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Young and Emerging Planners (YEP)

YEP Overview

The Young and Emerging Planners (YEP) are a subcommittee of the Sacramento Valley Section of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA CA).

Membership provides a forum for students and emerging planners to engage peers and more experienced professionals in the Sacramento Valley region. YEP cultivates young professionals through career building programs, social events, and mentoring opportunities on today’s issues and trends while developing leadership on the issues of tomorrow.

As the first Young and Emerging Planners group in the nation, the Sacramento Valley Section YEP is the model program for other APA chapters throughout California and the nation. The Sacramento Valley YEP is not only shaping a new component of the APA, but also providing young professionals and students with opportunities to learn more about planning and related fields; be mentored and build strong careers; and expand social and professional networks.

If you are interested in learning more about the Sacramento Valley Section Young and Emerging Planners, please e-mail us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Upcoming Events

The Sacramento Valley Section Young and Emerging Planners Group (YEP) is committed to planning dynamic events for 2023! We are hard at work bringing you YEP programs that involve project site and walking tours, professional development topics, community service opportunities, social events, and technical/educational programs.

To find out more about our upcoming events, visit our Eventbrite page or Facebook page and sign up for our newsletter!


Past Events

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2023 Events

September: Planning for a Changing Climate – Wildfire Resilience in Planning

In September, YEP hosted a panel discussing resources, best practices, opportunities to mitigate the impacts of wildfires in the short-term and simultaneously build long-term resilience. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about the ways in which planners have increasingly played a role in proactively assessing and strategizing how wildfire’s negative impacts on the health of communities, ecosystems, and economies can be mitigated.

July: Building a Safer Tomorrow – Crime Prevention through Community Planning

In July, YEP hosted a panel event, featuring speakers sharing their insights on ways to prevent crime and create safer and healthier communities through environmental design!

Attendees had the opportunity to learn about best practices for promoting safety through environmental design (CPTED). CPTED is a multi-disciplinary approach of crime prevention that aims to reduce victimization, minimize fear of crime, and build a sense of community through the design and management of built and natural environments, community education, and community collaboration.

June: “Planning” For The Job Search

In June, YEP hosted a virtual webinar for students and emerging professionals gearing up for a job search. The webinar featured a panel of professionals discussing how to best market yourself for jobs in the planning industry, including aligning your personal strengths and values while conducting the job search, navigating the interview process and how to showcase your skills and experiences to potential employers, and networking and building meaningful connections with other professionals. Featured speakers included: 

  • Jeff Heiser, Owner – See the Forest Solutions
  • Carl Cahill, Executive Recruiter - Peckham and Mckenney Executive Search
  • Harriet Ross, Associate Deputy Executive Officer - Delta Stewardship Council

May: Sacramento Historic District bike Tour

In May, YEP hosted a bike tour of the Historic District of Sacramento. Speakers included the City of Sacramento’s Preservation Director, Preservation Commission Chair, and preservation practitioners, who shared about the history of preservation in California’s capital city during Preservation Month!

Attendees biked by several landmark buildings and through multiple historic districts, learning about the development of Sacramento’s neighborhoods and the efforts to preserve them. This tour offered a well-rounded view of the program, provide insight into the development of the award-winning Historic District Plan in 2019, and shared the perspectives of architects who interpret the guidelines and work directly with owners of historic buildings.

May: Cycling Forward – Exploring Bicycle Projects in the Sacramento Region

In May, YEP hosted a May is Bike Month event at Hop Gardens featuring a panel discussion on the latest bicycle-related planning projects in the region and connect with local planners learn how these projects will impact your daily life. The panel featured expert insight into new bike infrastructure, programs, and bike-friendly initiatives. Featured speakers included:

  • Jennifer Donlon Wyant, Transportaton Planning Manager - City of Sacramento 
  • James Corless – Chief Executive Officer, Sacramento Council of Governments

April: Earth Day Clean Up

In April, YEP held an Earth Day Clean Up in partnership with the Putah Creek Council. Volunteers had the opportunity to enjoy nature, network, and support restoration and stewardship efforts at the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve. 

