American Planning Association

North Carolina Chapter

Message from our President

Kenneth Bowers, AICP

Chapter President

President’s Message for July 2017

As I wrote last time, the Chapter President’s Council has adopted new Chapter Performance Criteria, intended to help all chapters be more effective, improve reporting and documentation, and provide a menu of programs for chapters to implement as they grow their capacity. Among the mandatory items for all chapters are a Mission Statement, an annual Work Plan, and a four to five year chapter Development Plan. Updating these will be the focus of the annual Executive Committee retreat in August. Our goal is to make each of these required chapter documents best in class.

A mission statement should sum up the core of what APA-NC is about in a few well-chosen phrases. To be useful, you shouldn’t have to look it up to know what it says. Our current mission statement, while comprehensive, is too long for most people to commit to memory. Our goal is a refreshed mission statement that the chapter leadership, and its members, can easily recall and proudly recite.

The chapter prepares an annual work plan every year at the August retreat. The core of this document is the work items for each committee. Our work plan guides all Committee and chapter activities throughout the year. We will be continuing our established track record of preparing and executing detailed work plans, which have been the basis for our strength as a chapter.

The development plan is essentially a strategic plan with a multi-year time horizon. Strategic planning is the vehicle for looking ahead at changes in the profession and the world that merit taking on new initiatives, adjusting priorities, and perhaps modifying or discontinuing past initiatives. Our last strategic plan was adopted in 2013 and expires this year. Among its initiatives were the Planning for Prosperity program, created in response to the great recession, which has been responsible for high-profile events bridging the worlds of planning and economic development. Our new development plan will be the framework for how our chapter’s work evolves and adapts over the coming four to five years.

We plan to use the Executive Committee retreat to start, but not finish, a strategic planning process. This is where our membership comes in. We will be bringing a draft of the Chapter Development Plan to the NC Planning Conference in Greenville. At every annual conference, there is a chapter meeting open to all members. This year, we will be presenting the draft plan for discussion and comment. Based on what we hear, a final plan will be brought back to the Executive Committee for adoption before the end of the year. If you haven’t attended the chapter meeting in a while, or ever, now is a good year to add it to your conference schedule.

Speaking of the conference, the deadline to submit proposals for sessions, deep dives, and mobile workshops has closed, and we have a full schedule of great learning experiences for the gathering in Greenville. The conference will be focused on ties that bind the North Carolina’s urban and rural communities, and will provide opportunities to learn more about the unique planning issues of eastern North Carolina.

Enjoy the summer, and I’ll see you in Greenville!