Our planning team at WithersRavenel works on a variety of projects for both public and private clients. As October is Planning Month, we’re profiling a new member of our team each week. Today, meet June Cowles, AICP. June is based in our Raleigh office and has been working at WithersRavenel for about four months. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Planning credentials from California State University in Sacramento. June also has served in the United States Air Force and the Air Force Reserves, and she has an Associate’s Degree in Aircraft Maintenance from the Community College of the Air Force.
WithersRavenel: What sparked your interest in planning?
June Cowles: I was attending the University of Texas, Arlington, in the Architecture program. I enjoyed the design aspect of architecture, and I knew I liked working with people as a team from being in the Air Force. I took those 2 interests and looked at City Planning. Other things I liked were math and working on aircraft as a mechanic; I enjoy solving problems, which includes working on systems that relate to each other. All these aspects are part of the wonderful world of City Planning.
WR: How does your background in North Carolina municipal planning inform the work you currently do as a consultant?
JC: I think working in government gives you perspective of what Town planners, a Town Planning Board, or Town Council members are looking for or are concerned about regarding a project.
WR: You’ve spent a lot of time living on the East Coast and the West Coast. Do you have a preference?
JC: I have worked in California for 12 years of my career and North Carolina for 14 years and counting. Someone in the Cary area was driving around with a license plate NC CA NC. “So my license plate would state CA NC CA NC.”
When I moved back to California in 2015, I was shocked to find out that no one had heard about electronic plan review systems. So, back to the Dark Ages I went, which meant drawing plans on paper, emailing comments, receiving email comments, searching for emails, people looking for the latest paper copy plan or a previous paper copy plan. Or lost paper copy plans, which routinely was the case in the Building Department. It was painful for me because I had already worked with the well-oiled machine of an electronic plan review system. So, it wasn’t until COVID that a lot of West Coast cities started to initiate electronic plan review systems or even Bluebeam.
A few more items I enjoy more in North Carolina are rain, green trees, several mixed-use developments, great food, the brewpubs, the supermarkets, and being able to turn left at a traffic signal as a yield!
Do you want to put WithersRavenel’s Planning Team to work for you? Contact Director of Planning Brendie Vega, AICP, at (919) 535-5212 or email@example.com.