During the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (APA) 2020 Annual Awards ceremony, the Brandywine Conservancy’s John Theilacker, AICP Certified Planner, won the APA’s esteemed “Award for a Leader — Professional Planner.

With a 37-year career of planning work at the local level in both the public and private sectors, Theilacker has spent 22 of those years working at the Brandywine Conservancy. During his time at the Brandywine, as an associate director, Theilacker has helped Pennsylvania municipalities develop innovative conservation and land use practices to protect and enhance natural resources and support community resilience. A leader in the planning community, he has also served as a volunteer member of the West Chester Borough Planning Commission for a number of years, including as the chair of the commission.

“It’s been my pleasure working with John on planning efforts in Chester County for many years,” said Carol J. Stauffer, AICP, Assistant Director of the Chester County Planning Commission. “John is greatly deserving of this recognition for his dedication to protecting the environment, natural resources and open space through excellent planning in Chester County and all of Pennsylvania. I was honored to submit the nomination for the APA-PA Professional Planner Leadership award on the behalf of the Chester County Planning Commission.”

“We are truly thrilled for John and the well-deserved recognition he has received for his decades of expertise, service and leadership in this field,” noted Ellen Ferretti, Director of the Brandywine Conservancy. “Coupled with the recent recognition he received from WeConservePA earlier this year, as well as a mayoral citation of recognition and key to the borough of West Chester in 2019, John’s legacy speaks for itself. It has been a personal and professional honor to work with John at Brandywine.”

A certified planner and recognized expert in transfer of development rights (TDR), Theilacker has co-authored 12 planning guides for WeConservePA (formerly known as the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association) on topics including TDR, riparian buffers, zoning for solar and wind energy, and traditional neighborhood development. Theilacker is active in educating municipal officials and has done presentations at the local, state and national levels. He has also presented at numerous conferences including the American Planning Association National Conference, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Conference, and several Land Trust Alliance National Conferences and Pennsylvania Land Conservation Conferences.