Employee Spotlight: Paul Yoder

At Larson Design Group (LDG), we believe that our employees are our greatest asset. Meet Paul Yoder, Planning Associate, who is based in our Pittsburgh office. 

What drew you to apply to LDG? 

I think a combination of three reasons: First, Federal Planning was a relatively foreign industry to me, as I was getting ready to graduate. After researching more about the industry and what my role could be, I was very keen to apply and learn more about the role. Second, the ESOP [employee-owned] aspect and culture of the company from an outside perspective was very employee-driven and friendly. I had heard of ESOPs before and that instantly caught my eye. Third was the location! Growing up in Cincinnati I wanted somewhere relatively close to my home stomping grounds yet far enough to consider a new challenge, and Pittsburgh has certainly exceeded my expectations. 

What do you enjoy most about working for an employee-owned company? 

There are several things that come to mind for this question. One thought I’ve had increasingly over my first year here at LDG is the cyclical nature of increasing my value within the company. In a non-employee-owned company, I think of it as more of a linear process: if I increase my value as an employee, it will increase the value of the company and shareholders, but that ends there. At LDG it’s more of an iterative process: as I increase my experience and value towards the company, that increases the value of the company and shareholders, which as a shareholder in turn increases my share in the company. Maybe that was a complicated way of explaining it, but I always have that example in my head as a motivational drive to better myself personally and for LDG. 

Before joining LDG, what was the most interesting or unique job you had? 

I’ve had a few internships and some retail and food service jobs through college, but my absolute favorite was my first job, when I was the cotton candy/snow cone vendor at Cincinnati Reds games. I started when I was 15 and worked there for almost seven years and I miss it. It kept me in shape and was a fantastic atmosphere, just casually strolling throughout the stadium watching the games. I not only sold but also made the cotton candy before the games, which was also fun. 

What is something that most people don’t know about you? 

Surprisingly this can go under the radar with most people, but I’m half French. I don’t have an accent at all and may seem quite American, but the majority of my family is French, including my mother, who moved here from France when she was in her late 30s. Most of my family live in the south of France, near Toulouse, which we visit regularly. 

Which one of LDG’s core values do you most identify with and why? 

Innovation. I’m constantly keeping up to date with the newest trends and practices within the planning industry. I particularly enjoy keeping up and learning new software within the industry. I believe that in order for our department and ultimately LDG to ascend, it’s critical we stay up to date with the most recent innovations throughout our industries.