MURPAA Board Members

As of August 2017, the current MURPAA board members are:

  • President: Eugene Howard, AICP, Urban Planner, City and County of Denver
  • Vice President: Brandon Shaver, Urban Planner, City and County of Denver
  • Treasurer: Ryan Mulligan, Lead Transportation Planner, WSP USA
  • Secretary: Jennifer Hillhouse, Project Manager II, City and County of Denver
  • Constituent Representative to the CU Denver Alumni Association: Jason Morrison, Urban Planner, City and County of Denver
  • At-large Member: Anthony Stamper, MPA, MURP, Public Health Manager, City and County of Denver
  • At-Large Member: Fritz Clauson, Project Manager & Planner, Urban Interactive Studio
  • MURP Faculty Liaison: Carrie Makarewicz, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Denver
  • CU Denver Alumni Association Representative: Julie Mullin, Director of Alumni Relations, University of Colorado Denver

Eugene D. Howard, AICP – MURP 2013
President
Urban Planner, City and County of Denver

What have you been up to since finishing the MURP program?
Since graduating from CU Denver, I spent two years working on transit, transportation and mobility in Douglas County. While there, I focused on providing transportation services for vulnerable populations, including seniors, persons with physical and mental disabilities, and lower income individuals. I learned a great deal about the needs of diverse populations in mountain, rural and suburban communities, and had the great pleasure of working with peers in local jurisdictions, non-profit organizations and regional transportation organizations. For someone who imagined working in Denver right out of school, this was an overwhelmingly satisfying opportunity that exposed me to the needs of suburban communities.

After a successful stint in Douglas County, I was presented with the opportunity of working for the City and County of Denver. Being a Denver resident living within close proximity to downtown, this was a chance to serve the city that love and call home. I joined the Planning Services staff in the Spring of 2016 and have been enjoying my work on citywide, neighborhood and special projects. I revel in community engagement and thoroughly enjoy our work in shaping the future vision for the city through the help and guidance of our citizens and stakeholders.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments?
First and foremost is the love and support of my life partner, children and family. Throughout my childhood, I wanted nothing more than to live my version of the “American Dream,” and I am thankful every single day that I have been granted that wish.

Professionally, I am happy to have become a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, having secured my accreditation in 2017. I also view my time in Douglas County as a great accomplishment, having successfully resumed transportation services for those in need while also increasing Local, State and Federal grant program funding. Currently, I find success in strengthening trust and relationship between the City and County of Denver and the residents we are employed to serve. Being greeted with a smile or a hug from members of the community brings me the greatest joy, and the reassurance that planning is the career for me.

What would you say to prospective students considering the University of Colorado Denver MURP program?
Go for it! Serving the needs of citizens is one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding careers I can think of. We get to be visionaries, problem-solvers, solution seekers and participants in our future. It may be a slow process that takes time and resources, but in the end, I believe the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Don’t sit on the sidelines, jump in! No matter your areas of interest, you can make a difference and CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning programs are among the best!

Brandon Shaver, – MURP 2014
Vice President
Planner, City and County of Denver

What have you been up to since you finished the MURP program?
After graduating from CU-Denver, I spent two years working for local firms specializing in land use economics and the creation of special taxing districts. This experience gave me new insight at the local level and ultimately became a stepping stone for my current position at the City and County of Denver.

As part of Denver’s Citywide Planning team, I focus on comprehensive planning and plan implementation. This work includes updates to the zoning code, zoning map, and the approval of comprehensive signage plans in the downtown area. Currently, my biggest undertaking involves being a part of the team to update Blueprint Denver, an integrated land use and transportation plan, that will provide policy direction to strategically guide growth and ensure that Denver remains a livable, diverse and inclusive city for the next 20 years.

In what ways has your MURP degree had an impact on your career and who you are today?
My MURP degree has had a profound impact on both my career and who I am today. The MURP program opened my eyes to key processes, policies and community relationships that are necessary to create and shape an urban environment that allows us to thrive. The MURP program contributed not only to my knowledge and understanding of the importance of planning, but it also showed me how to relay that information to residents from different backgrounds and experiences.

