For APA Director, Region 4
Timothy Gladhill, AICP
I am extremely excited to announce my candidacy for APA Director for Region 4. My passion for creating great communities for all began as a Public Works employee and now as Community Development Director (after 19 years!) in the city of Ramsey in Minnesota where I daily get to be a part of planning and development decisions. I have served on the APA MN Board of Directors for 7 years, holding the roles of Conference Chair, Vice President, and President. I have been honored to be in my third year on the Chapter Presidents Council (CPC), now serving as the Certification and Education Committee Chair.
As we think about the future of serving our 42,000+ APA members, I like to think of each decision within the lens of our mission to provide opportunities in education, policy advocacy, and networking. As an APA Board Member, our key strategic objectives should be:
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Affordable Housing
- Economic Development and Job Growth
The APA Board has laid an important foundation for our future leaders to build upon, especially through our Planning Home Initiative and Social Equity Task Force. This important framework will help maintain a strategic vision for many years to come. As part of the Board of Directors, I will continue to focus on prioritizing the social equity work and highlight the importance of the synergy between housing and economic development. Communities are more likely to thrive when we strike a balance of housing and jobs, using an equity framework in every decision we make.
The APA Board's Social Equity Task Force recently came out with five (5) recommendations to advance social equity: 1) Improve the capacity and hard skills of APA members. Improve proficiency and support retooling, 2) Identify and provide 'grab and go' resources as well as 'turn-key' tools, 3) APA must continue leading from the front, 4) Don't keep it a secret. Think visually and be visible, and 5) Release an 18-month social equity strategy for APA. This is a great start, but this needs more work. I will work to move this to the forefront of the Board's focus.
The APA Planning Home Initiative (affordable housing work) aims to break barriers and find solutions for housing through six (6) principles including: 1) Modernize state planning laws, 2) Reform local codes, 3) Promote inclusionary growth, 4) Remove barriers to multifamily housing, 5) Turn NIMBY into YIMBI, and 6) Rethink finance. As the next generation of leaders of APA, I look forward to advancing this agenda.
As the Minnesota Chapter President, we have worked as a team to focus the Board of Directors to a strategic level and refining a committee structure that creates a space for our leaders to thrive and advise the board on important topics. APA MN recently established two (2) important committees to advance our key priorities. APA MN is proud to have added a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and Women in Planning Committee. The success of these new committees has been immediate and powerful. I am proud to have played a leadership role in this success, providing the framework, support, and resources to advance our strategic goals and shared values. I hope to advance these initiatives at the national level.
What do you believe is the most important member service APA provides? Why? How would you propose strengthening this and other member services?
The most important member service that APA provides are the educational materials and opportunities around the many priorities of our members. The sessions we provide touch the greatest number of members and are the most visible service we provide. Regardless of our success in networking and policy advocacy, education is the bedrock of what we do and has the largest impact in our operation. APA recently implemented APA Learn, an online training library providing yet another opportunity to consume important educational materials. These grab and go resources are important to supplement the core education offerings we provide, especially for those members that have difficult attending national or chapter events. APA should continue to focus on the success of our current programs, and supplement with other technologies and formats to reach the greatest number of members.
How could APA improve and strengthen the relationship among APA and its components (AICP, Chapters, Divisions, SRC)?
As a member of CPC, I've seen firsthand the value of the various components and the importance of our Spring and Fall Leadership Meetings. These Leadership Meetings are a critical part of the success of moving APA's vision forward. Where I see some room for improvement is capturing this energy and enthusiasm outside of our two leadership meetings. I feel quarterly conference calls or webinars for the components would be a simple, cost-effective means for the organization to be able to continue momentum on policy issues and be able to react more quickly.
Now that the Planning for Equity Policy Guide has been adopted, how should APA use this guide to shape itself organizationally?
The APA Board recently established a Social Equity Task Force to provide a framework for APA leaders to shape itself organizationally. As a Chapter Leader, the task force recommendations that resonated most effectively to me were to identify grab and go resources as well as leading from the front and not keeping it secret. APA needs to continue to talk about this issue and keeping it in the forefront of all the activities we do.
What is the biggest challenge facing the planning profession, and how should APA address it?
The largest challenge facing the planning profession is equity. APA has done an important first step in adopting the Planning for Equity Policy Guide and the work of the Social Equity Task Force to develop recommendations on how APA leaders along with Division, Chapter and Student leaders can help implement this at the local level. Lastly, I don't think this effort should stop with professional planners. I think the next phase of this effort should be on community planners such as Planning Commissioners and community activists.