Planner Profile: Sarah DelGizzo
The Maine Association of Planners is proud to represent planners and others involved in planning across this great state. One of the best contributions we can make to support planning is to connect and support our professional planning community.
Maine is a big state and the planning community is a busy bunch. The Planner Profiles series gives us a chance to meet each other and learn about our skills, interests, and experiences online.
Meet Sarah DelGizzo, Planner at North Star Planning.
How many years in planning professions? 2 years
Current Job: Planner, North Star Planning
Tell us about your background:
I grew up in southern Rhode Island and attended college at Saint Michael’s College just outside of Burlington, VT. It was during my undergraduate experience that I realized northern New England was where I would eventually call home. After college I moved to Boston, MA (as many do) and worked at Boston University (BU) while working towards my Master’s degree in Urban Affairs at Boston University. After graduating from BU in 2019, my fiancé and I moved to Portland where we currently reside with our puppy, Everett.
What led you into planning?
At Saint Michael’s College I studied Political Science and Environmental Studies with the goal of someday helping to foster vibrant and sustainable communities. Like many who receive liberal arts degrees, I was not sure what my career path would look like. It wasn’t until I began researching graduate programs while living in Boston, MA that I discovered the planning profession. I remember attending an open house for my future graduate program and being in awe of how much the profession aligned with my career goals, skillset, and prior studies. From that day on I jumped into the graduate program and haven’t looked back.
What is unique about planning in Maine?
An interesting aspect of working in planning in Maine has been experiencing the range of challenges and opportunities facing communities across the State. Southern, coastal Maine has extremely unique challenges as compared to those in the western or northern parts of the State. While some of the challenges may overlap, such as climate change, workforce, or housing – they often require significantly different approaches and strategies when addressing the needs of the community.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
As a Planning Consultant I have had the opportunity to work in many different communities across varying regions of the State. This has been extremely rewarding as I have been able to meet and work with many colleagues who have contributed to my professional development in the planning industry.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
I think one of the most challenging aspects of working as a planner (but also rewarding when you can make it happen) is engaging community members in a meaningful way. We, as planners, are so involved in our projects day-to-day it can be difficult to remember that our community may not have the time to be as engaged as they would like. A critical role of a planner is to present our projects to the public in an approachable and understandable way so they can have a lasting impact.
Tell us about your dream project – what kind of planning work would you like to be more involved with?
My dream project or planning work would be to continue working on housing projects across the State. Whether it be housing studies or housing development, I would love to continue learning about the varied housing needs in different communities and how planners can work to make this basic need more attainable.
What is your niche or main expertise?
My first position after graduate school was working as an AmeriCorps member at a small Community Development Corporation just outside of Boston. I worked as a Housing Development Assistant contributing to the project management of the construction of affordable housing in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts. Since moving to Maine, I have had the opportunity to learn about the housing challenges facing communities across the State. This is one of the topics I have found myself most passionate about in my work over recent years and hope I can continue to refine my expertise in this area of work.
Sarah is a Planner with experience in community planning, zoning and ordinance development, community engagement, and project management. Prior to joining North Star Planning in 2019, Sarah worked for a nonprofit developing affordable housing.