schools, universities, municipalities, and organizations through our EnRichment program to educate students of all ages and establish relationships and civic engagement to further enhance the experience of living in Southwest Florida.

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EnSite, Inc.

2401 First Street
Suite 201
Fort Myers, FL 33901

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  • Communication is key to a lot of things but it is paramount in collaboration. Check out our latest blog on how… https://t.co/TpBfGM7bb0 |

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