Delaware Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland has been named to the prestigious American Institute of Certiﬁed Planners (AICP) College of Fellows, the highest honor awarded in the planning profession.
Efland, who has served as the city’s planning director since 2005, is one of just two Ohioans to receive the honor and the first Delaware planning director to be inducted. A total of 53 planners were inducted into this year’s College of Fellows.
According to the city, fellowship is granted to planners who have achieved certiﬁcation through the American Planning Association (APA)’s professional institute, the American Institute of Certiﬁed Planners. Invitations to join the College of Fellows come after a thorough peer nomination and review process, “ensuring the candidate has had a positive, long‐lasting impact on the planning profession.”
“Individuals who make up the College of Fellows are the true leaders of the planning profession,” said former AICP President Valerie Hubbard. “These individuals have made lasting contributions to the profession and have inspired generations of new planners. They are truly awe‐inspiring.”
Delaware City Manager Tom Homan said of Efland’s induction, “We have long known that our city is lucky to have a professional like Dave Eﬂand leading the Planning Department. He has led the creation of our city’s new comprehensive plan and helped guide Delaware development through unprecedented growth and unique times, including a pandemic. Huge congratulations to Dave! He is absolutely deserving of this high honor.”
A graduate of Miami University and The Ohio State University, Efland has been a member of APA since 1992 and a member of AICP since 1998. Prior to coming to Delaware, he worked for both the city of Oxford and Cincinnati.
While his distinguished career has now reached the peak of his profession, Efland said it was never a particular goal of his to one day receive the fellowship.
“It’s not something that I think any certified planner necessarily (strives for), it’s not like you aspire or work towards this,” he told The Gazette. “You’re nominated by your peers, and you’re reviewed by your peers at the national level. It’s nothing that you can say, ‘If I do X, Y, and Z, I’ll achieve the Fellows status.’ For me, being nominated and selected by my peers is the most meaningful component of this whole induction and honor.”
Efland also acknowledged individual awards can be “difficult” for planners given the number of people who have a hand in any planning process.
Asked if he’s had an opportunity to reflect on his accomplishments during his career now that he’s achieved the pinnacle of the profession, Efland said the circumstances of the nomination have forced him to do so whereas he might not otherwise have taken the time.
“I have spent a lot of time through this process having to reflect on my career,” he said. “Prior to that, I hadn’t really spent a lot of time reflecting because I’m just engaged in what we’re doing at the moment and thinking ahead to what we can do. This provided that (opportunity) and you kind of look back and say, ‘Ah, yeah, I have done a few things with the help of many others over the course of a career, particularly my mentors.’”
Efland said he’s been blessed with “great” mentors throughout his career, including Homan during his time in Delaware and others throughout his previous stints.
He added, “For me, too, the reflection included the fact that my family has been incredibly supportive. You put in a lot of time (in this role), and that’s a lot of time away from the family … You have to have strong family support, and my wife, son, and family have done that for me.”
Efland will take part in the induction ceremony at APA’s National Planning Conference in San Diego, which is scheduled for May 1. He said it will be really cool to be a part of the conference’s return to in-person inductions following a brief hiatus resulting from the pandemic that forced the ceremonies to be conducted virtually.
“That’s pretty special that it’s the first time we’re getting back together as a professional organization at the national conference that usually attracts many thousands of people,” he said.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.