APA's CEO Search Process

In October 2018, the APA Board of Directors appointed a CEO Search Committee composed of 10 members of the Board of Directors, including representatives from the AICP Commission, Chapter Presidents Council, Divisions Council, and Student Representatives Council.

Executive search firm The McCormick Group was retained to lead the search. A survey of APA, AICP, and component leaders was conducted to inform the search. The job description for APA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position was then developed and posted on a variety of professional job boards and websites, including APA’s, and distributed to all APA chapters and divisions, with an eye toward the most inclusive process possible. The goal was to attract a highly qualified and diverse candidate pool.

More than 110 resumes/applications for the CEO position were submitted to APA before the submission deadline. The Search Committee selected eight candidates for in-person interviews in December 2018. Second interviews for four finalists occurred in mid-January 2019. Following thoughtful deliberation, Joel Albizo, FASAE, CAE, was identified as the preferred candidate.

APA Chief executive Officer job advertisement 

The following job advertisement was posted in October 2018 for the role of APA CEO. 

Chief Executive Officer, American Planning Association

The American Planning Association has partnered with The McCormick Group to seek a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). APA represents more than 40,000 members, with a $21 million budget and more than 80 staff. The Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and the APA Foundation are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning, and creating communities that enrich the lives of all people. The association is headquartered in Chicago, with an office in Washington, DC.

APA is a financially strong and volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) education and membership organization poised for further growth. The new CEO will be a trusted advisor to, and partner with member leaders, playing a pivotal role in facilitating strategic planning, and aligning the organization’s resources and activities with its vision and goals.  

As a representative of the Association, the CEO builds relationships and influence, advancing the Association’s objectives and policies; facilitates a culture of excellence, innovation and member service; and leads an exemplary volunteer management environment.

As the leader of a talented staff, the CEO models the values and attributes of teamwork, continuous learning, achievement orientation, flexibility and inclusiveness. Management of the Association and its related organizations and components will draw on the CEO’s full scope of abilities in operations, finance, technology, brand management and interpersonal relations.


The successful candidate will have a willingness to learn, or demonstrated commitment to, and passion for APA’s mission, vision and core values, in addition to the following:

  • At least 15 years’ experience in executive leadership or a principal position of an organization comparable in complexity and diversity to APA; CEO experience in an individual member association preferred.
  • A strong understanding of the principles of association management is preferred; experience with professional certification and Foundations desired.
  • Strong management and staff development skills, with an ability to lead a diverse professional team.
  • A commitment to providing opportunities for all to achieve excellence by fostering diversity and inclusion within the organization, and in the planning profession.
  • Experience in maintaining a culture of transparency and results-based performance.
  • Excellent communication and networking skills, with particularly strong written and oral presentation abilities.
  • Membership and engagement in professional associations.
  • Willingness to travel, including internationally, as required. Position is located in Chicago. Time is regularly spent in the Washington, DC office.
  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred. For association candidates, a CAE designation is preferred.

All interested parties should email a statement of interest and resume to apaceosearch@tmg-dc.com.

For more information about APA, please visit www.planning.org.