The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning
The Department of City & Metropolitan Planning’s Professional Development Program provides the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to make meaningful connections with practicing professional planners. Students are invited to contact participating professionals to gather information and advice on a variety of topics including planning career choices, resume writing, applying and interviewing for jobs, ethics questions, career development, and other items of student interest. For the Spring 2013 Semester approximately 25 practicing planners have committed to provide their best professional advice to our students. Participating professionals offer invaluable advice to students as they prepare for a career in the planning profession. Meet-and-Greets take place several times each year and students are encouraged to contact any participating professionals at any time (see list below) to inquire about planning career choices, resume writing, applying for jobs, interviewing, ethics questions, or anything else.

Planning Professionals

Francis (Frank) Xavier Lilly, AICP – Deputy Director-Housing Administrator – City of South Salt Lake Community Development


John Janson – Planning Solutions (Self-Employed)


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: 35 years of experience in planning that includes master planning for small communities, long range planning emphasis, grants, ordinance development, mixed-use, city center, West Valley City General Plan 1984 and Vision 2020 Plan. For 11 years worked as City Planner for Pleasant View City, being responsible for the planning needs of semi-rural Weber County community, preservation alternatives and ordinance enhancements. In the past 2 years, was the Special Projects Manager for the Planning Center. Served 3 terms as the president of Utah American Planning Association, Professional Development officer for 5 years and Vice-president for 2 terms.

INTERESTS: Master planning for small communities, long range planning emphasis, grants, ordinance development, mixed-use, city center

Wilford Sommerkorn – Director – Salt Lake Planning Division

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: 32 years of experience in planning and teaching. Experience includes presiding the Utah Economic Development Alliance and the Utah Chapter American Planning Association, serving as Community Development Director in Centerville City, Legislative Chair for Utah Chapter APA 1988-present and director of Davis County Community & Economic Development Dept for 15 years before present position.

INTERESTS: planning Legislation and legal cases, signs, transportation, the politics of planning.

Scott Festin – Planner – Wasatch Front Regional Council


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Planning experience for the last 16 years at the Wasatch Front Regional Council, primarly tasked with long range transportation planning.

INTERESTS: Transportation planning

Adam Cowie – Director of Planning and Economic Development– Lindon City


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Municipal and county planner in Utah and Oregon for the past 12 years, service on the technical advisory groups for the Utah Lake Comission, Mountainlands Association of Governments (MAG) and local Historical Preservation Comission.

INTERESTS: All aspects of planning and permitting processes for small to mid-sized communities, open space preservation, long-range planning and improving local government customer service.¬

Brian McCuistion – Sandy City


Laura Hanson – Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Environmental Studies and Master’s degree in Urban Planning (2005). Experience in the private sector as a long-range planning consultant, recently moved to the public side. Works to improve and protect the Jordan River corridor, build trails, promote environmental education, implement better local and state policies and to change public attitudes about the Jordan River.

INTERESTS: In the private sector, the big visioning work as a consultant. In the public sector, the tangible work of implementing. Very interested in protecting the open spaces, especially in Utah.

Tim Tingey – Director of Administrative and Development Services – Murray City Corporation

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Has worked for fourteen years in planning. He is currently the Director of the recently created Administrative and Development Services for Murray City Corporation where he oversees six divisions for the City including Community and Economic Development, Building Inspection, Geographic Information Systems, Information Technology, Recorder and Treasurer Office functions. He also serves as the Executive Director for the Redevelopment Agency of Murray and leads economic development efforts for the City. He previously worked for three years as the Director of the Community and Economic Development Department for Murray

INTERESTS: Experience and interest includes urban renewal, economic development, redevelopment and planning.

Richard Toth – Professor – Department of Environment & Society Utah State University

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: In 1963, earned Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvad University. Over the past of 45 years, in both practicing and education, combined the fields of ecology and landscape architecture in order to address major environmental issues confronting the intermountain region. Research and teaching focused on the importance of water giving direction and meaning to landscape-level planning, policy and design.

INTERESTS: 42 years of experience in private consulting. Interest in landscape architecture, environmental issues and planning, biodiversity and landscape planning, water and air quality issues.

Valerie Claussen – Development Services Manager – Clearfield City

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Has worked for local municipalities since 2004 in Arizona, Northern Nevada and Utah. Experience with public sector planning in both current and long range planning, zoning code, General Plan updates, plan review and project management. Had worked in both rural and metropolitan/suburban communities.

INTERESTS: Enjoys working with the Planning Commission on board development and education.

George Shaw – Community Development Director – South Jordan


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Salt Lake City, UT Planning Director, 2007—2008, Sandy City, UT Planning Director, 1984—2007. Earned BS/MS degrees in Geographic Planning/Urban Geography from Brigham Young University. Has been involved in a number of educational pursuits including local citizen planner training and as an Adjunct Planning Professor at the University of Utah, 2003—2009. Seasoned speaker and presenter to a variety of organizations and groups. Member of AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners), ULI (Urban Land Institute), and CNU (Congress of the New Urbanism). 2006 Recipient of the Utah APA ‘Meritorius Planner’ Award for contributions to the Planning profession.

Elizabeth Buehler – Principal Planner – Salt Lake City Corporation


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Professional Planner for 8 years, attended University of Texas in geogaphy and community and regional planning. Works mostly on long range planning projects, including master plan updates. In Texas, worked as an assistant to the city manager and a city planner.

INTERESTS: Planning projects, zoning ordinance changes and plan review cases.

