Freese and Nichols Continues National Leadership of the Urban Planning Profession

Freese and Nichols continues its long legacy of service to the urban planning profession with Dawn Warrick and Shad Comeaux serving in national leadership roles with the American Planning Association (APA) and Wendy Shabay Bonneau concluding eight years on the APA board.

This fall, Dawn was elected to a four-year term as the APA’s Region 3 Director, representing much of the Southeastern U.S. on the APA Board.

Dawn, an Urban Planner and Associate in our Tulsa office, has been an APA member for 28 years and is currently wrapping up a two-year term as president of the Oklahoma chapter. Dawn has been AICP certified for 20 years. Before joining Freese and Nichols, she spent 24 years in municipal and regional government roles.

Dawn said that as Region 3 Director, she aims to prioritize the development of young planners.

“I’ve always been passionate about mentoring and building teams of planners who will grow our profession, and I’m looking forward to continuing that work at a national level,” she said.

Wendy’s tenure as the Region 3 Director started in 2016, and she has focused on diversity and inclusion efforts and championing education opportunities for planners who might not be able to make it to APA conferences.

“It’s so important that we give back to our community and create opportunities to share as much knowledge as possible with our future planners,” said Wendy, Freese and Nichols’ Urban Planning + Design Practice Leader. “Through involvement in organizations like APA, I’ve learned so much, and I don’t think my career would be where it is today without being involved.”

Shad is serving as Chair of the National Planning Conference Committee for NPC24, scheduled for Minneapolis in April 2024. The conference, which brings together more than 5,000 planning professionals, experts and practitioners every year, provides a platform to analyze, imagine, and plan for the future of the planning profession. The conference will cover topics such as climate action, digitalization, diversity and inclusive design, the future of work, health equity, and more.

Shad will hold this position until June 2024 and is responsible for facilitating monthly committee meetings, assisting with the approval of conference keynote speakers, programming and working with the local host committee in Minneapolis.

Shad, who is an Account Director in our Pearland office, currently serves on the APA Education Committee and just completed six years of service in a director role as a member of the APA Texas Chapter Houston Section. Shad has served and volunteered with APA during the last 16 years.

“It speaks highly of Freese and Nichols to have these leadership positions within the organization,” Dawn said. “It shows that we have a desire to grow the profession and use these national resources to benefit our clients. It demonstrates that we’re chronic overachievers, and we’re striving to not only improve our own team but to help those around us.”

The APA is an organization of nationally recognized planners, dedicated to advancing the profession of planning and offering better choices for where and how our communities work and live. The APA and its members are the “gold standard” for the planning profession. APA Region 3 covers Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and South America.