For APA President Elect

Leo Asuncion, Jr., AICP

Leo Asuncion, Jr., AICP

Leo Asuncion, Jr., AICP

Professional Experience

  • Commissioner, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (2019 – present)
  • Administrator (2018-2019); Director (2014 – 2018), Office of Planning, State of Hawaii
  • Manager, Coastal Zone Management Program, State of Hawaii (2011 – 2014)
  • Sr. Regulatory Analyst, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (2009 – 2011)
  • Sr. Integrated Resource Planning Analyst, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (2005 – 2009)
  • Planner/Project Manager, SSFM International, Inc. (2002 – 2005)
  • Planner, Hawaii State Judiciary (1998 – 2002)
  • Staff Planner, Hawaii Land Use Commission (1992 – 1998)

APA Experience

  • APA Member (1991 – present)
  • AICP member (1994 – present)
  • Director – Region V, APA Board of Directors (2018 – present)
  • CPC Liaison to AICP Commission (2005 – 2007)
  • CPC Liaison to Divisions Council (2003 – 2005)
  • CPC Treasurer (2001 – 2003)
  • President, Hawaii Chapter (1999 – 2001)
  • Vice President, Hawaii Chapter (1997 – 1999)
  • Newsletter Editor, Hawaii Chapter (1995 – 1997)

Organization/Community Involvement

  • Member, Lambda Alpha International
  • Immediate Past Chair (2018 – present); Chair (2016 – 2018), Coastal States Organization
  • Board Member, McKinley High School (Honolulu) Academies of Finance; and Hospitality and Tourism
  • Member, Hawaii Pacific University Alumni Association
  • Life Member, University of Hawaii Alumni Association
  • Participation in various community and non-profit organizations


  • Masters of Business Administration, Hawaii Pacific University
  • Masters of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii
  • Bachelor of Arts (Political Science), University of Hawaii

Position Statement

The American Planning Association is set to play an important role in the future of the profession and its members. As the APA embarks on a new way of organizational governance, addressing various planning issues such as infrastructure needs, affordable housing, and climate impacts, and welcoming the next generation of planning professionals and organization leaders, APA must continue its progress towards being the lead organization in the field of planning, and serving and supporting our 46,000+ members, as we l as the public, constituents, affiliate and partner organizations, and decision makers.

If elected as APA President-Elect, I will strongly advocate for building upon the organization's collective knowledge and together with leadership from APA's components, members, and staff, implement key strategies and policies approved by our Board of Directors to ensure that the APA is a leader in the following areas:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Efficient and Effective Service and Support to our Members
  • Planning Ethics, Research, and Advocacy
  • Professional Development and Certification
  • Fostering the Next Generation of Planning Professionals and Leaders

It is important for all members to involve themselves in the APA. During my term, I will seek increased and diverse participation from the membership, allowing all of us to have a role in providing leadership in the development of the organization, advocating for planning excellence, promoting citizen empowerment, and providing members with the support needed to meet future challenges. By doing this, we collectively contribute towards achieving the APA's mission of "Creating Great Communities for All."

I would advocate for a full transition and use of Knowledge Based Governance as a tool to plan for the future of APA, including the organization's budget and fiscal matters. This will continue the diligent work over the past five years by the Board of Directors and APA leadership to use information and insight to provide strategic decision making for the advancement of the organization.

The APA has gained incredible momentum towards being a premier organization, and we must maintain this momentum into the future to achieve the results desired. I look forward to working with all of you towards achieving the APA's organizational goals, and for a future that all planners can significantly contribute towards and be proud of!

Candidate Questionnaire

What do you believe is the most important member service APA provides? Why? How would you propose strengthening this and other member services?

In this age of information driving everything from concepts to decision-making, the availability of relevant and timely information is an important service that APA provides not only to its members, but to non-members as well.

Over the past 5+ years, APA has made its compendium of information much more accessible via several pathways. Our members (and non-members) need to make use of this information, as well as other services that APA provides. Thus, promotion of this and all APA services needs to be increased and be accomplished in new ways that mirror the manner in which our members and the general public obtains information.

How could APA improve and strengthen the relationship among APA and its components (AICP, Chapters, Divisions, SRC)?

Increased communications and participation by all components at all levels, in all activities of the APA. The improvement and strengthening of relationships among all components of APA plays a large part in the endeavors and future of our organization. There are several methods that APA could implement to improve and strengthen component relations, but the key factors in these varying methods will be to increase communications through various ways, between components and the APA, and have the components participate in APA activities at all levels — from member to leadership.

Now that the Planning for Equity Policy Guide has been adopted, how should APA use this guide to shape itself organizationally?

APA should continually gauge and evaluate the organization against the recommendations of the Planning for Equity Policy Guide. The organization must commit to practicing what we preach — from examining our organization from the standpoint of equity, diversity and inclusion in current and future leadership positions, to advocating and making decisions on policies and actions that ensures benefit to all APA members and the communities that they serve.

What is the biggest challenge facing the planning profession, and how should APA address it?

With the fast-changing environment in which the planning profession operates, APA should be a leader in providing up-to-date continual development of the profession and those in the profession. From research and education on planning topics to certification and future planning professionals, APA needs to stay abreast of the future needs of the profession and professionals, standing ready to adapt and provide necessary and updated services when that future arrives.