Paul Allred – Community Development Director – City of Holladay


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Obtained AICP status in 1994. Worked for Sandy City as a zoning enforcement officer and planner for 3.5 years. Managed Salt Lake City’s neighborhood groups, SLACC, a non-profit agency as the Executive Coordinator for 2.5 years. Almost ten years as Community Development Director for Centerville City. Significant time spent in master planning and managing the city’s residential, commercial and industrial areas, studying transportation options for Legacy Highway, Light Rail, etc, and recruiting and developing many planning commissioners. One year working for the Davis County Community and Economic Development Department developing the county’s Consolidated Plan and coordinating annual CDBG process and Transfer of Development Rights programs. Also developed a detailed demographic study of Davis County in 2005.

INTERESTS: Interest in land use and energy policy in an age of shrinking oil resources, creating places where people want to gather and enjoy each other, infill develoment as it relates to limited land and water resources, smart development, urban design and sprawl, the politics and ideology of NIMBYism and historic preservation.

Mike Hyde – Community Development Director – Duchesne County


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: BA degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Western Washington University (1978). For 19 years served as assistant planner then planning director for the City of Pendleton, Oregon. For 2 years served as assistant community development director at Provo City, then served a year as planning director for the City of Blaine, Washington, and four years as community development director for the City of LaGrande, Oregon. Since 2004, serves as community development director for Duchesne County, Utah.

INTERESTS: Experience and interest in current and long range planning, code development and administration, historic preservation, air quality programs, urban forestry programs, cultural heritage tourism, economic development, downtown revitalization, transportation planning and community beautification. Nowadays, advises the County Comissioners on public lands issues.

Scott Hess – Davis County


Adam Olsen – Senior Planner – American Fork City


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: 10 years of experience in the public sector. Worked with municipialities in Utah and Colorado with development and implementation of local, neighborhood and municipal plans. For the past 4 1/2 years has been working with American Fork City on historic preservation and parks commitees. Currently working on parks master plan and consultant in bike and pedestrians master plan for the city.

INTERESTS: Enjoys working with various groups for the betterment of the city.

Nathan Crane – Community Development Director – Highland City Town Planner – Town of Vineyard


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Certified planner with over 17 years of experience of professional planning experience with emphasis in land use planning and regulation in high growth communities. Majority of career has been in the public sector working with elected officials, planning commissions, citizens and developers within Arizona and Utah. Current responsibilities include leading 3 professionals, establishing department procedures, preparing and administering the department budget, conducting regular performance reviews, and hiring and training new staff. I negotiate agreements with developers, prepare staff reports, and present recommendations at public hearings. Also serves as the staff liaison to the Planning Commission and City Council and town planner for Town of Vineyard.

INTERESTS: Experience and interest in general plans, design guidelines, planned area developments, rezoning, subdivision plat review, design review, site design, zoning ordinance amendments, redevelopment, and department/division administration. Also has valuable insight and understanding of how to work with the public, facilitate group discussions, solicit citizen involvement and build consensus.

Soren Simonsen – Executive Director, Community Studio | President & Founder, Impact Hub Salt Lake


Nicole Cline


Nick Norris – Planning Manager – Salt Lake City


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Over 10 years of urban planning experience, with a professional background in long range planning. Has made several presentations at professional conferences, including the HUD Sustainability Communities Grantee Convening as a panel member in 2011 (Washington DC), the Utah League of Cities and Towns (2004 and 2010), the Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association (2010 and 2011) and the Utah Ordinance Compliance Association (2006). Was the project manager for two award winning projects with Salt Lake City, the North Temple Boulevard Station Area Plans (2010) and the TSA Transit Station Area Zoning District (2010).

INTERESTS: Experience and interest in long range planning, current planning, historic preservation and project management. Also in finding innovative ways to improve public outreach and participation as well as identifying policies that implement community driven policies.

Michael Maloy – Principal Planner – Salt Lake City


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Principal Planner (Salt Lake City). Assignments involve both current and long range planning activities. Mentored interns and students in pursuit of a career in urban planning. Served as interim Team Leader for Long Range Planning section in 2007. City Planner (City of Taylorsville). Performed long range and current planning services for an “inner ring” suburban community. Assisted general public with land use questions, requests, and applications for commercial and residential development; coordinated with Community Development Director; provided professional and technical support to the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, City Council, Mayor. Community Development Director/City Planner (Tooele City). Responsible for Staff supervision and managing annual budget. Duties included: serving as city planning advisor to Mayor, Planning Commission and City Council.

INTERESTS: National Community Planning Month Chair for Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association (2006 – Present). Editor of the Utah Planner, a monthly newsletter published by the Utah Chapter of the American Planning Association (2007 – present).

J. Ryan Wallace – Intern Architect and Planner – CRSA


PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Worked at UTA’s Capital Development Department upon graduation from the University of Utah, earned a Master’s of Architecture at NC State in Raleigh, North Carolina. Recently worked with Fentress Architects in Denver, assisting with the construction of a new international terminal at LAX in Los Angeles. Most recently has contributed to the Sugar House Greenway and Trail, Salt Lake Community College Herriman Campus and Idaho Falls Event Center projects. Recently passed LEED Green Associate exam.

INTERESTS: Areas of greatest interest include urban design, transportation planning and understanding how design responds to and sustains neighborhood culture.

Elisa Hamblin – Long-range Planner for the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at the City of Portland, Oregon

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Graduated with a Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Utah in 2006. Worked with the cities of Draper and West Jordan, Utah. AICP member and NCI Charrette System certified.

INTERESTS: Experience and interest in land use planning, public involvement, urban design, research, policy development, code-writing, intergovernmental coordination and project management.