Justin Lemoine, 36
Owner, ELS Landscape Architecture Studio
- Serving as project manager for the joint-venture design team for the North Boulevard Town Square project.
- Founding ELS Landscape Architecture Studio.
- Serving as president of the Louisiana chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Co-founded the Mid City Makers Market in 2016, and serves on the board for the Mid City Merchants and Mid City Studio; is also a professional advisor to the West Baton Rouge Museum board.
NAME ONE BOOK THAT HAS INSPIRED YOU PROFESSIONALLY?
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB, HOW OLD WERE YOU AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
Pulling weeds in cotton (not joking) on my dad’s cousin’s family land. I was 10 or 11. I learned that earning money and managing it wisely was extremely important, and that working really hard is the only way to get a leg up. I also learned to not be so demanding of my parents when I wanted something because of how hard they worked for the money they earned.
WHAT IS THE STRANGEST JOB YOU’VE EVER HAD?
The aforementioned. Followed by changing oil and tires at a country gas station.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE FOR A BUSINESS LUNCH IN BATON ROUGE, AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DISH THERE?
Bistro Byronz on Government Street, and I love the steak frite salad.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Raising children who are respectful and polite in an era where manners seem to be absent.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST FULFILLING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Seeing my most recent park project absolutely swamped with people on the grand opening day, and seeing the smiles on the faces of the adults and children as they enjoyed the spaces that our design team created.
WHAT WAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL “AHA” MOMENT?
I’m not sure that I’ve necessarily had that one moment. I attend our organization’s yearly national conference and always have a series of inspiring mini-moments that push me to be better at what I do.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THE HARD WAY?
You learn the most from your mistakes, especially your expensive mistakes.
WHAT GIVES YOU PROFESSIONAL INSPIRATION?
When I see my peers parlaying their varying talents into thriving businesses, I’m inspired to hone mine and improve my business.
WHAT IS THE BEST COMPLIMENT YOU’VE EVER GOTTEN FROM A COLLEAGUE OR BOSS?
My greatest compliment had to be when I was told that I was very efficient.
ARE YOU ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA? IF SO, ON WHICH PLATFORMS ARE YOU MOST ACTIVE?
I’m on both Facebook and Instagram (personal and business) but prefer Instagram’s levels of engagement to that of Facebook.
HOW MANY TEXTS DO YOU SEND ON AN AVERAGE DAY? HOW MANY EMAILS?
Easily a couple hundred texts, probably around 100 emails.
HOW LOW WILL YOU ALLOW YOUR REMAINING PHONE OR COMPUTER BATTERY LIFE GET (IN %) BEFORE YOU HAVE AN ANXIETY ATTACK?
I like to keep the computer around 50%, but my phone regularly dies. Those few minutes (sometimes hours) of no phone sounds are bliss.
HOW MANY UNREAD MESSAGES ARE IN YOUR INBOX RIGHT NOW?
Which account? Usually under 10 per inbox.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE APP AT THE MOMENT?
The Eventbrite app is probably my current favorite. It makes managing our monthly market an absolute dream!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT OF THE PAST DECADE?
Drones are amazing. As someone who designs landscapes and sites from the aerial perspective, it’s great to have the use of drones for site reconnaissance and I love to see finished work from above.
WHAT TECHNOLOGY DO YOU WISH WAS NEVER INVENTED?
Cell phones. As much as I love mine, I feel like we’re a little TOO connected.
WHAT TIME DO YOU GET UP ON WORKDAY MORNINGS?
6 a.m., every single day.
BREAKFAST AT HOME? BREAKFAST ON THE GO? BREAKFAST AT YOUR DESK? NO BREAKFAST AT ALL?
Breakfast at home, we usually sit down as a family of four for breakfast.
THE SAYING GOES: “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.” SPECIFICALLY, WHAT ARE YOU “BEING” TO MAKE BATON ROUGE BETTER?
