Kalu Yala is a Panama-based project led by Jimmy Stice. It is founded on the idea of creating an entire city where people will support each other and live in an economically sustainable environment. The size includes 575 acres that are divided into a few sections. The first of the villages stretches over 275 acres where 500 people are expected to live comfortably when the project is completed. Currently, the workforce for the endeavor includes dozens of interns who come in the summer and help with the construction processes. This enables them to form long-lasting friendships as well as learn about complicated matters like sustainability and development.
Courtesy of a thorough business plan and strategies made by Mr. Stice, the project has captured attention from quite a few investors and other companies. This led to a few partnerships with some prominent organizations like the Affordable Permanence, Hope for Architecture, and Studio Sky. Also, the fact that the villages are going to be placed in the middle of a beautiful jungle where the temperature reaches 84 degrees almost every day and 68 degrees every night leaves little room for Kalu Yala criticism.
Even though the model is based on strict business concepts that pertain to real estate, Kalu Yala is designed to build no more than 20 houses per year. This ensures that every mini-project will get the necessary attention from multiple people. Thus, finances are never going to get in the way of the quality.
Do you know what steez is? If so, how do you express your steez?
My steez, which is the way I go about doing my job as I understand it, is based on timeliness, professionally, and proper communication.
When you were younger what was your dream occupation?
I have actually always had dreams of building a city of my own. Although it may sound crazy, I thought of this idea as a way to merge creativity with some necessary skills in business to help the environment.
Who/What inspired you to get into your current field?
I was mostly inspired by the urgency of our environmental issues. With nature getting affected by humans building so much nowadays, the grand scale of consequences may be hard to recover from in the future. Thus, I try my best to come up with alternative concepts that will preserve the surroundings. I mean, the truth about Kalu Yala and its triple bottom line concept is based on the combined effort of individuals that are worried about the direction that the world is headed in.
What is one current trend that excites you?
Younger people that are choosing to take time off from technology. Our intern numbers have been steadily growing ever since we started the program and that helps us address many Kalu Yala problems that require sizable workforce. I like seeing people go back to the basics and spend less time on their smartphones, laptops, tablets, and whatnot.
What would you consider your biggest accomplishment?
Being able to bring our project to its current stage. Since we started with nothing more than a humongous piece of land, the fact that we now have functioning homes, project partners, and a lot of achieved milestones is a great accomplishment.
What do you think of social media? Has it made an impact on your professional career?
I think it is changing the world. Even in our particular case, most of our interns find out about the program through some type of referral on social media. I mean, one person can post a picture somewhere and it could result in ten people being interested in experiencing the showcased scenario. It has also made it very easy to contact people since there are so many outlets to go through.
If you were ever to start again, would you do anything differently?
No. Everything that happened over the course of the past decade has contributed to an overall betterment of my professional judgment. like many other entrepreneurs, I made some mistakes. Regardless, that enabled me to avoid making those in the future when I stepped on some larger stages.
What do you see for the future?
I am not sure what I see since the world is changing rapidly. What I hope to see, however, is more professionals who will combine their desire for profits with the necessary consideration for the nature around us. This will help take us off the pattern of destruction that has been taking place since I was born.
What’s one piece of advice you can tell our readers?
If you believe in something, look for ways to make an impact. Regardless of the industry, the most important step in anyone’s career is taking a leap from the theoretical stage to the real-life implications. Ultimately, find an occupation that will make you happy because anything short of that will result in an inevitable failure!