Speaking Engagements

Trained not only as an urban planner, but also as a journalist, Jim Schwab has always seen effective communication as central to the role of an effective planning professional. In addition to an extensive list of publications, Jim has appeared frequently on conference panels, as a keynote speaker, in news media interviews, and in other forums where he has advocated and advanced the role of planning in addressing natural hazards and other environmental and urban issues. He is now available as an independent and highly articulate public speaker for conferences, college lecture series, and many other venues. He is represented in this capacity by Deene Alongi, formerly the Conferences and Meetings Director for APA, who is now engaged independently as a speaker representative.

American Planning Association’s North Carolina chapter annual conference 2019.

On October 9, 2019, Jim served as the keynote speaker for the American Planning Association’s North Carolina chapter annual conference, at the Wilmington Convention Center, in Wilmington. His topic was “High Winds, High Water, High Resilience.” He discussed the vision of communities adapting successfully to climate change and disaster threats and outlined the evolution of planners’ involvement in these issues over the past 25 years. Nearly 400 people attended the presentation.

For potential engagements involving Jim, contact Deene at: [email protected]

“Upcoming Presentations

September 8, 2023: Moderator/Panelist, “Coastal Resilience Planning for Small Islands,” Florida Chapter Conference, American Planning Association, Jacksonville, 9:45-10;45 a.m. EDT.   

Recent Presentations

April 6, 2023: Panelist, Larry Larson Speaker Series, Association of State Floodplain Managers, Legacy Lodge and Conference Center, Lake Lanier, Georgia, 9 a.m. EDT. This event is open and free to the public, but the hosting Georgia Association for Floodplain Management Conference requires registration. 

May 1, 2022: Presenter, “Change Your Community with Post-Disaster Buyouts,” workshop at APA National Planning Conference, San Diego

2020 Presentations 

  • March 5: Panelist, “Blown Away by the High Cost of Replacement Housing,” 2020 Nebraska Annual Planning Conference, Kearney
  • March 11: Co-presenter, “Are You Ready for the Disaster Recovery Reform Act? “, Illinois Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Management Annual Conference, Tinley Park
  • May 7: Co-presenter, “A Planner’s Response: Hazard Mitigation,” webinar hosted by APA Michigan Chapter
  • June 17: Lead Speaker, “When Waters Rise in a Pandemic,” webinar hosted by Greater New Orleans Foundation
  • June 18: Lead Speaker, “Planning on Tap: Hazard Mitigation,” Zoom discussion hosted by APA Iowa Chapter
  • October 13: Opening presenter and moderator, Making Mitigation Work webinar hosted by Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado

2019 Presentations

  • February 22:  Lecture for Florida Atlantic University, held at Downtown Development Authority, West Palm Beach, FL
  • APA 2018 National Planning Conference (San Francisco, April 13-16):
    • April 13: Cohesive Wildfire Strategies: A Big Tent – 1:00 – 2:15 PM
    • April 15: The Extra Mile in Drought Planning – 10:15 -11:30 AM
    • April 15: Building Coastal Resilience Through Infrastructure Planning – 4:15 – 5:30 PM
  • May 16: Workshop at Manitoba Planning Conference, Brandon, Manitoba: “Planning Systems for Natural Hazard Risk Reduction”
  • May 17: Keynote at Manitoba Planning Conference, Brandon, Manitoba: “Who Integrated My Cheese? Achieving Resilience Through Holistic Planning”
  • September 27: Panelist on Planning for Disaster Recovery, Illinois APA Conference, Evanston
  • October 9: Keynote at North Carolina APA Conference, Wilmington: “High Winds, High Water, High Resilience”
  • October 24: Shared session at Growing Sustainable Communities Conference, topic: drought planning

2018 Presentations

  • October 2: “Hazard Mitigation as a Local Planning Priority,” Session Presentation, Growing Sustainable Communities Conference, Dubuque (IA) Convention Center
  • October 18: Panelist, “Hazard Mitigation Planning Innovations for Iowa Communities,” Iowa APA Conference, Mid-America Convention Center, Council Bluffs, IA
  • November 15: 2018 Focus Conference, Workshop Presentation, Wisconsin Dells, WI, “Fundamentals of Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery”
APA 2018 National Planning Conference (New Orleans – April 21-24)
  • April 23: Advancing Resilience Through Community Planning – 1:00 – 2:15 PM
  • April 24: Waterworld: Old Movie Turned New Reality – 8:30 -9:45 AM
  • April 24: A Team Approach to Wildfire Planning – 10:15 – 11:30 AM

2017 Presentations:

  • September 26: Panel presentation, North Carolina APA Conference, Greenville: “Advancing Resilience Through Community Planning”
  • September 27: Panel presentation, North Carolina APA Conference, Greenville: “Land Subdivision in the Floodplains of Rural North Carolina”
  • October 26: Keynote for joint Texas APA/Texas APHA roundtable workshop in Canton, TX
  • December 6: Keynote for Resilient Salt Lake County Conference, Salt Lake City, UT
  • March 29, 2017: Lead speaker on opening panel, “Utilizing Climate Science to Inform Municipal Planning and Increase Resilience,” University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • February 7, 2017: Panel presentation, Coastal GeoTools Conference, Charleston, SC: “Planning for Resilience”

– Testimonial –

“Jim’s work with FEMA since the 1998 Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction PAS Report culminated in 2010 with Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning, the PAS Report issued in May 2010.  During the intervening years between those reports, each major disaster reinforced the lesson that disaster mitigation planning is best and most effectively accomplished when it is integrated with all ongoing community planning.  With such a wide scope, Jim focused this project by convening the “best and brightest” researchers and practitioners in the varied disciplines involved in planning and disaster mitigation in a scoping symposium.  His ability to reach out to creative and resourceful people active in these fields all around the nation was key to the success of the final product, and just as important to helping the planning profession recognize and assume its essential role in the disaster resilience and sustainability of American communities.” 

– Terry Baker,
FEMA National Hazard Mitigation Planning Program Manager (retired)

For a full list Jim’s past speaking engagements, click here.