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

Jennifer Clark, AICP
Section Director
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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.

Currently Vacant
Section Director-Elect

To be updated

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
Co-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.

Jerome Keene, AICP
Co-Director for Professional Development

To be updated

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Jenna Chilingerian, MCRP
Director for Membership and Public Information

Jenna serves as an Associate Planner at Precision Civil Engineering (PCE) in downtown Fresno, CA, bringing more than seven years of experience in planning, community and economic development, and program management in the nonprofit and public sectors. She received her Masters of Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon in June 2020 and is excited to return to her home region of the San Joaquin Valley to contribute to creating more efficient, accessible, and equitable land use policies and planning processes in many of our communities. Jenna was the Student Programs Manager and later the Assistant Section Director for the APA CA Central Section from 2016 to 2018.

Casey Lauderdale, AICP
Co-Director for Equity & Diversity

Casey currently serves as a long-range planner for the City of Fresno, working to increase equity and sustainability within comprehensive planning efforts.  A born-and-raised Fresnan, she is passionate about communities and the opportunity to work collaboratively to effect positive change throughout the Central Section.


Casey holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Dartmouth College and a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  While in Minneapolis-St.Paul, she garnered experience in the non-profit housing field under the Family Housing Fund and Minnesota Housing Partnership.  She joined the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) in 2020. Her favorite aspect about Central California is the tenacity of its people and her favorite CenCal activity is going out to a Grizzlies game with friends.

Mario Anaya, AICP
Co-Director for Equity & Diversity
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Mario Anaya is Principal Planner at the City of Tulare. His primary focus with the City is on long range planning, though he is also responsible for overseeing environmental compliance (CEQA/NEPA), as well as assisting with current planning. In addition Mario represents the planning division as part of the city’s code enforcement task force, and assists at the public counter to answer questions and provide assistance to residents, developers, and business owners in English and Spanish. Every day Mario’s goal is to work and assist in guiding the City’s development to maintain and enhance the quality of life for all who live, work, and visit Tulare.


Prior to moving back home to Tulare County in 2018, Mario worked for 10 years in the Los Angeles office of ICF (formerly Jones & Stokes). At ICF Mario was an environmental planner and project manager on major transportation, infrastructure, and institutional projects for clients such as Caltrans, LA Metro, counties, and cities throughout California. Mario holds a bachelor’s degree in global studies from the University of California Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in urban planning from California State University Northridge. Mario “discovered” the field of planning while an undergrad at UCLA and hopes to increase awareness of planning and empower communities like those he grew up in to plan for a better tomorrow.

Mark Staples
Section Historian

Mark Staples has been the Director of the Planning and Development Services Department, since 2013, for the City of Taft in southwestern Kern County.  Mark also currently serves as the Vice Chair of Conferences and Programs for the Small Town and Rural Planning Division of APA.  Mark serves as the Chair on the Regional Planning Advisory Committee (RPAC) for the Kern Council of Governments (KernCOG).  Prior to the City of Taft, Mark worked for MIG (formerly Hogle-Ireland, Inc.) out of their Riverside office.  Mark was a contract city planner for MIG from 2002 to 2013 working in eight different city and county planning departments mostly assisting with current planning projects.  Mark is a product of the Cal Poly Pomona Urban and Regional Planning program.

Tiffany Ho
Young & Emerging Planner (YEP) Coordinator

Tiffany serves is a Planner with the County of Merced, where she leads both current planning activities and long-range planning projects. Additionally, Tiffany provides planning support services for the Merced Local Agency Formation Commission (Merced LAFCO) and various economic development programs and projects countywide. Following the successful adoption of a comprehensive Zoning Code Update, Tiffany is now leading development of the County’s Climate Action Plan and the update of Franklin-Beachwood Community Plan which will guide development and growth of the unincorporated community of Franklin-Beachwood. ​​

Tiffany grew up in Orange County, California and received her Bachelor's Degrees in Political Science and Urban Studies from the University of California, Irvine. As the new Young and Emerging Planner (YEP) Coordinator, Tiffany is eager to develop educational programming that will give emerging professionals and students the tools and resources to transition from academic life to career and build a strong network of planning leaders in the Central Valley.

Rob Terry, MPA AICP
Immediate Past Section Director, Web Master and Awards Chair
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Rob is the Community Development Director for the City of Reedley, and served as the Section Director between 2015 and 2019.  Between the years of 2012 and 2015, Rob served as the Section PDO.  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.

Special Committee Members

Ralph Kachadourian
Conference Liaison

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.

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.