March: Intense Weather Events and Planning

In March, YEP hosted a panel of esteemed speakers with expertise spanning from emergency and floodplain management, climate resilience and conservation planning, and more. These speakers shared their insights on recent flooding events and discussed ways to plan for future weather events.

During this informal conversation, attendees had the opportunity to learn best practices for protecting, restoring, and managing land and water in and near floodplains. The panel also described the work of local agencies, non-profits, and residents in identifying and implementing solutions to address the challenges of extreme weather events.

February: West Sacramento Walking Tour

In February, YEP hosted a walking tour of recent and in-progress developments in the City of West Sacramento. The tour included stops at office developments, multifamily projects, historic buildings adapted for modern uses, a bridge conversion to allow more bike and pedestrian facilities, and even an urban farm. David Tilley, Principal Planner, and Seamus Laffey, Senior Planner, with the City of West Sacramento, led the tour and share the fascinating stories behind these projects. Afterwards, all are welcome to stay to continue the conversation at the quaint (and delicious) Tree House Café.

2022 Events

December: Winter Happy Hour

On December 15, all were welcome at YEP’s Winter Happy Hour at Urban Roots Brewery and Smokehouse to meet new friends and celebrate the holiday season! 

All attendees were treated to appetizers, and guests had a great time admiring each other’s ugly holiday sweaters.

October: Virtual Happy hour – SacRT Annexations: An Overview

On October 13, YEP hosted a virtual happy hour to discuss Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT)’s Annexations. The event featured a panel discussion with Jamie Adelman, Acting Vice President of Finance and CFO at SacRT and James Drake, Principal Planner at SacRt, who provided insight into organizational and political considerations and operational and implementation details of the annexations.

October: Mirasol Village Biking & Walking Tour

In October, YEP hosted a walking tour of the Mirasol Village Redevelopment Project, a transformative effort to redevelop the Twin Rivers public housing community and its surrounding neighborhood by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, community-based organizations, and residents.

On this tour, attendees met for a morning beverage at Milka Coffee Roasters, biked to the site through the community’s new connections to transit, then walked the Village to learn about the project’s development, implementation, and vision for the future.

Special thank you to Celia Yniquez, Program Manager at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, and Sam Greenlee, Executive Director, and Joe Robustelli, Neighborhood and Empowerment Program Manager at Alchemist Community Development Corporation for sharing their important work on this project!

June: LGBTQ+ Planners Happy Hour

In June, YEP and SVS-APA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee invited Sacramento’s Emerging Planners and the broader svs-APA Community to network, meet new friends, and celebrate Pride Month at Bear Dive.

April: Virtual Planners Pint Night

YEP’s first Planner Pint Night of 2022 featured a panel discussion on the intersection of workforce development and sustainability planning. Featured speakers included:

  • Jose Bodipo-Member, Director of Sustainable Communities – SMUD
  • Kriztina Palone, Workforce Development Manager – City of Sacramento
  • Jennifer Venema, Climate Action Lead – City of Sacramento

The speakers discussed their work on this topic, including examples of workforce development projects focused on sustainability, as well as how planners can better promote and support this work.

This event was recorded via Zoom. Link to the recording is available here.

March: AICP Certification 101 Mixer

To kick-off the year, YEP hosted an event dedicated to the AICP Certification process. 

The event provided current and potential AICPs with the opportunity to meet other planning professionals and learn about the benefits and processes of AICP certification. Kendra Ramsey, AICP, SVS-APA’s Director of Professional Development, held a presentation and invited current AICPs to share their reflections and experience. The presentation portion of the event was streamed via Facebook Live on YEP’s Facebook page.

2021 Events

March: Water Cooler Chats

On March 24, all were welcome for YEP’s “Water Cooler Chat”, a space for casual chats about emerging planning topics and the hot gossip of the planning world. This chat focused on residential zoning reform.

March: Young Planners Trivia Night

In March, YEP hosted a Young Planners Trivia Night for young planners across the Sacramento Valley Section to meet, compete, and unwind after work. Participants played in teams of four to compete and solve three rounds of planning-related, pop culture, and mystery questions.

April: “Plannerds Book Club” - better Buses, Better Cities

On April 22, YEP hosted a discussion on Better Buses, Better Cities by Steven Higashide (2019).

