Celebrating 8 Years of Planning at B&A


It’s a special week for Senior Planners Nancy Sanborn and Daniel MacGregor as they both celebrate their 8-year anniversaries at B&A Planning Group. It’s a significant milestone worthy of acknowledgement says Managing Partner Kathy Oberg, especially as we continue to work remotely.

“The Partners are proud to see our staff challenge themselves and grow with the company, and we are particularly proud to see Dan and Nancy reach eight years with the company. Their hard work is reflected in communities and developments throughout western Canada, which is incredible to think about, and although we can’t celebrate them in person in our customary kitchen gatherings, we’re thrilled to honour their achievements from our home offices.”

Nancy joined B&A in 2013 after completing her Master of Planning at the University of Calgary. This was her first professional planning role out of school.

With an honours bachelor’s degree in Community Design at Dalhousie University under his belt, Dan worked in his native Nova Scotia and Melbourne, Australia before eventually moving west to a position at the City of Edmonton. Dan later joined B&A in March 2013.

Eight years later, we asked Dan and Nancy to reflect on their careers and time at B&A.

 

Why planning?

  • Nancy (N): I enjoy the interdisciplinary nature of the work and the consideration of many different factors (environmental, social, economic, political etc.) when developing a plan. It also means a lot to know your plans can make a positive impact on people’s daily lives.
  • Dan (D): Lego and Sim City, of course! I also have a general love and curiosity of cities and enjoy travelling for this reason.

 

Have you developed a particular niche as you have grown your planning career?

 

  • N: I have worked with a lot of municipalities throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan, so in ways my specialty has become my adaptability. I take my experience and learnings with me on different projects with different municipalities and have increased my skill set in the process.
  • D: I tend to enjoy the technical side of things, which is how I earned the nickname ‘DP-Dan.’ I help a lot of clients with their Development Permits. If I wasn’t a planner I often wonder if I would be an engineer.

 

What is one of your favourite projects to-date?

  • N: The Southeast Regina Neighbourhood Plan- it was a large plan area that included multiple landowners and developers, had a number of interesting and complex planning considerations, and included an extensive public engagement process. Everyone was able to work together to create a plan that received accolades from Council when approved.
  • D: There are many! It has been interesting to see Shawnee Park transform from an initial conceptual plan for a former golf course into a developing community where people are now living. Pretty cool and rewarding to be a part of it through those stages. Other highlights are The Hub Student Residence and WestMount South, and the work we’re doing on our TC Energy projects.

 

What do you enjoy most about planning?

  • N: No two projects are the same- while general processes can be similar, each site is unique and brings its own opportunities and challenges. I get to interact and work with so many different stakeholders and I am always learning something new.
  • D: I enjoy starting with a vision for a piece of land and helping it evolve through various challenges to become a reality.

 

What do you enjoy most about working at B&A?

  • N: The people! I enjoy coming to work every day (or at least I did before Covid, now I see the team online). I also enjoy working on a variety of projects at different planning levels and across municipalities.
  • D: The people, of course!  We have a great, talented, and supportive team. Also, the wide variety of projects in many different localities we get the opportunity to be involved with – every project is different.

 

After eight years in the industry, do you have any advice about this field of work?

  • N: Communication and working as a team is key.
  • D: Don’t be shy – ask questions, make suggestions, push for what you believe is right.  At the same time, be adaptable and be open to compromise. Always remember the goal is ultimately the same for everyone: to create a great and successful development.

 

What is a little-known fact about you or your career?

  • N: I have skied at 20 different resorts (including Utah, Wyoming, and Japan) since my husband made me learn to ski when I was 21.
  • D: I worked in restaurant kitchens for several years, at places such as “Your Father’s Moustache,” while going through university in Halifax (my hometown).  And I worked as a Planner in Melbourne, Australia for a year.

 

What do you like to do with your time outside of work?

  • N: Explore in the mountains (hike, bike, ski) with my husband, two-year-old son, and dog.
  • D: I enjoy cycling, skiing, hiking, exploring, travelling (when we can do that again), and spending time with my girlfriend Jenn and my cat Mindy.