Michael P. Cass is an experienced land use planner with over 18 years’ experience in the public and non-profit sectors. Cass is the Director of the APA California Chapter – Northern Section (2023-2024) and has previously served as director-elect (2021-2022), treasurer (2019-2021), and East Bay regional activity coordinator (2018-2019). Professionally, he is the Planning Manager for the City of Martinez. Before Martinez, Cass was principal planner for the City of Dublin (2019-2022), principal planner of long-range and sustainability policy for the City of Concord (2016-2019), and planner for the City of Lafayette (2004-2016). He holds a BA in communication from St. Mary’s College of California and a certificate in land use and environmental planning from UC Davis Extension. Cass also serves as an advisory board member for Sustainable Contra Costa.
Libby is the planning manager at the City of San Pablo. Previously a senior project manager at MIG, Tyler was also a consulting planner in the Bay Area and adjunct lecturer at the University of Illinois. Before that, she was the community development director for Urbana, Illinois, 2000-2017. She holds a PhD in regional planning from the University of Illinois, a master of landscape architecture in environmental planning from UC Berkeley, and a BA in environmental conservation from the University of Colorado Boulder. A resident of Albany, CA, Tyler has been Northern Section Ethics Director since 2018 and Vice Chair of the American Planning Association’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee since January 2020.
Veronica has been Northern Section’s Administrative Director since 2019. She had been Co-director of the Emerging Planners Group and played a role in creating the YPG Steering Committee in 2017. She is a senior planner in the Legislative Affairs Section of the San Francisco Planning Department. Flores holds a master of urban planning from San Jose State University and a B.A. in sociology from UC Berkeley.
Justin is a Principal Planner at the City of Watsonville. He has over 20 years of professional experience on planning and environmental projects in both the public and private sectors. In that time he has provided planning services and environmental documentation for projects involving land development, retail, recreational, redevelopment, business parks, transportation, desalination facilities, and solid waste facilities. His work has included a wide array of public experience, from long range planning (e.g., general plan updates and specific plans) to all types of current planning projects (e.g., use permit, design review). His past work also includes managing the preparation of the Marina Municipal Airport Master Plan and teaching a community assessment course at San José State University in the Urban and Regional Planning Department. He currently serves as the APA California – Northern Section Monterey Bay RAC Chair and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Mr. Meek received his MURP in Urban and Regional Planning from San José State University and his BA and BS in Environmental Studies and Earth Sciences from UC Santa Cruz.
Prior to taking over the Awards program, Danae was co-director of the Young and Emerging Planners (YEP) group since 2018,. She is a CEQA/NEPA Project Manager at Kimley-Horn and holds an M.S. in environmental management from the University of San Francisco, and a B.A. in environmental economics from California State University, Chico.
Edgar is a Senior Planner with the City of Mountain View. He had previously been an associate planner with the City of Hayward. Maravilla grew up in South Central LA and was the first in his family to graduate high school. He holds a master’s in urban and regional planning (certificate in transportation planning) from San Jose State University and a BA in community studies (immigration and social justice) from UC Santa Cruz. Maravilla is Northern Section’s liaison to the California Planning Foundation.
Alex is a Public Information Officer at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, driven to solve problems by helping thinkers translate their complex world into stories that people can connect with. He brings a record of innovating marketing/communications strategies for transit agencies, city government, and public health. His love of transportation started with childhood planespotting, memorizing airline route maps, and later came full circle with a Master of Science in Transportation Management from the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. Having started out in film and media production, Alex now leverages his narrative skills to help foster informed, civic-minded communities, one story at a time.
Advocacy for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has driven Sonja’s planning career and continues in her role as Co-Director of Diversity for CA Northern APA.
I earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Hampton University as well as a Master of Regional Planning
degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During my career, I’ve worked for municipalities,
planning consulting firms and affordable housing organizations. I have cultivated relationships with
professionals and politicians at the highest levels of local government and other realms. I forge relationships
across multiple strata. I attribute this to my ability to actively listen coupled with my sense of humor, kindness,
My strengths lie in the following:
- Land Use Planning and Management
- Zoning administration
- Community Advocacy/Community Engagement
- Project Management
- Conflict Resolution
- Team Building
During my eight years as a code enforcement planner with the City and County of San Francisco, I routinely
collaborated with a broad cross-section of the public, stakeholders, and public policy makers to fundamentally improve the functioning of the city. I coordinated the Department’s efforts as a representative to the Mayor’s Bayview Neighborhood Rescue Team, focused on one of the lowest-income and most dangerous sections of the city. Together, we endeavored to abate code violations to improve the quality of life for residents of the culturally rich but perennially-challenged Bayview. To accomplish my mission, I worked proactively with the departments of Building, Health, Police and Fire as well as the office of the City Attorney and the District Attorney’s Office. One of my most challenging tasks was managing the Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (MCD) program for the San Francisco Planning Department. This involved successfully settling numerous (and often emotional) disputes between dispensaries and neighboring residents and businesses.
As Senior District Planner, for the City of Newport News, Virginia I produced a long-range plan for the deteriorating industrial core of the city, balancing historic preservation with targeted economic development. As a Project Planner/Analyst at BTG, a private planning firm, I managed comprehensive plan updates for Gloucester County, Virginia including the Environmental, Economic Development, and Parks Elements. I also conducted a study of state mental health facilities using an economic input-output model. As Site Acquisition Manager for a major telecommunications company, I managed a team of three people to negotiate with property owners and local governments
I look forward to serving the California planning community to foster greater diversity, equity and inclusion in
our day-to-day and longer-term endeavors. Without question, building this aspect of our field can only serve
to improve our work and the perception of our profession to the public we serve.
Getting people moving is the reason Adrienne Heim works in the transportation field. Whether by bicycling, walking, or taking public transit, Adrienne believes that diverse modes of transportation drive economic sustainability and successfully connects people to crucial services.
Adrienne Heim, AICP is a transportation planner and public engagement professional with over 10 years of experience working on a variety of planning and community engagement projects in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Adrienne’s current work at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is within the Streets Division, Livable Streets unit focusing on improving safety and access for pedestrians and bicyclists and supporting San Francisco’s Vision Zero goals. In August 2022, Adrienne led an effort to secure a $23M federal grant for the Howard Streetscape Project located in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. Prior to her planner role, Adrienne worked in the SFMTA’s Communications Division, Public Outreach and Engagement unit for several years. She specifically worked on various capital and transit projects to build stakeholder relationships and ensure community members were engaged throughout the projects’ phases.
Outside of her reoccurring duties, Adrienne has taken an active role as a project team member to produce the SFMTA’s first racial equity action plan. She’s also revitalized and led San Francisco’s Citywide Public Engagement Network group, which brings together city departments to discuss public engagement and outreach tactics, and advocate for communications resources.
Jeff Bond serves as the Director of the Community Development Department with the City of Albany, California. The Department is responsible for land use policy initiatives and planning application review. In addition, the department manages transportation, environmental, and waterfront policy initiatives for the City. He also serves as the City’s building official and manages building permit and inspection functions, and collaborates closely with the City’s police and fire departments on code compliance and resilience/emergency planning.
Prior to joining the City of Albany, Jeff was a staff member at UC Berkeley involved in campus planning, student housing development, and real estate initiatives. He also worked for the City of Alameda for a number of years as development manager responsible for redevelopment projects including reuse of US Navy property. Early in his career, he worked for several land use related consulting firms, an economic development non-profit organization, and as a staff person in the California State Legislature.
Jeff has been involved with variety of professional organizations, most recently as a board member of the APA California Northern Section and the Northern California Chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. He also had a key role in the development of the Urban Land Institute’s Urban Plan curriculum for high school students.
Jeff received a master’s degree in economics from UC Davis and a bachelor’s degree in economics from UC San Diego.
A Senior Environmental Planner with the Environmental Planning Division, San Francisco Planning Department, Craciun holds a master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA and a BA in history from UC Santa Barbara. She has served on the Board since 2012, first as membership Director, followed by East Bay RAC (regional activity coordinator, 2013-2014), and Awards Co-director for APA California-Northern (2015-2020), until leading the board as Director from 2020-2022.
