Texas Emerging Planning Leaders

Logo for Emerging Planning Leaders Program

 Application for the 2020 program is closed! Please check back later to be part of the 2021 program.


Enrollment deadline: December 6th, 2019

Communities initiated by: January 2020

For more information about the mentorship program, please contact: 

Jake Gutekunst, Mentorship Chair



In response to a recommendation from the 2014-2015 APA-Texas Chapter Action Plan, the Texas Chapter Executive Committee formed a 29-member steering committee to create an organization that would assist in building and identifying future leaders in the planning profession. The steering committee identified a number of goals that would be needed to make the organization successful and formed the Texas Emerging Planning Leaders (TxEPL) in 2014. On October 15, 2014, the Texas Chapter Executive Committee voted to approve the new standing committee of the Texas Chapter for the Emerging Planning Leaders. 



The purpose of Texas Emerging Planning Leaders (TxEPL) is to enhance communication between emerging and experienced planning professionals; provide for professional advancement in the field by identifying employment opportunities and through targeted training and education; and support the advancement of the planning profession through leadership opportunities.

In pursuit of the mission, TxEPL is committed to the long term goals of:

  • Developing the skills and knowledge needed to become the next generation of successful planning leaders in the State of Texas;
  • Providing a clearinghouse of communications, training, and networking opportunities for emerging planning leaders;
  • Bridging the professional gap between college graduates, members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and members of the Fellows of American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP);
  • Identifying individuals to move into leadership roles at the section, state, and national levels of the American Planning Association (APA);
  • Building and executing a successful Mentorship Program to connect emerging planning leaders with the experienced planning professions and Texas AICP Fellows.


Committee Members

The APA-Texas Chapter President appoints a Chair for the Texas Emerging Planning Leaders (TxEPL). This Chair is responsible for the Emerging Planning Leaders activities of the Chapter.  Membership of the TxEPL Committee are open to APA Texas Chapter members in good standing.   The TxEPL Chair designates members of the committee to serve as the Mentorship Program Chair, Communications Chair, and Programs Chair.  Each Section Director also appoints a Section member to serve on the TxEPL Committee.

TxEPL Chair

Monica Powell, AICP Candidate

Mentorship Chair

Jake Gutekunst, PE

Programs Chair

Alexis Garcia

Email Alex


Communications Chair


Central Section Representative

Jake Gutekunst, PE

Email Jake


East Section Representative

Michael Howell, AICP


Houston Section Representative

Louis Cutaia, AICP

Midwest Section Representative

Danielle Stellrecht

Email Danielle


North Central Section Representative

Kathryn Rush

Northwest Section Representative

Taslima Khandaker


Southmost Section Representative

Cristina Garcia

Southwest Section Representative



West Section Representative



Lattes and Leadership

This TxEPL signature event is meant to showcase experienced planning leaders via an interactive discussion with a small group of planners in sections across the state. A featured planning leader will lead a discussions about careers, leadership involvement, and lessons learned. Thank you to our speakers and event participants!

Spring 2018 Lattes and Leadership Speakers

Beth White (Houston Section), Eric Fladager, AICP, CNU-A (Midwest Section)

Spring 2017 Lattes and Leadership Speakers

Crestview TOD Tour (Central Section), Danny Silva (Houston Section), Abra Nusser, AICP (Midwest Section), Pilar Rodriguez (Southmost Section)

Spring 2016 Lattes and Leadership Speakers

Kelly Porter, AICP (Central Section), Chrishelle Palay (Houston Section), Wendy Shabay, AICP (Midwest Section), Mike McAnelly, FAICP (North Central Section), Javier Guerrero (Southmost Section)

Spring 2015 Lattes and Leadership Speakers

Rebecca Leonard, AICP (Central Section), Dana Burghdoff, AICP (Midwest Section), Lori Schwarz, AICP (North Central Section), Rudy Nino, AICP (Southwest Section)

Committee Events and Activities