APATX19 Featured Speakers


Keynote Speaker | Nov 7 | 12:00 pm
Through the activation of public spaces around the world, world-renowned urban space artist Candy Chang provokes both playful and profound visions for how we can connect, reflect, and nurture the health of our communities.


The Atlantic calls her artwork Before I Die “one of the most creative community projects ever.” 


Leadership Speaker | Nov 8 | 8:30 am

Debbie Alaimo Lawlor is the President of the AICP Commission. She has over 35 years of experience, specializing in land use and environmental planning. She is discipline leader for planning services for Maser Consulting, P.A., where she manages a team of 10 planners. Previously, she worked for the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. Lawlor has held leadership positions in APA's Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division and APA's New Jersey Chapter, which honored her in 2009 with its distinguished service award.



Pre-Conference Workshop | Nov 6 | 3:30 pm

Jason Jordan is the Director of Policy for the American Planning Association. Jason is responsible for government affairs, advocacy, and policy efforts of the association. This includes development of APA policy guides, representation of APA with Congressional offices, Federal agencies and management of advocacy networks and campaigns. 



Pre-Conference Workshop | Nov 6 | 1:00 pm
Opening Plenary Moderator | Nov 7 | 8:30 am

Steve Stoler is a veteran Emmy Award winning television news reporter, whose career spanned more than three decades at six television stations in Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina and Texas.  



Opening Plenary | Nov 7 | 8:30 am

Andy Boenau, AICP is the Principal, Mobility-as-a-Service Lead for Stantec. He’s been working in the transportation industry for over 20 years. 

He is the author of "Emerging Trends in Transportation Planning" (2016) and "A Pocket Guide to Bike Share" (2019).

Andy is vice chair of American Planning Association’s New Urbanism Division. He is also chair of the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Transportation Planning Council, a group of nearly 2,000 professionals focused on the intersection of mobility and technology. 




Leadership Speaker | Nov 7 | 12:00 pm

Kurt Christiansen is the President for the American Planning Association. Christiansen recently retired from the City of Azusa, California, where he was the Economic and Community Development Director. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and has been an active member of APA serving in various local and national leadership roles.


Featured Workshop | Nov 8 | 2:00 pm
Randall Arendt is a landscape planner, site designer, author, lecturer, and an advocate of “conservation planning”.


He is a leading international speaker on the topic of creative development design as a conservation tool. 


Pre-Conference Workshop | Nov 6 | 3:30 pm

Liz Lang is the Director of Marketing for the American Planning Association. She is responsible for leading strategic promotional efforts for APA and its professional institute, AICP, and oversees the dissemination of all APA broadcast email, and the effective implementation of APA marketing plans.



Opening Plenary | Nov 7 | 8:30 am

Christof Spieler, PE, LEED AP, is a Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars and a Senior Lecturer at Rice University. He was a member of the board of directors of Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) from 2010 to 2018. As the chair of METRO's Strategic Planning committee, he initiated the Transit System Reimagining process, a blank sheet re-design of the entire bus system. Spieler is the author of Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit and is also a contributor to NACTO's Transit Street Design Guide and a board member at TransitCenter in New York.



Pre-Conference Workshop | Nov 6 | 1:00 pm

Sonia Najera is the Grasslands Program Manager with The Nature Conservancy in Texas. The mission of the Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Najera has been actively involved with protecting the biodiverse Texas Rio Grande Valley.  



Plenary Speaker | Nov 8 | 8:30 am

Ashley (Trim) Labosier is the Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.

Ashley is a national writer and speaker on issues related to civil discourse, public engagement, and transparency.


Opening Plenary | Nov 7 | 8:30 am

Chad Sparks currently serves as the Director of Strategic Campaigns and Business Development focused on building technology partnerships and customer relationships for Bell’s newest innovation products including unmanned vehicles.


Pre-Conference Workshop
Leadership Forum
| Nov 6 |1:00 pm

Jay Mathis is the Founder and Director of Mathis Training.  Jay has over 30 years of training and development expertise focusing on creating leaders who will challenge the status quo, engage their work with confidence and creativity, and deal directly with the challenges they will face as leaders.



Pre-Conference Workshop | Nov 6 | 3:30 pm

Susan A. Wood, AICP, is a planning project manager in the FasTracks Environmental Resource Group of the Regional Transportation District in Denver. Prior to joining RTD, she worked in local government, most recently as the manager of Long Range Planning for Douglas County, Colorado. 

Susan was a co-author for APA's new Equity Policy Guide, and is the Past President of APA-Colorado Chapter. 


Conference Location: 

El Paso Convention Center

APA-Texas Website: