April/May Planner of the Month: David Johnson

By Nikole Coleman, AICP

  • Quick facts
    Current Position: Associate Planner, Jefferson County
    Years in position: 9 
    Total years in planning: 16
    Hobbies: Backpacking, Community Theatre, Ukulele
    Weirdest non planning related job: Parking Garage Supervisor
  • Why did you choose the planning profession? Or did it choose you? 
    I got a job with a private sector planning firm as the Office Manager and we had so much work that they asked me to do subdivision review. I liked it better than accounting. 

  • What part of your job do you find most rewarding? 
    Meeting new people and learning new things. Planning is an amazing field for the sheer volume and variety of knowledge and information you must gather and retain.

  • What is the oddest thing a citizen has ever asked or said to you? 
    After telling someone I couldn’t help them since their issue was civil, they sat down on the floor of the office and told me, “I’m not moving until you help me.” 

  • What was your first planning related job? 
    Assistant Planner with Madrona Planning here in Port Townsend. I was hired as the Office Manager because of my accounting and computer experience, but we had so much work that I started reviewing unit lot subdivisions for the City of Seattle whom we had a contract with. 

  • What advice would you give a new planner? 
    Don’t try to please anyone because no matter what you do, someone will not like it. Just be fair, open, honest, response, and do the best work you are capable of doing. 

  • What are you looking for when you hire a planner? 
    Someone with superior communication and people skills, who loves to read and interpret code. In other words, a code monkey who likes people. 

  • What do you wish you had known when you started your career? 
    More science like Geology. 

  • If you were not a planner what profession would like likely be in?
    Office or Public Administration. 

  • Have you always been a planner in WA? If not, what do you find different or unique about being a planner in WA? 
    Yes, WA is the best because of GMA and SEPA, although I wouldn’t mind working in Hawaii.

Return to the April/May issue of The Washington Planner