President’s Message: April 2023

Happy Spring from verdant Savannah, where we come together in our squares and on the streets to toast our history and our community. I hope you are getting out and enjoying the cities and towns that your work shapes – and listening to the people who your work impacts. During the intensity of this legislative session, I was SO ready to wrap twinkle lights around a parasol and parade through our neighborhood with a few hundred friends, including my Alderman, Nick Palumbo. Earlier that week, Nick penned an Op Ed opposing the truck weight bill, which is bad news for local roads and the people on them. Here’s to standing up for planning – and a little local silliness.

As you read this, I will be engaging with other Chapter Presidents and APA leadership at the National Planning Conference. It is a true honor to represent you at APA as we work to strengthen our profession and our organization. In case you missed it, the Women and Planning Division has issued a Call to Action in support of a a formal policy prohibiting sexual harassment. At NPC, they plan to submit a petition-initiated amendment to add a comprehensive anti-harassment policy to APA’s Bylaws, similar in scope, scale, and protection to those of our peer organizations. Per the division’s request, I am sharing their petition for your consideration. As an organization, APA should hold our membership to the highest professional standards and protect a planner’s right to work, network, learn, and socialize in environments free from harassment, retaliation, and fear.

I hope you’ll join us for the Spring Conference at the Georgia Tech Conference Center in Atlanta. We’re looking forward to a dynamic lunch program intended to inspire racial equity action through courageous conversations, creating space for personal stories, deeper connections within our professional community, and healthy conflict. The program features Out of Hand Theater. Stay after the conference for happy hour to catch up with your colleagues.

I am sad to share that Charles Stephen (Steve) Foote passed away in early February. Steve was a passionate planner and was well-respected for his work ethic, professionalism, and character. Among many positions over his more than 30 year career, Steve served as Planning Director in Dunwoody.

Thank you for all that you do to promote great communities. See you in midtown at the end of the month!

Yours in service,
Whitney Shephard, PE
President of the Georgia Chapter of APA