Sudbury Design Group
Pools & Spas
Mike Coutu may be the long-time owner of Sudbury Design Group, one of New England’s most widely respected landscape architecture firms, but he still gets to work every morning at 5:30 a.m., raring to go.
Coutu—who started working at the company right out of high school—says he likes every aspect of the company’s award-winning business, from the small residential design projects, to large estate commissions.
“People ask, ‘What’s your retirement goal,’ ” says Coutu. “The truth is, I don’t have one.” Coutu notes that his good fortune—working at something he loves and leading a staff of more than 50 full-time landscape architects, horticulturalists, stone masons, and maintenance workers—can be traced to hiring good people.
“I have wonderful people, like my office manager who has been with me for 37 years, and two senior staff members who have been with me for 30 years,” says Coutu. “We also have a whole crew of younger people, who are our future.”
Coutu notes that his industry has seen lots of changes in the last 40 years. “In the early 1980s, we used to advertise in Boston magazine and we were the only professional landscape company to advertise—for years,” he says. “But we have a lot of competitors now, which means we need to stay on top of our game.”
The Internet has really affected the industry, Coutu notes, because customers are far more knowledgeable. “You have to keep up because of the Internet, which has made for well-educated consumers,” he says. “The Internet has had a huge impact on forcing landscape professionals to stay current.”
Still, Coutu notes that 2015 has been a turn-around year and “one of the company’s best-ever. We stayed the course, went through that tough period (around 2008) and I didn’t lay off one person in our construction, or design staffs,” he says with pride.