Do you have a favorite story about your time at CU Denver?
My favorite memory from CU Denver is my first day of the program. I was impressed by the diverse educational backgrounds of my cohort and the stories that led them to Denver to study planning.

What would you say to a prospective student that is considering a University of Colorado MURP degree?
While talking to prospective students, I would emphasize the quality and professionalism of the faculty, and the close attention and advice they offer each student. Additionally, the location of the campus, and the city itself, offer the perfect urban laboratory to explore the many facets of planning.

Ryan Mulligan, – MURP 2009
Treasurer
Lead Transportation Planner, WSP USA

What have you been up to since you finished the MURP Program?
I recently became the Lead Transportation Planner at WSP’s Denver office after spending 10 years with Jacobs on the FasTracks program where I served as the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Liaison on the EAGLE Project. I also assisted RTD in risk management and grant writing efforts

While I was with Jacobs, I also helped co-lead the City and county of Denver’s United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Smart City Challenge application in 2016. In my new role with WSP, I’ll be working across various planning projects while also building upon my work with Denver and USDOT to deploy smart city projects across the country.

In what ways has your MURP degree had an impact on your career and who you are today?
My CU MURP degree helped me understand the multiple forces at play in the planning process while simultaneously juggling varying viewpoints and perspectives. My interest in transit planning (and subsequent work) was born from classes through my degree. It also helped reinforce the idea that to be a successful planner, you must be multi-talented and ready to juggle several tasks at once. Being good at just one thing isn’t good enough. I’ve worked hard to become a “swiss army knife” around the office, ready to tackle just about any task that needs to be completed.

What would you say to a prospective student that is considering a University of Colorado MURP degree?
I’d recommend pursuing your passion in the Planning space, regardless of what it is, as hard as you can. A MURP degree (and subsequent career in Planning) is what you make of it. Do whatever you can to get your name out there. Go to networking sessions, join advocacy groups, do whatever you can to make yourself an expert in your passion. READ. Own your passion. Planning professors and planning professionals will recognize this passion and it’ll make you memorable. A MURP degree, paired with your interests and expertise in the Planning space, will set you apart.

Jennifer Hillhouse, ‘05
Secretary
Urban Planner, City and County of Denver

What have you been up to since you finished the MURP program?
After graduating from CU-Denver, I spent 3 years working as a Planner for URS Corporation. URS gave me the opportunity to work on a variety of projects including transit planning, flood hazard management, land use, energy, historic preservation, and NEPA.In 2008, I accepted a position with the City and County of Denver and for the past 9+ years I’ve contributed to and led several complex projects including the overall management and coordination of the City of Denver’s participation and coordination of the RTD FasTracks $5B rail expansion program, National Western Master Plan, and a $300M storm water management program in northeast Denver.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments?
It is great to see the work I do influence the quality of life in a City that I know and love. In the 9 years that I have worked for the City of Denver I have had the opportunity to work on small and large scale projects that have a positive impact on the built environment. Denver has transformed into a state of the art city and it is great to be part of it.

What would you say to a prospective student that is considering a University of Colorado MURP degree?
If planning is your passion, the MURP degree will give you a breadth of understanding and technical experience that is needed to advance your career. The College sits in the heart of the City, providing a unique opportunity to work on real world planning issues as well as the opportunity to collaborate with City leaders.

Jason Morrison,  MURP 2013
Constituent Representative to the CU Denver Alumni Association
Planner at City and County of Denver

What have you been up to since you finished the MURP program?
After graduation from the MURP Program, I worked briefly at a land planning consulting firm in east Denver and then transitioned to a planner position with the Town of Parker in Parker, Colorado. Both positions afforded me the opportunity to build and maintain effective relationships with elected and appointed officials, staff and neighborhood representatives and business owners in the surrounding community.

