2022 Distinguished Contribution to the Chapter: Devan Leavins

Devan Leavins has been an active member of APA Florida since he served as the Young Planners Group Ambassador for the Capital Area Section in 2013 and was subsequently elected as Vice Chair of the Capital Area Section in 2015. He served for several terms as the APA Florida Capital Area Section Chair and continues to be an active member in the organization, now as Immediate Past Chair, imparting his wisdom and experience on the current board when needed.

What is noteworthy is the tasks Devan is willing to take on. No job is too big or too small. He always makes himself available to help, whether that’s providing technical assistance to the Chapter Office in running the Public Policy Workshop or coordinating mobile tour events. Furthermore, Devan is innovative and offers creative solutions to unique situations. One such example was during the 2021 APA Florida Public Policy Workshop. Historically there is a mobile tour the afternoon before to welcome guests to the section. COVID had derailed holding the workshop in person. Devan came up with the creative idea of doing a “virtual mobile workshop” to promote initiatives around the section, not just strictly in Tallahassee and with his help, this tour came to fruition and was extremely successful.

He’s also active at the state level, connecting with other APA Florida section members and presenting at APA Florida conferences as a speaker, panelist, or workshop instructor. He was one of the originators of the chapter’s newly created CPAT outreach effort. Devan has also put in a lot of effort to build connections between APA Florida and other professional organizations like the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He helps to build the APA Florida organization by strengthening networks and building upon opportunities where we have shared interests.

As Jeremy Floyd, ASLA Florida Chapter board member said in his letter of support: "I’ve seen first-hand what energy Devan brings to APA Florida. He helps to make events happen and can get you in touch with the right people and resources to see things through. I also know that when we join forces across disciplines, we really get our message across and help to build connections. …. My point in this letter of support is to let you know what a great advocate and resource you have in Devan Leavins at APA Florida. We can see it as an outside organization and hope that you recognize his value to the chapter as well."

Devan also contributes to the planning profession through his work. Over the past year, Devan has led a team of planners to engage in a new participatory planning process on Tallahassee’s Southside that engaged community members that had previously not been a part of planning processes. In addition, Devan has volunteered his time to community leaders and groups initiating rural placemaking in Miccosukee and the Fort Braden Community, just outside of Tallahassee. He has been an invited presenter and community organizer to help citizen-led groups identify priorities and implement changes to promote placemaking, such as community workdays and a rural farmers market. Devan is known for connecting people and opportunities to bring out the best in planning leaders and making planning ideas come to life.