APA Texas Honors Dan Sefko’s 50 Years in Urban Planning

Freese and Nichols’ Dan Sefko, FAICP, was recognized for his robust urban planning career with the APA Texas Legends Award. The award was presented to Dan at the recent APA Texas Conference held in Corpus Christi where Chance Sparks, Freese and Nichols Urban Planning Group Manager and Past-President of the Texas Chapter, served as the emcee for the ceremony.

Dan’s 50-year career in planning has allowed him to impact various Texas communities large, small, young, and old. While some planning opportunities may only happen once over a planner’s career, Dan has been able to serve some communities multiple times, working alongside them across decades to advise in their growing and changing needs.

Wendy Bonneau, Urban Planning Practice Leader, said, “When you look at the list of comprehensive plans with Dan’s name on them, the sheer quantity is impressive. Then you look at the geographical breadth, and you see there’s hardly a city in Texas he hasn’t touched.”

Some of Dan’s greatest strengths for clients throughout his career have included helping small communities get creative with limited resources, developing insightful and innovative plans that can be implemented on a practical scale. Dan has also enhanced the Texas planning industry’s best practices, bringing unified development codes into popular use, and solidifying public input techniques, among other improvements. Dan has also testified on behalf of municipalities in many landmark land use legal cases.

Internally, for Freese and Nichols, Dan has catapulted the firm’s comprehensive planning and zoning services, laying a foundation for the Urban Planning practice to become one of the premier firms in Texas and now the country. While the firm’s services began with a focus on urban design and campus planning, he has been able to grow the team as national experts in comprehensive planning and zoning.

Dan has also been passionate about building the success of the planning group, serving as a mentor for many Freese and Nichols staff members since he sold his company to Freese and Nichols in 2008. In her nomination for Dan to receive the firm’s “Lee Freese Excellence in Mentoring Award,” Erin Flanigan mentioned, “[Dan] has an amazing ability to establish positive communications…[and] is quick to pass along the credit to [the urban planning team] which lets us know that we’re appreciated.”

Dan has truly left a remarkable and lasting legacy in the planning profession that has benefited cities and colleagues alike.