Meet the Staff: Sandy Shackelford

Sandy Shackelford

Sandy joined the TJPDC in 2019 as the Director of Planning and Transportation.  Sandy has worked on a wide range of transportation and planning projects during her tenure with the PDC, including the Rivanna River Corridor Study, an analysis of locations for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Rivanna River, and the Zion Crossroads Gateway Plan.  She also directs the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Rural Transportation Program. 

Sandy holds two degrees from Georgia Tech: a Masters Degree in Public Policy and a Bachelors of Science in Materials Science and Engineering.

Q: How did you end up at the PDC?

My planning career started when I made the decision to relocate back to Virginia in 2008, which is where I grew up.  A job opened up in my hometown, and I landed my first planning position.  I tend to be process-oriented, and I had a desire to work in an environment where I could understand how the work I did served the needs of a community, so planning ended up being a good fit.  I honed my professional and technical skills through a variety of local government planning positions prior to coming to the PDC.

Prior to entering the field of planning, I spent a few years conducting research on the trucking industry and also spent a year working at a call center providing financial crisis counseling services during the housing collapse of 2008.  Working with the PDC ended up being a really great place for me to put my diverse professional background to good use supporting priority initiatives in the region.

Q: What’s something interesting about yourself you’d like to share?

There was a period of time when I had a lot of friends that were getting married and ended up being involved in planning a lot of bridal showers.  To help offset the costs, I started teaching myself how to decorate cookies and cakes.  That turned into a more general interest in learning how to bake well.  I perfected the art of cheesecake baking during my maternity leave with my older son, and found the perfect pie crust recipe while recently on maternity leave after my younger son was born.  My older son is just now starting to be able to help me with my baking projects, which is really fun.