Introducing, Marshall Ling!
Help us welcome Marshall, joining Board & Vellum's Multifamily Studio. With years of experience in development and an in-depth understanding of the Seattle market, Marshall is excited to bring his expertise back into the world of architecture. In his free time, Marshall enjoys working on his passion project - his cabin in Eastern Washington.
July 21, 2020
My name is Marshall and I could not be more excited to be joining the talented team at Board & Vellum!
Having grown up on a farm in Ohio, my first forays into architecture were constructed mostly of scrap wood and hay bales. My first precedents: grain silos and dilapidated barns. But at an early age, and before I had the vocabulary to describe any of it, I was learning valuable lessons around concepts like lateral bracing and deflection from pursuing ambitious tree fort projects, not to mention the value engineering required to fund such projects on a tiny allowance and the occasional lawn mowing gig. Fortunately for my coworkers and clients, I’ve learned a few things since then and my vocabulary has also improved just a little bit.
I spent most of my high school years, and then college, in North Carolina, where I received my B.A. in Architecture from UNC-Charlotte in 2010. Living in Charlotte at that time, where the economy was largely fueled by the corporate headquarters of big banks, job prospects were less-than-ideal, and I had seen enough of the world to know that Charlotte was not where I wanted to put down roots, anyway. So, following the words of LeAnn Rimes on the first CD I ever owned, I bought a one-way ticket on a westbound train to see how far I could go. Four days after leaving Charlotte with some clothes and a few boxes of belongings, I arrived at King Street Station in Seattle. If you’ve never taken an extended trip by train, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
I called Capitol Hill home from 2011 until just last year when I moved out to the cabin I’ve been renovating near Roslyn with my now-fiancé, Spencer. He’s a Washingtonian and has opened my eyes to the beauty of our state by dragging me on countless hikes and camping trips (which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed despite my assertions that I’d rather stay home on the couch eating takeout.) What started as a half-joking quip not long after we started dating (“You should buy a cabin!”) ended up becoming my passion project, creative outlet, and a dream come true for both of us. Eventually, we plan to move back to the city, but for now (especially now) we are grateful for the peaceful setting and extra space we get to enjoy in our little mountain town.
Shortly after moving to Seattle, I joined Blanton Turner, a newly-founded property management and development consulting firm. Moving up through the ranks from leasing agent to property manager, and then pre-development consultant, I received an immersive education in how urban multifamily and mixed-use projects function and perform both physically and financially. As the company’s pre-development consultant, I studied the Seattle market in great detail to identify what worked well operationally, and what resonated with potential renters. Together with my experience in on-site management and my education in architecture, that in-depth market research formed the underpinnings of my work—unlocking untapped potential and value in multifamily projects. I provided guidance on everything from the big moves like unit mix and amenity spaces down to the little details like door hardware and window coverings. Anything that could improve operational efficiency or marketability, and thus drive value for owners and investors, was fair game. Since 2015, I have consulted on over 100 multifamily projects in the greater Seattle area.
My experiences in property management and development consulting provided me with an insight and understanding I could not have gained any other way. After several years immersed in the world of multifamily projects on the operations and development side, I was ready to take what I had learned and apply it in a different setting where I could also continue developing my design skills through greater collaboration. As an integrated design firm, Board & Vellum was the perfect fit, allowing me to engage in more cross-disciplinary collaboration and bringing together all the important details that result in better multifamily projects under one roof.