Current City: Portland, OR
What Community Service Center program(s) did you work with?
What year(s) were you affiliated with the CSC?
My most memorable experience or greatest accomplishment at the Community Service Center and its programs was…:
I was a Community Planning Workshop Graduate Teaching Fellow I helped create a recycling business plan for a small city in Oregon. It was a fun process to watch over the years, I got to see the plan implemented and its growth as I periodically checked in. We also help helped organize the Gorge Games around that time and got to see Ben Haper perform and hang out with him backstage – a perk of volunteering.
The most critical skill(s) I learned from being engaged in CSC programs are/is….:
The Community Planning Workshop is great lesson in project management and team building. I was a Graduate Teaching Fellow and I managed a project throughout my time there. It was an intimidating process, I had very qualified individuals on my team including a Japanese government official, a student who had 10 years of engineering experience, and a number of other students pursuing planning as a second career. I have found that the lessons I learned in writing proposals, quality control, and other skills have been very useful in private practice.
What was your first job after engaging with the CSC, with what organization and where?
My first job is the one I have now. I am a partial owner of Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates a national firm specializing in sustainable transportation planning. I manage the firm’s Portland office, and have over 13 years of experience in transportation planning. My clients include a broad range of public sector, private company, and non-profit groups. I have built on my special expertise in transit service design and policy, parking management, Transportation Demand Management, and strategic transportation planning. I have led many of the firms largest transit system planning and multimodal transportation planning projects.
What professional organizations do you belong to?
What advice would you give someone just entering this field?
Take the time to figure out what work styles and challenges will make you happy in a career. Working as a planner in the private and public sector can be very different. Both have pros and cons. I’ve found that I enjoy the hard push, freedom to think boldly, and diversity of having a national consulting practice. While I love traveling and the challenge of quickly learning the ins and outs of a new city, its transportation systems, and its politics, traveling can be challenging and disruptive to life at home.
Nelson\Nygaard was founded in 1987 as a partnership by two former San Francisco Municipal Railway managers, Bonnie Nelson and Diane Nygaard. Together, they believed it was possible to create a transportation-planning firm that fosters a fun, egalitarian and creative work environment, and that provides high quality, principled work for its clients. Starting in Diane’s basement, their company has grown to over 80 planners and engineers, with offices across the United States and a work base that covers five continents.
Sustainability has been at the core of our corporate values from day one, and that our emphasis on sustainability includes not only the work we do for our clients, but also how we run the company. With people, commerce, and vitality returning to urban cores in cities around the nation, our work has become more relevant than ever. Denser urban places require transportation solutions other than the private automobile; helping cities solve these challenges is what we do every day.
More about the Community Planning Workshop(CPW)