By John Valdez, AICP, APA-NM President
What were you doing on March 9, 2020? I was having a conversation with a colleague about our upcoming March Madness pool when our director walked down the hall telling us to pack up our computers because we were locking down. Shortly thereafter, our IT people were making sure we had NetExtender properly installed while passing mouse batteries into our hands. It was surreal but surely, we would be back in a couple of weeks, right?
When presented with the new world of COVID-19, planners did what they do best. They used the creative and adaptive skills the profession requires and re-imagined ways to engage our public. We went virtual in almost every aspect of our jobs from sitting in public hearings from our home offices to utilizing surveys to obtain project input. For those of us who work around the state or region, we found we could attend meetings in Las Cruces, Farmington, and Clovis all in the same day. We attended conferences and talks from our computers, tablets, and phones. In short, we kept planning.