The American Planning Association Pennsylvania chapter named James W. “Jim” Pashek ('74 B.S. L.Arch.), planner, registered landscape architect and CEO of Pashek Associates Ltd. in Pittsburgh, the winner of the 2015 award for Planning Leadership by a Professional Planner.
The award was conferred at the association’s annual conference Oct. 20, 2015, in Pittsburgh.
The award recognizes outstanding, significant and sustained contributions to the profession through distinguished practice, and places Jim among “the best and brightest in Pennsylvania Planning” in 2015.
Jim has demonstrated over the course of his 40-year career that professionals should facilitate change, not only in communities but also in the profession. He has helped devise new methods of community planning, shared lessons learned, and relentlessly championed grass-roots approaches as the most practical, useful and long-lasting.
His approach to community planning arises from his deep commitment to eliciting the views and ideas of members of the public, which he considers the foundation of civic life.
In a letter supporting Jim’s nomination, Kay Pierce, manager of the Planning Division, Allegheny County Economic Development, said she particularly values Jim’s ability to persuade municipalities to collaborate on multi-municipal plans, and his willingness to work with municipalities that have minimal resources, for which “the planner’s work often becomes more a labor of love than of profit.”
Happy to share a professional lifetime of accumulated knowledge and skill, Jim has provided seminar training in the Czech Republic, at the national American Planning Association conference, and throughout Pennsylvania for the Local Government Academy and the State Association of Township Supervisors, as well as the APA-PA. Jim is a certified meeting facilitator, trained through the National Charrette Institute.
Most recently, Jim has teamed with other Pennsylvania planning professionals, including the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, to pioneer the “implementable comprehensive plan,” which strives to make community planning ever more practical, useful and action-oriented. This type of plan exemplifies Jim’s deeply-held beliefs that decisions should arise from the desires of citizens, and planning should embody long-term, systems approaches that are both sustainable and realistic for communities.
John K. Trant Jr., president of Strategic Solutions LLC, noted in a letter supporting Jim’s nomination: “Planners often talk about avoiding the adoption of a plan that won’t be used, sitting stale and collecting dust on a municipal official’s bookshelf … . But the reality is that this sad story comes to life time and again. Working with the PA DCED to foster the implementable plan, Jim is putting a real and powerful tool in planners’ hands to ensure that comprehensive plans are an integrated part of how communities in Pennsylvania operate, evolve and grow.”