Planning, Development and Research Director

January 17, 2023
Cincinnati, Ohio
Job Type


Metro is seeking an innovative and dynamic leader to become the next planning, development, and research director. The director leads Metro’s policy development and on-the-ground investments that support regional land use and transportation objectives with an ongoing emphasis on equity and climate. With a high level of emotional intelligence, the planning, development and research director represents Metro with integrity and advocates for change that centers on those that have been excluded from decision making in government and other institutions, including BIPOC and other marginalized communities.

The planning, development and research director fulfills Metro’s federal transportation planning and policy responsibilities. As a charter-defined responsibility to manage the region’s urban growth boundary, every six years, the director leads the effort to assess population and employment trends and buildable land within the urban growth boundary and determines if there is a need to expand the boundary to accommodate future growth. The director oversees the development of both short- and long-range transportation investment plans, including the federally required Transportation Improvement Program, the Regional Transportation Plan, and the Unified Planning Work Program as required by federal MPO laws.

With a focus on customer service and employee and community relations, the director supports a department-wide commitment to racial equity. This position develops and maintains relationships with Metro Council, elected officials, advisory boards, state agencies, regional jurisdictions, community-based organizations and community leaders to develop long-range strategic approaches, goals and plans for growth management, transportation and equitable development to address community needs and ensure active involvement in planning processes.

The director reports directly to the chief operating officer, is supported by a deputy director and leads a team of program directors and managers overseeing research, metropolitan transportation planning, equitable development, operations and administration, and communications and engagement. The planning, development and research director is an innovative leader excited by the opportunity to guide growth in a metropolitan area known for its planning. The director understands and embraces the intersection between strategic land use decisions, green spaces and parks, an efficient transportation system, and the planning and investment in equitable development as it relates to climate justice and economic propensity in greater Portland. A strategic thinker with a multidisciplinary approach, the planning, development and research director embraces a collaborative, open problem-solving environment and routinely invites others to share ideas.


At least ten years of progressively responsible leadership and management experience with considerable expertise in land use and transportation planning and forecasting. Prior experience with a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or regional planning organization is ideal. Experience in developing and analyzing public policy is required. A commitment to community engagement and a demonstrated ability to build relationships that support equity work is essential. A bachelor’s degree or any combination of education and experience that provides the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the job duties and responsibilities.

Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they can perform every job description task. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may come from a less traditional background. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and skill set for the role.

Compensation and benefits

The salary range for the planning, development and research director is $154,512 to $224,056 and will depend on the qualifications of the successful candidate. Metro offers an excellent benefits package that is among the best in the region. Full benefit details can be viewed here.

How to apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by Raftelis here. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Open until filled with ongoing review of applications. Please apply as soon as possible.

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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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