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Balancing the Art and Science of Design

with Todd Burdge, PE of EVOLV Engineering and Pete Price of Fall Line


In this episode, Kenny Shultz, PE, Carter Huddleston, PE, Todd Burdge, PE, and Pete Price discuss the topic of design. They explore the importance of belonging and collaboration within design teams, the challenges of working in silos, and the need for open communication and feedback. They also touch on the concept of easy design versus good design, the role of relationships in the design process, and the importance of considering maintenance and long-term care in landscape architecture and structural design.

The conversation highlights the need to balance the art and science of design and the importance of understanding and working within code requirements. The principal themes of the conversation include coordination, constraints, zoning and building codes, understanding different disciplines, the importance of hard work and self-belief, and the value of feedback and communication skills in consulting engineering.

They continue to discuss the importance of staying engaged with projects as consultants and the value of soft skills in the industry. They also touch on the power of storytelling in design and the need for humility and bravery in the field. They emphasize the importance of hard work and self-belief in achieving success. They also discuss the challenges of balancing work and personal life and the importance of judgment in making professional decisions.


  • Belonging and collaboration are essential for successful design teams.

  • Working in silos and lack of communication can hinder the design process.

  • Good design requires a balance between the art and science of design.

  • Consideration of maintenance and long-term care is crucial in landscape architecture and structural design.

  • Understanding and working within code requirements is important in design. Coordination is a key topic in the conversation, highlighting the importance of effective communication and collaboration in design and construction projects.

  • Constraints, such as building codes and zoning ordinances, significantly shape the design process and require careful consideration and problem-solving.

  • Understanding different disciplines, such as architecture, civil engineering, and landscape architecture, is crucial for successful collaboration and achieving the desired outcomes.

  • Hard work and self-belief are essential for personal and professional growth, and they contribute to building confidence and finding purpose in one's work.

  • Feedback is valuable for continuous improvement and learning, and creating a culture of short accounts can help address conflicts and build trust within teams.

  • Effective communication skills, including reading the room and understanding social dynamics, are essential in consulting engineering to navigate client meetings and interactions. Staying engaged with projects as consultants is crucial, even after they leave your hands.

  • Soft skills like communication and improvisation are essential in building client relationships.

  • Storytelling is a powerful tool in design, allowing for a deeper connection with the meaning behind the project.

  • Humility and bravery are key traits for success in the industry.

  • Hard work is essential, even for the most talented individuals.

  • Balancing work and personal life is important for overall well-being.

  • Professional judgment is valuable in making decisions and solving problems.

  • The importance of self-belief and perseverance in overcoming obstacles.

  • The value of having the right people on your team.


  • 00:00 Introduction and Setting

  • 11:48 Considering Maintenance in Landscape Architecture and Structural Design

  • 35:20 Navigating Constraints: Building Codes and Zoning

  • 43:09 The Role of Hard Work and Self-Belief

  • 51:07 Communication Skills in Consulting Engineering

  • 01:06:08 Staying Engaged as Consultants

Where to find Todd

Where to find Pete

Where to find PermitZIP

Where to find The Blueprint Tour

The Blueprint Tour
The Blueprint Tour
A construction podcast hosted by PermitZIP.
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