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Planner Profile: Kyle McLaughlin

Name: Kyle McLaughlin

Title: Civil Analyst

Company/Employer: Kimley-Horn & Associates

Tells us a little about yourself professionally.
I am a Civil Engineer turned planner in Colorado Springs. I have been able to work on a wide range of planning projects ranging from roadway corridor plans to downtown mobility plans and love it all. I have a great passion for sustainability and looking for ways to improve how people live, work, play, and interact in their communities.

Tell us how you got into planning.
I was working on a Civil Engineering master’s at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do outside of “transportation.” I took an Introduction to Planning course and from there I was hooked and have went on to all but graduate with that master’s as well. I really liked the level of design and freedom of creativity that I could get out of planning, something that is not how you would define roadway engineering.

Tell us a little about yourself outside of planning.
My wife, Margaret, and I are rapidly growing our family and just had our 2nd and 3rd daughters in January. So, while life is pretty hectic, I typically play computer games to unwind. I am a huge Huskers and Kansas City Chiefs fan.

Who is your planning hero or role model?
I am actually a big fan of Janette Sadik-Khan, the NACTO chair, because of the things that she was able to try out during her time in New York City (If you haven’t read it, Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution, it is a pretty good read). I really like the message that Charles Marohn from Strong Towns tries to get across. I absolutely think that sustainable growth is something that needs to be addressed in this country. While I think “tactical urbanism,” or what ever you’d like to call it, needs to be approached with great caution, there is no doubt that pilot projects can serve an immense need in many ways.

Outside of that I have a large admiration for literally every project manager I get to work with daily and feel very fortunate to have the mix of experience and personalities that I do.

What makes planning special/interesting/difficult/fun in Colorado?
Cities and communities are wanting to ensure they have an identity, and that they have their own draw for visitors and future residents. I find it really fun to be able to help different jurisdictions highlight their strengths and work towards their future goals.

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