People in Baton Rouge operate in silos, with so many people doing the same work in different groups, diluting the effectiveness of their endeavors. I hope that in the things I do in work and in service, that I’m helping to bridge those gaps and build stronger coalitions to push Baton Rouge forward at a faster pace.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE “GROWN UP?”
Most days I refuse to believe that I am. I think it hit me the day my wife, my family, and I loaded up our moving truck headed for Austin just two weeks after graduation (and a week after our wedding).
WHAT WAS THE BEST VACATION YOU HAVE EVER TAKEN?
Easy. Honeymoon in Maui for a week. We rented a soft top Jeep Wrangler and just did whatever we wanted.
FAVORITE GIFT YOU WERE GIVEN AS A CHILD?
Probably my first 10-speed bike.
WHICH TALENT OR SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE AND WHY?
Teleporting. I’d love to be able to think of a place and just be there, even if just for a brief moment to see that sunset or catch that rare environmental wonder.
WHAT’S A NICKNAME YOUR FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE FOR YOU?
Some of my college friends still refer to me as Little J. I was the shorter of two Justins by a foot.
WHAT ARE YOU SUPERSTITIOUS ABOUT?
WHO FASCINATES YOU?
Patrick Fellows. That man has a drive 100 miles long and has a brain that doesn’t stop, and it’s awe-inspiring.
WHICH FICTIONAL CHARACTER DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH?
Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BAND OR SONG?
Anything Chris Stapleton.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?
The Goonies will always be my favorite movie.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
Justin Long, the guy from Jeepers Creepers.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR 18-YEAR-OLD SELF?
Everyone doesn’t need to like you. Just do what you do and do it well.
One dog, Lola, our adopted mutt.
Woodworking and furniture restoration. I used to have time for it, but now those moments are few and far between. I love to go camping with the family. Other than that, running. I run three to five times per week.
TELL US ABOUT A MOMENT THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE.
The moment my first daughter was born, the world gained a whole new perspective.
WHAT’S THE NEXT BIG PERSONAL OR CAREER CHALLENGE YOU PLAN TO TAKE ON?
My next personal challenge will be to train for a full marathon. I’ve run three halves and am ready to train for the full.
WHAT CONCERNS YOU MOST ABOUT THE FUTURE?
The effects that global climate change may have on south Louisiana could mean a different way of life for my children and grandchildren, and we’re already seeing some changes take hold.
WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST HOPE ABOUT THE FUTURE?
With the technology they’re growing up on, this new generation has the potential to create things that will solve some of the worlds most pressing challenges like hunger, energy conservation and environmental restoration.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE FOR FUTURE FORTY UNDER 40 HONOREES?
Don’t do the work so you will be recognized. Just DO THE WORK.
DO YOU PLAN TO BE IN THE CAPITAL REGION FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? WHY OR WHY NOT?
Absolutely. I wasn’t raised in Baton Rouge, but this is my home.
IF NAMED KING FOR A DAY, WHAT IS ONE CHANGE YOU WOULD MAKE IN BATON ROUGE?
I would make Baton Rouge less dependent on cars, and less dependent on the interstate. I would make policy to encourage people to live closer to where they work and simultaneously improve the infrastructure to make biking, walking and public transportation more viable for the average person. This city depends WAY too much on individual auto transportation.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN BATON ROUGE; WHAT WORKS AND WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT?
The quality of life is different depending on where you live, who you are and what you do. For me and my family, I think we have a good quality of life. Our kids go to East Baton Rouge Public School System schools, we regularly use an amazing parks system, and we live in a part of town with nearly every amenity we could need.
The city needs truly functional public transportation to connect all people to all parts of the parish, and Department of Public Works needs a more robust overhaul to make them much more effective at serving the citizens’ maintenance, drainage, and transportation needs.
DO YOU HAVE A BUCKET LIST? IF SO, WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 THINGS ON IT?
Visit New Zealand, visit Machu Picchu and go skydiving.