Like Phil Peters himself, our very first Fellow hailed from the State of Iowa. After undergraduate years noted by an internship in the Office of the Vice President of the United States, Keith received his graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa. Since then, Keith has remained in Northeastern Illinois in public planning roles. After stints in Barrington and Downer's Grove, Keith now serves as Assistant Village Manager in Brookfield, Illinois. In that role, he wears many hats including Director of the Building and Planning Department and Village Treasurer. Keith remains active with the Peters Fellowship Program, as member of the Advisory Committee.
What attracted you to the Phillip D. Peters Regional Planning Fellowship Program?
I was fascinated by the idea of a regional agency in the Chicagoland area. I knew I wanted to be in Chicago and this fellowship could provide the experience I was seeking after my first year of graduate school.
What kinds of projects did you work on during your fellowship? What benefit do you believe they contributed the Northeastern Illinois region?
Many of the projects that I worked on ten years ago were the foundation for the Biodiversity Recovery Plan, and the plans leading up to the GO TO 2040 Plan. "Cutting edge" storm water pilot project ten years ago are now regularly implemented in municipalities all over the region. Not only do I work to implement them in the community I work for, but I also feel like I was part of building this foundation.
How did the Fellowship help to shape your career path?
The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission provided the foundation for my regional knowledge. My summer allowed me to have experiences and make connections that have continued to help me over the past decade.
What did you find to be special about CMAP (or NIPC)?
As the first Peters Fellow the program was in its infancy. The entire NIPC family embraced the program and made sure that my fellowship was incredibly beneficial.
What makes the Northeastern Illinois region a special place to work as a regional planner (or related field)?
Northeastern Illinois is a vast and complex web of local governmental bodies desperately in need of a comprehensive regional approach to solving problems. That is what makes planning interesting.
What are you doing professionally now?
I am currently the Assistant Village Manager for the Village of Brookfield, Illinois. I manage Planning and Economic Development responsibilities of the Village. The connections gained during my fellowship and our experiences in Chicago led my wife and I to settle here after growing up in Iowa.
Why is regional planning an important function in a metropolitan region?
Attempting to solve complex problems with regional implications require regional solutions. So many planning issues we face can be more efficiently and effectively solved when a regional approach is embraced.