Your Name: William “Billy” D. Almond, FASLA
Your Position: Vice President, Landscape Architecture Division
Company Name: WPL
Phone Number: 757-431-1041
Business Address: 242 Mustang Trail Suite 8 Virginia Beach 23452
Industry: Design Consultants: Landscape Architecture (Residential and Commercial), Civil Engineering, Surveying
How many people does the company employ? 28
How long has it been in business? 53 years
What prompted you to start your own business? WPLs inception started in 1960 when Wilfred P. Large had a vision and left a local survey company to become an entrepreneur. He saw the world in metes and bounds and used his insights into the physical layout of our earth to single handedly start what has grown into a full service multi-disciplined design firm.
Today, Wilfred handed off the torch to his son, Brian who oversees the operations of WPL while Billy and Buddy Pritchard run their divisions. WPL takes great pride in our old fashioned work ethic and apply it to improving the design and implementation process. The benefits to their clients include creative design and quality service, tailored to their needs.
Describe what your company does: WPL is a multi-discipline firm comprised of landscape architecture, civil engineering and surveying services for Federal, State, Municipal and Private Clients. The scope of these projects range from studies and designs for such land developments as schools, urban design , master plans, multi and single family residential projects, commercial site plans, institutional site development, industrial parks and residential landscape design.
Anything extraordinary/unique that your company does: WPL is a green sustainable site design practice. WPL is made up of a cohesive team of surveyors, landscape architects, and engineers who are passionate about what they do and create. The WPL team is very involved in the Virginia Beach community and strives to serve the community and their customers to their best abilities. WPL is known as the “hometown” firm who will roll their sleeves up and help get projects down from start to finish. A prime example is JT’s Grommet Island Park, which is the first of its kind in the U.S. The park provides access to the beach but also serves as an ornamental setting and playground. Among the key features are handicapped-accessible play structures, special wheelchairs for the sand, soft play sculptures, shaded and non-shaded seating, decks and safe play surfaces.
Currently, WPL is working with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on the one of the first Living Building Challenge certified net zero water waste and energy buildings in the US named the Brock Environmental Center at Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach. The aim is to save the Bay’s waterways through education, restoration and advocacy. WPL was fortunate to be able to do the surveying, civil engineering, master and site planning for the 122 acres that the site encompasses. This project will truly be a legacy project for the WPL team.
Given your business expertise and the nature of what you do, what advice (whether general or specific) can you offer to the residents of your neighborhood?
Always consult a land surveyor, land planner, or a landscape architect to review potential property prior to purchasing. A quick cursory review of the properties zoning, environmental concerns, land development options, utility infrastructure can shed the light about the properties ease of redevelopment. Additional studies regarding public infrastructure may be considered. We recommend investing in a current physical survey to determine your exact property boundaries and where existing structures sit on the property. This can make a difference if you have plans to expand in the future.
How did you decide on this industry (events that led up to where you are now, where you went to school, etc.)? I was raised on 84th street. As a child we had the ocean at the east end of the street and the state park at the other. I spent a great deal of time as a child either in the ocean or in the woods. Nature was a big part of my childhood. As a teenager I attended the Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey. While I was there I became very close with my English professor, Lacrosse and Soccer coach. He was an avid outdoorsman. We spent a great deal of time traveling thru Northwest New Jersey, New York State, Vermont and New Hampshire hiking and fishing. Nature was at the roots of my being. My father was a general contractor and I was introduced to construction at a very early age. My quest was to find a design profession that blended nature and the built environment. This is landscape architecture.
What section of the neighborhood do you live in and how long have you lived in the neighborhood?
I currently live on 70th landside since 1995
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the corner of 84th street
Tell us about your family:
Both parents are decased now. My mother was a professional model here and nationally. Most of her life was spent raising my sister and me. She was very involved with First Presbyterian Churh and served on it Session. She was member there for over 50 years. My father was from the Shenandoah Valley and came to Tidewater in the early 1950’s as a land surveyor. He started a general contracting business with a partner and in 1957 went to work for the Fine family at Fine and Salzberg. They were institutional contractors responsible for most of the Federal Post Offices from Toms River NJ into Texas. Fine and Salzberg built most of the post offices in Tidewater. My dad retired into residential construction and worked up until his was 85 years of age.
What are you your hobbies/interests? I started surfing when I was about 8 years old. Mr. Joe Dunn who resided on 84th street was the first person to take me out. I have been surfing since and now and part of the old souls surfing long boards and competing in ECSC. When not in the water I am in my year which is my sanctuary. I am a landscape architect during the week and horticulturalist / landscape contractor on the weekends. I maintain my residence as well as a memorial courtyard I designed in memory of my mother a First Presbyterian Church.
My wife and I do not have our own children but are blessed with Godchildren and adopted next door neighbor children that truly enrich our lives We are blessed in this regard. I am passionate about Virginia Beach and work daily to help design our city for the future. A lot has changed about the North End since the early 1950s. To be in a position to help guide what our city will look like in the future is an amazing opportunity.