News Release: April 29, 2014

Alabama Planner Named American Planning Association President-Elect

WASHINGTON, DC — Urban planning consultant Carol Rhea, FAICP, is the new President-Elect of the American Planning Association (APA), an organization with close to 40,000 members that provides leadership in the development of vital and prosperous communities. Rhea, a former APA national director for Region II, begins her new position June 10.

She will serve one year as president-elect before assuming the presidency for a two-year term starting in April 2015. She will be responsible for leading the 13-member APA Board of Directors in governing the association and setting strategic goals. APA presidents serve in a volunteer capacity.

Rhea said that during her term in office she will focus on several critical issues focused around the theme of inspiring the organization and its members to dream more, learn more, become more and do more. Rhea said planning is a leadership profession and that APA, as the world's largest organization in the planning profession, must continue its work of equipping and supporting current and future planning leaders.

Rhea, who was inducted this month into the College of Fellows of APA's professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, is a founding member and currently the managing partner of Orion Planning Group with offices in Alabama, Mississippi, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Rhea has 29 years of experience in planning and administration at the county, city, regional and state levels. When planning director for Monroe, North Carolina, Rhea developed the city's first land development plan, secured adoption of downtown design guidelines and a rental license program, and streamlined the city's permitting program.

As a member of the APA Board of Directors she led an effort to synchronize the election process of APA and its component groups in order to establish a single, consolidated ballot that includes elections for all student, division, state and national offices. She received a master of arts in geography from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, in 1986 and a bachelor of science in earth science, also from UNC Charlotte, in 1983. 

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic, and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 40,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries.


Carol Rhea, APA President-Elect; 256-763-1542;

Roberta Rewers, APA Public Affairs; 312-786-6395;