Cynthia Bowen is an REA Principal and the Director of Planning, leading the firm’s technical oversight and development of planning services. Cynthia is a graduate of Ball State University’s Urban Planning program and is a certified planner with tremendous public facilitation, and policy-oriented experience. Cynthia has extensive knowledge regarding community input, facilitation, and developing consensus and experience from her involvement in land use plans, transportation plans, corridor plans, neighborhood plans, and downtown plans. She has facilitated numerous meetings, implemented techniques to identify issues and gain consensus; and presented at numerous national and local conferences on this topic. Cynthia has worked with many organizations and neighborhoods to develop strategic organization plans and neighborhood focused image plans.
She is currently serving as the American Planning Associations (APA) National President and previously led the Board of Directors. The American Planning Association provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in community planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment, and providing the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change.
Cynthia started her career in a small firm in Chicago in 1996 and after more than two years, she moved into the engineering world working for two large engineering firms leading large, high profile multi-discipline work for more than 17 years. Cynthia has expertise in land use planning, neighborhood and subarea planning, corridor and transportation planning, standards and regulations, public participation, and the development of implementation strategies. While working for one engineering firm, Cynthia served as project manager for various types of projects, from US based to overseas, including large multi-discipline projects to small on-call planning service projects. She has a diverse portfolio of international work.
Cynthia brings tremendous experience in writing grants to REA. She has access to and understands federal and state grant structures, changes in the granting programs and the criteria and requirements to submit for various types of grants. She has assisted clients in securing grants from both the state and federal governments. She is particularly versed in planning grants, Department of Transportation grants (DOT) and the Economic Development Authority grants (EDA). She has prepared several Tiger Grants and two economic development authority grants to complete capital improvement projects with three different clients. She has managed seven projects with planning grants (OCRA) and one project with EDA grant and one project with a brownfield grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Cynthia is recognized for her commitment to planning, leadership skills and knowledge of planning. This includes working on APA Committee’s to address planning issues and promoting how to create communities of lasting value around the world. Cynthia has served on APA’s Membership, Governance Policy and Legislative, and Audit committees, chair of Leadership Task Force, and Executive Committee. She has been both the Secretary and Treasurer of the Board.