For APA, 2014 was marked by renewed energy, creative ideas, new partnerships, and innovative approaches to serving members and communities. APA Past President William Anderson, FAICP; AICP Past President Lee Brown, FAICP; and APA's new-in-2014 Executive Director James Drinan begin our report with some of the year's highlights.
2014 was a watershed year for APA. Following a successful National Planning Conference in April and installation of new APA Directors and AICP Commissioners in June, APA said farewell and thank you to longtime chief executive Paul Farmer, FAICP, and hello and welcome to new Executive Director, James M. Drinan, JD.
It's not a stretch to say that last year's central event was a July meeting of APA leaders and senior staff to evaluate the state of APA, explore our options, and chart a path forward. During three days of intense discussions in Chicago the participants generated great enthusiasm and excitement accompanied by an outpouring of new ideas about APA's vision, goals, and ways of doing business.
We envisioned an APA that is at the center of contemporary planning — relevant, agile, and pushing boundaries. We want to develop innovative programs on our own or with strong partners. We want APA operations to be transparent and responsive to members and to deliver efficient, exemplary member service. We want to engage all members and reach out to others — planners and nonplanners alike — to join us in creating great communities.
As we move forward, our work is informed by the investigations, analyses, and conclusions of several Task Forces that I appointed in 2013 to explore key issues facing APA and planning: Aging in Community, People and Places, Consumers of Planning and Engaged Citizens, Emerging Issues, Retired Members, Economic Development, Smart Cities and Sustainability, Water, and the Planning Office of the Future. The last of their reports were approved at the 2015 National Planning Conference. I thank all the task force members for contributing their time and talents to improve our association, advance planning, and strengthen our profession.
Since our retreat last July, leaders and other members have been writing a Development Plan that reflects APA's new energy and strategic vision. The Development Plan and Budget Committee chaired by APA's new president — Carol Rhea, FAICP — took a long-term approach, drafting a 20-year plan that frames APA activities within a few clearly defined goals and values. Following Board approval this summer, the 2015-2035 Development Plan will go into effect on October 1.
I am gratified by all that APA accomplished during the last year. In addition to providing information on membership and association finances, this report touches on activities in 2014 that demonstrate APA's service to communities, productive partnerships, member support, and creative outreach efforts.
— William Anderson, FAICP
Past President, APA Board of Directors
The AICP Commission continues its focus on our mission to elevate the value of the AICP credential.
The Commission advanced the Core Competencies Initiative as the basis of evaluating planning skills. We will use the core competencies as benchmarks to ensure that AICP certification is consistent with the skills of a successful practicing planner and as a basis for assuring that Certification Maintenance offerings meet the needs of members in pursuing their professional development goals.
We modified the process of reviewing applications to sit for the AICP exam to include a peer review element, conducted by active AICP member volunteers, to assure that the value of the prerequisite work experience of candidates is considered by those who best understand the practice of planning.
We are updating procedures to equitably and effectively enforce the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, assuring that the Code continues to hold members responsible to the highest professional standards.
Also, in order to increase the relevance and availability of high-quality Certification Maintenance opportunities to AICP members, the Commission initiated a process of prequalifying the providers of CM-eligible professional education (chapters, non-for-profit and for-profit education providers), and requiring providers to meet a high standard of quality and value for the sessions they offer.
AICP members continue to make a difference in communities and to generously volunteer their skills — some at the 2014 Community Planning Workshop and others in our Community Planning Assistance Teams, throughout the country. We invite you to learn more about CPATs in the Community Service section of this report.
— Lee Brown, FAICP
Past President, AICP Commission
To my delight, I have become part of a profession that has a great story to tell. Building better communities, advocating for planning, and helping the public and local governments to plan effectively inspire everything we do. On behalf of the member leaders who represent you and the APA staff I am pleased to bring you a report of activities of the past year.
Highlights include the relationship of public health and planning, the interdisciplinary role of planners, and the associated need for us to partner. Throughout this report, you will see how your professional association is working for planners and planning. We research, educate, advocate, create, partner, answer, assist, and listen. Exploring new paths, developing new relationships, and finding new solutions will be part of the ongoing challenges that we face together.
Member service is at the heart of all our efforts, and this report showcases some of our recent efforts. More information is available at planning.org.
I invite you to let us know what you think. How are we doing? What do you need? How can we help? Send your ideas or suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We had a great year and I look forward to an even better one in 2015!
— James M. Drinan, JD