In 2014 I accepted a position at Norris Design in Denver as a Land Planner. Norris Design is a multidisciplinary firm that focuses on land planning, landscape architecture, graphic design, and project promotion. In this role, I provided support on a variety of planning, entitlement, and rezoning projects in the Denver Metropolitan Area. I was responsible for researching and maintaining knowledge of current land development procedures as well as zoning codes/regulations of multiple municipalities and their application to traditional and innovative design projects and proposed developments. I was also able to vastly improve my graphic design skills through the production of maps, graphics, and other supporting material for various residential, commercial, and office project submittals.

Currently, I am a planner with the City and County of Denver in the department of Community Planning and Development. My emphasis is on citywide and neighborhood-scale planning initiatives with a specific focus on Denver’s Neighborhood Planning Initiative. This initiative is a long-term commitment to ensure that every corner of the city can enjoy the benefits of area plan.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments?
Throughout my professional career, I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to pursue many of my career goals and aspirations. I consider it a privilege to have held numerous internship and planning positions throughout the metro area in both the public and private sector. These opportunities, along with the strong relationships I have forged with community members and various stakeholders, have made me the planner I am today and I am very proud of what I have accomplished. Those accomplishments include graduating from the University of Colorado – Boulder, with two degrees and then the University of Colorado – Denver, with my MURP degree some years later.

Perhaps most important to me is my continued ability to find ways to maintain my outreach and education to the youth in community. In addition to volunteering for Habitat for Humanity for that last nine years as well as volunteering as a youth baseball coach with Denver Parks and Recreation for five years, I have volunteered at an annual event called Box City. Box City is a free event for children — grades K-5 — where they learn about the process of urban development and the principles that make for sound architecture, design and planning. Like all of us in the planning profession, these children hear the news and read the stories pertaining to Denver’s growth and witness the transformative forces shaping our city. Many of their creations reflected this phenomenon and it has been an honor to chair this event and guide a new generation of planners.

My most recent accomplishment was receiving my AICP certification last fall. This had been a goal of mine since entering the MURP program back in 2011 and I am very excited to check this off the list!

How did you become interested in your field?
If you were to ask my family and my friends how I became interested in the planning profession they would fill your head with childhood stories about my fascination with SimCity, Legos and anything with wheels (including my overwhelmingly large collection of Matchbox Cars and Trucks). That is the short version. The longer version is that, as a native of Denver, I recognized early on in my career the importance of sustainable urban design in a rapidly growing build environment. Upon this realization, I developed a passion to help lead communities towards sustainable futures through the revitalization of the urban fabric and the preservation of the natural environment. As noted previously, a variety of multidisciplinary internships helped me narrow down my focus and my path became more defined.

What would you say to a prospective student that is considering a University of Colorado MURP degree?
The MURP program is both a great program and a unique program in my eyes. Although I looked at other programs across the United States, I felt at the time (and still believe to be true now) that CU Denver’s location and the MURP faculty was the program’s best assets. Although as a Colorado Native I am obviously somewhat biased, I truly believe that you can’t beat the location of CU Denver – in the heart of a rapidly growing and changing urban environment and, let’s be honest, the quality of life out here is second to none. I loved that each course in the program had some real-world component and each week we found ourselves out in the playground that was Downtown Denver. In addition, the exemplary faculty of the MURP program helped to cultivate a culture of critical thinking and teamwork on a daily basis which has proved to be a vital skill to have as my career progresses. Many of the interpersonal and technical skills I possess today are a direct result of the time I spent with both faculty and industry professionals during my time in the program.

Whether you are a native of Denver or a transplant to the area, I would encourage prospective students to research everything there is about the MURP program and the city of Denver as a whole. I think it is critical that you step out of your comfort zone and take an instructor to coffee or send an email to a faculty member with your questions. I have found that, above all, much of who I am today and what I have achieved as a planner is due in large part to my ability to network and meet as many people as I can in my surrounding environment. I am still very close to many of these people and enjoy the close professional relationship that have developed as a result.

