Beyond DCRP: Alumni Updates

This weekend (March 1st & 2nd)  is the annual Carolina Planning open house for the prospective class of 2018. As we welcome the new cohort to our community, it’s a perfect time to check in with our recent graduates and see what they’re up to. Enjoy this update from the DCRP class of 2015!

Walker Freer ‘15
Associate, Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates
Boston, MA

walkerIn compact urban areas and redeveloping suburbs, the need for frequent, reliable, and affordable public transit is increasingly critical. Working with Nelson\Nygaard, I help implement short-range planning projects for public transit agencies, municipalities, and colleges and universities to modify service patterns to better serve existing transit demand. These planning efforts involve analyzing route ridership, demographics, and operational constraints to identify feasible solutions that satisfy transit demand while remaining efficient and cost-effective. Truly successful transportation projects must be approached comprehensively, and in addition to public transit Nelson\Nygaard actively addresses multiple elements of mobility. We work to promote and accommodate alternative means of transportation in nearly all projects. This includes augmenting bicycle and pedestrian access, reviewing paratransit options, and recommending the implementation of transportation demand and parking management programs.

Aaron Hursey ‘15
Urban Planner, City of Seattle
Seattle, WA

aaronI work as an urban planner for the City of Seattle, splitting my time between the Seattle Design Commission (SDC) and the city’s Office of Planning and Community Development. My role includes providing support for the Commission, which advises city departments on the design of publically funded projects, capital improvement projects, and projects located within the city right-of-way. The SDC has reviewed major projects including the Seattle Arena, parks facilities, police precincts, and a pedestrian master plan.  

I am also working with team and community members to create neighborhood streetscape design concept plans in Northeast Seattle as well as assisting with the update of neighborhood design guidelines. This past fall, I worked with team members by organizing and attending community meetings in order to generate feedback on the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan.   

Maggie Parker ‘15
Loan Officer, The Real Estate Council Community Fund
Dallas, TX

maggieThe Real Estate Council (TREC) Community Fund provides access to capital and technical assistance for commercial real estate projects in low-income areas of Dallas and Collin Counties. We are an emerging Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and have a unique structure as we are housed within a trade and member-based organization for commercial real estate professionals, The Real Estate Council. In June 2015, after graduation, I became the first full-time employee of the TREC Community Fund with the goal of growing the fund to serve more communities and catalytic projects. In coordination with TREC staff, I manage all aspects of the Community Fund: loan origination, underwriting, closing, and servicing of loans to nonprofit and for-profit organizations seeking to develop commercial real estate projects. Additionally, I provide technical assistance along with managing TREC members’ pro bono development services which contribute to the success of TREC Community Fund borrowers.

Some of our recent projects include financing the acquisition and rehab of a juice bar, market, and café in a food desert and blighted neighborhood; providing a line of credit for non-profit developers to construct single-family homes; and funding the acquisition of land for a clinic in a medically-underserved area as a transit-oriented development project. Through this position, I get to be a part of the implementation of ideas that make Dallas what the community envisions.

Kari Grace ‘15
Planner I, Town of Morrisville
Morrisville, North Carolina

kariI work in current planning for the Town of Morrisville’s Planning Department. Morrisville, NC is a rapidly growing and evolving town located in the center of the Triangle region. My work focuses on development review, including reviewing plans, supporting text amendment processes, processing annexation requests, and responding to planning and zoning inquiries from the public and developers. I’m also working on initiatives and projects in historic preservation, active living, and community appearance.

This update was compiled by: Jonathan Ahn, Shati Khan, Allen Lum, and Estefany Noria of the DCRP Alumni and Career Development Committee