Hing retired after 33 years with the Association of Bay Area Governments. He served concurrently as an adjunct professor at San Jose State University, where he plans to teach occasionally during his retirement. Hing’s influence on California planning includes continually giving back to the profession. He was President of APA California (2015-2016) and the Director of Northern Section (2003-2006). He was the Local Host Chair for the 2019 National Planning Conference in San Francisco, the Conference Co-Chair for the APA California 2007 Conference in San Jose, and the Conference Co-Chair for the 2005 National Planning Conference in San Francisco. Hing holds a master of urban planning from San Jose State University and a bachelor’s degree in geography from UC Berkeley.
Alex is best known for updating the Marin Countywide Plan in 2007 to address climate change, our ecological footprint, diversity and other then trend setting topics, The Plan and its implementation program received top APA California and National honors. Alex is a former Fulbright recipient, university lecturer at Cal Poly, and SSU and co-founder of the Center for Sustainable Communities at Sonoma State University. Previously, Alex served as community development agency director for Marin County, 1999-2008, planning and building director for San Luis Obispo County, 1990-1999, and Lake County planning director, 1984-1990.
Stephen is a well-respected land use and environmental law attorney with over 20 years of expertise advising and representing public agency and private clients in administrative proceedings and before state and federal trial and appellate courts. While Stephen has extensive advisory and litigation experience with myriad environmental, land use and planning laws, he is best known for his CEQA expertise, having represented parties on all three “sides” of the CEQA coin. Mr. Velyvis’ extensive and broad-based experience gives him unique and invaluable insight into what all sides in a given project are thinking, enabling him to develop cutting-edge legal strategies aimed at spotting issues early on, resolving conflicts, and prevailing in litigation when necessary. A resident of the San Mateo County Coastside, Stephen has been the Northern Section Legislative Director since 2016.
Michael serves as the Marketing & Sponsorship Manager for the APA California–Northern Section Board. He originally joined the Board in 2021 as Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC) for San Francisco. Michael has over 15 years of planning experience, working in both the public and private sectors, focused in transportation planning and operations. Michael holds master’s degrees in City and Regional Planning and Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring cities, riding transit, and spending time with his family.
Ellen is a senior planner with the City of Mountain View and previously worked as a design and research assistant at Sub-Art (a non-profit promoting art in transit projects), an outreach intern at M.I.G., and most recently as an associate planner at the City of Cupertino. Ellen earned her master’s degree in planning with an emphasis on sustainable land use from USC and her bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UC Davis. She is the Mentorship Director for the Northern Section.
Dorothy is the Northern California Transportation Planning Section Manager and Project Manager at HDR. She supports various projects types including, multimodal and complete streets, community engagement, community impact assessments, and traffic analysis. Recently, Dorothy is focusing her work on helping transportation agencies integrate equity and the consideration of environmental justice early in their programs, projects, and plans. Prior to HDR, Dorothy had roles in the public and non-profit sectors in California, New York and New Jersey, including the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), NYC Mayor’s Office, The Horticultural Society of New York, Rutgers University Department of Transportation, and Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Dorothy obtained her Master of City and Regional Planning degree from Rutgers University and B.S. degree in Environmental Science at UCLA.
Andrew Trippel, AICP, is a Principal Planner with M-Group’s North Bay team, serving as the Planning Manager for the City of Petaluma since March 2022. Before joining M-Group, Andrew worked as a planner for the City of Santa Rosa since 2016 in planning review, management, and Zoning Administrator roles.
Prior to 2016, Trippel was a planner in the Greater Memphis Area for eight years with diverse organizations including The University of Memphis, the Urban Land Institute Memphis, and LRK-Looney Ricks Kiss. He holds a Masters in planning and a MS in psychology from The University of Memphis and a BA in philosophy from Western Kentucky University. Trippel serves as board vice chair of a local nonprofit and dreams of completing one more Ironman triathlon.
Guiding Andrew’s professional work is his commitment to being creative, innovative, inclusive, responsive, and enduring in all aspects of his Planning work. As a process-oriented and results-driven Planner, he views the complex issues faced today when planning and developing sustainable, thriving communities as in need of equally complex solutions. He believes that as Planners, we should seek to be adept at creating the needed partnerships and opportunities for participation that generate optimal solutions driven by valued, proven Planning principles and the vision and goals of the communities in which we practice.
