UWPAT Young Alumni Pre-Dinner Social
Meet and mingle with recent alumni of the School of Planning at the annual Toronto Planning Dinner on November 9, 2017.
- Featuring interactive “Speed Networking” with University of Waterloo Planning Alumni from various sectors and disciplines
- Put your networking skills to practice with peers and industry leaders
- Complimentary hors d’oeuvres, beverage ticket, and door prizes
Dinner Cost: $50
Dinner and Young Alumni Pre-Diner Social Cost: $70
Please register by Wednesday, November 1, 2017.
This event is open to students in the UW Planning program; a student registration discount code for the social and dinner can be found LEARN and further event details are available on the School of Planning - UWPAT website. Many thanks to MHBC for the generous sponsorship. We are looking forward to having you join us at at the Fairmount Royal York Hotel.
More alumni profiles will be added - visit this site often for further updates.
Alumni in Attendance
Carlo Bonanni, BES'1988 Vice President of Land and Development Planning, Build Toronto
Carlo, an alumnus of the first graduating class in Co-op Panning, is the Vice President of Land and Development Planning at Build Toronto, which develops surplus city real estate on behalf of the city of Toronto. Upon graduating, Carlo moved to Toronto to work for a small consulting firm, and then went on to work at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Plans Administration Branch for three years. Following this, he worked for the City of Etobicoke (pre-amalgamation) as a policy planner for eight years. Taking a break from the world of planning, Carlo worked as a Marketing Manager for Toronto Star’s online portal “Toronto.com” and at Rogers Communications as a Manager of Municipal and Industry Relations. However, Carlo’s love and passion for cities made him return to the world of planning, and he accepted a position with the City of Toronto as a Senior Planner in the Waterfront Section. He has also worked on the Toronto 2015 World Expo Corporation as a Project Manager responsible for site planning and at the Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) as Manager of Planning Services. With many years of experience and hard work, Carlo considers his relationship with his partner for the past 36 years to be his greatest accomplishment —“No other career accomplishment matches that!” Carlo understands how challenging it is for students to get started in their careers and thus has vowed to always help students in any way that he can.
“I don’t think there are a lot of truly positive examples of places where you can live, work, and recreate in an “affordable” environment without having to use a vehicle. The advent of driverless cars presents some amazing challenges and opportunities to how cities will be thought of and planned. It’s about making use of the existing resources we have to deliver smart and efficient cities. 80 percent of the Canadian population currently lives in cities; the challenge now is to make cities better.”
Carlo looks forward to connecting with students after the young alumni social via email.
Alumni in Attendance
Kitty Chiu, BES'2013 Transportation Planner, WSP Canada
Upon graduating with her undergraduate degree, Kitty had the opportunity to work for the Ministry of Infrastructure, where she had previously completed a co-op work term, for a four-month contact. However, because she knew that she ultimately wanted to establish a career in the transportation sector, she then took a position at MetroLinx. Over the two years that she worked for this public transport agency, Kitty was exposed to the multidisciplinary nature of the planning industry and had the opportunity to further refine the professional skillset she had developed at the University of Waterloo.
Kitty believes the growing human capacity for collecting, storing, sharing, and using data will continue to enable us to interact with our environment in more efficient ways. As our methods of analyzing the world change, so will our relationships with each other. She would advise students to consider how every decision they make in the planning industry will impact not only current communities, but also future generations of planners and citizens alike.
“Planning is about understanding the world around us. Every experience, whether it is on the path you intended or not, can contribute to building this understanding. Focus on how to connect the things you already know, and don’t be bothered by the things you don’t know yet – you can always learn more later.”
Kitty would be happy to connect with students through LinkedIn.
Eric Chu, BES'2012 Senior Transit Planner, Toronto Transit Commission
Eric has been with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for the past five years. He first joined the TTC as a Statistical Analyst, a position that involved processing and analyzing ridership information. He later became a Transit Planner and is now responsible for the planning and design of transit services in the City of Toronto. Eric would consider one of his greatest accomplishments to be the successful implementation of extensive service improvements, which cost a total of $95 million, for transit services across the city from 2015-2016. He is currently working on the integration of the new Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension with the local transit network in Toronto.
