Building Professional Relationships: Connor Harmon '16 BS SBE '17 MS Urban Planning
As a freshman, Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Built Environments and Master of Science in Urban Planning graduate Connor Harmon knew that he was interested in design and the environment, and was happy to find an undergraduate degree program that incorporated both of those interests.
"Originally when I got to the University of Arizona, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. I was an undecided major much of freshman year until I saw a banner advertising the SBE program. I always had an interest in design as well as building things as a kid, playing with Legos, SimCity, or taking on various do-it-yourself projects. I also had an interest in the environment, as both of my parents had jobs in the environmental sector. Seeing that SBE combined both of those interests, I decided to speak with the program chair, Ladd Keith, about joining the major. I decided to declare SBE as my major at the end of my freshman year. Throughout my undergrad career, I felt that the classes and professors were great in helping me learn about the built environment. I was fortunate enough to take some classes in the MS Planning program at the same time, and this helped me decide that planning was ultimately going to be my future. Ladd specifically pointed me in the right direction regarding internships, and I was able to gain exposure in the public sector of planning.
"It was those relationships I made that helped me secure the job I have now. After going through the MS Planning program, I felt ready and prepared to tackle a full-time planning job. I just celebrated my one-year work anniversary as a development planner for the Village of Mount Prospect, a suburb outside the City of Chicago. As a mid-sized suburb (population 55,000), I am able to gain exposure to many facets of the planning profession. I am in the final stages of writing and designing a sub-area plan for the Village which will be adopted later this year. I also perform and present zoning cases to our Planning & Zoning Commission (among other responsibilities), including two recent high profile multi-family developments in our downtown.
"I have a message for all current SBE students: while being knowledgeable in your profession is essential to job performance, I can’t stress enough how important building professional relationships with professors, mentors, and—in my case—residents, board members and developers is toward professional success. I believe SBE, Ladd, and the UA overall really advanced my interpersonal skills that I lean on for much of my job now."