“Transit expert Steven Higashide shows us what a successful bus system looks like with real-world stories of reform—such as Houston redrawing its bus network overnight, Boston making room on its streets to put buses first, and Indianapolis winning better bus service on Election Day. Higashide shows how to marshal the public in support of better buses and how new technologies can keep buses on time and make complex transit systems understandable.Higashide argues that better bus systems will create better cities for all citizens. The consequences of subpar transit service fall most heavily on vulnerable members of society. Transit systems should be planned to be inclusive and provide better service for all. These are difficult tasks that require institutional culture shifts; doing all of them requires resilient organizations and transformational leadership.”

MAY: Navigating Jobs & Internships Under COVID-19

On May 6, YEP hosted a panel discussion exploring how COVID-19 hs changed the hiring process, common mistakes to avoid, and what you can do to stand out on paper and in virtual interviews. Featured panelists included: 

  • Chris Pahule, Principal Planner – County of Sacramento
  • Matt Maddox, Principal – Rincon Consultants
  • Katie Webster, Project Coordinator – Local Government Commission

JUNE: Young Planners Virtual Game Night

In June, all were welcome at YEP’s first ever virtual game night, an opportunity to unwind and meet other young and emerging planners in the Sac Valley Region.

September: Stockton Boulevard Walking Tour

On September 25, YEP hosted a walking tour of the Stockton Boulevard Corridor – the site of the “Stockton Boulevard Plan”. The Plan, a partnership with the City of Sacramento, community residents, business owners, landowners, and various organizations, aims to strengthen the Corridor as a vital core for the surrounding neighborhoods and region. 

The Walking Tour highlighted the Plan’s collaborative and inclusive planning process, as well as the City and its partner’s shared vision for the space. Three project partners joined us for the event:

  • Mikel Davila, Senior Development manager – City of Sacramento
  • Elizabeth Boyd, Senior planner – City of Sacramento
  • Celia Yniquez, Program Manager – Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency

At the end of the tour, Attendees enjoyed a Lunch & Learn at Stockton Boulevard’s Little Saigon!

November: Fall Happy Hour

In November, YEP hosted an in-person hapy hour at SacYard in Sacramento. The event was attended by numerous emerging planners, as well as other sac valley-APA section members, students, and young professionals.

November: Data in Planning Workshop - Data Driven Transportation Planning

On November 17, YEP hosted an informational workshop on data’s role in transportation planning. The workshop’s panelists explored how data is collected, common challenges in data collection and application, and its various uses in real-life planning.

Featured speakers included:

  • Greg Behrens, AICP, Associate – Fehr & Peers
  • Shengyi Gao, Senior Analyst – SACOG

2020 Events 

February Planners Pint Night: Planning on the the Census

How will the 2020 census influence planning decisions for the next decade? The broad answer is in every way possible from short and long-range planning projects to policies and funding. The census is critical for good planning. YPG was joined by Judy Robinson, Carrie Whitlock, and Tina Glover to share the work that the Sacramento County Complete Count Committee is doing to promote the 2020 census and break down just how important the census is for planning
efforts - specifically in Sacramento.

June: Young and Emerging Planners YEP Trivia Night - Statewide Event

This virtual trivia night was the first statewide event hosted by APA California Young and Emerging Planners. The trivia night was a fun night of social networking with professionals across the state.

July:Planners Pint Night Food Systems

YPG wass excited to welcome back Trish Kelly, Managing Director at Valley Vision, and Gail Feenstra, Deputy Director of the UC ANR Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) at UC Davis, for a second installment of a Food Systems Planner Pint Night. Discussion topics included how current events have affected supply chains; how farmers, distributors, restaurants, and stores are shifting to new models and how might these change to more permanent approaches; food access and security; and recent successful innovations around the state. 

July & October “Plannerds” Books Clubs

YEP launched its first-ever book club series with two meetings. In July, participants discussed "Happy City" by Charles Montgomery. In October, readers explored themes in "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (2018)" by Richard Rothstein led. The October discussion was led by SVS APA California’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair Celia Yniguez.

