Sheryl Bezak Guglielmo was recently honored with the 2013 President’s Award for Distinguished Service from the American Planning Association’s Rhode Island chapter. Guglielmo, who has been a chapter member for the past five years, helps plan events and lends her graphic and Web-design skills to the organization’s newsletter and website.
As a senior project engineer at DiPrete Engineering, Guglielmo currently manages the engineering design and construction for the Garden City Center revitalization project in Cranston. She graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology with a B.S. in architectural engineering technology.
PBN: What prompted you to get involved with the APA?
GUGLIELMO: At DiPrete Engineering, there is a big emphasis placed on professional development and networking. The first event I attended was the APA holiday party and I was introduced to a diverse group of professionals, [which] helped me to learn different facets of planning, the regulatory environment, engineering and development. Having established relationships with staff at municipal and state regulatory agencies makes navigating the regulatory process far less challenging and allows for collaboration and healthy dialogue.
PBN: What do you see as the most critical planning issues facing businesses today?
GUGLIELMO: Helping investors and developers to decide to invest in Rhode Island. I firmly believe that Rhode Island has a lot to offer businesses – from a strong educational system, to our multimodal transportation and healthy lifestyle options but we need to continue to make strides.
The entitlement process for land development can be quite lengthy and the time it takes to get a shovel in the ground can make or break a deal. Walking in the shoes of a developer and a tenant, I have seen firsthand from their side how cautious investors are today and don’t want to get too far over their skis. The public side working together hand in hand with the private sector to move projects along will bring Rhode Island the top developers and tenants and the jobs that come with them.
PBN: What kind of urban-planning concepts and/or trends would you like to see implemented in Rhode Island over the next 10 years?
GUGLIELMO: At DiPrete Engineering, we are seeing redevelopment and improvement projects on the rise, especially in urban areas. These are my favorite projects, those places that people can “live, work and play.” Rhode Island has many villages and neighborhoods that could be revitalized, increasing pedestrian activity, providing quality housing and creating more employment opportunities. •