How long have you worked at DVRPC?
Since August 2010
What are the main responsibilities of your job?
I lead DVRPC’s community revitalization work. This includes managing the Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia program and leading our Municipal Outreach program. My colleagues and I in the Office of Community and Economic Development are also updating the Greater Philadelphia region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). Additionally, I convene a group of people interested in data, GIS, and modeling related to water quality and land preservation/restoration, as part of the William Penn Foundation’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative.
What are you working on now? Can you tell us about a recent or ongoing project or initiative that you are excited about?
I am really excited about improving walkability in the Greater Philadelphia region. Walking is not only good for people’s health and for the environment, but more people walking and shopping in our region’s downtowns is also good for the economy. I am part of a multi-agency team that was selected to attend the Walkability Action Institute in Georgia in April. My colleague, Kim Korejko, is leading an initiative to create a Regional Sidewalk Inventory, and I am on an internal team that is brainstorming how to get the word out about the forthcoming public portal for the project to get people to groundtruth data that was obtained from aerial photos.
What is your favorite part of your current job?
I get to work with great colleagues, both at DVRPC and across the region. Plus, we work on different projects every year, so I get to learn something new every day, which keeps my job interesting. In particular, I really like working on the Classic Towns program because I get to find out all about new restaurants that are opening and fun events that are happening in the smaller communities in our region.
How did you get into the field of planning?
I read a sidebar about Pierre L’Enfant’s plan for Washington, D.C. in my eighth grade math textbook, which piqued my interested in planning. In college, I designed my own major in Urban and Environmental Studies. After teaching English in a German high school for a year, I obtained my Masters in Planning with a focus on land use and environmental planning at Penn.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
When you’re at a networking event, focus on asking other people about themselves, rather than talking about yourself.
What was your first job?
My first job in planning was working for a small community in Bucks County. Though my official job was in the Office of Planning and Zoning, municipal employees are frequently required to wear many hats. I learned a lot about both planning and the inner workings of municipal government, which was a great experience.
What is one thing about you that might surprise your colleagues?
Both of my parents were born in Germany. Neither of them had the opportunity to attend college. So some people might be surprised to learn that I speak fluent German, and I am the first person in my family to graduate from college.
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