Alumni Voices: Corey Hull
Can you describe your career trajectory?
First, it is nothing like what I thought it would be. I started my career at the Michiana Area Council of Governments as a Regional Planner focusing on travel demand modeling and other transportation activities. I quickly moved into general transportation planning areas involving the development of required Metropolitan Planning Organization plans and reports. When I moved into the role of MPO Coordinator at the Southern Georgia Regional Commission, I took on more leadership responsibilities that included staff oversight and driving the vision for transportation in a small metropolitan community. Today, I lead a staff six where we are responsible for transportation and environmental planning in 18-counties and operating a 14-county regional public transit system.
What does your current job entail?
My current position entails juggling various aspects of transportation and environmental planning and public transit operations throughout 18-counties in South Georgia. We are currently working on the implementation of the billion-dollar Vision2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan for Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia. In our rural communities, we are planning safe bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure through data-driven roadway assessments and localized marketing campaigns that promote safety. Our environmental projects include working with local, state and federal partners to determine the feasibility of improvements to a dam built in 1860 to increase water flow in a sub-watershed of the historic Suwanee River. Our latest endeavor has been the launch of a regional public transit system that is providing accessible mobility options to residents throughout our region.
Please tell us about a favorite project and why it makes you proud.
I think that I am most proud of a project that took two tries to get it right. In 2010 the Georgia Legislature passed enabling legislation that would allow defined regions to develop a transportation improvement project list that voters would be able to approve a 1% sales tax to fund. The first time our region went through this process the voters turned down the tax (even though all of the local governments had a history of passing project specific sales taxes for decades). In 2018, the region had another opportunity to develop a transportation improvement project list that was developed after better identifying the transportation needs in the region. The elected officials asked me to chair a regional roundtable of elected officials that developed a project list to put on the ballot. The sales tax referendum passed with a healthy majority and included sidewalks in small towns, new bridges, dirt roads to be paved, congestion relief in larger communities, and discretionary money for cities and counties to buy new equipment and supplies to maintain their local roads. I was honored to have been chosen by elected officials to lead the project development process for this regional effort that brought much needed investment to some of the poorest counties in the US.
What advice do you have for students who want a career similar to yours?
The best advice I can give is to find a mentor, or at least someone who you can talk to about your career. I did not do this when I was starting out and I think it has held me back in some ways. I think I may have been pushed to take a few more risks early in my career had I reached out to talk to someone about career choices and projects I was working on. Short of finding a mentor, go to lunch with colleagues, get out of the office and have a conversation about your community, your work, and your ideas – you never know where a simple lunch will lead.
Do you have a favorite Ball State or CAP memory to share?
I really enjoyed the field trips students in CAP are encouraged to take. I learned so much from experiencing different cities and learning from real world examples of successes and failures in planning.