Planner Spotlight: Karl Almgren

Current Position: Associate Planner, City of Mukilteo
Total years in planning: 5
Hobbies: Boating, Skiing, and Woodworking. 
Hometown: Mukilteo, WA
Favorite Places: Husky Stadium, Amsterdam, and Roche Harbor 

Why did you choose a career in planning? After undergraduate, I was torn between planning and teaching. I ended up moving to Baton Rouge, LA on a whim to be a substitute teacher. While I enjoyed teaching, I struggled with the development patterns of the area, and believed I could have a larger positive impact on communities by working in planning.

Why did you decide to be a planner in Washington? My wife and I are both planners, and we are both from Washington. We wanted to be close to our families and ski areas, so when we had an opportunity to move back from Texas with full-employment, we couldn’t pass it up.  

What projects/initiatives are you currently working on? We are currently finishing up our 5-year update for the Parks Plan, but next year I am tackling the sign code update. One of the more interesting parts of my position is that I also get to work with the youth in Mukilteo. I work with the scout projects as well as the Mukilteo Youth Advisory Committee (MYAC). These two groups provide an honest and inspiring enthusiasm.

What was your first planning related job? My first planning related job was an unpaid internship at the City of Fife. My first paid planning position was as a Planner at League City, TX in the Houston-metro area.

What advice would you give a new planner? Be a firefighter, but if you already committed, I would focus on finding a skill that your department needs and master it. Also, don’t be afraid to move around.

What do you wish you had known when you started your career? That training for firefighting is far cheaper than graduate school. I wish I would have had a better understanding of the subdivision process before being thrown in the deep end. League City was under massive growth through single-family development, and it wasn’t uncommon to have 600 home preliminary plats submitted. 

If you were not a planner what profession would like likely be in? I would probably be a high school teacher, thinking I should have been a firefighter. 

Return to the November/December issue of The Washington Planner