An associate editor on Northern News since 2020, Richard is a transportation consultant at Steer. Previously, as a graduate research assistant, he has co-authored several publications, including Mobility on Demand: Planning and Implementation, published by USDOT. Richard holds a master’s in urban planning from San Jose State and a BA in screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University.
Dhawal Kataria is a transportation planner at Kittelson&Associates in Oakland, CA. For the past year, Dhawal has been a guest writer for the Northern News column Meet a Local Planner. His passion lies in the realm of multimodal transportation and his strong belief in fostering healthy, sustainable, and safe communities. With a background that spans both the public and private sectors, Dhawal possesses knowledge in transportation and land use planning. With over five years of experience, he has contributed to a wide range of transportation projects, including designing complete streets, formulating transportation safety plans, developing general plans (circulation element), streetscape plans, conducting traffic impact analysis, evaluating parking demand, and securing transportation grant funding. Outside of work, Dhawal enjoys hiking and walking around Lake Merritt.
Sam serves as Director of Strategy and Policy for Caltrain. Prior to joining the railroad’s executive team, he served as Interim Vice President of Government Affairs, Director of Strategy, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Capital Metro in his hometown of Austin, Texas. A planner and lawyer by training, Sam holds bachelors and law degrees from Boston University.
He is a Mass Transit 40 Under 40 and Railway Age 25 Under 40 award winner. Sam lives in the Bay Area with his wife and dog, Gracie. When he is not working on the railroad, you can find him running, reading and exploring California.
Diana is the Planners4Health coordinator for Northern Section. In 2020, she was recognized by APA California for the development of the Planning and Health in the Time of COVID webinar series. Diana is an Urban Planning Justice Manager with Just Cities. Previously, she was an Intermediate Planner at Raimi+Associates in Berkeley and a Research and Data Analyst at Advancement Project California in Los Angeles. Diana holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from UCLA, with a focus on community economic development and the intersection of the built environment and health. Her B.A. is in urban and regional planning with a minor in GIS from CSU Northridge.
Afshan is Planning Director for the Town of Moraga and oversees long range and current planning with 20+ years of experience. Previously as Planning Manager for the City of Vallejo, she led the zoning code update, development process improvements and advanced and current planning efforts. Hamid is known for her efforts in working with communities and building consensus on challenging projects. Before that, she worked for the City of Concord, City of Walnut Creek, Village of Arlington Heights, Illinois and Skidmore Owings & Merrill. She holds a MA in architecture from MIT and a BA in industrial design from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Hamid, her husband, and their two daughters live in the Town of Danville.
Mr. Borrelli serves as Section Historian on the Northern Section Board. He has served previously on this board in various roles, including Director Pro-Tem/Director-Elect (2002-2006), Northern Section Director (2007-2008), the Section’s Co-Chair for the APA California Planning Conference (2007), and Immediate Past Director (2009-2010). In 2009, he received Northern Section’s Recognition of Excellence Award for “Outstanding Service and Professionalism.” With more than 30-years of professional planning, placemaking urban design, and architecture experience, Mr. Borrelli has worked in both the public and private sectors. He currently serves as the Development Services Small Business Ally Program Manager for the City of San Jose’s Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department. He holds a Masters in City Planning and a Certificate in Building Construction from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from the University of Florida.
Tom is founder of Totally Doable Consulting, an independent firm which focuses on strategic planning, project management, and geospatial data analysis for nonprofits and the public sector. His current focus is on equitable community engagement processes for bicycle and pedestrian programs. He blogs on cycling cultures at https://bike-lab.org.
Angie is a Master’s of City Planning student at UC Berkeley and a legislative aide at the City of Berkeley. Originally from Monterey Park, CA, she has lived in Berkeley since moving in 2016 to pursue her undergraduate degree in political science and public policy. Angie is passionate about creating safe streets, reducing the role of policing in transportation, and spreading the joy of casual bicycling.
Jerry has a master’s degree in urban planning, and advanced certifications in the fields of applications of technology in urban planning (GIS) and in community development, with a focus on urban design. His areas of expertise are housing and homeless policy, housing program management, GIS, urban planning, and policy writing. He has 4 years of experience in the fields of housing and homelessness program management. He also has over ten years of experience across the Bay Area in large-scale transportation operations management for Stadiums, Hotels, Malls, and Convention Centers.
