Meet 3J’s Community Planning Team

October is National Community Planning Month! To recognize the important role of planning in our communities, 3J is highlighting our Community Planning team members. We asked them for some insight into why they chose to become planners and what they like best about their jobs. The passion and excitement about their role in helping shape communities was apparent.

This team loves what they do

I find that site design and entitlement planning is a ridiculously satisfying multi-dimensional puzzle. Figuring out what’s going to work for a site, in accordance with the jurisdiction’s codes, and work for the client’s program, and have it all be well designed is a massive challenge. There’s nothing more rewarding than figuring out the design puzzle, getting everyone to agree, and then seeing the end product go into construction. -Andrew Tull, Principal Planner

Planning, to me, involves a lot of problem solving. There is so much that goes into both long-range planning and development of property and it is NEVER the same! There is always something that is unique about a project and I love getting to work the problems until we find the solutions. -Heather Austin, AICP, Senior Planner

I knew I wanted to be a Planner after interning at an architectural firm. I spent a lot of time working with the planner and they worked on nearly every project, which kept it interesting. My favorite part of being a Planner is that every project is new and challenging. -Mercedes Smith, Senior Urban Designer

My favorite part of each project is talking about the specifics of the project and touring the study area. I enjoy exploring the natural and built features: streams, hills, valleys, parks, trails, buildings and streets. Most of all, I appreciate getting to know the people who live in these places – bringing the community together to share their stories, learn what makes their community special, and dream about what they want for the future. -Steve Faust, AICP, Planning Project Manager

A college course in "Environmental Policymaking" sparked my interest in the Planning profession when I learned how urban form and design affected the livability of different places. Before attending graduate school, I volunteered at my local planning department and spent a lot of time talking to state and local planners who emphasized listening, careful reflection, and learning. That's when I realized this was the right field for me. -Sean Edging, Assistant Planner