2017 Student Planner of the Year: Les Brown

Les Brown from the University of Florida as Student Planner of the Year.

The following comments underscore the rational for Les’s nomination for this award.

  • Les is enthusiastic, positive, well-organized, a good writer and critical thinker, a hard worker, an excellent student and a good team member. He has great potential to assume a leadership role in a transportation-planning-related organization.
  • As a first year student, Les volunteered to work on a student project helping  a bicycle club in the Villages  develop a bicycle master plan. He took leadership of the project and helped to developed a survey of the club membership that will be used as part of the planning effort. He also took  his work in the Villages and prepared a paper for publication in the Transportation Research Record: the Journal of the Transportation Research Board, a rare occurrence for a master’s student.   The paper was also presented  in a college-wide symposium in the Spring and his work was included in at least two other presentations in the last several months.
  • In addition to these projects, he has been working on a project to provide technical assistance to rural communities to prepare applications for  applicationsfor the Safe Routes to School Program, which funds projects to improve sidewalks and other infrastructure near K-12 schools.
  • This spring and summer he has worked on another project with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority in which they are looking at the future of the transit system because of the availability of transportation network services, such as Uber and Lyft. Les has incorporated that work into his master’s thesis which focused on the implications of autonomous vehicles on transit.
  • In additional to his contributions in the classroom and faculty research program, Les has also been active in the community through his participation as a representative on the City of Gainesville Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board  andas the student representative on the APA Florida Executive Committee. He recently received the American Institute of Certified Planners Outstanding Student Award, recognizing outstanding attainment in the study of planning.
  • Ruth Steiner, a professor at UF, states ” I have managed over 130 graduate student research assistants on dozens of research projects and I have participated in over 200 master’s theses and dissertation committees. I would rate Mr. Brown in the top 1% of those students.  He has consistently gone out of his way to understand new and innovative ways to complete his work. Given Mr. Brown’s work ethic, his strong organizational skills, his leadership, and his enthusiasm for excellence in planning, I believe he has great potential to be a future leader in a transportation planning organization. “

Les recently moved to Washington DC for a job with ICF .