Thank you to everyone who attended and/or presented at the Joint Conference in October! Needless to say, the conference was a huge success!

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It all started with an email with “Howdy Y’all” in the subject line. Thus was born the multi-state Cross Chapter Collaborative Conference or APAC3 for short. As every APA chapter wrestled with holding a conference in the age of Corona Virus, we realized that technology could provide opportunity. Our friends in the Texas Chapter contacted their border states and together, we realized that via the power of live streaming, conferences could transcend state lines. New Mexico APA, together with our partners in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, and Louisiana started meeting regularly to conceptualize how a multi-state virtual conference could take place. What followed was a remarkable effort of collaboration between our states.

The 2020 multi-chapter conference gathered a critical set of planning tools and resources for those who were fortunate to attend. The virtual forum was a pivot for reframing the pandemic into a set of solvable, albeit wicked, planning problems. Sessions topics varied widely, ranging from crisis mitigation techniques, incrementalism, and resilience to foundations of shared knowledge; from established institutional standards to recent trends and data methodologies; from collective information processing to concrete implementation methodologies and informal professional networks. Some highlights stood out:

Technical Adaptation: Simply in its successful virtual execution, the 2020 multi-state conference provided an opportunity to showcase emerging, critical planning keystones. The need for virtual gathering spaces and communications platforms and procedures propagated a wealth of creative, technical advances. This silver lining allowed New Mexico planners to join with our colleagues and neighbors from diverse geographic origins, as we examined issues relating to COVID-19 as well as non-pandemic planning matters.

Name Dropping: With an opening presentation by Gil Penalosa, a close from Mitch Silver, and range of thoughtful and provocative sessions in between, cyberspace was rife with inspiration, innovation, and sage experience. A variety of Southwestern planning celebrities, students, and everyday planners were on tap to discuss and present on all current things planning.

New Mexico Presenters: James Kolberg (MRCOG), Kendra Montanari (MRCOG), Nathan Masek (MRCOG), and Tara Cok (MRCOG), Rosemary Dudley (Sites Southwest), Samantha Mendez (Village of Ruidoso), Timothy Dodge (Village of Ruidoso), Phyllis Taylor (Sites Southwest), Kizito Wijenje (Albuquerque Public Schools), Elizabeth Halpin (past Albuquerque Public Schools), Alex Ochoa (Village of Los Lunas), Erin Callahan (Village of Los Lunas), joni m palmer (UNM), Lucy Gent Foma (Santa Fe County), James Foty (Groundwork Studio), AnnaLinden Weller (EMNRD), Paul Sittig (NMDOT).

Revenues: This was the most lucrative conference in NM history, with earnings close to $20,000, thanks to the savvy financial management skills of APA-NM Treasurer Tom Menicucci. An effective MOU with our generous partners in Texas and their ability to leverage participants, partners, sponsors, and funding led to increased revenues.

Universality and Networking: While virtual sessions were an opportunity for planners to learn and multi-task conference sessions with work priorities, virtual happy hours and the awards presentation allowed our communities much needed down-time. The Kansas-New Mexico happy hour was capped with some virtual night caps and quaran-tinis while APA-NM President John Valdez’s and APA-NM Conference Chair Merideth Hildreth’s articulately announced the 2020 New Mexico planning awards and winners.