Conference Program Spotlight: Workshops & Hands-On Learning

Workshops offer planners an opportunity to build up their toolbox, take a deeper dive into new concepts and get hands on experience with new techniques, technology and methods.

*All workshops may be eligible for CM credits.

The Big Picture – Seeing Beyond Your Piece of the Plan (Monday July 17 - 1pm to 2pm)

Planning is often about bringing together differing viewpoints in order to visualize “the big picture” together. The greatest plans are those that come together through the sharing of common goals to create a masterpiece. This workshop will create a scenario in which participants can understand the challenges of having one vantage while being encouraged to see how they fit within a broader puzzle. Participants break into small groups, each responsible for painting and/or drawing a small segment of “The Big Picture”. Having no idea what the final image would be, teams will work together to ensure that lines meet and colors match. Instead of competing, each small group will have to adopt a “Big Picture” approach to ensure that the final result be a success.

The exercise will boost cooperation and communication and offers a facilitation technique applicable in other team building situations and community outreach applications.


Dana W. Wedeles, AICP, Principle Planner, City of Alexandria

Dana manages community input, design, and implementation on projects related to improvements of existing public spaces and neighborhood parks. She also oversees the newly formed PARKnership Program that manages partnerships, sponsors, volunteers, and donations for the development, design, construction and operation of recreational and park facilities and/or programs in Alexandria. She received her Bachelor’s degree from New York University and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.

How Accessible is Your Community? (Monday July 17 – 2:15pm to 4:45pm)

*This workshop is approximately 2 hours.

Our transportation systems ultimately are designed to keep people moving - sometimes slowly and sometimes at great speed– but where are they going? Are we getting them to their essential destinations easily, quickly and affordably? A new way to look at communities and their transportation systems asks how accessible they are. Accessibility is about connecting people with their desired destinations, and improving their access to jobs, shops, schools, or parks regardless of their address, age, or income. Virginia is at the leading edge of this new way of looking at both land use and transportation through the ‘lens’ of accessibility. The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI) has invested in new tools to help localities, regions and the state measure how accessible they are and is sharing this new tool with planners across the State. This session will demonstrate the new SUGAR Access tool that is being used for Smart Scale scoring and show how much more it can do than just scoring transportation projects. The session will feature a hands-on demonstration of its capabilities from the developers of the tool, along with case studies of Virginia communities that have used it to solve real world concerns and issues.


Vlad Gavrilovic, AICP, Principle, Renaissance Planning Group

Vlad is trained as an urban planner and architect; he has more than 30 years of experience in transportation and community planning, urban design, environmental resource assessment, and the development of urban and environmental design standards for communities. He has worked with numerous localities throughout the country, as well as state and federal agencies and has taught urban planning and design at the University of Virginia and George Washington University.

Lorna Parkins, Vice President – Transportation Planning, Michael Baker International

Lorna has over 25 years of experience in transportation planning, including both public sector and private sector positions. She has worked on wide-ranging multimodal planning projects in Virginia, from VTrans statewide plans to the Broad Street Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Richmond. With degrees in urban planning and applied economics, her career focus has been on the linkages between land use, transportation and economic development. She has been with Michael Baker for 18 years, where she leads the company’s Mid-Atlantic Planning practice.

Citilabs – TBD

Smart State Tranportation Initiative (SSTI) – TBD

21st Century Public Engagement (Tuesday July 18 – 9:30am to 10:30am)

Planners are expected to be public engagement experts, but few of us have been trained in the mechanics. We’re told to make eye contact, connect with the public early in a project, maintain open communication, and be transparent about the process and deliverables. And yet we struggle to get high participation by people most impacted by our work. Most of us simply follow the habits of our mentors, not knowing if our mentors are quality engagers. This session will include social proof for what works well in the 21st century, followed by step-by-step examples for creating and distributing your own content and making use of social media as an effective tool for public engagement in our “future communities.” This session is best suited for planners who are expected to make us of both analog (live, in-person) and digital strategies as part of their project workflow.


Andy Boenau, AICP, Associate, Alta Planning + Design

Andy is a storyteller who is sometimes disguised as an urban planner. He helps clients plan and design space that accommodates people of all ages and physical abilities. Common labels for his work include new urbanism, active transportation, and placemaking. He helps professional planners develop strategies to promote walking and bicycling as viable transportation modes as technology and urban design become integrated like never before.

Earl Anderson, AICP, Senior Planner, York County

Earl is a Senior Planner with the County of York's Planning Division, where he has worked since 2004. He currently assists the public and elected/appointed officials with long-range planning decision-making through the preparation of reports, presentations, and/or public participation methods. He has worked as a Utility Planner with the City of Richmond and as the City Planner, Senior Planner, and Planner with City of Harrisonburg. Earl is currently the President-Elect for the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association and served on the Board in various other positions since 2004. He holds a B.S. in Community and Regional Planning from Appalachian State University.

Emily Pasi, Outreach & Communications Manager, American Planning Association

Emily is the Outreach and Communications Manager in APA’s Washington office. Emily is responsible for National Community Planning Month (#NCPM) and the Great Places in America program. She has grown and strengthened the Planners' Advocacy Network and represents APA’s policy and advocacy initiatives in APA communications planning. Emily is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University.

Creating the Virginia To-Do List – Fast Action Plans for Autonomous Vehicles (Wednesday July 18 – 2:30pm to 4:45pm)

*This workshop is approximately 2 hours.

Autonomous vehicles are not coming to Virginia – they are already here. Virginia is on the leading edge of autonomous technology: from Governor McAuliffe’s strategy for AVs, to pioneering work at Virginia Tech, to Local Motor’s production of AV shuttles at National Harbor. This poses a big challenge for planners: technology is moving faster than processes for incorporating innovation into comprehensive land use and transportation planning. This session is designed for “fast action” planning in which conference participants produce a useful product to expedite planning and preparation for AV’s in communities across the Commonwealth. In developing the To-Do list, participant gain a deeper understanding of the benefits and challenges, as well as planning levers available to harness benefits while limiting risk.


Kelley Coyner, Principle, Mobility E3

Kelley is leading conversations on new mobility in Northern Virginia as a senior fellow at George Mason University and Principal of Mobility E3. Her expertise focuses on transportation, workforce development, and governance across sectors, funding, finance, and safety. Previously, she served as Executive Director Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and directed policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation. She holds degrees from Georgetown and the University of Virginia’s School of Law.

Lisa Nisenson, Mobility Group Lead, Alta Planning + Design

Lisa is the founder of GreaterPlaces, a tech startup aggregating all aspects of city design in one site and a 2016 Planetizen “Top 10” urban planning resource. She holds leadership positions in the American Planning Association's Sustainable Communities Division & Smart City Task Force. Her specialty is helping cities implement innovative practices in ways that deliver multiple benefits. She is a graduate of Meredith College (BS) and Harvard University (EdM).

Ronique Day, Assistant Secretary of Transportation, Commonwealth of Virginia

Ronique is the point person coordinating the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Her responsibilities and oversight include: General Assembly (legislation analysis, reporting and implementation) - budget formulation - policy research and analysis, unmanned systems and automated vehicles. She holds degrees from the University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute, Sorensen Political Leaders Program.

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