Urban Planning Excellence: Chance Sparks Elected AICP Fellow

Chance Sparks

Chance Sparks, Urban Planning & Design Group Manager, San Marcos, has achieved the planning profession’s highest honor by being named to the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows.

Chance, who has steered plans for more than 48 cities and counties in Texas, was recognized for his exceptional contributions to professional planning and leadership. He’s also credited for his transformative influence on the American Planning Association (APA) Texas Chapter, supporting the organization’s efforts to be a powerful voice of advocacy in Texas and beyond.

During his 21-year career in the public and private sector, Chance has concentrated on rapidly developing regions and traditionally marginalized communities. His planning has successfully eliminated regulatory barriers, improved service delivery for historically excluded communities and demonstrated how regulatory reform can support culture and inclusion, making generational impacts across Texas.

His efforts in downtown revitalization have breathed new life into numerous city centers, turning them into lively communal spaces, and enriching them with innovative programs and support for small businesses. Chance has also overseen planning for communities along the length of the State Highway 130 Corridor, known as the “Silicon Prairie” region of Texas, finalizing comprehensive plans for each city along this route. He is known for his focus on implementation and performance measurement, integrating city management and data-informed planning, linking them to community engagement as an accountability and innovation tool.

Since 2003, he’s been involved with the APA, a commitment that began during his student days when he revived the Planning Student Organization at Texas State University. Over the past 17 years, he’s consistently held leadership roles at various levels of the APA, including positions such as Central Section Director, Texas Chapter Legislative Liaison, and Texas Chapter President. Chance has been a member of AICP since 2007 and is considered a highly influential mentor to subsequent generations of planners.

Chance is one of 33 inductees this year, nationwide. There are 36 living fellows in Texas out of approximately 2,200 APA members and 561 nationally out of the more than 40,000 existing members. All fellows are long-time members of AICP and have achieved excellence in professional practice, teaching and mentoring, research and community services and leadership. Chance was nominated by the American Planning Association, which described him “as one of the loudest and most impactful voices for planning advocacy in Texas, undeterred by a challenging legislative environment.”

Chance is the third employee at Freese and Nichols to be elected to the AICP College of Fellows. He follows Urban Planning+Design Practice Leader Wendy Bonneau and Dan Sefko, a planner for 50+ years and former Group Manager. Freese and Nichols is one of a very select group of firms with three recognized Fellows, demonstrating our commitment to innovative approaches, practical results and outstanding service to the communities we serve.