Michael Baker International Expands West Region Planning Practice with Strategic Senior Level Hires

Howard Blackson, Shane Burkhardt and Eric Widstrand Join Michael Baker International to Further Elevate Company's Position as a Planning Leader

Irvine, Calif. (September 26, 2014) - Michael Baker International announces the addition of three strategic senior-level hires to support the Company’s initiatives to boost its West Region Planning Practice. Howard Blackson, CNU-A, Senior Urban Designer/Community Planner; Shane Burkhardt, AICP, Planning Manager; and Eric Widstrand, PE, TE, PTOE, Los Angeles Area Active Transportation Manager will continue to showcase the Company as leaders and innovators in planning and design throughout the West region and highlight the firm’s diverse capabilities and expansive portfolio of services.

“We are truly excited to have these new additions to the team,” said Susan Harden, AICP, LEED AP, CNU-A, CMSM, Michael Baker International’s National Practice Lead – Planning. “This is a very exciting time for the company as we venture forward as Michael Baker International. The team is stronger than ever and ready to face our communities’ challenges head-on.”

Howard Blackson, CNU-A

Howard Blackson serves as Senior Urban Design/Community Planner in the San Diego County region and is responsible for the development and leadership of the urban design and community planning program to serve clients throughout the Company’s West Region, including California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

Mr. Blackson brings over 25 years of professional experience in urban and regulatory design from all over the globe. Previously at PlaceMakers, LLC, as Principal and Director of Planning, Blackson was responsible for enabling innovative policies and regulations for municipalities throughout North America. He has managed projects in the United States, South Korea, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, China, Mexico and Canada.

Blackson received his Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin and Master of Arts in Urban Design from the University of Westminster, London, UK. He has 10 Civic Committee appointments and achieved nine awards from various professional organizations, including 2014 American Planning Association San Diego Chapter Award – Urban Design and 2012 Gold Nugget Award Pacific Coast Builders Conference – Judges Special Award of Excellence.

Shane Burkhardt, AICP

​Shane Burkhardt serves as Planning Manager for Michael Baker International’s Irvine office Planning team and a senior lead for the planning practice throughout the west region. Under Burkhardt’s leadership, the Company provides comprehensive and multi-disciplinary urban planning, urban design, economic development and public engagement services to municipal and government clients, as well as the private sector. The Planning Team works effectively with communities to develop creative solutions, unique approaches and comprehensive implementation programs.

Mr. Burkhardt previously served as Planning Manager for CHA Consulting, Inc. and the Director of Planning Services at American Structurepoint, Inc. in Indianapolis, IN. As a private sector planner, Burkhardt has led many successful and national award-winning redevelopment projects including the redevelopment of the area around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the City of Whiting’s Lake Michigan waterfront.

Burkhardt received a master’s in Urban Planning and Development from Ball State University and is the American Planning Association, Chapter Presidents Council, Vice-Chair Elect and the American Planning Association Indiana Chapter, Immediate Past-President. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the American Planning Association 2014 CPC Leadership Award and the APA Indiana Chapter 2010 Hoosier Planning Awards/Outstanding Plan – Whiting Lakefront Development Plan.

Eric Widstrand, PE, TE, PTOE

Eric Widstrand serves as the Active Transportation Manager for Southern California and will support active transportation efforts throughout the Company’s West and Mountain Regions. Widstrand will focus on city and county municipal agencies, LA Metro, SCAG, and other COG’s, as well as develop new business in bicycle and pedestrian planning and design, complete streets policy and design, and related disciplines.

Widstrand has a strong background in transportation, with emphasis on full traffic impact analysis and multi-modal traffic operations. Recent career highlights include serving as City Traffic Engineer and Manager of Traffic Operations at SDOT, Bicycle Master Plan implementation projects in Seattle, WA between 2008 and 2011, and Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project EIR Technical review related to new bridge proposed between Windsor, ON and Detroit, MI.

Mr. Widstrand has over 20 years of experience working on various traffic and transportation projects for both public and private agencies. He possesses a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. He is a registered Professional Engineer in California, Illinois, New York and Washington, as well as a Professional Traffic Operations Engineer and Traffic Engineer in California.

About Michael Baker International, LLC

Michael Baker International, LLC is a leading global provider of engineering and consulting services which includes planning, architectural, environmental, construction, program management, and full life cycle support services as well as information technology and communications services and solutions. Baker provides its comprehensive range of services and solutions in support of U.S. federal, state, and municipal governments, foreign allied governments, and a wide range of commercial clients. With over $1 billion in annual revenue, Michael Baker International has more than 5,000 employees in over 90 offices located across the U.S. and internationally, and is ranked as the 26th largest design firm in the U.S. by McGraw Hill’s Engineering News-Record. To learn more about Michael Baker International visit: www.mbakerintl.com.


For more information contact us at media@mbakerintl.com or 866-293-4609.

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