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Regional Planner I-III: GIS, Demography, and Data Analyst

General Definition

Responsible for professional and technical work in preparing and developing studies and reports, maintaining databases, and analyzing and interpreting information and data for local governments and/or the public, with a particular focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and data analysis. This planner will be familiar with commonly-used state and federal datasets such as the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey and will possess the curiosity and technical prowess to explore these datasets to support Commission planning efforts, provide local technical support in our role as the State Data Center Affiliate, and develop reports and white papers that inform our member localities and citizens on the various demographic, economic, environmental, and other changes in our region and their potential implications. This position is supervised by the Director of Community Development.

View PDF of Job Description Here.

Salary Range
  • The salary range for this position is $40,000 to $50,000 based on education and experience
Why Work for the Regional Commission?

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission serves one of the best areas for outdoor amenities and natural beauty in Virginia, if not the country. The most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail, McAfee’s Knob, lies within our borders. Carvin’s Cove, the second-largest municipal park in the nation, contains over 60 miles of biking, hiking, and horseback riding trails within its 12,000 acres, and is part of one of our largest member governments, the City of Roanoke. Smith Mountain Lake, with over 500 miles of shoreline and boasting some of the fastest economic growth in the state, is part of our region. The Roanoke Valley Greenway Network contains over 400 miles of paved and unpaved trails within Roanoke’s urban footprint of Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Salem, and Vinton, including almost 26 uninterrupted paved miles along the Roanoke River. The James River in Botetourt and Alleghany Counties provides access to boating, tubing, camping, and more. Almost half of member government Craig County is part of the Jefferson National Forest. We have the Blue Ridge Parkway, and a mountain in the middle of our urban center with the largest, free-standing, man-made, illuminated star in the world, the Mill Mountain Star, on top.

The City of Roanoke is a League of American Bicyclists recognized Bicycle Friendly Community, and the Regional Commission was recently designated a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business.

If you want to hike, ride, boat, camp, climb, or stargaze, working for the Regional Commission puts you in a place where you can access any of this in a short drive, and sometimes even right from your front porch.

Have a specific interest and want to know if there’s something here that meets it? Contact Get2KnowNoke at or us at and we’ll help you out.


In addition to market-competitive salary, the Regional Commission offers several additional quality-of-life benefits:

  • Flexible schedule, including up to two designated telework days a week, and flexible telework options to meet day-to-day family, professional development, and other needs.
  • Professional development and certification opportunities. The Commission covers the cost of achieving and maintaining appropriate certifications such as AICP and GISP. Attendance at one major industry conference a year is encouraged, and regular web-based or in-person training and skills-building opportunities are available.
  • As a public agency, employment at the Regional Commission may qualify you for student loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
  • For active transportation aficionados, as a Bicycle Friendly Business the Regional Commission provides on-site indoor bicycle parking and an e-bike is available for all staff.
  • Competitive health insurance through Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
  • Matching contributions to a 459 retirement plan that increases with your time at the Commission.
Typical Work Tasks
  • Composes and produces presentation quality maps using ArcGIS to support transportation and community development planning work.
  • Performs complex GIS analysis in the course of specific planning activities.
  • Navigates and interprets common public data sources, including decennial Census, American Community Survey, Weldon-Cooper Center, and other data sources as necessary.
  • Participates in or leads community development and transportation planning projects and technical reports.
  • Provides policy interpretation, data analysis, visual representation of information, and recommendations to decision makers on state and local community development and transportation legislation and policies (e.g. housing programs, land use, transportation funding–SMART SCALE, etc.).
  • Performs demographic research and reporting particularly as it relates to RVARC’s role as a State Data Center Affiliate; leads data and mapping-focused projects such as decennial Census-driven redistricting review, as well as the data/mapping tasks within plans/studies.
  • Makes presentations to and writes material for a public audience including elected officials.
  • Seeks ways to improve utilization of existing computer applications that will increase efficiency and quality of the Regional Commission’s work.
  • Represents the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission at various meetings in a professional manner in presentations, meetings, and interactions with the public and elected and appointed officials.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

The candidate must have:

  • Knowledge of principles, methodology, and practices of research and data collection.
  • Ability to follow complex oral and written instructions; and to plan, organize and complete various projects in a timely manner.
  • Experience with ArcGIS Online is preferred.
  • Familiarity with data analysis and organization principles, including the ability to work with large datasets using tools like Microsoft Access or other database applications.
  • Knowledge of standard office procedures and practices.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective and cordial working relationships with professional colleagues, government officials, subordinates, representatives from other agencies and the general public.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of theories, principles, practices and techniques of urban planning; and state, federal and local community development and transportation planning standards.

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • Experience with other data/visualization platforms such as Tableau, ArcGIS Online, Streetlight Data, FEMA’s HAZUS software, and preparing interactive presentations with ArcGIS Story Maps.
  • Well-developed knowledge of one or more planning disciplines, such as housing, economic development, land use or transportation.
  • Experience with designing and developing database tools using Microsoft Access, PowerApps, or similar platform.
Preferred Education and Experience

Graduation from an accredited college or university with a master’s degree in urban, regional, or transportation planning; transportation or civil engineering; public administration, geography, or a closely related field and a minimum of one years of planning experience; OR Graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree in any of the aforementioned fields or related field with a minimum of three years of experience in planning; OR a high school diploma or GED with a minimum of five years related professional work experience

Continuing Education

This position is a mid-level of a professional development track. Dedication and willingness to continue education through attendance of conferences, participation in professional associations; and/or completion of courses, certificates, seminars, or distance learning modules is encouraged for advancement to subsequent positions of responsibility.

Physical Effort, Dexterity, Visual Acuity, Hearing, and Speaking

The physical exertion requirements of this job are classified as sedentary work. In general, lifting or carrying tasks are not more than 10 pounds. A certain amount of walking and standing is often necessary to carry out job duties. The job requires normal visual acuity, depth perception and field of vision. Individuals must be able to speak clearly in person and over the phone.

Equal Opportunity Employer

RVARC is proud to be an equal employment opportunity employer and to provide a work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment. Employment decisions at RVARC are based on agency needs, job requirements, and individual qualifications without regard to any status protected by law. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may come from a less traditional background. RVARC may consider an equivalent combination of knowledge, skills, education, and experience to meet minimum qualifications. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and skill set for the role.

Submitting your Application

Send a resume and cover letter expressing your interest to Sherry Dean, Finance Director, at, or visit our employment portal at for this and other open positions.

Regional Planner I-III: GIS, Demography, and Data Analyst

Cover letter and resume should be submitted to Sherry Dean, Director of Finance, at

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