Every month, the Planning Commission highlights one of its staff or board members. Community Planner Mason Gilbert joined the team on May 28th. Mason, a former land preservation coordinator for the Chester County Department of Open Space Preservation, shared his journey to the Planning Commission and discussed his life philosophy, interests, and more.
Where are you from? I was born in York County, Pa., and grew up attending Central York School District my whole life.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? For the longest time I wanted to be a high school history teacher. I always have been very interested in early American History, and I enjoy public speaking.
What was your first job? When I was 16, I started working at Strine Printing Company. While there I worked in the hand bindery, creating and packaging the final printed products.
What did you study in college? I received my bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning, with minors in geographic information systems (GIS) and political science from West Chester University. I returned to West Chester to earn my master’s degree in public administration with graduate certificates in urban planning and GIS.
How did you get into planning? I was already in the Geography Department at WCU, when I started taking classes with George Fasic (a former director of the Chester County Planning Commission). He made planning fun, interesting, and it made me want to be involved in the shaping of Chester County.
How did you arrive at the Chester County Planning Commission? I started at the Chester County Department of Open Space Preservation. After two years, I felt it was the right time to try and transition into a planning role within the county.
What three words best describe you? competitive, outgoing, resourceful
What is something colleagues don’t know about you? I am severely allergic to horses. I found this out midway through a four-hour horseback riding adventure in Idaho.
What is your life philosophy? I still try to live by the Boy Scout motto and slogan, “Be prepared” and “Do a good turn daily.”
What is your favorite place in Chester County? My favorite place has to be Chester Springs Creamery/Milky Way Farm, which is run by Sam and Melba Matthews. They have a flavor called Bessie’s Black Raspberry, and it is hands down the best ice cream around.
Where would we find you after hours? Usually, I bounce around different soccer leagues in the region. In the past year I’ve been on teams in Downingtown, King of Prussia, and North Philadelphia. If I’m not playing soccer, I am helping my soon-to-be wife Jess prepare activities/lessons for her elementary school classroom, while watching Netflix or HBO.
What’s the last book you read? “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown
Good luck, Mason!