Christopher Tzeng MURP 2008, Program Manager, Western Riverside Council of Governments

What is your current position, place of work, and daily duties?

I’m a Program Manager at the Western Riverside Council of Governments. I focus on our transportation programs, mostly non-vehicular transportation. These types of programs are becoming a focus for jurisdictions in Western Riverside County, so as the subregion’s COG, our goal is to assist our member jurisdictions in implementing successful, efficient facilities and programs to provide residents more mobility options. In all, our goal at WRCOG is to assist our member agencies as much as possible.

What did you gain from your time in the MURP program and how did it help get you where you are now?

Overall, I learned there are so many possibilities in a planning career, and that was learned from the variety of classes I had to take and the electives I chose to take. There’s the more traditional planning department/counter career, but you can also focus on transportation, housing, alternative transportation, economics, etc. I also learned the importance of working in a group environment, and how it will lead to success. This is something I see on a daily basis, working with cities in the Western Riverside County.

Why did you choose the MURP program at UCI?

I chose the MURP program at UCI because I was working in Irvine at the time and wanted to continue working, at least part-time. The classes allowed for me to work at least 20 hours per week. I am very glad I chose UCI because of the applicability of the planning concepts to the surroundings. Irvine, Orange County, and Southern California are very dynamic places to be a planner – so many of the opportunities and challenges we learned about in class either happened or were happening while we learned about it. It goes back to the variety in planning, and UCI’s location is an ideal place to pursue planning.

What were some of your favorite classes and why?

My favorite classes were my electives – UCI and the MURP program are very flexible in allowing students to take classes outside of the department. I took a few classes in transportation engineering and a few real estate classes in the business school. The engineering classes were difficult coming from a non-technical (non-math) background, but the professors took that into consideration when grading. The real estate classes provided a great perspective in how planning ties into the real estate process.

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