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Members, staff honor life achievements of former executive director

Posted on May 04, 2017

Bill Bowdy, the long-time executive director of the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission—now PDS—passed away last month at the UK Medical Center in Lexington following complications from a stroke. His large and loving family was at his side. He was 83.

“It’s impossible to consider any chapter of this agency’s history without at least mentioning Bill’s involvement,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, Executive Director of PDS. “Planning and zoning in Northern Kentucky is what it is today largely due to his efforts. He cast a long shadow.”

After serving in the Army and completing his college education, Bowdy obtained a master's degree in urban planning from Michigan State University. He used his degree in jobs in Cuyahoga Falls and Akron, Ohio before joining the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission as Assistant Director; he later became the Executive Director. He served the NKAPC for 38 years, 32 of those years as Executive Director.

Among his numerous accolades, honors, and accomplishments, Bowdy served as president of the Kentucky Planning Association from 1976-1980. He was elected the first president of the American Planning Association’s (APA) Kentucky Chapter in 1980 and served until 1984. Later, he was elected President of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the professional standards and certification arm of APA.

Bowdy was chosen a member of AICP’s first class in its College of Fellows, the highest award the organization can bestow. He was invited by the Chinese government to speak on land use issues in the US during his term as AICP President.

“Our profession has lost one of its towering figures,” said Gordon. “Bill was the consummate professional. A planner’s planner. A true Kentucky gentleman. And, a very good friend. He’ll be sorely missed.”