Reflections- Looking Back

By Paula Reeves, AICP CTP

It has been my honor to serve this four-year term, first as President Elect, then as APA Washington Chapter President, and now as Immediate Past President. I feel fortunate that I came into this role at a time when the Chapter was strong and the State Legislature was expressing a renewed interest in planning across the state.   

My first act was to institute a Strategic Plan that many of you helped to develop. It set several measureable goals in areas including membership, targeted advocacy, and partnerships. 

While the Biennial Report will be updated in the coming months and discuss in more detail all the work being done by our Committees, Sections and Task Forces, I want to highlight a few accomplishments: 

  • Increased Member Access to Education and Services—Through the creation of the South Sound Section, hosting the first Strong Towns Curbside Chat in Washington, expansion of services in the Northwest Section, and the Columbia River Regional Forum, we have reached new members and broadened the organization. These activities provide additional opportunities to tailor training content and offer continuing education credits for AICP planners closer to home.   
  • Strong Financial Position—The Chapter's financial position is stronger than it has ever been thanks to careful management of expenses, maintenance of a prudent financial reserve, development of a three-year budget projection for the organization, strong conferences including the Joint WA-OR APA Conference in 2016 and events like the 25th Anniversary of the Growth Management Act, $250,000 in Plan4Health grant funding secured, and increased sponsorship and continued membership growth.  We are in a solid position to continue increasing services and programs in the coming years.
  • Membership Trending Upward—Through educational events, Section development, and increased outreach to the newly accredited Planning Program at Western Washington University, the Chapter membership is trending upward. After the economic downturn of recent years, membership growth is the strongest sign of APA Washington's health.
  • Strengthening and Expanding Partnerships—Our partnerships are stronger than they have ever been. We have created the “Great Places in Washington” awards program, continued our commitment to improve and increase the Planners Forums and Short Course for Citizen Planners, created the Allied Professions Liaison that now sits on the APA Washington Board, and supported and sponsored events and conferences of new allied professional partners. 
  • Improving Organization Efficiency and Effectiveness—The APA Washington Board completed a thorough audit of our administrative and organizational management needs and services and we adjusted our contracts accordingly. We chose to continue to work with our top notch organizational management team and our conference planning team to ensure the great customer service APA Washington members expect.
  • Targeted Advocacy—APA Washington has expanded its credibility and influence through our advocacy efforts including support of the Ruckelshaus Center’s work on “The Collaborative Road Map for Washington” to modernize the State’s Growth Management Act. We have been among the earliest supporters of this effort and continue to call for Washington’s Legislature to renew the commitment to the most effective growth management legislation in the nation. Our Legislative Committee has more member involvement and interest than ever. We have strengthened our presence in Olympia by testifying on proposed legislation with strong member interest and supporting Initiative 732, the revenue neutral carbon tax.   
  • Expanding Student Programs—We continue to support and work to expand our scholarships and travel subsidies for student planners. We have initiated a discussion with the newly created APA Foundation to seek support and partnership on our changing Scholarship Program. That would involve including existing accredited college planning programs as they grow, along with newly accredited programs in Washington. 
  • Geographic Diversification and Inclusiveness—The Chapter continues to focus on recruiting planners from across the state to move into leadership positions on the Board, in Sections, and Committees.  This is critical to the longevity and growth of our organization as well as our individual professional development. As Immediate Past President, I hope to continue to support President Elect Rick Sepler by completing an inclusiveness review of our programs in 2018.
  • Demonstrating Leadership at the National Level—APA Washington has been a leader working at the National level developing the National Community Planning Assistance Program, expanding educational opportunities through the National Education Committee, and assisting other state chapters through the Leadership Committee of the Chapter Presidents Council. 

This list represents just a sample of the Chapter’s programs and accomplishments and you can find out more in the Biennial Report to be published in the Fall of 2017. 

During my term as Chapter President, I have been fortunate to work with such a dedicated and collaborative group of professionals. I have been continually impressed by the commitment of the members of this organization. I want to especially thank the Board who served with me through this term and mentors who guided me along the way. We have been highly effective in developing our program areas. We all really believe in the work we do in “making great communities happen,” and APA Washington continues to offer more and better support, education, and recognition to help us do our jobs.   

I strongly encourage you to continue putting forward your ideas and sharing your experience and time with APA Washington. 


Most Sincerely,


Paula Reeves, AICP CTP

APA Washington Chapter President  

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