Notes From the Road: LDG Learns and Leads at Annual Federal Planning Division Workshop

Notes From the Road is a closer look at the learning opportunities and experiences of our employee owners from industry events, client engagements, and projects around the world.

Larson Design Group (LDG) encourages our people to attend and participate in events that further their knowledge and expand their professional networks. Recently, LDG’s Planning team traveled to the annual Federal Planning Division (FPD) Training Workshop, a four-day training for planners working in the Federal market held in Washington, DC.

Held by the distinguished American Planning Association (APA), the comprehensive event offers learning sessions, professional development, and opportunities to connect with peers from across diverse federal agencies. Kristin VanHorn, Project Manager with our Planning & GIS team, shared some of the experiences and insights encountered at FPD in 2024.

Tell us about the conference – how was it structured? What did attendees experience?

The theme was “Evolution of Planning” and throughout the conference, one-hour workshops covered a variety of federal planning themes, such as transportation, resiliency planning, the effects of federal planning on local jurisdictions, and suggestions and tools for developing strong federal planning practices.

In addition, Wes Baker, LDG Director of Planning & GIS, and Ashleen Starr, Project Manager, presented at the conference on “Improving Mobility on provided an update on recent strides made by the U.S. Air Force to integrate transportation planning through the implementation of Transportation Management Plans (TMPs).

Was this your first time attending this conference?

I have attended other APA events in the past, but this was my first time at FPD, and it was one of the best conferences I’ve attended.

RELATED: Learn more about LDG’s comprehensive Planning services

Was there a particularly interesting session or panel you attended?

“Advancing Community and Installation Resilience Through Collaboration and Partnership” focused on how the City of Annapolis, in partnership with Anne Arundel County and NSA Annapolis, utilized a federal grant from the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation to develop a Planning Framework, supporting the City’s efforts to assess, plan, prioritize, and implement resilience strategies and infrastructure projects in support of continued military operations as well as community growth and economic development.

On federal installations, the community infrastructure and services not only protect and preserve military readiness and defense capabilities but also provide safe places for service members and their families to live, work, and play. Defense communities and military installations are interdependent – together, they must plan, design, and finance to successfully shape a resilient future through strong partnerships, shared visions and understanding of vulnerabilities and risks, prioritization of resilience projects, and innovative financing tools.

How can ideas or lessons learned from this conference supplement LDG’s Planning services?

As planners, we are continually learning and developing our skills. Conferences like FPD allow us to hear how our colleagues around the field are addressing some of the same challenges we have on our projects or learn about new initiatives within the federal sector that will become standard practice in the coming years.

Throughout the sessions, we also got ideas on improving our graphics, integrating GIS in new ways, and identifying easy-value-added work products to help our work stand out. Most importantly, it allowed our team to network and establish contacts that have the potential to lead to new work in the future.

 LDG was also proud to be part of two projects that received Annual FTD Training Workshop Awards, which were announced during the conference: the Dover Air Force Base Transportation Management Plan (Outstanding Technical Plan or Study) and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Master Planning Program (Outstanding Federal Planning Program).


Founded in 1986, LDG is an award-winning, employee-owned architecture, engineering, and consulting firm offering full-service capabilities and a national reach. For more than 30 years, we have been providing an extraordinary breadth and depth of value-driven solutions to our diverse client base and investing in the sustainable business practices and innovative technologies that allow us to pursue our shared vision: creatively shaping our world. For more information, visit About – Larson Design Group.