Anthony E Stamper, – MURP 2009
At Large Member
Public Health Manager, Denver Department of Environmental Health

What have you been up to since you finished the MURP program?
After receiving mu MURP degree, I continued my duties as the Fiscal Officer of the Ryan White Part A Program for the Denver Office of HIV Resources (DOHR), Denver Environmental Health. I was responsible for the fiscal administration of the Ryan White Part A and Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) grants which included: 1) preparing, executing, and auditing all Ryan White Part A sub-grantee Memoranda of Understanding; 2) monitored invoice processing and oversaw disbursement of payment to sub-recipients; 3) provided invoice analysis and payment tracking information to meet all federally-mandated fiscal reporting requirements; and 4) provided fiscal technical assistance to sub-grantees to ensure compliance with the Part A and MAI Conditions of Award.

In October 2014, I was promoted to the Public Health Manager of the Denver Office of HIV Resources. I perform professional and supervisory work over program staff, provide leadership, program direction, and long-range and short-term planning for the office. I am also responsible for preparing the Part A and MAI funding agreements to present to the Denver City Council and Mayor for cooperative agreement contract approval. As the Public Health Manager, I manage the approximately $8 million/year Ryan Part A and MAI grants and I’m responsible for the day-to-day operations of DOHR and its staff.

In 2015 I was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to represent the Denver Metropolitan Area on the Colorado Alliance for HIV Prevention, Care and Treatment which advises, informs and closely consults with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) about issues, trends, needs, policy, and resources pertaining to HIVIAIDS throughout the State of Colorado. I was a fellow with the Regional Institute for Health & Environmental Leadership’s (RIHEL) Advanced Leadership Training Program Class of 2016. I am a past member of the American Planning Association (APA) and a current member of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Colorado Public Health Association (CPHA).

In what ways has your MURP degree had an impact on your career and who you are today?
My MURP degree has greatly enhanced my MPA degree and my professional career through my understanding of how government and policy planning work in shaping our urban settings vis-à-vis public health. Most importantly, the MURP program helped grow my understanding of community development, community input, and social justice issues. As the manager of the federal Ryan White Part A program which provides care and treatment services for people with HIV in the Denver Metro area, I am charged with making sure people with HIV have a voice and direct say in the implementation of the program via community needs assessments, focus groups, and seats on the program’s policy setting body—the Denver HIV Resources Planning Council.

What would you say to a prospective student that is considering a University of Colorado MURP degree?
In my professional career as a Public Health Manager with the City & County of Denver, I’ve found the knowledge I received through the MURP program to be very useful in my administration of the approximately $8 million/year federal grant for people with HIV in the Denver Metro Area. While we might not all agree about housing density, parking standards, building heights, downtown-vs-suburban development, or the location of a bicycle trail, health is a common denominator. When I can relate/understand how public health is impacted by planning decisions, I have an advantage over my public health colleagues when we’re developing policies. Incorporating the impacts of planning decisions into the public health conversation is a great opportunity to broaden the scope of improving public health in the City & County of Denver.

Carrie Makarewicz
MURP Faculty Liaison
Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Denver

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Planning & Design in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver. My research focuses on community and economic development, and the consequences for human development and well-being. Specific studies in this area include the impact of urban systems on parent engagement and school quality; strategies to include equity in transit developments; estimating transportation costs for households; national policy on surface, rail and air connectivity; and business location decisions. I am currently conducting research on long-term household recovery from the 2013 Colorado floods and am engaged in ongoing studies on the interaction between urban systems and parent engagement, neighborhood sustainability strategies, and the concept of location efficiency.

What is the most important issue you believe the planning profession should be focusing on for the future, and why?

The most important issues are the accessibility, quality, and affordability of public goods. Current policy is betting on “choice” and the market as ways to increase access to better schools, better neighborhoods, and better housing, but the market is not sufficient. Most low-income households cannot access high-performing schools or quality housing in safe neighborhoods, even with school choice and housing choice programs.