President’s Message – July 2024

The sun and heat in June and early July have certainly reminded us that it’s really summer, a time for enjoying friends, family, some vacation time, and respite. What are your favorite summer activities? One of mine is reading. Whether it’s reading on vacation or under a tree in the back yard, I start the summer with a small stack of must-reads. With that, I invite all of you to join me in the great GPA summer book club reading Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World by Henry Grabar. I will plan to host a conversation about the book at our Fall Conference in Augusta. It covers so many of our favorite planning topics centering around land use and transportation. I hope you will join me in reading this book.

I wanted to let everyone know we have some new faces on the Georgia Chapter Board. Jenny Parmer, Director of Community Development for Troup County has been nominated and approved by the Board to fill the unexpired term for District 4 Director vacated by Allison Garrett. Her term will extend through December 31, 2024. Geneasa Elias, AICP, Deputy City Manager of the City of East Point has been appointed and approved by the Board to serve as the Planning Officials Development Officer (PODO) for a term through December 31, 2025. Brittany Griffin previously served as PODO. Thank you to Allison and Brittany for your service and to Geneasa and Jenny for stepping up to serve our Chapter.

I had the good fortune to join the last 2024 Mentor Program sessions on June 27. Thank you to all who participated this year, and a very special thanks to Caroline Evans who has chaired the committee for three years. Mollie Bogle will be stepping into chair for 2025. Note that if you’ve been a part of the Mentor program for the last 10 years, we are planning a reception at the Fall Conference to celebrate y’all.

As Chapter President, I participate in the APA Chapter President’s Council and have monthly meetings with an APA Leadership Circle of other similar-sized chapters (Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington). Recently, we have discussed chapter awards and scholarship programs. I also sat in on a conversation about the American Institute of Certified Planners College of Fellows (FAICP) and the nomination process along with Cristina Pastore, our Chapter’s Professional Development Officer. The next FAICP nomination period will open in 2025 for 2026. If you have interest in assisting our Chapter on a FAICP Committee, please reach out to Cristina.

Finally, please take note of opportunities to submit sessions for the Fall Conference as well as recognized you community or an individual for the 2024 GPA Awards Program. You make our Chapter the best in the nation!

Best regards,

Kristen Wescott, AICP