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Senior Vice President of Planning and Development at Downtown Raleigh Alliance
Graduated: 2014
Specialization: Transportation and Economic Development

Why did I pursue a career in city planning?
Impact. I worked as a policy analyst in DC for Congress for several years and was interacting with lots of city planners and economic developers who were coming up with creative solutions to pull their communities out of the recession. The projects were challenging, but they had a real impact on how people in those communities lived and I wanted to be a part of that. From jobs and real estate to sidewalks and transit, city planning allows you to have a tremendous impact on everyday lives.

Where am I now?

I am the Senior Vice President of Planning and Development for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. I work on everything from retail recruitment to data and market information to transit and park planning. I recruited our incoming grocery stores, Weaver Street Market and Publix, our new YMCA, and many small businesses in our storefronts through connecting them with locations and providing business planning and financial assistance. I write our annual State of Downtown report, which tracks demographics, new development and all the changes in our downtown. I am currently part of the Dix Park Master Planning Advisory Committee, which is a 308-acre park that was the state’s mental hospital and will now be a signature downtown greenspace for Raleigh. I also serve on our Transportation Plan team, which is evaluating how to integrate new transit investments like Bus Rapid Transit into downtown.

What does the future hold?
Downtown is rapidly growing and there is always a new project to work from parks and transit to helping new businesses get started. I was attracted to come to UNC and stay in the Triangle because this region is transitioning from a largely suburban metro to one with denser urban nodes like downtown Raleigh. That transition brings challenges in affordability, mobility, and equity, but also can bring new opportunities for our region’s sustainability if navigated properly. Trying to understand that navigation of growth is why I chose city planning, why I went to Carolina, and why I’m excited about this region.