By Susan E. Campbell
A woman-owned and managed landscape engineering business opened in March in Saratoga Springs.
Larch Landscape Architecture and Engineering PLLC was founded by Jessica Marquard, RLA, ASLA, APA, to provide quality landscaping and planning for commercial, industrial and municipal projects.
Marquard is a Cornell University graduate with two masters degrees. After getting her professional career started in Philadelphia, she and her husband returned to the area where she grew up and joined Saratoga Associates, then later C. T. Male Associates.
At the latter, she managed landscape development on such projects as site design for GlobalFoundries in Malta and two municipal solar projects. But Marquard said she “grew tired of the Northway and daily commute” and wanted to go out on her own.
Larch Landscaping offers a range of services, from site selection and master planning for municipal development, to Brownfield revitalization.
“The projects I enjoy most are community planning and my specialty is design for high-tech facilities and utilities, which are opposite ends of the spectrum,” she said.
Relationships with other landscape designers and clients she worked with since graduate school are helping the new business grow.
Larch Landscaping is a one-woman shop. Marquard said when she needs personnel, she teams up with a variety of partner firms.
Marquard believes there is a shortage of WBE-certified companies in her industry. Architectural engineering has been a male-dominated field and it can be difficult for prospective clients to even locate a woman-owned firm. Her goal is to achieve the status of a certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise soon.
“It is a lengthy process,” she said. WBE certification may further help to open doors for Marquard.
Women may find it more difficult than men to make business connections and to get their companies started, she said. “Often I am the only woman in the room at a meeting, so it’s important to be confident. I may have felt more intimidated when younger, but I’ve gotten used to it.”
“It is harder to be taken seriously, especially when starting out,” said Marquard. “I would advise other women—don’t be afraid to pound the pavement. The more you do the more comfortable you will feel.”
Marquard’s biggest goal as a small business is to provide high-quality product and to be responsive to customer needs.
“Big firms can get stuck and not return phone calls,” she said. “Client support and service will make my firm stand out.”
The name Larch is a reference to the American larch, a conifer tree native to the Adirondacks and also an acronym for landscape architecture.
Visit www.larchny.com for more information.