Eric is particularly interested in the impact of technological innovation on urban design, particularly in the ways that impending disruption from autonomous vehicles will both change how cities are planned and redefine urban mobility. He advises students interested a career path similar to his to seek a well-rounded education by learning about multiple types of transit systems and their impact on both urban and rural planning.
“I was attracted to a career in planning because of the interdisciplinary opportunities in the field. I consider myself lucky that I have the opportunity to wear many different hats and work with people from all kinds of backgrounds.”
Eric would be excited to provide students with additional guidance after the social; he can be reached via email.
Sarah Code, MCIP, RPP, BES'2012 Planner, GSP Group
Sarah has spent her career in the private sector, working for a developer when she first graduated and currently for GSP Group. She has worked on several land development projects of varying scales and complexities, and is responsible for securing municipal approvals for a variety of residential, commercial, and institutional projects. Sarah’s professional experiences have taught her that planning is complex, multifaceted, and takes an interdisciplinary approach in order to see a project come to completion. Sarah also volunteers on the OPPI Southwest District Program Committee, which organizes events for professional planners so they can obtain their continuous learning credits.
Sarah enjoys seeing projects transition from concepts to reality, especially considering the diversity of her field. She believes the fact that no two projects are ever the same allows for lifelong professional development. As a planner, Sarah is grateful to work in a profession that gives her opportunities to constantly keep learning.
“As planners, we are required to have a variety of skills. I would encourage students to practice your communication skills whenever you get the chance – whether that be networking, giving presentations or improving your writing skills. Collaboration is also a big part of what we do, whether it be with municipal staff, councils, developers, or the general public and it is important that you learn to balance different interests, points of view, and to think long-term.”
Sarah would be delighted to continue her conversations with students via email.
Hodan Egeh, MCIP, RPP, MAES'2013 Senior Planner, Ministry of Municipal Affairs/Ministry of Housing (Government of Ontario)
Hodan has an extensive background in land use planning, consulting, and project management. Prior to joining the Ministry of Municipal Affairs/Ministry of Housing as a Senior Planner, she worked for several organizations, both in the private and public sectors. Her most recent experiences have been in the public sector, working for both the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) as a Land Use Planner. At ORC and IO, Hodan managed and co-ordinated a variety of challenging and complex planning infrastructure projects that varied in size and scope.
Hodan is a full member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI), and has been a Registered Professional Planner since 2009. She is also a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI). She believes that the most interesting upcoming trends in the planning industry are the use of technology and open data to make informed planning decisions and using social media as an engagement tool in the planning process. Hodan’s advice to planning students would be to take initiative when looking for your first professional job – network, talk to people about your interests/strengths and always prepare for job interviews.
“What attracted me to planning was its aim to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating healthy, equitable, efficient, and attractive places for present and future generations. Good planning helps create communities that offer better choices for where and how people live.”
Hodan would be eager to further connect with students through LinkedIn.
Dominic Ho, BES'2012 Transit Planner, Toronto Transit Commission
Dominic has had the opportunity to work as a Transit Scheduler for York Region Transit (YRT) and a Transit Planner for MiWay (Mississauga Transit), and has recently begun to work for the TTC. He has built his career around the desire to develop innovative solutions for long-lasting transit problems; while working for YRT, he designed a runtime analysis that allowed schedules to be coordinated with a higher degree of accuracy and reliability.
Dominic’s work is heavily impacted by the public’s increased interest in transit discourse, especially that related to Metrolinx’s The Big Move, an ongoing 25-year regional transportation plan meant to integrate and expand transit systems to meet the GTHA’s rapidly growing population. He believes societal awareness of transit systems plays a crucial role in North America’s social, political, and economic future. Dominic would advise Planning students to take a creative approach to all career opportunities and transit problems, as urbanization and population increases require modern transit systems to be designed with new methods of thinking that reflect the ever-changing nature of the planning profession.
