Featured Planner: Stephanie Lowe
Describe your current job.
I am currently a planner II for the Cheyenne Planning & Development Department. I have been with the City for almost five years. Originally I was hired as an associate planner and worked on residential permits and Board of Adjustment projects. Overtime, as staff changed and I gained experience, I started to do more site plans and commercial work. I also took over management of the Historic Preservation Board.
As part of my job I also serve on two boards: the Downtown Development Authority’s Design Committee and city liaison for Historic Cheyenne Inc, a city wide private non-profit for historic preservation. Unrelated to planning, I also manage the city’s project and permit software, Innoprise, soon to be CitySuite.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was little the very first thing I remember wanting to be was an astronaut. But then I developed motion sickness and realized that dream was dead. In junior high I wanted to be an architect. I loved shop class and drafting and making things with my hands. Throughout high school, I took all drafting classes possible and tried to get an internship with a local architectural firm. After college I went to LCCC and got an Associates Degree in Engineering Technology (aka drafting) and got a job with a local architecture firm. I tried to go through the Engineering program at UW but math is hard and I returned home. A few years later, I returned to UW and joined the American Studies program to study historic preservation. During that course work, I took a planning class from Dr. Gibbs, and actually didn’t enjoy it very much. To be fair though, it was a night class once a week so was very long! After several more years, I returned to school and got a masters degree in historic preservation from Boston Architectural College.
How did you get into the planning profession?
After receiving my bachelors degree I joined the Cheyenne Historic Preservation Board with the City. It was during this time that I met several city planners who were involved with the Board. A few years later, a planning position opened up at the City and they both encouraged me to apply. So, I did, and here I am now! All of my planning experience I gained on the job. I’ve had great mentors at the city who have trained me. I’ve also learned a lot by attending conferences and reading a lot about planning.
Describe your favorite planning project.
I was the primary site planner for two years and I am proud of everything I worked on. I helped facilitate the State Capitol Renovations and the Herschler Renovation; new restaurants and offices; redeveloped office spaces; a new Carey Junior High School; new apartment complexes; the new airport terminal; and many smaller projects which had just as much of an impact on the community as these larger projects.
Describe a mentor or someone you admire that has had an impact on your career.
My first boss was Brandon Cammarata and he taught me a lot about planning and coming to a consensus on difficult projects. Brandon was the director at the time and was in a difficult position because he was supposed to uphold the UDC as much as possible, but also be flexible for developers. I felt he was also a good manager of his staff; he certainly saw a chance in me and I hope that I have met his expectations of me. Lisa Pafford remains a mentor about all things planning related. Would it be cliché to also say Jane Jacobs…?
What is your favorite piece of advice given to you?
Don’t give up after the first shot. I’ve not been directly told this by anyone specific, but I’ve heard a lot of people speak to this that work for the City.
What are you known for in the office?
I am definitely the go-getter and person to get things done. I also try to be cheery and uplifting as much as possible. I am also that person that likes to bake and bring in goodies for everyone. I am not afraid to ask questions, which is good and bad… I am also the one person to always ask about salvaging items from old buildings, and I am the eternal optimist when it comes to saving an old building from demolition. People do tease me about tearing down old stuff.