Public vs. Private - Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side

APA Texas Chapter


Friday, October 19, 2018
2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. CDT

CM | 1.50

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Planners find work in both the public and private sectors but many planners do not take the leap from one side to the other in their careers. What opportunities exist out there on the other side for planners and how does one make that transition?

This session will seek to answer the question for inquiring planners looking to make a short-term or long-term move to a private or public planning position. A moderated panel discussion from professional planners that have worked on both sides will offer honest opinions of their personal pros and cons for each side. Topics will include a day in the life and differences in a work day on each side; consideration of "what I wish I knew in my past job;" ethical considerations to consider when crossing over to the other side; the role you serve when hired by a developer in a community versus when you are hired by a planner for a community. Other objectives include guidance for younger professionals seeking to gain knowledge and experience as they chart a career path.

An extended Q&A session will allow for direct questions of the panel, and allow attendees to reflect on their own professional planning goals.

Attendees will:
1 - Identify potential opportunities to move between both private sector consulting and public planning agencies
2 - Evaluate their own skill-sets, career goals, and personal fulfillment metrics to see if they translate onto the other side
3 - Recognize if their existing assumptions and biases about "what it's really like over there" is true


Matt Bucchin

Matt Bucchin, AICP, LEED Green Associate is currently a Director of Planning with Halff Associates, Inc., based out of Austin, Texas. He has over 20 years of public and private sector experience at the city, state, and special district levels of government. Over the past seven years, Matt has worked ... Read More

Tony Allender

Tony Allender, AICP, is a principal with Hawes Hill & Associates specializing in urban planning, economic development and implementation. Tony has over 25 years of experience in the public and private sectors. He has led or actively participated in a variety of projects focused on on creating or preserving market competitive ... Read More

Rebecca Leonard

Rebecca Leonard, FAICP, PLA, LEED AP, CNU-A, is the founder of Lionheart Places LLC. Rebecca has over 20 years of experience in community planning, urban design, engagement and facilitation, and landscape architecture. Rebecca spent 10+ years as President of Design Workshop in Austin, assisting private and public clients with placemaking ... Read More

Jordan Maddox

Jordan Maddox, AICP, is a Senior Planner with Halff Associates, Inc. in Austin. Jordan has over 12 years of community planning experience in the public and private sectors, including 10 years at the City of Georgetown prior to joining Halff. His years in public practice included negotiating and managing complex ... Read More

Tom Yantis

Tom is Assistant City Manager for Development Services for the City of Taylor, Texas. Tom oversees the departments of Building Inspections, Code Enforcement, Main Street, and Planning. Prior to joining the City of Taylor, Tom served as Assistant City Manager for the City of Leander where he oversaw development services ... Read More

Contact Info

Barbara Holly,