2018 National Planning Conference

Going Out on Your Own Professionally

Monday, April 23, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. CDT

Location: R05

CM | 1.50
E | 1.50

Cost: Included in Registration

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC188099


  • How to evaluate the opportunities in establishing your own planning practice, potentially including personal satisfaction, professional achievement, and financial benefit
  • How to overcome potential drawbacks to establishing your own planning practice, including obtaining financing, attracting clients, achieving visibility, and growing a business
  • How to identify ethical issues involved in establishing your own planning practice, including handling of confidential information, soliciting clients, and disclosing conflicts of interest


Leaving a planning agency, consulting firm, or company to establish your own planning business can be both daunting and a great opportunity for those with an entrepreneurial bent or simply a desire for greater independence. To succeed, one must have a sound business plan, a willingness to work harder and more independently, and sufficient determination to get through the start-up phase. This session features two professionals who have taken strikingly different paths to success in forming their own businesses. One left a large consulting firm early in her career, started her own company, and built up that company over 35 years. The other spent most of his career as a land-use lawyer and development executive, but ultimately left a large national law firm to become a sole practitioner. Also trained and experienced as a planner, he coupled his legal practice with planning consulting, as well as mediation of land-use conflicts. Both have served on planning commissions. Through their experiences, they will illustrate the pitfalls and the gratification in establishing one's own planning business. They also will address ethical issues arising in leaving another business and potentially competing with a former employer, including seeking to take along clients. This session qualifies for 1.5 Ethics CM.

Session Speakers

Patricia A. Butler
BRG Consulting, Inc.
San Diego, CA

Cary D. Lowe, AICP
Law Office of Cary Lowe
San Diego, CA

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