Planning Services Director Receives Service Recognition

Chester County Planning Commission Planning Services Division Director Susan Elks received a service recognition for her work as the professional development officer for the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-PA).

Susan served in that role from 2009 until recently and oversaw the Chapter’s professional development training and certification efforts. The recognition plaque that she received from the APA-PA on April 27 highlighted her “outstanding service, hard work, and dedication” for the past decade. 

As director of the Planning Services Division at the county’s Planning Commission, Susan leads a staff of seven that is responsible for direct interaction with Chester County’s 73 municipalities and partners to achieve consistency with Landscapes2, the county’s current comprehensive plan. She is the project manager for Landscapes3, the county’s next comprehensive plan.

Through the Vision Partnership Program, Susan administers in-kind and cash grant funds for comprehensive planning, ordinance updates, and special studies at the municipal and regional level. She has 20 years of experience spanning community, land use, and environmental planning and regulatory compliance, and has expertise in project management and facilitation.

Additionally, Susan is senior fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program through their Delaware River Watershed Network. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and a master’s degree in geography from West Chester University. She has a certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners.

In her farewell column in the spring 2018 edition of the “The Vantage Point,” a publication of the APA-PA, Susan described the positive long-term impacts of certification maintenance requirements for planners. She also praised the APA-PA’s Professional Development Committee members for the assistance they’ve provided to the planning community and congratulated Alexis Williams, the Chapter’s new professional development officer.

“My parting thoughts for every person who made it through my final [column] – if you want something different or more from the Chapter – make it happen,” Susan wrote. “Volunteer organizations thrive because an individual cares enough to give time and energy. That individual can be you.” (Read Susan’s full column on page 7 of “The Vantage Point.”)