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APAUT President’s Message – March 2022

March 17, 2022 by Kirsten Whetstone

Greetings Utah APA Chapter Members and our Utah Planning Community,

The year 2022 is upon us. It presents many opportunities to see ourselves and our communities in new light. Now, a couple of months into this “new year,” we must process our world in new ways too. If the past two years were not difficult enough, the next couple will surely challenge our resolve to stay connected and engaged. With technology bringing us closer, as in “it’s a small world after all,” it is also stirring division and building barriers to our mission of creating great, resilient, and inclusive communities for all. Together we, the Utah planning community, along with our communities and partners throughout the US and the World, can continue to meet these challenges. We can strengthen our communities, tackle the housing crisis, address climate change, provide solutions to transportation and be leaders in land use and equity issues. It is after all what we do and who we are.

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I invite you to engage with us and our 500+ strong Utah Chapter members and partners. We encourage you to visit the Utah Chapter website ( whether you have been a member for decades or have just signed up. We welcome you and invite you to share your ideas, successes, challenges, and resources. We ask you to join us at our conferences and events. We are here for you. We want to help you meet your challenges as we strengthen our community of planners.

On the website you can learn about professional development opportunities, where you can get help navigating the road to “AICP” (National American Planning Association’s certified planner program). Continuing education and training opportunities are many, from webinars to in-person conferences. We have networking and leadership opportunities, a writer’s bureau, an awards program, scholarships, citizen planner specific training for our dedicated community boards and commissioners, and a robust squad dedicated to following your legislators every move. Wilf Sommerkorn and his team provide in-depth coverage throughout the session. You will not want to miss the wrap up once it is all over. We have a book club too, currently reading Evicted by Matthew Desmond. Join us for what is surely to be a great discussion, both at the Spring Conference in March and by zoom meeting in April.

Our Chapter Action Plan is posted on the website for your review and comment. New this year is an effort from each committee to draft committee action plans. Those will also be posted as they become available. Check them out and see what your chapter committees are up to. Ask how you can engage with them. Stay tuned to your emails for bi-weekly to weekly newsletters and social media. Judi Pickell, our extraordinary administrator, diligently provides announcements of events, articles, surveys, as well as volunteer and leadership opportunities, and much more. Let us know how we are doing and how we can help.

Also new this year is our Emerging Planners Group committee, led by the remarkable Jordan Katcher. Keep an eye on the chapter website for a webpage devoted to this new and emerging planners’ group. Whether you have been in planning for decades or are just getting your feet wet, this group has something for you. And they hope you have something for them. Mentors, speakers, articles, ideas for activities are always welcome.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Chapter shoot me an email or contact someone on the Executive Committee. We welcome your service. On that note I should mention that we are looking for a representative for our Southwest Area. We are also looking to create a committee devoted to successfully advancing Utah candidates to the American Planning Association Fellows program (FAICP). Also, Chapter President and Vice President positions are up for election this year, for two-year terms. Check the website for details.

I look forward to seeing you at our Spring Conference in sunny, warm Kanab on March 23, 24 and 25. Check the website for registration and details about citizen planner trainings, a legislative update, continuing education sessions, networking opportunities, book club discussion, dark skies, and golf.

As always, if you have questions or comments about anything APA, be it our Utah Chapter or what is happening at National, please reach out. Your news, articles, ideas for workshops and conference sessions, photos, award worthy projects, and insights are welcome anytime. Collectively, we strive to provide opportunities to stay connected and informed in support of your efforts creating great communities for all.

Stay connected!

Kirsten Whetstone, MS, AICP

APA Utah Chapter President

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