September Planners Pint Night: Professional Development in Uncertain Times

In September, YPG hosted a panel discussion on the topic of career growth and development during uncertain times. The pandemic state and the uncertainty surrounding it has left many emerging professionals questioning how to get their foot in the door of the urban planning field or continue their career advancement in a largely online work environment. Guest speakers not only provided guidance and tips related to career growth and development during the pandemic state but also shared personal experiences including layoffs, transitions, and work-life balance. Guest speakers were Jessica Brandt, Senior Planner Sacramento County, Blake Roberts, Senior Environmental Planner Delta Protection Commission, and Gilbert Valencia, Transportation Planner California Department of Transportation

2019 Events

November: Planners Pint Night - Environmental Justice

YPG had a fantastic evening this month learning about how the City of Sacramento is implementing and integrating environmental justice into its General Plan Update and Climate Action Plan. Thank you to our speakers who were able to provide insight on this important topic. Keep up with YPG for more events like this!

October: 10 Year Anniversary Party

 We rang in 10 years of YPG on October 10th in style at Cafeteria 15L. Past and present YPG subcommittee members and supporters of YPG came together to celebrate the first YPG in nation and its successful decade of programming, networking, and support for emerging professionals in the Sacramento area. We also honored the inaugural winners of the Emerging Planner Award. Thanks to all who have made YPG what it is today! Cheers to the next 10 years!

September: Professionals' Happy Hour

YPG joined YLG (of ULI), EPG (of ASLA), and the Capital Science Communicators in hosting a professionals happy hour on September 25th at Bottle and Barlow. Folks had the opportunity to network with professionals from diverse backgrounds ranging from planning, housing, landscape design, land use development, and more in the Sacramento region. We were fortunate to enjoy one of the last warm days of the season with cold drinks, light snacks, and our attendees' smiling faces! Thanks to everyone who participated, keep an eye out for future joint events!

August: Planners Pint Night - Planning for Wildfires

On Wednesday, August 14th, YPG held a Planners Pint Night at Kupros Craft House. We heard from wildfire planning experts Edie Hannigan, statewide Land Use Planning Policy Manager at CAL FIRE/Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, and Juliana Lucchesi, Mayor for the City of Dunsmuir, City Planner for the City of Mt. Shasta in Siskiyou County. They spoke about the role of the planner in addressing wildfire risks before, during, and after a wildfire event. With good participation, and discussion throughout the event, these speakers provided excellent insight into how planners can work to educate the public, and contribute to addressing wildfire risks in our day-to-day work.

July: Planners Pint Night - Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta

On Wednesday, July 17, YPG sat down with Jessica Law (Chief Deputy Executive Officer, Delta Stewardship Council) at Sac Yard Community Tap House. Jessica led an engaging dialogue on land use planning for the Delta, taking YPG through the Delta’s history, the intersection of scientific research and planning, the coordination of stakeholders across the State, and planning for the future in the face of climate change. The conversation was enjoyed over appetizers and beers from Sac Yard’s wide selection of local brews.

June: Planners Pint Night - Economic Development and Urban Placemaking

YPG was joined by Katie Yancey, Community Investment Manager for the City of West Sacramento’s Economic Development and Housing Department, and Tristan Osborn, Project Manager for MIG to discuss the special intersection of economic development and placemaking. Drake’s at the Barn provided a perfect venue for the discussion with displays and examples all-around of excellent planning work and engaging placemaking interventions. Thank you to those who joined us for a beautiful June Planners Pint Night. We hope to see you at the next one!

June: Spring Hike at Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve

On Saturday, June 8th, YPG joined the North Valley Division for a hike at Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. The hike was led by Jon Aull, Outdoor Education Coordinator for the reserve, who provided some of the history of the reserve and discussed management strategies such as prescribed burning and habitat restoration to reduce soil erosion. The weather was perfect for the hike, and we had a great time with planners from Chico, Butte County, and Redding!

June: Del Paso Boulevard Walking Tour

YPG and community members had a great time exploring and learning about the history, current challenges, recent improvements, and upcoming projects along Del Paso Boulevard. Participants played Boulevard Bingo along the walk and enjoyed brews and food at King Cong Brewery at the end of the walk. Thank you to those who were able to make it out despite the date change - we sure enjoyed the beautiful weather!

