November President's Message

Conferences & Meetings

October was a month of conferences and meetings, including the fall 2014 APA Washington Board of Directors
meeting, the National APA Leadership meetings, and the APA Annual Conference in Spokane. Each was the
product of hundreds (or thousands) of hours of work to support members and strengthen the profession. If you
attended any of these events, I imagine you were as impressed as I was at what a small volunteer organization
can accomplish. If you missed them, you are missing out on some serious fun! Below are some highlights:

Given all the work being done by officers, sections and committees, these meetings are long! Some highlights
• Retroactively approving a contribution to Gabe Snedeker's family after his unfortunate passing this summer
• Approval to enter into a partnership with Commerce and the Planning Association of Washington to deliver
the Planning Short Course (see Planning Short Course Partnership)
• Setting aside funding to ensure a sustainable Student Scholarship program in future years
• Discussing important administrative items such as chapter and section bylaw changes to synchronize with
national APA
• Discussing a lot of important ongoing work, such as the enhanced collaboration with universities, the Game
Changing Initiative, our new Planning Commissioners Quarterly newsletter, and more.

The board will now turn its attention to developing the 2015 budget, section and committee workplans, and
getting ready for the 2015 National Conference in Seattle next April.

The mood of APA staff and component leadership was sky-high at the fall leadership meetings in DC. The new
executive director, James Drinan, has set everybody loose on a change mission. Everything was on the table:
component budgets and structure, point of delivery for services, communications technology, etc. James told
the chapter presidents that he had served at the chapter level in other associations, and I think he truly feels
the pain of being a volunteer board member of a state chapter. It's an exciting time to be in leadership, and if
members have thoughts or ideas about change at National, please send them my way. Also, see the separate
article "What's Up At APA National?"

 Chapter Presidents Council (i.e. "The Big Box) - Fall 2014


Spokane 2014 was, by far, the best annual state conference the chapter has put on this year! Planners—
members and nonmembers—voted with their feet and attendance and sponsorship exceeded our budget
estimates. (And, again, our apologies to attendees who didn't get a full meal because we ran out of food;
we've already figured out a fix so this doesn't happen in the future.) Number geeks can see the separate
"Conference by the Numbers" article. 

For now, I want to talk about our terrific Presidential Award Winners and reflect on our Keynote Speakers.

Presidential Award Winners: One of the biggest challenges of being chapter president is deciding whom to
give the presidential awards to. So many people are working on chapter initiatives and many have been
involved for many years. That said, I'm very proud of the 2014 award winners.


Myer Wolfe Award – Jill Sterrett, FAICP
This award recognizes professional achievement and advancement of the
planning profession. The chapter officers were proud to give this award to
Jill this year in recognition of her extensive professional experience, with a
focus on climate change and sustainability in urban planning for cities, her
years in private practice, and her current role as a professor at the
University of Washington. Additionally, Jill's contributions to the profession
come through her service to the chapter as a leader on the Livable
Washington reports, APA's Climate and Sustainability Initiative, the current
Game Changing Initiative and others. Jill, congratulations on a great
career and thank you for your inspiring contributions. 


Robert Burke Award – Ferdouse Oneza

This award recognizes distinguished service to the APA Washington Chapter.
The chapter officers were proud to give this award to Ferdouse to honor
more than a decade's worth of service to the chapter. She has been a quiet
and effective leader throughout the organization, starting out as a our website
guru, helping to organize the Columbia Section (a big deal!) and serving as
a section officer, serving as vice president during the post-recession years
and doing a thoughtful job of shepherding some painful reductions, serving
on the Membership Benefits Subcommittee that focused the rest of the
chapter on membership, and, most recently, leading and growing the
Membership Committee. When she is not volunteering, she is running her
own consulting firm. Congratulations, Ferdouse!




Barbara Grace Award – Robin Proebstring

This award is for the frontline, unsung hero of planning—the mid-level
planner. This year's award goes to Robin Proebsting with the City of
Sammamish's Planning & Community Development Department. Robin
is the co-project manager for the city's comprehensive plan update,
Sammamish 2035: Building Community Together. She has been
involved in all aspects of the project, ranging from staffing a farmer’s
market booth to engaging in dialogue with citizens to preparing
complex zoning analyses to delivering comprehensive presentations to
the Planning Commission. She has also worked on potential city
annexations including the Klahanie area, project managing short plats
and boundary line adjustments, and being a joyful presence at the
Permit Center. Robin, congratulations on an award well-deserved!


Keynote Speakers: I received a lot of positive feedback on the keynote speakers.

Ilana Pruess' presentation focused on strategies and tools for urban
redevelopment. Combining urban infill with small- and medium-scale
manufacturing sector development suggests a new robust approach to
address employment and growth management. Throw in an equity lens,
and you've got full-on sustainable development and community building.





Regarding Robert Gibbs' presentation, I've long thought that if
everyone thought like a planner we'd be able to solve all of our
problems. The problem is not everyone does. Planners, in our
regressive sales-based tax system, need to chase retail sales-based
businesses; one might even argue it's our ethical duty to do so.
That means it's incredibly important that we understand how
retailers think...and, with an impressive command of the data (and
a gentle humorous delivery), Mr. Gibbs, AICP, told us how retailers
really think. While it was hard to listen to him dissect street trees,
pedestrian malls, and generous pedestrian amenities from a retailer’s
perspective, my takeaway is that details matter and there are some
hard truths we need to face to be successful at growing our local


In addition to these speakers, there were strong sessions (I learned it's effective to combine shaming your
audience if you give them free candy. I also learned that the difference between coordination and
collaboration is that the first involves a lot of talking whereas the latter involves giving participants
homework so that tasks get done), a festive reception and scholarship auction, a fun marmot Pub Crawl that
took a bite out of a lot of planners, and a fun presidential reception with multiple visits by the hotel security

Congratulations to Nikole Coleman-Porter and Scott Kuhta, and the rest of the Inland Empire Section Local
Host Committee, for a job very well done!

Just in time for National Community Planning Month, Washington State has "Great Places" – see the 
separate article. Congratulations to the UW and Fremont!

As usual, there is a lot of fun and meaningful activities underway. That's all for now; gotta run to another

2014 Reception and Scholarship Auction



Ivan Miller, AICP
President, APA Washington
[email protected]