Principal, OALA, CSLA
Landscape architect, planner, small town enthusiast, knowledge cultivator, educator
After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture, Sean practised in several design/planning offices, throughout Canada and the US, on projects receiving national and international design award recognition. He gained a wide variety of community design project experience with urban, civic, and destination and amenity design work. Concurrently, he pursued his graduate degree in Planning & Development. During his planning degree, Sean was solicited to join an international mountain community planning firm and relocated to Whistler, British Columbia from Guelph, Ontario.
Sean undertook much of the management of the company’s community design studio efforts for destinations, resorts and amenity landscapes worldwide, taking him to hundreds of communities in over 8 countries. Many of his projects focussed on technical assessments, land use planning and urban design, destination area development, leisure service delivery and recreation, active design & transportation, space use programming – all key to successful community design.
After a decade of being abroad, Sean returned to Ontario creating the firm Kelly+Company focusing specifically on amenity communities and destinations – predominantly with a focus on his passion, the places, settlements and landscapes found in rural environments. The firm evolved into Stempski Kelly Associates Inc. in 2001, and subsequently “pl.ural”, upon celebrating 20 successful years in practice.
With an extensive professional experience foundation, his interests in design and planning, and interests in the development of capacity for others, Sean has been a highly sought after educator. Since 1997, he has taught at many academic institutions including the University of British Columbia, Mississippi State University, Georgian College and the University of Guelph. He has acted as “visiting critic” at several design schools and writes and speaks on planning, design and project implementation for community, recreation, economic development, and tourism related issues often. Sean joined the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development (SEDRD) at the University of Guelph, as an Assistant Professor in 2006, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012, and since 2017, has been the school’s Director.
Supported by an incredible staff and community, Sean continues booth with professional practice serving tremendous places in rural landscapes, and continues to teach and share his valued experiences and insights to the next generation of leaders, change-agents, and place-makers.