For APA President-Elect (by Petition): Rodger H. Lentz, AICP

Rodger H. Lentz, AICP

Rodger H. Lentz, AICP

Rodger H. Lentz, AICP

Professional Experience

  • Chief Planning and Development Officer, Wilson, NC
  • Planning Program Manager, Charlotte, NC
  • Planning Manager, Senior Planner, and Planner, Cabarrus County, NC
  • Assistant Planner, Matthews, NC

APA Experience

  • APA Board of Directors, Region II
  • APA Foundation Board
  • APA Treasurer
  • National Committees: Executive Committee; Development Plan and Budget; Membership (Chair); Governance; Audit; Leadership Development; Grant Making and Scholarships
  • National Task Forces: Emerging Issues/Planning Futures; Consumers of Planning/Engaged Citizens (Co-Chair); Chapter Finance, Budget, and Services; Leadership Development
  • APA Mentorship Program volunteer
  • Chapter Presidents Council, Executive Committee
  • President, North Carolina Chapter
  • Chapter Committees: Legislative; Chapter Development

Community Service

  • Planning and Environment Legislative Committee, North Carolina League of Municipalities
  • Board of Directors, Wilson Downtown Development Corporation
  • Board of Directors, Wilson YMCA
  • Mentor, Communities in Schools
  • Sea Level Rise Risk Management Advisory Committee, State of North Carolina
  • Working Issue Team Member, Farm to Fork Initiative, Center for Environmental Farming Systems
  • Planning Board, Davidson, NC
  • Design Review Board, Davidson, NC


  • Masters of Arts, Geography, University of North Carolina Charlotte
  • Bachelors of Arts, Geography, University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • Associate of Science, Grossmont College, El Cajon, California


  • Chapter Presidents Council, 2008 and 2013 Karen B. Smith Award, Overall Chapter Achievement
  • University of North Carolina School of Government, Outstanding Graduate, Edwin Gill Award, County Administration
  • University of North Carolina Charlotte, Department of Geography, Outstanding Graduate, David Taylor Award
  • Project Awards: Wilson 2030 Comprehensive Plan; Wilson Unified Development Ordinance; Barton Neighborhood Plan; Cabarrus
  • Residential Design Guidelines; Highway 73 Transportation and Land Use Plan; School Development and Site Selection Guiding Principles

Position Statement

The future is bright for APA because we are fully embracing the principles of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. I am invigorated after NPC19 because APA is ready to take the next step to put words into real action. If elected President, my commitment is to ensure that we not only implement APA's policies and recommendations on diversity, equity, and inclusion, but that we cause a cultural shift in our organization and profession.

I am so excited about the current direction of APA. It has been an honor serving with dedicated volunteers, staff, the Board of Directors, the AICP Commission, and the Foundation Board to make substantial improvements to our association. Now is not the time to rest. We must continue working together to:

  • Offer more Affordable Education and Conference opportunities
  • Improve our Technology offerings to enhance the member experience
  • Grow our legislative influence through the Planners Advocacy Network
  • Support Innovative Research that furthers the practice and art of planning
  • Increase financial support for the Planning Foundation to provide more Scholarships and Grants
  • Support and promote AICP and the pathways to becoming a Certified Planner
  • Meaningfully Engage all members and ensure that we are the association of choice for Students and New Planners
  • Provide the best Customer Experience of any professional association
  • Collaborate with Chapters, Divisions, and Student Organizations to enhance their offerings and contributions to the member experience.

Working on these and ensuring that Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity are central to all that we do, APA will continue building its reputation as the indispensable leader for Planning Great Communities for All.

Planning has so much to offer all places. From metropolitan regions to small cities and towns and the rural areas in between, planning provides communities a way to think through change and make a positive difference for a better future. That is why I am so passionate about APA and being an AICP certified planner.

It would be a privilege to serve as APA President. I would be grateful for your support. Let's keep working to move the profession and our association forward!

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?

APA provides a host of wonderful services to members, but the most important and the primary reason for APA's existence is to provide high quality educational products and conferences for members and others interested in the planning field. The most recent addition to our education toolbox is APA Learn that provides on-demand learning in an easy to use interface. For members and others that cannot afford to travel to larger conferences, APA Learn provides continuing education at very affordable rates, most courses at less than $30. While this service is new, APA Staff and the Education Committee should monitor its use and member feedback to determine future enhancements so that we continually provide education on topics that matter to our profession. In addition, APA must continually monitor the cost of fulfilling its educational mission and actively ensure that we provide affordable access to online courses, conferences, and publications.

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

The most important step is to listen. What issues are each component facing? What assistance, partnerships, or resources are desired or needed? The APA Board of Directors took an important step by adding SRC, Chapter, and Division Council Chairs as voting board members (the AICP President was already a voting member). By taking this action, we are not only listening but also providing a strong voice at the board level for each component group. As a former Chapter President, I saw firsthand how a member's involvement with components and the quality of products provided, such as conferences, publications, and online education was critical to their overall satisfaction with APA. We should all be working together to ensure the quality of member service we provide is of the highest quality.

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

What gets measured gets done. To ensure we fully implement the Planning for Equity Policy Guide we must establish a set of metrics to measure progress in our association and within the larger practice of planning. Additionally, we must actively promote the adopted principles of the new policy guide within our association and beyond. We must weave equity through the work of every APA committee, task force, and component. National, chapter, and other APA conferences, as well as online offerings, need a diverse set of speakers and topics that reflect the adopted policy statements within the guide. APA can develop training opportunities to assist communities on implementing the adopted policies. Finally, the report includes critical recommendations for implementing the policy guide within the resource section of the report. These recommendations should be fully considered and purposeful steps taken by the Board, components, and board committees to implement them into the operations of APA.

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

With all of the noise and competing voices TRUST is a major challenge facing our profession. With a history of injustice in some planning practices, why should the very communities harmed by planning trust the profession now. Many aspects of climate change are invisible to residents in our communities, why should they consider planning policy recommendations when they do not directly see or feel the impacts. Residents hear on the news that widening a highway would shorten their commute time, why should they consider investing tax dollars in transit if they do not see the direct benefit for them. These examples of a lack of trust must be addressed to plan effectively. Increasing the diversity within our association will strengthen our profession and is imperative to building trust. In addition, providing tools and member training in areas such as effective storytelling and meaningful community engagement are critical if we are going to make trusted and well-received recommendations for the communities we serve.