I will finish my work of 13+ years as APA's Chief Executive next week. It has truly been a privilege to serve our members, APA, and the planning movement. I have had three careers in planning: educator, practitioner, and association executive. I stress "three careers in planning" because I cannot imagine another profession that would have been as rewarding for me. Planning changes people's lives and, when it is done right, changes lives very positively and does so for generations. Thanks to each of you for your work — it's interesting, important, often difficult, and, ultimately, rewarding.
It has been my pleasure to work with a talented and dedicated staff at APA and I wish you well. It is difficult to leave a group that you've worked alongside, producing publications, organizing educational activities, promoting the profession, engaging partners, advocating on behalf of planning, creating digital services, and serving tens of thousands of members and customers. I know that your excellent work will continue. I will miss you.
Thanks also to APA's volunteer leaders throughout our association. There are many of you and we would not be such a vital organization without your contributions. It has been privilege to work with you as APA and our increasingly global membership provide the leadership that is so important to our communities. Keep up the great work!
My wife, Connie, and I met in graduate school in city and regional planning at Cornell University. She was one of two women in our class of 25 students. Thirty-five years later, our daughter, Lee, entered graduate school in planning at the University of Pennsylvania and over half of her class were women. We have seen our world change in so many ways over the decades. Our son, John, is not a planner although his work in technology, innovation, and civic engagement brings him closer and closer to our profession. Thank you Connie, Lee, and John.
Next week in APA Interact, APA President Bill Anderson, FAICP, will introduce Jim Drinan, our new Executive Director, to you in his letter. Jim comes to APA with an extensive background in law and association management and I look forward to his executive leadership of APA.
As I will move into my fourth career in planning, I look forward to the continuing evolution of our profession and our broader movement. I will continue to work with planners and partners as we are called upon to address — and solve — critical issues.
Keep up the great work. Continue to bring your passion to our efforts. Enjoy this great profession.
Paul Farmer, FAICP
After June 30, 2014, Paul may be reached at PaulFarmerFAICP@gmail.com.