2018 National Planning Excellence Recipients

2018 National Planning Achievement Awards

Learn more about the 2018 Achievement Award Winners

Awards Jury

The jury is tasked with reviewing all of the award nominations and identifying the ones worthy of receiving a national honor and recognition.

Jury Chair

W. Shedrick Coleman, AIA

W. Shedrick Coleman is principal of SHEDDarchitecture. He is the former chairman of the Chatham County–Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) in Georgia. Coleman is serving his second term as Director at Large on the American Planning Association's Board of Directors. He is a licensed architect in the state of Georgia and Texas and has more than 20 years of experience in the architecture and planning professions. He serves on the Coastal Region MPO and the Savannah College of Art & Design School of Architecture Design Review Council. He received his architectural education from Cornell University.

Wendy Shabay, AICP
Jury Vice Chair

Wendy Shabay, AICP

Wendy Shabay is a vice president/principal of Freese and Nichols, Inc. and manages the urban planning and design group. She works on comprehensive planning, corridor planning, downtown redevelopment, transit-oriented development, and campus planning. Shabay received a Bachelor of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University. She has served in a leadership position for 12 consecutive years at the local, state, and national levels of APA, serving as the past-president of the APA Texas Chapter and director on the APA Board representing Region III.


Stephanie Garcia-Vause, AICP

Stephanie Garcia-Vause serves as the director of community development and services for the city of Henderson, Nevada, ensuring high-quality development and service standards, as well as progressive city planning. She brings more than two decades of planning expertise and experience working to promote a vibrant, balanced, and cohesive city through the built environment and has been active supporting regional planning in the Las Vegas Valley. Under her leadership, the city competed for and secured a $3.5 million Sustainable Communities Grant — on behalf of the region — which led to Southern Nevada's first federally recognized regional plan, Southern Nevada Strong (SNS).


Regina Gray

Regina Gray is an analyst for the Division of Affordable Housing Research and Technology Division in the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since joining HUD in 2000, her research activities have focused on sustainable development, urban design and land use planning, transit oriented development, energy and green building practices, and affordable housing preservation. Beyond her work at HUD, Gray collaborates with other federal agencies on a host of sustainability initiatives and is actively involved in these interagency efforts. She holds a bachelor's degree from Emory University, a master's degree from George Washington University, and a doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Gurdeep Kaur

Gurdeep Kaur is a Los Angeles native who is committed to urban planning, social justice, and progress. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California Los Angeles and Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She was the president of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student chapter of the American Planning Association. Kaur loves to travel and experience new places and cultures as it helps to inform her world view and develop her professional toolkit in the planning field.


Joshua King, AICP

Joshua King is a native of Buffalo, New York, where he graduated with a BS in Urban Planning. He holds an MBA from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. His work took him across the mountains of Western North Carolina working at two regional councils of government before being hired by the city of Franklin, Tennessee. King has worked in transportation, long-range planning, environmental permitting, and brownfield assessment/cleanup work. He is currently using all of these skills in current planning for the city of Franklin, one of the fastest growing communities in the United States.


Mehri Mohebbi

Mehri Mohebbi (Mehrsa) is a senior urban planner and social sustainability strategist at Planning Communities in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a PhD candidate at the University of Cincinnati's School of Planning. Her research and practice mainly focus on gender equity and urban accessibility, social components of walking/biking behavior, and equitable active-transportation planning. Her recent research project emphasized Muslim women's walking behavior in Detroit Metro Area. The results of this study are under publication. She has over seven years of management, research, and academic experiences in the Middle East and Europe, from serving as national delegate of ISOCARP to working as board member for the "City Image Committee" at Semnan City Council in the Middle East.


John Morck, AICP

John Morck is manager of the Planning & Community Development Division for the City of Wilson, North Carolina, which is responsible for the city's long-range planning program. Morck has been a professional planner for 30 years. His background includes service at the municipal, county, regional, and state levels of government specializing in comprehensive planning, rural issues, and historic preservation. Morck has a master's degree in urban planning and a bachelor's in economics. He presently serves on the boards of APA's North Carolina Chapter as past-president and the North Carolina Community Development Association.


Ana Peric

Educated and trained as architect and urban planner, Ana Peric is a lecturer and senior researcher at the Institute for Spatial and Landscape Development, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Her scientific and professional research focuses on spatial and urban planning, urban research methodology, transnational cooperation, collaboration in the planning process, and brownfield regeneration. She has participated in several international projects on various topics: from spatial and transport development in European macro-regions to brownfield regeneration initiatives. Peric is author of the monograph Brownfield Regeneration in Danube Macro-Region: Institutional Dynamics (2014), and co-editor of two books: Ten Years of UPATs: Reflections and Results (2015) and CODE: ATHENS! Railway and City Development in Athens (2016).


William Spence

William Spence has been a professional planner since 1990 and the planning director for Maui County, Hawaii, since 2011. This extraordinarily beautiful county in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is composed of three inhabited islands, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. Together they represent a microcosm of the same planning issues that can be found on a national level. Affordable housing, transportation, agricultural land preservation, complete communities, historic preservation, vacation rentals, and more regularly come to the forefront. Spence particularly enjoys working in this ethnically diverse county of small-town relationships and rich traditions. He also enjoys traditional black and white photography using a large-format camera and finds no shortage of subjects in Hawaii.


Amy Walbridge, AICP

Amy Walbridge is special projects administrator for the city of Dayton, Ohio, where she works with developers, investors, business leaders, and neighbors to advance development in Dayton. In her 22-year career with the city, she led the coordination and management of infrastructure and redevelopment activities for many projects, including Water Street, a mixed-use riverfront development project, and the Patterson Boulevard Canal Parkway, a cultural corridor linking the Oregon Historic District with Riverscape MetroPark and the Dayton Dragons Baseball Stadium. Previously, Walbridge worked with several nonprofit organizations in the areas of volunteer recruitment, project management, fundraising, and board development.