More about Edwin
- American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)
- Congress for New Urbanism (CNU-A)
- National Charrette Institute (NCI-CS)
Senior Project Manager, Entitlements and Land Development, Insite Studio, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
What is your current job and how did your planning degree prepare you for it?
I am currently a Senior Project Manager, Entitlements and Land Development, for Insite Studio, a planning and landscape architecture firm based in South Florida. In this role I help developers navigate complex approval processes across the region and work collaboratively with interdisciplinary teams comprised of design and real estate development professionals on a variety of projects. Internal to our practice, I lead our entitlements and land planning arm, training junior planners and designers on navigating the site approval process and regulatory agency permitting, as well as in the preparation of the numerous reports, plans, and documents required in the entitlements phase of our projects.
The MUP program and how it has prepared me for my current role has evolved with me as I’ve worked my way up from entry-level planner to senior associate. It certainly afforded me the technical skill set and capabilities to flourish in junior positions, where the production of technical reports, maps, graphics, and presentations made up most of my day-to-day responsibilities. Currently, however, I lean on the soft skills the program equipped me with – collaboration, problem-solving, and the weighing of multiple viewpoints and perspectives to arrive at path forward. I specifically appreciate the departments’ commitment to providing students a variety of opportunities to get involved in planning-related projects outside of the university, which encouraged me to push the envelope on how best to approach issues facing communities.
Why did you choose to study urban planning?
I chose to study urban planning because I wanted to be directly involved in the growth and development of the communities that surrounded me. Growing up in South Florida, I was exposed to a variety of textbook planning issues related to sprawl, environmental conservation, sea level rise, affordable housing, sanctuary cities, and the ills of vehicle dependency. It has been rewarding to now have been part of a variety of projects across the region and find pride in playing a role in the betterment of my community.
What advice would you share with someone who is considering a career in urban planning?
Planning is an immensely broad field, and the program at UIUC affords you the amplitude to tailor your urban planning coursework to support any of your interests, whether they align themselves with the theoretical or practical aspects of the field. Set clear goals pertaining to the skill set you want to acquire and identify in what capacity you see yourself applying these skills. Explore with purpose, learn with purpose, and engage with purpose.