2017 Maine Lifetime Achievement Award Receipients

Mark Eyerman
Chuck Lawton
Rodney Lynch
Tom Martin
Frank O'Hara
Evan Richert

Mark Eyerman: Mark has been planning in Maine since 1975. He began is planning career in Lorain, Ohio as Community Development Director/Planner in 1970 then moved to NH’s Nashua Regional Planning Commission in 1973 then GPCOG in 1975. By 1981, Mark shifted to private consulting and served in that capacity as planner for Westbrook and Gorham. By 1982, he was CEO of Market Decisions, Inc., a leading planning and research firm providing services in community planning, development management, market research, site location studies, consumer and customer research, attitude and image surveys and focus group research. In 1995, as President, Planning Decisions, Inc. was formed and became one of Maine’s most well known and successful private planning practices. With the closure of Planning Decisions in October 2016, Mark’s latest venture is as President of PlanME, LLC where he continues to provide community planning services to Maine municipalities. Mark has been a member of the faculty of the Geography Department at the University of Southern Maine for many years and regularly speaks at a wide variety of workshops and seminars. Mark has been recognized for his contributions to professional planning a number of times, including as MAP and NNECAPA’s 1996 Planner of the Year. Mark is a past President of NNECAPA and MAP.

Chuck Lawton: Chuck is an economist with extensive experience in education, government, and business. He specializes in development economics, economic and fiscal impact studies, strategic planning, and industry analysis. For six years, he was a member of the Consensus Economic Forecasting Committee that advised Maine’s Legislature and Governor on economic and revenue forecasting and was a charter member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s New England Public Policy Center Advisory Board. He is currently on the Board of the Maine Center for Creativity and writes a weekly column on economic policy for the Maine Sunday Telegram. Chuck is a former Professor of Economics at the University of Maine at Farmington, Director of Economic Development at the State Planning Office, CFO for Kirsten Scarcelli Co (a woman’s apparel designer/manufacturer/retailer), and most recently Chief Economist at Planning Decisions until its recent closure.

Rodney Lynch: Rodney has been serving Maine professionally for over 40 years as a regional and municipal planner, town manager, community development director, and planning consultant. Rodney has been a long time member of MAP with decades of experience in capital planning, grant research, writing, and administration. Rodney began his planning career in 1973 as Assistant Planner for Midcoast RPC, then starting in 1976 as Community Planner with AVCOG. In 1978, he served as Principal Planner/Deputy Director of Community Development and Planning in Auburn. Starting in 1985, Rodney moved to town management with first Bethel then Norridgewock. By 1994, Rodney returned to professional planning with the Midcoast RPC and in 1998 to community development for Rockland. He continues to consult with Maine communities today.

Tom Martin: Tom Martin has worked in regional planning commissions in northern New England since 1979. His work has benefited many regions in Maine, but most of all the downeast region as Executive Director of the Hancock County Planning Commission since 1990. His comprehensive plan experience ranges from small, rural towns facing a population decline to rapidly growing resort communities. He has prepared Capital Improvement Programs (CIP's), fiscal impact statements, solid waste management studies, Community Development Block Grant applications and regional studies on housing, land use and transportation. He has organized planning board training workshops. His specialties include housing, federal grant administration, solid waste management and recycling, water quality analysis, coastal zone management, community facility analysis, brownfields, and citizen participation techniques. Tom has amassed a vast compendium of planning documents including more than 50 Community Development Block Grant applications and studies beginning in Caribou in 1980 and continuing to Surry in 2013. He has prepared more than 30 comprehensive plans over the same time-period. His numerous other projects have included transportation, public health, solid waste, brownfields and community development. Under Tom’s leadership, the Hancock County Planning Commission was rescued from near collapse in 1990 to become a vital planning program serving 37 towns. In 2000, HCPC won a national award from the American Planning Association for programs in sustainability. Tom has supported the planning profession with advocacy for planning education, participation in national efforts to support small town and rural planning and other APA programs.

Frank O’Hara: Frank has been planning in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont for 42 years. Starting as a Housing and Community Development Planner at GPCOG in 1975 and Director of Targeted Jobs Program for the City of Portland in 1980, Frank moved to the state level for 12 years, starting in 1981 with a stint at the State Planning Office, Maine State Housing Authority, and as Governor Brennan’s Special Assistant in 1984. By 1987, Frank was co-owner of Planning Decisions, one of the best known and most prolific planning consulting firm in the state. Frank specialized in strategic planning, housing analysis, community and economic development, workforce development, and public communication. Since 1989, Frank has served as Adjunct Professor at the Muskie School for Public Policy at the University of Southern Maine, teaching community development and public communications. For many years, Frank has been the “voice” of Maine planning, particularly in the areas of affordable housing and effective communication about public policy and analysis. Throughout his career, he engaged the community, inspired and articulated a positive vision for the state, and represented the highest principles of research and policy development.

Evan Richert: Evan began speaking to Maine communities as a young journalist in Brunswick in the 1970’s. After obtaining a degree from the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY, he began his professional planning career at GPCOG. Working with South Portland, he eventually left GPCOG to work full-time for the City. In 1981, he formed Portland Research and Communications and, shortly thereafter, joined with Mark Eyerman to form Market Decisions, Inc. (MDI). Together the team grew MDI into a premier consulting practice that bridged the gap between public planning and the development community. Anchoring planning, development, and public policy with direct market research and analysis, Evan demonstrated the importance of data in analyzing planning problems and identifying appropriate policies and strategies to address them. In 1996, Evan became Director of the State Planning Office (only the second professional planner to serve in that role) and lead the State and its professional planners in developing a framework to understand and plan for Maine communities, regions and the state. Under his tutelage and using the that bully pulpit, Evan lead the State in a discussion and focus on the cost of sprawl, the importance and unique stresses of service center communities, and the importance of merging lines between land use, the environment, and the economy. He helped precipitate ongoing conversations about planning issues throughout the State from the Capitol to City Halls and neighborhood assemblies. Collaboration among the various sectors of the state – government organizations, chambers, NGOs, and professional associations – came together in unique ways that continue to affect how planners do business in Maine. Reaching out to and inspiring professionals, as well as college and graduate students, Evan has taught at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School for many years. Evan has also contributed to the scholarship of planning. His symposium on the Centennial of Ebenezer Howard's "Garden Cities of Tomorrow," one of the classics in planning history was named the "Honorable Mention" for the "Article of the Year" for the JAPA in 1998. Over the years, Evan has received a number of awards that recognize his contribution to planning. Especially since his time with the State Planning Office, Evan has been the “mind” of planning in Maine. He represents the analytical side of planning, reminding all that planning is immersed in facts, both hard statistics and scientific assessment, as well as in an understanding of cultural and social values, topping those abilities off with the gift of translating complicated analysis in a way that not only informs, but touches the reader’s spirit.