George Reader was fresh out of college with a degree in art when he moved to the Washington, DC, area in 1978. Looking for work due to closing factories in his native Pennsylvania, he applied for an interior landscaping position at a local firm and got the job.
“I was looking for a great creative opportunity to interact with other people, and I thought it would be fun,” says Reader.
Forty years later, Reader has crafted an accomplished career in design. He has worked in recent years for Ambius, the company that bought his initial employer. Ambius has locations across the nation, including a DC-area office in Beltsville. Located at the Ammendale Business Campus, Ambius employs a team that designs, produces, and installs landscapes to enhance commercial spaces. The firm has 50 employees in the area and adds about 30 seasonal employees for the holiday season.
“One of the most amazing things about our DC team is their commitment to quality and excellence,” boasts Reader.
The success of Reader and his Ambius colleagues was recognized earlier this year by AmericanHort, North America’s largest organization of landscaping and horticultural professionals. At this year’s International Plantscape Awards, Ambius won 27 awards, including one for Reader’s 2017 holiday design at Reston Town Center in Virginia.
Reader’s design included 170 lighted trees, 14 of which were at least 45 feet tall. Reader began his design work in the spring of 2017 and spent about 120 hours designing the various components to meet the town center’s goals. The Ambius team then spent numerous weeks between Labor Day and Thanksgiving installing the design in time for the holiday shopping season.
Reader’s award-winning design extended over 9 square blocks at the town center and included about 160 thousand lights. It also included a significant kinetic presence (moving lights) to give viewers an energizing experience.
The Reston project is only Reader’s latest creation. Throughout his career, he has been involved in numerous other projects, including Tysons Galleria, Fair Oaks Mall, and the Mobil Corporation headquarters.
“There’s a lot of dedication and commitment by the holiday team, and it starts with the production team in Beltsville,” says Reader. “Then we had dedicated installation crews on site. We were all genuinely excited about bringing great holiday experience.”