Conference Wrap-up

partners in planning award recipients

Our 2019 State Planning Conference is now history, but  we hope that the concepts learned, friendships made or renewed, and recognitions awarded will endure through the coming months until we meet again in 2020. Check out the event photos, lecture session summaries, and the Partners in Planning award recipients.

Album of 2019 conference photos

Business Meeting

Derek ChisholmThe conference began with a Chapter business meeting led by President Derek Chisholm, AICP, LEED, ENV SP. He walked us through our organization's Annual Report, assembled in large part by our Chapter Secretary Melissa Guilbeau, AICP. (Thank you Melissa!) Topics included touching on the upcoming change in chapter leadership in 2020; the fact that the chapter is financially solid, but static; membership growth is positive, but largely due to free student memberships; and an assessment of how we're making progress towards achieving the six stated goals in our 2019 - 2023 Strategic Plan. The business meeting concluded with a discussion of "what lies ahead": our upcoming challenges. Be sure to review this year's Annual Report for yourself.


Law Session

Niki PaceBeaux JonesThis year's law session was fluid in that it covered many aspects of "water". Our two guest speakers spoke about floodplain management, property rights, coastal zone management, and permitting therein. We welcomed Niki Pace, J.D., LL.M., CFM, adjunct professor with LSU's College of the Coast & Environment; and also Beaux Jones, J.D., now general counsel for The Water Institute of the Gulf. Both speakers have granted us permission to make their on-screen presentations available to you as PDF files. Links to each are provided below:


Ethics Session

Sean DalyCan ethics training be fun? Heck yes...and informative too!  Our own Sean Daly, AICP of Iteris, Inc. once again engaged us in several ethical dilemmas. We broke up into groups, role-played, and sought to determine who among us "might" have reason for concern about our character's behavior or practices. The session wrap-up reminded us of the distinction between the "rules of conduct" versus "aspirational principles" in the AICP Code of Ethics. This was a participatory exercise so there is no on-screen show to offer you, but you may find much more on this topic at .


Legislative Advocacy Session

Whitney Hoffman SayalA focus of this conference was upon legislative advocacy. What are (or should be) priorities for our lawmakers in Louisiana? What are appropriate ways for we as planners to advocate for causes and concerns important to our profession, and for legislative solutions to these? To whom should we express our ideas - how and when? Chapter Vice President Whitney Hoffman Sayal, AICP led us in a discussion of these topics, with input from chapter President Derek Chisholm. They highlighted current planning advocacy efforts at both the state and national level. That on-screen presentation is available below, and  it references other online resources such as LegiScan that are beneficial to our efforts. We also walked to our state capitol, staffing a table in Memorial Hall, sitting in on House of Representatives deliberations, and also on State Senate committee meetings of our choosing. A flyer summarizing six of APA-LA's top legislative priorities was distributed to each legislator in attendance in the House Chambers, showcasing our logo, purpose and positions. 


Awards and Recognition

Partners in Planning award recipients, 2019

As advertised, this year reflected a change in the type and method of presenting awards for APA-LA. We will return to our traditional practice of awarding great projects, people (planners) and places in 2020. The focus for 2019 was to recognize the contributions of allied professionals and elected officials - our "Partners in Planning." Awards were presented to:

  • Outstanding Engineer: Jennifer Ruley, PE - City of New Orleans Dept. of Public Works for her work on the city's bike network
  • Outstanding Journalist: Stephanie Riegel, Editor, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
  • Outstanding Community Administrator: Davis Rhorer, Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Downtown Development District
  • Game Changer: Dan Favre, Executive Director of Bike Easy, New Orleans
  • Outstanding Elected Officials: Hon. Belinda Constant, Mayor, City of Gretna; Hon. Barney Arceneaux, City of Gonzales (Two were given reflecting municipalities of differing sizes.)

Recognition of some of our members for their volunteer efforts during 2019 include:

  • "Commitment to Planning" medallions were presented to Chapter Vice President Whitney Hoffman Sayal, AICP and Chapter Information Officer James Taylor, AICP for their service throughout the year.
  • Capital Section "Commitment to Planning" certificates were presented to Section Treasurer Lauren Marschall, AICP, Laura Phillips, AICP and Adam Tatar - all of whom served key roles on the conference host committee.

Access the full on-screen awards presentation at the link below.

Awards On-Screen Presentation

Lastly, we wish to again thank our financial sponsors, the host committee members whose efforts produced a successful event, and to all of you who attended.