“I have a keen interest in urban environments. I am fascinated by systems, and a city is the ultimate human system. I chose a career in planning to learn more about human relationships with cities, and to be able to make meaningful decisions that will hopefully enhance lives.”
Students can contact Dominic after the social via LinkedIn.
Kent Taylor, BES'1997 SVP Real Estate Development & Managing Partner, Wade Company LTD.
Kent has worked for the Canadian National Railway, US-based TELCO Companies, and the York Region Board of Education. These career choices allowed him to understand various aspects of planning and to define the settings that would maximize his personal skillsets. Kent is currently a SVP Real Estate Development & Managing Partner for Wade & Company Ltd., where he collaborates with investors and companies to develop, acquire, and invest in real estate worldwide.
Kent believes one of his greatest accomplishments is his contribution to the Mississauga Transitway, estimated to cost $259 million as an initiative of Ontario’s MoveOntario 2020 plan, when he was leading the real estate division for Hydro One. However, he is also interested in the effects of foreign real estate on communities across Canada in terms of residential, industrial, and commercial investment. Much of his work focuses on how communities are now being developed to integrate those of different backgrounds into Canadian culture and contribute to the revitalization of the country.
“Urban Planning is one the greatest educational paths you can take, in part because of the vast areas of influence on society and the individualization of the area of expertise you can have. The concepts you learn can be applied to help and influence people and communities from coast to coast.”
Kent would be happy to connect after the event via email.
Josh Reis, BES'2009 Senior Planner, City of Toronto
Josh’s desire to impact the shape of communities for future generations motivated him to pursue a career in Planning, a field in which he constantly relies on his creative and analytical skills to examine urban design problems from various practical and theoretical perspectives. As a co-op student during his undergraduate years, Josh developed a background in GIS, transportation planning, and planning and development review. Upon graduation, he began to work with York Region; as he advanced within the Planning and Economic Development team, he enhanced the soft and technical skills he gained during his co-op years, as well as having the opportunity to mentor co-op students of his own. In April 2017, Josh became a Senior Planner for the City of Toronto and is now responsible for reviewing and analyzing some of the city’s most exciting development projects.
Josh believes the unprecedented investment in public transit drives a larger public conversation regarding the relationship among transit, city building, and the everyday quality of life. Josh would encourage students to investigate career paths related to project management, and to take the initiative and time to enhance their communication skills and advance a positive public discourse about Planning as a field.
“The massive investment in public transit is driving a larger public conversation around planning our communities and supporting a high quality of life. We as planners must take this moment to focus on communicating the vision for our communities along with increasing public understanding of our profession.”
Josh would be eagerto continue his conversations with students after the event via LinkedIn.
Caitlin Willcocks, MA'2011 Development Manager, Diamond Corp.
After completing her Masters degree, in which she focused on looking at ways to encourage family-friendly condominium development and creating complete communities in downtown Toronto, Caitlin worked in planning, development, and leasing for York University Development Corporation. She then began to work for Diamond Corp., where she has contributed to progressive city building for the past five years. Specifically, Caitlin is responsible for securing municipal approvals for large-scale projects in the City of Toronto, including negotiating Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments, Site Plan Approval, obtaining building permits and condo registration, and managing design and consultant teams.
One of the aspects of the planning profession that Caitlin finds most inspiring is the rapidly evolving nature of planning policies and frameworks caused by continual urban development in Toronto. As these processes become increasingly complex, planners are required to develop innovative practical and theoretical approaches to their work. Caitlin advises that planning students and recent graduates use upfront community engagement, continuous dialogue, and creativity in collaboration to succeed in their professional endeavors.
“The work I’m doing now is exactly the kind of work I knew I wanted to do when I was in high school. Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to move around within the field. There are many paths you can take within the planning field – you may just have to try a few out to find the right one, but it will happen.”
Caitlin would be glad to connect with students after the event via email.
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