Career Lessons from Planning Survivors

Session 2A | Wednesday | 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM PT

Presentation PDF
About the Session

This session builds upon a session presented at the 2021 Washington Planning Directors conference and will provide advice to planners based on lessons learned by long-term planning survivors during their careers in the profession. The objective of this session is to provide practical advice for planners at any stage of their career about many subjects, including (as time allows): What planners should know at the start of their careers, what planners should know without learning the hard way, healthy work-life balance, handling the politics, managing workload with inadequate resources, difficult customers, the importance of developing professional relationships, career advancement, handling job stress, evolving planning issues, preparing for retirement at various stages of your career, hiring employees based on a single interview, hoping with being fired, and maintaining your integrity.

This session will include a moderated panel of recently retired planning directors and managers who have encountered many challenges in their jobs as city and county planners over the past 40-plus years. Panelists will share insights about building relationships, dealing effectively with local politics, maintaining your sanity, the most important responsibilities of planning professionals, leadership styles, and much more.

About the Moderator

Steve Butler FAICP

Steve Butler has been a professional planner for over 35 years and currently works as the Planning and Policy Manager for MRSC, providing planning advice to cities, towns, and counties throughout Washington. He has been involved in most aspects of community planning, both in the public and private sectors, in the states of Washington, Oregon, Maine, and Wisconsin. Steve has been the President of both the American Planning Association" Washington Chapter (APA-WA) and the Maine Association of Planners. He is a co-chair of the APA-WA's "Youth in Planning" Task Force. Steve was a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Ethics Committee from 2011-2020 and also served on the AICP Code Update Task Force. In 2008, he was inducted into AICP's College of Fellows. Steve received an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. in Sociology from St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY).

About the Speakers

Mark Kulaas FAICP
Retired from Douglas County

Mark Kulaas has more than 40 years of professional planning experience in a variety of urban and rural settings in Washington and Idaho. He retired in 2020 after a 26-year career as the Land Services Director for Douglas County, WA. He is a graduate of Eastern Washington University's Urban and Regional Planning program and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the professional institute of the American Planning Association. In 2012, he was inducted into the College of Fellows for AICP.

Mary Lynne Evans AICP

Mary Lynne has 35 + years of planning experience for 4 cities, 2 counties, 1 state department, 1 consulting firm, and 1 Boundary Review Board. She has enjoyed almost every minute; found it always challenging; and sometimes completely consuming. She is proud to be a member of the rest of the planning community and still "believes in the vision."

Allan Giffen
Retired from City of Everett

Allan Giffen is a retired planner, having spent 42 years as a planner in the public sector in Washington and California. Allan was the planning director for 16 of the 34 years he worked for the City of Everett, WA. He has also worked as a planner for Kern County, CA; and the cities of Fresno, CA; Olympia, WA; Mukilteo, WA; Marysville, WA; and for the Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field).

Jack Pace
retired planning director from the City of Tukwila

Jack Pace has over 35 years of experience as a professional planner.

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