Leadership Spotlight: Dave Reitz, PLA, on the Importance of Communication & Building Strong Relationships
Dave Reitz has over 30 years of experience and is a registered landscape architect with extensive experience in residential land planning, land development, land entitlement, and landscape architecture. Prior to joining HR Green, Dave worked as a National Director of Community Development for a national homebuilder. He has led numerous projects through all phases of design and implementation, including site analysis/evaluation, conceptual design/planning, public outreach and involvement, specific site planning, land entitlement and zoning, detailed design, construction documentation, and construction administration.
Q: What should clients know about HR Green’s Land Development team?
A: Clients can benefit from our team providing an inside perspective to their needs and philosophies because many of our staff, including myself, have either previously worked on the private side or have worked most of their careers with developers and builders. Our collective backgrounds allow us to look at opportunities from our client’s perspectives to help their projects say on schedule with fewer disruptions. We also take time to understand background issues from the investment side and understand the sense of urgency that our clients may expect from a consultant. Clients appreciate this experience, and it helps us understand what to prioritize in terms of the approval and entitlement process.
Q: How can clients benefit from your team’s communication approach?
A: We assign a key project manager to work with every client throughout the duration of their projects. Clients like to know that they have a key person assigned to them that is responsible for all communications for the overall project, quality of work, the schedule, and other crucial tasks. Our clients have access to a deep bench of staff, but all information is funneled through one person on our team, typically a seasoned project manager.
This approach seems to alleviate issues that I have seen from my experience working for the private sector, in which consultants might have multiple contact points for multiple tasks which lead to miscommunication.
Q: How do you earn a client’s trust and establish long-term relationships?
A: Keeping lines of communication open and providing great service helps us gain trust from our existing clients and build long-term relationships. We have a great staff that has earned this trust and developed it into repeat business. Our Chick-fil-A account in the Midwest and the Howard Hughes account in the Houston area are prime examples of our ability to put ourselves in our client’s shoes, communicate for success, and place a high priority in managing their projects.
In addition, our staff strives to take some of the management load off of our clients. Chick-fil-A is a great example of that. Our staff has been able to coordinate many of the tasks and provide management assistance to the regional managers of Chick-fil-A related to coordination from all of the different entities that are involved in the project. We do this by communicating openly with these various entities, such as the City officials where the project is being built, the attorneys that are trying to get the projects approved, the landlords or the architects that are involved, and essentially “quarterbacking” the entire project. That adds value to our clients. They appreciate it when we go beyond the technical aspects of engineering and coordinate everything on their behalf so they can open a store on time; close a house on time, or open a distribution facility by a specific date.
Our ability to expedite approvals, keep things on schedule, and coordinate amongst all of the different stakeholders is what helps us to provide exceptional service to our clients.