about

The Friends of Planning was formed to help ensure the strength and longevity of the graduate planning degree program at the University of Arizona. Through financial contributions and shared expertise, the Friends of Planning provide scholarship funds and student awards. Activities are funded by annual contributions from Board members and fund raising. In Addition, the Friends of Planning offers mentor-ship to graduate planning degree students and regular meetings with planning program administration.

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Board Members

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president - ADam call

Adam’s interests lie in the intersection of planning and design by utilizing analytical and creative thinking to develop sound solutions. His background in design, construction and planning gives him a grounded perspective into the practical application of theory. He draws on his experience with site design, entitlements, parks planning, landscape architecture, and public engagement to bridge the gap from idea to reality. Adam seeks to continue the mentorship and support he received from the Friends of Planning in school by engaging with current and future planning students.

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treasurer - ian wan

Ian is committed to supporting change in communities and has worked with low income, senior, youth, adult, disabled, and ethnic communities. His work has been completed as a direct provider as well as a program developer and researcher. These interactions have enabled Ian to see the specific needs of individuals and groups and how they can make positive change through positive influences, services, and planning.

Secretary - barbara becker, Faicp
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Dr. Barbara Becker, FAICP, retired Professor of Planning and Dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs, is well known for her work with students on real life projects. Her classes worked on projects from neighborhood redevelopment to revamping national parks. A number won national awards including her work with Native American reservations. Dr. Becker’s consulting work includes economic development and corridor studies. Dr. Becker has been active in profession of planning and within her community servicing on the Fort Worth Sustainability Committee, the Executive Board of Vision North Texas, the Board of the Tucson Housing Corporation, and the Management Committee of the Regional Transportation Authority. She was also active in professional organizations serving as Missouri Chapter President of the American Planning Association, member and Chair of the Planning Accreditation Board, Director of the Southern Section of the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association and President of the Faculty Women Interest Group of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Dr. Becker remains active in the profession and within organizations.

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member - rebecca ruopp

Rebecca has worked for the City of Tucson for the past 15 years.  She is a principal planner with the Advanced Planning Group in the Department of Planning and Development Services.  She also serves as the Neighborhood Engagement Specialist.  Rebecca oversaw the internal team of planners, who prepared Plan Tucson, the City of Tucson General and Sustainability Plan, which was ratified by the voters in 2013.  Prior to her work with the City, she served for over a decade as a senior planner and project manager with the Tucson Office of Parsons Brinckerhoff, an international engineering design and transportation planning firm.  Before relocating to the southwest, Rebecca lived in Boston and New York, where she was an associate with Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, an international architecture and planning firm. rebecca.ruopp@tucsonaz.gov

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member - theresa knoblock

Ms. Knoblock is an accomplished professional with over 25 years experience in the application of environmental regulation for projects with federal funding that require compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 404 and Biological Resources concerns. Theresa is currently the Tucson Office Lead at SWCA Environmental Consultants. As well as managing the Tucson office, she manages biological surveys, jurisdictional determinations and environmental planning projects. Her focus is providing clients with turn-key project management, helping them successfully navigate projects from inception to completion. In the past 12 years, Ms. Knoblock has worked extensively on NEPA clearances for linear projects including sewer and water, telecommunications, and transportation projects. She spent over 6 years as an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) on-call consultant, assisting local governments (including the City of Tucson and Pima County) with acquiring FWHA clearances for roadway and pedestrian improvement projects with Federal funding.

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member - Sarah meggison, aicp

Sarah is a passionate land use planner with over ten years of experience in Planning and Community Development. She is an inspired administrative professional, skilled at building strong working relationships with fellow staff, supervisors and community members. She is motivated, organized, and consistent, with a desire to create more sustainable communities.

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member - Albert Elias, AICP

Albert Elías is a native Tucsonan and University of Arizona graduate with deep local roots. Albert is committed to the mission of the Friends of Planning contributing his skills and experience in order to support and be a mentor for the next generation of planners. As the former assistant city manager for the City of Tucson, he dedicated more than 36 years to the City in various planning roles and leading City departments before his retirement. During his career with the City of Tucson, Albert played a major role in the revitalization of downtown Tucson, local funding initiatives, the Urban Land Institute Daniel Rose Fellowship, Imagine Greater Tucson, Plan Tucson-the voter ratified 2013 General & Sustainability Plan and more. In 2021 Albert received a Distinguished Planning Professional award from the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association which honors Arizonans who have made outstanding planning contributions to the profession and to their communities.

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Associate member - lena porell, aicp Candidate

Lena is passionate about creating vibrant, sustainable, and equitable communities. She is a native New Englander but has come to call Tucson her home. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Master of Science in Urban Planning program, specializing in affordable housing and community development. Lena’s currently a Lead Planner at the City of Tucson’s Planning and Development Services Department, engaging Tucsonans on long-range planning initiatives, projects, and plans. She’s a staunch housing advocate and when she’s not trying to solve the affordable housing crisis, you can find Lena dodging potholes on her bike or stuffing her face with tacos.

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Associate member - Jackson Cassidy

Jackson is a native Arizonan and has lived in Tucson since 2015.  He is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Master of Science in Urban Planning program, specializing in real estate and urban development.  Jackson has worked at the Law Offices of Lazarus & Silvyn in Tucson since 2021 and specializes in private land use planning, zoning, and entitlements.  He works with developers, public servants, community members, and stakeholders to create sustainable and responsible development throughout southern Arizona. 

EMERITUS Members

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Arlan m. Colton, FAICP
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Valerie feuer
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chuck martin, r.a
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Sarah more, FAICP