Sue Schwartz Receives National Professional Planning Achievement Award

Greensboro – City of Greensboro’s Sue Schwartz, FAICP, director of the Planning Department, has received the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) President’s Award for Professional Achievement, which recognizes the contributions of a person advancing the planning profession. The award, presented once during each AICP president’s term, was presented to Schwartz on April 21 at the American Planning Association (APA) National Conference in Seattle, Wash.

This is the second recognition for Schwartz by AICP.  In 1999, she also received the AICP President’s Award for the creation of the College of Fellows of AICP, which honors certified planners who have made sustained contributions to the profession. Schwartz is the only planner to be honored with the AICP Presidents Award twice in the history of the award.

Schwartz, along with Graham Billingsley, FAICP, president of Orion Associates, was recognized for leadership in creating and implementing the continuing education program for certified planners.

AICP, the professional institute of the APA, certifies planners and focuses on ethics, professional development, and standards of professional practice.  During her tenure as president of AICP from 2005-2007, Schwartz led the effort in developing the framework for the continuing education program called Certification Maintenance (CM) and gaining support from members.

CM was approved by the AICP Commission in 2007 and significantly elevated the credibility of the credential. It changed how certified planners earned and tracked their continuing education. Certified Planners, those holding AICP credentials, are now required to earn a set number of CM credits every two years, including specific credits in law and ethics. Billingsley, who succeeded Schwartz as AICP president, oversaw the first years of implementation of the CM program.

“I am very honored and humbled by this recognition,” Schwartz said. “It was the right time to move this program forward and Graham was the right person to make sure it got off on the right foot.”

“The issue of requiring continuing education for credentialed planners was a very divisive topic for several years among the planning community,” said Lee Brown, FAICP, AICP president. “Sue’s and Graham’s dedication to this effort attending countless chapter conferences to talk with our members addressing fears and concerns shaped a solid program that is highly valued. Today, the Certification Maintenance Program is an integral part of being an AICP credentialed planner.  It is more than fitting to recognize this pair of outstanding leaders.”

- A press release

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