News Release: July 26, 2017

Shannon Burke Joins APA as Hazards Planning Center Manager

CHICAGO — The American Planning Association (APA), a membership and education organization with nearly 37,000 members domestically and internationally, welcomes Shannon Burke to APA’s Research Department as the Hazards Planning Center manager. Burke fills a vacancy left by the retirement of James C. Schwab, FAICP.

Headshot of Shannon Burke.

APA’s Hazards Planning Center focuses on reducing the impacts of natural hazards on communities and regions. As manager, Burke will oversee research projects within the center, work to secure future funding, and continue to build partnerships with organizations working to advance resiliency across the country, and even the world.

“Shannon is a great addition to our research team and will help advance the center’s work in creating stronger, more resilient communities,” said David Rouse, FAICP, APA’s director of research and component services. “She brings vast knowledge and personal experience into the role of mitigating disasters.”

Burke has more than 20 years of experience as a hazard mitigation consultant, FEMA specialist, and local government planner for several jurisdictions in Louisiana. She worked for the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office, the City Planning Commission and surrounding communities in the Greater New Orleans area in planning and government administration.

Working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), Burke advised local communities on best practices in integrating hazard mitigation into disaster recovery and other local, regional and state planning programs.

She also worked closely with Waterbury, Vermont’s Hurricane Irene Disaster Recovery program leaders, advising regional and local officials about mitigation planning requirements and arranging technical assistance to fund and implement community-supported infrastructure and flood mitigation projects. This recovery program was identified by the American Planning Association (APA) as a best practice for public involvement and project implementation in its Planning Advisory Service report, Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation, published in December 2014.

Burke’s family was directly impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, an experience that continues to motivate and guide her work in hazards planning. Because of Hurricane Katrina, she has a particular interest in the power of planning to alleviate the impact of disasters on vulnerable and underserved populations.

She has a Master of Science degree from the University of New Orleans College of Urban and Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University. Burke also is a board member of the National Hazards Mitigation Association.

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. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. For more information, visit

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Roberta Rewers, APA, 312-786-6395;