Mark A. Olinger
Mark A. Olinger is an experienced city planning professional active in mid-sized cities for over 38 years. The principles driving Mr. Olinger’s work has been a foundational belief that city planning is about cultivating and supporting great neighborhoods, building a strong local economy; and encouraging residents and community stakeholders to think about a city’s possibilities at both the 30,000-foot level and at the human scale. Linking strong urban design principles with financial feasibility, and community engagement as key drivers of urban vitality; deeply informing land use, zoning, and quality of life.
Mr. Olinger has worked in Dayton, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; and Richmond, Virginia; putting these principles into practice, focusing on redevelopment, master planning, strategic planning (small area plans, corridor plans, open space plans), revising Codes and processes to make it easier for people to invest in their homes and businesses, treating people as valued customers not just a number in the queue.
As a former Planning Director in two state capitals, he brings a unique perspective to urban development and redevelopment at both the macro- and micro-scale. Dedicating his professional career to great neighborhoods, strong commercial corridors, engaging open spaces, thinking critically about, and supporting the redevelopment of, transitioning areas to become new places in their own right, and adding value to the quality of life and finances of the city. A demonstrated passion for realizing city potential through redevelopment planning and implementation, transit-oriented development, zoning code reforms, and capital budgeting and implementation.
Throughout his career, Mr. Olinger has been recognized for forward-looking community visions, award-winning designs, and program and project implementation; all with a heavy dose of community collaboration. This is exemplified by the selection of the Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth—Richmond’s recently adopted comprehensive plan—as the winner of the 2021 American Planning Association Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan.
Prior to becoming a Director, Mr. Olinger served as a senior planner with the City of Dayton, Ohio where he was responsible for transforming a once largely abandoned neighborhood, now known as Wright-Dunbar Village, into a showcase of revitalization and rebirth, and a winner of the HUD Secretary Award at the 2004 American Planning Association national conference.
Mr. Olinger has a Bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from New York University and a Master’s degree in Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati. Mr. Olinger is married to Karen Lovelien Olinger, and they reside, along with their Westie, Henry, in the Oakwood-Chimborazo Historic District of Richmond.