Scott Sonnenberg, PE, LA, CPESC, CPSWQ, owns his own engineering design firm in Columbus, Ohio, called Eco-Design and Engineering. We recently spoke to Scott about his background in landscape architecture, his biggest challenges, and his favorite accomplishments in the field.
Q: How did your career begin, and how did it evolve into you opening your own firm?
A: I have a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Ohio State and an M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Clemson, so I am registered as a licensed landscape architect and a professional engineer in both Ohio and South Carolina. I worked for Arbor Engineering, a multi-disciplinary firm in Greenville, S.C., for 10 years and then for two years at MKSK, a landscape architecture firm in Columbus, Ohio, before starting Eco-Design and Engineering in 2000.
Q: What does your firm specialize in?
A: I specialize in environmentally sensitive engineering site design, providing services to other design firms and owners. I work on a lot of park projects, stream and wetland restoration projects, and institutional projects such as new schools, hospitals, and municipal projects.
Q: How would you describe your design style?
A: I work solely with repeat clients and referrals, and most of the projects have some difficulty because of environmental sensitivity, permitting, access, stormwater issues, or community concerns. Developing solutions to overcome these difficulties that respect the environment, are simple and cost efficient, and meet the community and permit requirements would probably best describe my design philosophy and style. The projects that accomplish this in a way that appears very natural, are the ones I am most proud of.
Q: Can you talk about any of those projects specifically?
A: Two park projects where we used PermaTrak products are such projects. The City of Dublin Thaddeus Kosciuszko Park in Dublin, Ohio, is a neighborhood park with walking trails where we used a PermaTrak structure to cross one of the many creeks on the project.
The other park project is Shale Hollow Preserve on US Highway 23 south of Delaware, Ohio, for Preservation Parks of Delaware County. We needed to cross a small creek for the entrance drive that could accommodate school buses and trucks. The 20-foot-long precast concrete structures spanned two creeks and floodplains with minimal impacts and made permitting the project much easier.
If you are ever in the Columbus area and attend the Dublin Irish Festival during early August in Coffman Park, look around to see if you can spot the creek crossings, stream stabilization, rain gardens, infiltration basins, and LID measures throughout the park that I contributed to the design of the park.