Meet the 2020 Florida Class of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP)

By Allison D. Megrath, AICP

APA Florida Professional Development Officer


The highest honor that the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) grants a member is election into the College of Fellows.  Fellowship is bestowed to planners who have provided outstanding contributions to the profession for an extended period of time and have been a member of the AICP in good standing for a minimum of 15 years.   Those nominated have demonstrated excellence in professional practice, teaching and mentoring, research, public and community service, and leadership. These planners exhibit exceptional leadership, innovation and excellence, creating a legacy for their community, and exceptional accomplishments in planning over the extent of their careers.  Recognition of these professionals as model planners who have made significant contributions to planning and society is shown by the AICP by elevating them among their peers and the public by inducting them into the College of Fellows.

On March 2, 2020, the APA Florida Chapter was notified that all four of their nominees as well as two planners supported by either the nomination of ten AICP planners* or the APA Private Practice Division** were selected to be inducted into the College of Fellows this year.

On behalf of APA Florida and your colleagues in Florida and elsewhere, thank you, Florida Class of 2020, for inspiring us to do better, to contribute more, and to advance planning as a profession and within our communities by leading by example.  


Let’s learn more about the exceptional qualifications of the 2020 Florida Class of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Alissa Torres FAICP


Alissa Barber Torres, PhD, AICP, CLTD has dedicated her 25-year career to planning practice, planning education, professional and community service, and leadership, including extensive service to the profession at the local, state, and national levels. Her exceptional commitment to students and emerging planners includes teaching at two Florida universities, volunteer service, mentoring, and outreach to underserved K-12 students of color. Dr. Torres’ professional experience, academic contributions, focus on inclusivity and equity for underserved communities, and planning projects in Orange County, Florida, have supported the practice of planning and generations of planners in Central Florida and enhanced the community’s development, facilities, and quality of life.

Henry Bittaker, FAICP


Henry Bittaker spent his 28-year public service planning career at the state and regional levels overseeing Florida’s complex, often controversial, largest development projects and addressing environmental, water resource, emergency management and Everglades Restoration planning issues that required extensive interagency, public, and private sector coordination. Through much of that time, he also maintained an extensive volunteer commitment to the planning profession, particularly in professional development. He has continued that volunteer commitment since retiring in 2011 with award winning AICP Exam prep activities and a wide range of APA activities at the national, state, and section levels.

Alan Reynolds FAICP


Alan Reynolds has focused his planning career on three primary areas of interest: 

  • Planning and designing communities in Southwest Florida to sensitively and successfully integrate natural and manmade environments and leverage development activities to preserve significant habitats and water resources. 
  • Leading and growing planning capacity and capabilities by hiring, training, managing and mentoring planning staff at companies where he has served as the Planning Director, CEO and Planning Discipline Leader. 
  • Engagement as a leader within professional, governmental, non-governmental and charitable organizations in Florida where his planning expertise, consensus-building and problem-solving skills can positively impact community needs through education, advocacy and action.

Stephen Tocknell FAICP


Working with elected officials, engineers, stakeholders, and citizens - in Tennessee, Florida, and nationally - Stephen Tocknell has served with distinction as an advocate, practitioner, leader, and mentor. Steve helped start a transit system in Clarksville. He has made traffic sheds into an effective tool for growth management in Tennessee, and context sensitive design into a method for saving lives in Jacksonville. Steve has been the APA TN Chapter President, CPC Liaison to the Legislative and Policy Committee, Chair of a Section of the Year in Florida, and PPD Vice Chair. Steve was co-editor of the Policy Guide on Security.

Paul Van Buskirk FAICP


Dr. Paul Van Buskirk is an accomplished engineer, strategic community planner, educator and author. He is a graduate of Rensselear Polytechnic Institute and received his PhD form Barry University of Miami. He is the author of book, "The Resurrection of an American City" and a contributing author of the book, “"School Board Effectiveness." George Mason University selected his series of essays, "European Nations are Solving Their Urban Problems" for inclusion into the Baum Digital Collection. He is the recipient of the Charles Evans Hughes Award from the American Society for Public Administration for, courageous, resourceful and imaginative work in municipal government and its future development. He is chairman of the Board of Metro Forecasting Models, LLC.

Silvia Vargas FAICP


During the course of her outstanding 26-year career, Silvia Vargas’ enduring commitment to social equity and inclusion has empowered disenfranchised populations and inspired individuals to engage in the civic process. Her groundbreaking plans have transformed communities across the U.S and abroad through innovative approaches, actionable outcomes, and leading-edge user-friendly plan formats. Silvia’s contributions as a planning practitioner, leader, mentor and volunteer embody dedication to the profession and consistently demonstrate work of the highest caliber that has positively influenced communities and populations, leading to successful outcomes. Silvia’s extensive volunteer efforts have built on her personal guiding principles of equity and inclusion.