Olivia Mendoza brings enthusiasm and passion for equity transportation at Steer, specifically through community engagement, TDM, behavior change, modeling, and stakeholder involvement which can reveal the wrongs of the past and give planners the opportunity to build an equitable future. Her recent experiences as a law clerk, focusing on environmental justice issues, and as a land use consultant, focusing on affordable housing in downtown Los Angeles, combined with her B.A. in Geology and Environmental Analysis degree, provide a unique skill set to solve transportation equity challenges.
Olivia started her journey in APA as a university liaison where she helped open an APA chapter at the Claremont Colleges. In this position she spread awareness about the planning community at her college and facilitated activities with other planners in the Inland Empire. After graduation she joined the Young and Emerging Planners (YEP) group as co-director for the Los Angeles section and looks forward to continuing this role in the Northern section.
Regional Activity Coordinators
Sarah joined APA California–Northern Section’s board as Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC) for the East Bay in 2017. Allen, who has 14 years of planning experience, began her career with the city of Lafayette’s planning department as an intern and rose through the ranks as planning technician, assistant planner and associate planner. Now a senior planner, she works with both current and long-range planning projects, including the City’s General Plan Update. Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Sacramento State University and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Southern California.
Steven, “Steve,” recently joined APA California–Northern Section’s board as
Co-Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC) for the East Bay. Weiss, who has 38
years of planning experience, worked for numerous public agencies and
private planning and design firms rising from being an intern to development
services director. Now retired, besides watching his grandchildren, he is a
member of the City of Pleasant Hill Traffic and Safety Commission. Weiss
holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Planning from
Sonoma State University..
Carlina is a Master’s of Urban Planning student at San Jose State University. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies, also from San Jose State, with a concentration in environmental impact assessment.
Brendan Hurley is an urban designer and planner at Dyett & Bhatia and is the newly appointed North Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC) for APA California – Northern Section. He previously served on the Northern Section Board as UC Berkeley Student Representative, 2016-2018. Before coming to the Bay Area in 2016, Brendan was a service and outreach coordinator for the Emerging Planning Professionals Committee of APA Colorado for two years. He holds a master of city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Brendan lives in Napa and enjoys exploring wine country.
Richard (Rick) Smeaton is a Principal Planner at Interwest Consulting Group, and also has been appointed to the Northern Section Board as South Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC). He previously had been a department manager with Michael Baker International in Oakland for seven years. Before coming to the Bay Area in 2014, Smeaton worked with municipal governments in a variety of roles, either as a member of the staff or a consultant in the Chicago area. He holds an MPA in public administration from Northern Illinois University and a BA in urban and regional planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
We love providing opportunities for APA members to contribute to our work. Please see our Board Vacancies page for more information about these available roles.
Past Section Directors
- 2021 – 2022: Florentina Craciun, AICP
- 2020: Jonathan Schuppert, AICP
- 2019: James Castañeda, AICP
- 2017 – 2018: Sharon Grewal, AICP
- 2015 – 2016: Andrea Ouse, AICP
- 2013 – 2014: Jeff Baker
- 2011 – 2012: Hanson Hom, AICP
- 2009 – 2010: Darcy G. Kremin, AICP
- 2007 – 2008: Juan F. Borrelli, AICP
- 2003 – 2006: Hing Wong, FAICP
- 2001 – 2002: Jeri Ram, AICP
- 1999 – 2000: Mark Rhoades, AICP
- 1995 – 1998: Wendy Cosin, AICP
- 1993 – 1995: Steve Noack, AICP
- 1991 – 1993: Don Steiger
- 1990 – 1991: Ann Bogush Millican
- 1987 – 1989: Marlene Stevenson
- 1983 – 1987: Steven C. Orlick
- 1981 – 1983: Myrna Valdez
- 1980 – 1981: Charles Q. Forester
- 1979 – 1980: Thomas O. Merle
- 1978 – 1979: Walter Rask, AICP
- 1977 – 1978: Gordon Jacoby, AICP
- 1976 – 1977: Ted Kreines, AICP
- 1974 – 1975: Frank Ehrhardt, AICP