In my professional life, site-specific design and construction projects were the focus of my early work as a Registered Landscape Architect. Campus planning, regional-scale land-use design and planning broadened the mix.
For the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), serving Maine to West Virginia, I applied my design and construction experience to project and budget management of multimillion-dollar visitor/office centers, complete with consultant selection and oversight, and supervision of in-house architects and engineers. Such knowledge of project management from start to finish can be applied to our important, upcoming capital projects of a DPW facility and fire station here in Amherst.
I applied my experience in natural resource planning to author comprehensive management plans for National Wildlife Refuges. Meeting facilitation skills included gathering, orchestrating, and presenting or receiving sometimes testy public input regarding access to public lands and facilities. A large proportion of Amherst’s land base is conservation land; effective management, based on management objectives and an updated Land Use Plan, should support, and inform how we meet climate change goals and the siting of solar facilities. Similarly, creating Guiding Principles for Amherst to apply to all planning decisions could benefit us all.
In a career switch to UMass Campus Planning in 2007, my team and I assessed and recommended facility space needs and reuse opportunities to meet changing circumstances. My interpersonal skills and planning perspectives were helpful in balancing competing space needs, in both renovated and new construction. Listening carefully to all sides helped me develop equitable solutions. Amherst is faced with shifting school populations where reapportionment or reuse of existing space in our public buildings may create opportunities; I am ready for that discussion.
My past civic involvement in Amherst gives me a strong base: understanding Town budgets and the budget cycle as a former member of Town Meeting; CPAC allocation opportunities from having served as chair of CPAC; and the roles of the Planning Board and ZBA gained from serving on the Planning Board for 6 years. All this informs my decision-making as a Councilor.
Currently serving on the Council since January 2022, I am eager to advance into a second term. Knowledge of Council deliberation process, of introducing and carrying out proposals, and managing committee work is a real benefit. As a Community Resources Committee member, I examine and review firsthand our Zoning and Bylaws, two topics near and dear to my heart.
Civic involvement in Amherst helps me understand many facets of life we deal with. I look forward to learning about many more!