April: Happy Hour with YPT/YPE

YPG along with YPE and YPT hosted a happy hour on April 25th at Device Brewing Company at the Ice Blocks. We packed the outdoor patio and had the chance to network with other emerging professionals from organizations outside of the planning realm. The event was accompanied by great warm weather and smiling faces as attendees enjoyed snacks and cold beverages. Thanks to everyone who participated, be sure to keep an eye out for more joint events in the future!

April: Planners Pint Night - UC Davis Long Range Development Plan

YPG held a Planners Pint Night: Student Mixer at de Vere's in downtown Davis. Matt Dulcich, AICP, Director of Environmental Planning and Local Government Relations Manager for UC Davis spoke about his role with the campus Long Range Development Plan. He explained how the campus makes predictions on future enrollment and his role in preparing the campus for those students. Chris Mundhenk, Environmental Principal from Ascent Environmental spoke about the environmental review process for the LRDP. He touched on anticipating setbacks throughout the CEQA process and how to stay on track with such a large project. The event was enjoyed by both students and young professionals alike!

March: Planners Pint Night - Mental Health and the Built Environment

On March 26th, YPG heard from two experts in the built environment and epidemiological field about how individual and community well-being is derived from and impacted by the communities we live in. We explored how historic disinvestment in communities have created disparities in both physical health and mental health, limiting access to opportunity. We discussed the role of planners today in building and retrofitting communities for resilience and gained insights into ways to only engage, but partner with communities to tackle these challenges through planning.

March: Planners Pint Night - Landmark Projects in Sacramento

On Thursday, March 7th, YPG held a Planners Pint Night at Bike Dog Brewing. We heard from Marco Gonzalez and Ellen Sullivan, Development Project Managers with the City of Sacramento. They spoke about the work being done by the City Manager’s Office of Economic Development and Innovation, focusing on the ongoing Waterfront Idea Makers program and the current competition to submit ideas to reimagine the Old Sacramento Waterfront. Be sure to vote for your favorite entry from now until March 20 on the City website.

February: APA Info Night at UC Davis

On February 6th, YPG hosted an info session at UC Davis campus. Students across various planning and sustainability majors stopped by to learn more about YPG’s activities, the benefits of joining APA (including free membership for students!) and scholarships to attend the upcoming National Planning Conference in San Francisco.

January: Planners Pint Night - Food Systems and Sustainability

On Thursday, January 31, YPG hosted a Planners Pint Night at Alaro Brewing Company. Speakers Gail Feenstra (Food Systems Coordinator for Food and Society, UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute), Trish Kelly (Managing Director, Valley Vision), and David Shabazian (Rural-Urban Connections Strategy Manager, SACOG) provided engaging dialogue on issues related to food systems and sustainability in the Sacramento Region, as well as food for thought on what can be done to improve our existing systems. Over 50 people, including members of the California Planning Roundtable, joined the conversation that night, and enjoyed drinks and farm-to-table appetizers from Alaro's kitchen. Alaro's Head Chef, Jason Azevedo, also made a guest appearance at the beginning to chat about their food philosophy!

January: Constructing the Future

We joined our friends from planning-related professions at Constructing the Future to hear about exciting plans for some of Sacramento’s Property and Business Improvement Districts (PBIDs), including the River District, Stockton Boulevard, Del Paso Boulevard, and Greater Broadway. Presentations covered affordable housing projects, commercial corridor redevelopments, and riverfront utilization. We can’t wait to see these PBID plans in action!

YEP Subcommittee

YEP Chair

Kailey Flynn

YEP Past Chair

Taylor Carnevale

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Program Coordinator

Raul Tovar

Program Coordinator

Henry Feuss

Program Coordinator

Emely Candray

Program Coordinator

Amanda Simpson

Program Coordinator

Nikki Zanchetta

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Program Coordinator

Carl de Joya

Communications Co-Chair

Kaylee Gorham

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Student Outreach Coordinator

JT Lee

2024/2025 Section Sponsors

Without the support of our sponsors, many of the programs we offer would not be possible. Click the logos below to find out more about each sponsor.

To our sponsors -- Thank You!