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The Call for 2024 Award Nomination Submissions is Now Closed! We look forward to more great nominations next year.

Meet APA Virginia's 2024 Awards Committee
Learn more about the Award Categories below!

Meg rupkey.jpg

Meg Rupkey, Chair 
Planner, City of Harrisonburg 

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Sophie Huemer, Vice Chair 
Principal Planner, Alexandria City Public Schools. 

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Sherri Dawson
Director of Transit Development, Hampton Roads Transit

Kelly OBrien.jpg

Kelly O'Brien
Deputy Director, Vienna

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Jeryl Phillips
Principal Planner, City of Williamsburg

Justin Sanders.jpg

Justin D. Sanders
Senior Planner, Montgomery County

Courtney Powell.jpg

Courtney Powell 
Urban and Community Planning Manager, WGI, Arlington

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Elgui Roman
Planner I, York County

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Brian Laverty
Project Manager, Senior Transportation Planner, Mead and Hunt

Robert (Bob) Kunhs.jfif

Robert (Bob) Kuhns
Senior Planner, Mead and Hunt

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Nick Cicero

Planner II, Land Use Review, Loudoun County

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Jill Jefferson
Climate Equity Doctoral Fellow, University of Virginia

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Kristian Maldonado
Planner II | Land Use Review, Loudoun County

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Lincoln Lewis
Climate Equity Doctoral Fellow, University of Virginia

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Jonathan McCoy
Planner II, Botetourt County

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Bob Baldwin 
Director of Planning, Prince George County


Awards Categories

The Chapter’s Awards Program recognizes Virginia’s great planning efforts, individuals, and

communities working to make communities of lasting value for all.



The Individual Awards categories honor individuals who are great practitioners and advocates of

planning in Virginia.


Foxhound Award - Distinguished New Professional:

This award is named for the state dog of Virginia, the American Foxhound, and is awarded to an

outstanding new planner (less than five years of experience). Like the Foxhound, this award

recognizes a planner at the outset of their career who is good-natured, reliable, and known for

their work ethic and consideration for others.


Larson Award - Distinguished Professional:

New in 2024! In honor of Glenn Larson, FAICP, who has dedicated his career to advancing the

American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and Virginia

communities by championing initiatives that promote integrity, diversity, equity, and

volunteerism. This award recognizes a planner who is a model to the profession for their

experience, their breadth of knowledge, and their high ethical standards. This award recognizes

exceptional skill and achievement from an individual planner.


Moeser Award - Outstanding Leader:

In honor of the late Dr. John V. Moeser, our esteemed colleague who was described as an

‘advocate for a more just society and an urban studies trailblazer’, the Chapter will recognize a

planner who has contributed to the growth of the profession and the improvement of their

community. This award recognizes a remarkable planner who has embodied APA’s mission

statement of Creating Great Communities for All with their individual efforts.


Nelsonite Award - Virginia’s Planning Advocate of the Year:

Named for Virginia’s State Rock, this award represents the bedrock of good planning in the

Commonwealth - citizen influenced, and community serving. The award recognizes a

community leader or civic organization that advocates for planning on a local, regional or

statewide scale.


Dogwood Award – Virginia’s Citizen Planner(s) of the Year:

This award honors an outstanding Planning Commission and/or individual Planning

Commissioner that serves as an example for all citizen planners by being dedicated, objective,

open, moral, balanced, and knowledgeable of the framework of planning in Virginia.


Cardinal Award – Legislator of the Year:

Named for the State bird, the Cardinal Award recognizes elected officials that can see the big

picture and find solutions through the field of planning. Local and state legislators are eligible for

this recognition.


Planning Efforts

The Planning Efforts category recognizes planning documents, programs or initiatives that make

great places happen in the Commonwealth.


Equity in Planning Award:

New in 2024! This award recognizes Virginia planning practices that promote equity, diversity,

inclusion, and accessibility within the planning field. The successful nominee will be a planning

process, plan, program, and/or initiative in Virginia that addresses the concerns of women and/or minority groups related to planning.


Holzheimer Economic Development Award:

In honor of Dr. Terry Holzheimer, our esteemed former colleague who passed away in 2014 who

was described as “one of the deans of the economic development profession”, the Chapter will

recognize great planning efforts for improving Virginia’s economic development. The successful

nominee will show how their study, initiative, program, or even site development yielded

economic development results for their locality, region, or state.


Old Dominion Innovative Approaches Award:

Virginia has many unique challenges, where innovative planning solutions are critical for making

great places happen. The Innovative Approaches Award recognizes pioneering planning efforts

in the Commonwealth. Nominees may include innovative planning processes, plans, programs,

initiatives or site developments that have or will result in real results.


Resilient Virginia Community of the Year Award:

This award recognizes a community’s effort and commitment to build resilience through

responsible planning practice and innovation. Successful nominees will present real-world

solutions for buffering their community from the adverse effects of critical changes related to, for

example, inadequate infrastructure, climate change, natural disasters, food and water shortages, economic restructuring, or institutional/organizational capacity changes.


Commonwealth Connectors Award:

Planners diligently work, sometimes over many years, to implement new ideas to solve the

Commonwealth’s transportation challenges. From distribution centers to autonomous vehicles,

each community is finding creative ways to meet the diversity of today’s modern-day

transportation needs. This award highlights innovative and exceptional transportation-focused



Virginia Plan of the Year Award:

The Virginia Plan of the Year Award honors the best planning document of the year. A successful nomination will show that the effort included outstanding planning processes, vision,

implementation strategies, and innovative approaches. The planning document can be local, regional or a statewide effort.


Great Places

The great places category recognizes great places, developments, and communities in Virginia


Jamestown Award – Locality of the Year:

In honor of the first local government in Virginia, the Chapter will recognize a locality that has

undertaken sound and innovative planning practices, not in a single plan but through various

efforts. This award recognizes a town, city or county that is dedicated to the principles of



Red Clay Award – Development of the Year:

Virginia’s red clay is the Commonwealth’s traditional building material, making it an appropriate

name for Virginia’s Development of the Year Award. This recognition honors a development that

exhibits the values of great planning, helping to create a great place in Virginia. Eligible

nominees include infill developments, building rehabilitation projects, brownfield

redevelopments, downtown redevelopment, and other similar projects.


Open Submittals

The Awards Committee leaves room for flexibility in the Awards Program. If there is a

remarkable individual, place, effort, or initiative that does not neatly fall within the defined

award categories, please submit a nomination for Open Submittal consideration. The Awards

Committee reserves the right to grant special recognitions and/or awards. Please note that the

2024 Awards Program will not award any honorable mention certificates.

Our 2023 Awards Program Committee

Meghan T. Rupkey.jpg

Committee Chair 
Meg Rupkey,
CZO, City of Harrisonburg

Hilary Richardson Russo,
CZO, Loudoun County

Jonathan McCoy, AICP, Botetourt County

Steven B. Hall,
AICP, CZA, Manassas Park

Kearra Bright, 
Virginia Commonwealth University

Jeryl Rose Phillips, AICP, City of Williamsburg

Sophie Huemer, AICP, Alexandria City Public Schools

James Freas,
AICP, City of Charlottesville

Steven F. Haasch,
Chesterfield County

Noah Holmes Foster,
Summit Design & Engineering Servies

Jacob Giova, 
Prince William County


Bob Baldwin,

If you have any questions regarding the Awards Committee, please reach out to APA Virginia's VP of External Affairs, Julie Chop at



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