Planner Spotlight: Larry Vazquez

By Nikole Coleman, AICP 

Current Position: Permit Services Manager, City of Vancouver
Years in position: 15 +/-
Total years in planning: 32 +/-
Hobbies: Traveling, cultural tourism, social justice, mentoring new planners

Weirdest non-planning related job: Worked in a chocolate chip cookie shop in Paris, France (oh la la!)

What is a typical work day like for you? Chaotic, fast-paced, problem solving, open to change as needed to assist staff with planning and development issues

Why did you choose the planning profession? Studied geography as an undergrad and wanted to better understand rural vs. urban community development

What part of your job do you find most rewarding? Working with staff and the development community

What is the oddest thing a citizen has ever asked or said to you? After presenting at a land use hearing the applicants wanted to know if they could buy me a cocktail.

What was your first planning-related job? Port of Long Beach, CA, Environmental Planning

What advice would you give a new planner? Become good at listening, and ask clarifying questions 

What are you looking for when you hire a planner? A good communicator who can work with a variety of personalities and is able to provide information to both the seasoned development practitioner and Joe citizen seeking to make modification to their home or property.

What do you wish you had known when you started your career? Current planning takes a variety of skill sets and requires great organization.

If you were not a planner what profession would you like to be in? Geography or Anthropology Professor

Return to the May/June issue of The Washington Planner