Saturday, January 30, 2010

UPPSA and APA-CMS co-host Paths in Planning Careers Event

On January 14, 2010 at 6:00pm, UPPSA and the Chicago Metro Section of the American Planning Association (APA-CMS) co-hosted a Paths in Planning Careers event at Jak's Tap near UIC.

Two local planners shared their planning experience, knowledge, and insight into their career paths. Michael Blue, Director of Community Development, City of Highland Park and Brad Winick, Principle Urban Planner, URS Corporation, shared many great stories for practicing planners and students alike. They discussed why they chose planning as a career, the differences between the public and private sectors, their experiences in changing sectors, and what they find to be the most important traits of planners.

Among their many pieces of advice, they emphasized that to be successful planners must have that extra drive and patience. They must learn to incrementally and creatively work in an interdisciplinary and political process. In a competitive professional market, they should highlight their ability to understand the overall community and urban context. They discussed the positive and negative aspects of working in the private and public sectors, emphasizing the ability of public sector planners to work with a community over a long period of time and the ability of private sector planners to develop expertise that can be shared with many different communities. They find that planners can start in either sector and later transfer to the other. Though their role contrasts - with the private sector searching for projects and the public sector managing many projects - they are increasingly working together.

This is the first event co-hosted by APA-CMS and UPPSA, with opportunities for more in the future. Let us know if you have any suggestions/ideas. APA-CMS events are held monthly and are a great opportunity for students to connect with local professionals. Register ahead of time and get the discounted rate of $5!

If you are interested in more planning advice like this, check out the APA Mentorship Program! Many planners are interested in helping you. It is a casual program in which you can meet as often as you like. Go to the UPP website/ Current Students/ Career Development,, to learn more. For more info and to view mentor profiles, contact Michael Mays at

Katie Bowman

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