About Us

The Central Section is a networking and continuing education organization for professional planners in the Central Valley of California. Our members work in private firms, as consultants, or in city/county government.

 

The mission of the California Chapter Central Section is to provide its members with opportunities for advocacy, networking, outreach and professional development in the art and science of planning within Central California. Each year, we host engaging events and fun activities for our members such as the Section Planning Achievement Awards, the annual Sierra Retreat at Camp Lake Sequoia, Christmas Tree Lane Walk-Night/Holiday Gathering and our professional development programs.

The Section

The Central Section of APA California covers a vast 11 county region encompassing Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne Counties. The Section’s geographical area includes the greater central and southern San Joaquin Valley – the most productive agricultural region in the world; the foothill and mountain regions with four National Forests (Stanislaus, Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo); four National Parks (Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Death Valley); the Giant Sequoia National Monument, the eastern deserts of Kern County and the Owens Valley region on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

Meet the Board

Rob Terry, AICP
Section Director

Rob is the Community Development Director for the City of Reedley.  He has been a member of APA since 2005, and has been AICP since 2012.  He is committed to the development and implementation of goals and principles that promote quality, clarity and consistency in the processing and approval of entitlement applications - all with the focus of ensuring the community enjoys the elements of safety, livability and economic vitality.  As an undergraduate, he attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, majoring in City and Regional Planning, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Troy University.

Rob grew up in northern Utah and worked as a project manager overseeing roadway safety product installations on freeways throughout the western United States before relocating to Central California.  He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, watching college sports, and playing the drums.

Jennifer Clark, AICP
Section Director Elect

Jennifer has served as the Director for Development and Resource Management (DARM) for the City of Fresno since July 2013.  In this role, she is responsible for three strategic land use sections - Development Services, Placemaking Services, and Neighborhood Services which serve the lifecycle of properties from visioning to revitalization and everything in between.  She has held similar positions in cities in Texas, Georgia, and Missouri.  Her years of service revolve around planning, promoting and preserving quality communities through good land use planning, building standards, and code enforcement.

 

In her role with the City of Fresno, Jennifer is the Secretary to the Planning Commission, the Housing & Community Development Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission.  Additionally, she is a member of the Fresno COG’s Technical Transportation Committee and has served as past chair and vice chair to the committee.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Drury University and her Masters of Business Administration from Webster University; she completed her AICP in 2012.

Eric VonBerg, MRP
Director for Administration and Finance

Eric VonBerg has 25+ years of experience in land use, environmental, and transportation planning at the local, county, regional, and state level. His current responsibilities include managing planning and environmental services for Rincon Consultants’ Fresno office. His previous experience includes Senior Planner, County of Fresno Public Works and Planning and the City of Fresno’s DARM working on their General Plan update and managing preparation of the Master EIR for the General Plan.

 

His broader experience includes working on the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Integration Project, the California High-Speed Rail, and numerous highway projects as a Senior Planner and Office Chief for Caltrans Central Region Environmental. He is currently a member of the FCOG RTP/SCS Roundtable representing the Valley Planners Network. Eric’s education includes a BA in Social Ecology from U.C. Irvine, a Masters in Regional Planning from UMASS Amherst, and one year abroad studying landscape planning at the University of Hannover, Germany.

Carolina Ilic, AICP
Director for Professional Development

Carolina serves as Planning Manager at the City of Fresno Transportation Department, also known as FAX. In this capacity, she manages planning efforts for the transit system and coordinates the integration of land use and transportation planning with various city departments and the regional council of governments. She started at FAX in January 2019.

 

Prior to her work at the City of Fresno, Carolina worked at the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) for 24 years in various capacities, including Acting Principal Planner and Senior Regional Planner. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from UCLA and her Master’s Degree in City Planning from San Diego State University (SDSU). She has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) since 2015. While at SANDAG, Carolina served as project manager of the Regional Comprehensive Plan (RCP) for the San Diego region, coordinated the preparation of the "Smart Growth Concept Map," worked on visual simulations showing how communities can be transformed by smart growth, managed the Call for Projects for the TransNet Smart Growth Incentive Program and Active Transportation Grant Program, and implemented SANDAG’s Regional Complete Streets Policy. Carolina contributed heavily toward the development of several Regional Transportation Plans.

 

Carolina was born in Santiago, Chile, and is fluent in Spanish. For many years, she served on the Board of the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association (SDAPA) as both the Planning Journal Editor and as a Mentor for the Young Planners Group. In 2018, she won the Mentor of the Year Award for the SDAPA Young Planners Group Mentorship Program. In 2018, she also received the SDSU Donald B. Leiffer Outstanding Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in the field of City Planning and was awarded one of the top 50 alumni from the past 50 years from the SDSU School of Public Affairs.

Ricky Caperton, AICP
Director for Membership and Public Information

Ricky is the Senior Planner at the City of Clovis. He has more than 7 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, and has been an active member of APA and the California Association of Environmental (AEP) since 2011, which included a term on the State Board of Directors for AEP. Ricky has been AICP since 2018.

 

Ricky was born and raised in Northern California (Santa Rosa) and relocated to the Central Valley in 2016. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies and Planning from Sonoma State University, and Masters of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.

Karl Schoettler
Sierra Retreat Coordinator

Mr. Schoettler is the Principal of Collins & Schoettler.  He joined the firm in 1991 after working as a Planner for the City of Atascadero, near the Central California coast.  Collins & Schoettler is a small, award-winning city planning firm based in Visalia, with an emphasis on quality over quantity.  The company is known for advocating well-designed, environmentally responsible and pedestrian-oriented development in the cities that it serves.

 

Currently Mr. Schoettler serves as the contract City Planner for several valley communities, including Farmersville and Firebaugh.  He also provides assistant planning services to Exeter, Woodlake and Kerman, Sanger and Livingston.

 

At Collins and Schoettler he has prepared numerous planning documents, including General Plans and elements, design guidelines, environmental studies, community and specific plans and zoning ordinances, among others.

Benjamin Kimball
Immediate Past Section Director

Benjamin is the Deputy Executive Director of the Tulare County Association of Governments where he works with federal, state and local agencies to deliver a variety of transportation plans, programs and projects for this region.  He has worked for 15+ years in land use planning for local agencies in the valley and on the coast, where he helped develop award winning general and specific plans and worked to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of planning systems. 

 

In addition to being the immediate past Section Director, Ben has served with multiple state and local APA boards.  He serves on the advisory committee for the Community and Regional Planning Center at Fresno State University.  In his free time he enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, traveling, music, playing soccer and basketball with his friends and spending time with his wife and five children.

Nicole Hoke
Student Programs Manager

To be updated

Ralph Kachadourian
Former Section Director

Ralph Kachadourian, AICP, was the Section Director from 2009-2015.  He has been a public sector land use planner in California since 1987 serving the cities of Paso Robles, Dublin, Millbrae, Union City, Sanger, Chowchilla and Fresno.  He currently serves as the Supervising Planner for The City of Fresno's High Speed Rail Impacted Business Assistance Program, in the Development and Resource Management Department.

David Fey, AICP
Member at Large

David Fey, AICP, is the Executive Officer for the Fresno Local Agency Formation Commission.  He has worked in local agency land use and utility planning since 1986 as both a city planner in the Fresno-Clovis area and for planning and environmental consulting firms serving the central California market from Atascadero to Porterville, Livingston to Tehachapi.

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