Inspired Leadership Inspires Sustainable Design

Simon Sink's TEDx Talk, Puget SoundBy Guest Blogger Jon Dickinson

Sustainability is ingrained into LPA's firm culture and our common goals have led to many successful projects. To maintain this integrated, very collaborative culture and the esteem we’ve worked hard to achieve, it takes a constant challenge of the status quo.

“Inspired leaders, inspired organizations regardless of their size or industry, all think, act and communicate from the inside out,” says author Simon Sink.

I heard this quote in Simon’s Puget Sound TEDx talk*, and it got me thinking; for inspired leaders and organizations, like LPA, their Why, leads their How, and their What (see image).

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” Sink continues.

It’s obvious to me, that LPA is an entity that leads with its Why. We are those “innovators and early adopters” Sink describes. In the 1980’s, we made the intuitive decision to embrace site dictated, sustainable design. Although the abundance of green, water and energy efficient products and design technologies had not been developed yet, it didn’t impact our decision – because this decision came from our core. Efficient design is in our DNA; it’s simply the way we do things.

Of all of the questions running through my head as I watched the clip above, the one I really wanted to pursue circled around Why. Why does LPA believe in Integrated Sustainable Design?

After pooling our leadership team, here are some of my favorite, most telling responses.

“As a firm that has a long history of working collaboratively we understand the power that different voices can bring to a design solution. This is even more important today where we are tasked with creating buildings that are required to do a lot more with less. Less energy. Less water. Fewer materials and less money. Having the architects and engineers working side by side, day to day, is having a profound effect on our design process and therefore a profound effect on the projects we put in place for our clients.” – President Dan Heinfeld

“At LPA we are all on the same page, operating from a central tenet of Integrated Sustainable Design, versus trying to bring consultants along, which was the case when all disciplines were not in-house.” – Director of Energy Services Jim Maclay, Ph.D.

Green Architecture for future generations“Integrated Sustainable Design provides a  responsible, efficient method of navigating a project that works to produce a design that is timeless and a construction progress that is less hassle. That seems like something everyone would want to aim for, doesn’t it?” – Project Coordinator Albert Lam

“We believe in doing more with less which fundamentally changes the way we use the resources we are given. An integrated process requires more collaboration with diverse groups of people to solve complex solutions simply, with less.” - Senior Educational Facility Planner Kimberly Coffeen

“Writer John Heywood said, ‘Many hands make light work.’ At LPA, our integrated design teams achieve greater success solving difficult and unique challenges, because we are committed to the same goal – Valuing excellence in everything we do.” – Associate Steve Newsom

“We practice integrated design to provide the best value for our clients. We design sustainably to create better built environments, now and for generations to come.” – Principal Steve Kendrick

“Many of us have children, some even have grand children. I rest my case.” – Principal Jim Wirick

Sustainable design ensures the future of our planet for our children and grand children and an integrated approach is fundamental to sustainable design.” – Associate and Design Technologies Manager Charlie Williams

“LPA believes in Integrated Sustainable Design because it leads to the best long-term solutions for our clients. Why would we offer them anything less?” – Project Coordinator Lindsey Engels

“As humans, we are responsible for the stewardship of our land and its resources ... Integrated Sustainable Design allows us the opportunity to insure a harmonic balance between man’s dependence and impact on the land and the providence of its natural resources for future generations.” – Principal Kevin Sullivan

*The TED conference is a gathering of the world's most fascinating and forward thinkers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives, in 18 minutes or less. For more information, visit or download the IOS app and explore the numerous video archives.

Jon Dickinson is an Electrical Engineer at California-based LPA Inc. He specializes in design for retail buildings, educational facilities, shell-office buildings, hospitality projects, and street lighting.