“We assist clients and communities in seeking and defining their next horizon. We refer to this process as transforming horizons,” says Chuck Lehman, president and CEO of Lehman & Lehman. Landscape architecture, planning and placemaking are at the heart of this Mishawaka business, which was awarded with the Small Business of the Year honor by the South Bend Regional Chamber earlier this year.
Now entering its 31st year, the company practices with an emphasis on social economic and purposeful design strategies. It crafts sustainable landscapes, sites and places that create positive change through cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Lehman & Lehman is more than a landscape architecture firm; rather, the company is a visionary of the land, present and future. Their approach is holistic, shaping human perspectives to encourage richer thinking that is deeper and more meaningful in both scope and magnitude.
Their project involvement includes the planning and design of Mishawaka’s Central Park, land use planning of the proposed Indiana Enterprise Center, planning and design of South Bend’s West Bank Trail, Mishawaka High School’s Steele Field Renovations and Alumni Plaza, master plan development for Mishawaka’s Ironworks project, and a 10-county Greenways and Trails Vision for Indiana and Michigan.
The key to the company’s sustainability lies with its ability to collaborate when needed with other firms, engineers and other specialists to implement and execute clients’ vision. For the past eight years, the company has experienced at least 15% growth per year, and it has done so with less staff than in previous years. In 2006, the firm had 14 staff members and four licensed professionals, with projects in 11 states.
But the economic downturn in 2008-09 required the company to reinvent itself, making the decision to stay small to offer enhanced focus. Currently, Lehman & Lehman has three full-time and one part-time staff, serving clients throughout Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.
While the company reinvented itself, so did Chuck, building relationships and investing time in the community. This engagement means participation on various boards and committees, including serving on two Regional Cities advisory committees and serving on the board of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. He is also board chair of the South Bend Heritage Foundation and member of the Mishawaka Education Foundation.