Steffey transitions from intern to planner


A University of North Carolina Wilmington graduate recently moved up from an internship position with the Town of Wrightsville Beach to a planning department position.

Zach Steffey, who graduated in May 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in public administration, is now town planner I and code enforcement officer.

He was among about 30 applicants for the position, which has been open since Jan. 10 when Eryn Moller left her position of almost five years to work for the City of Wilmington.

While a college student, Steffey served on the board of trustees and as 2013-14 student body president, Student Government Association junior class senator, SGA residence hall senator, Residence Hall Association executive board member, orientation leader, campus conduct cases chair and campus recreation aquatic supervisor.

As student body president, he gave a presentation Thursday, May 15, at the North Carolina Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Wilmington about The Teal Terminal project, a joint venture between the SGA, UNCW business affairs and WAVE transit.

The project includes two weatherproof LED monitors, featuring a live shuttle map and estimated arrival times. Federal funding has been secured for the project, located outside of the Fisher Student Center, which should be fully functional in a couple of weeks.

“We did a couple of other things in terms of pedestrian safety on campus, that was one of my big initiatives this past year,” Steffey said about purchasing highly reflective in-road signage for campus crosswalks and advocating for better pedestrian safety on College Road.

He began his internship with the town in January 2014, working with town manager Tim Owens on the 2014-15 budget. His first day as a town planner was Tuesday, May 13, and he has since been transitioning into his new role and working on projects.

“I’m also finishing up some work on the town budget,” Steffey said. “… I also did a lot of work with GIS and ArcMap, so that’s what I did toward the end of the internship, so it’s a pretty easy transition into this role.”

The position description changed in February, placing more emphasis on planning and code enforcement duties. Steffey will also be taking the role of local permitting officer for the Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA).

“It’s fascinating about the balance between development and preserving the environment and preserving our natural resources here at Wrightsville,” Steffey said.

As far as goals, Steffey said he would like to move up, advancing in this field.

“I’d like to stay with the Town of Wrightsville Beach,” he said. “One day I’d like to be the town or city manager, [that]is the longterm goal.”

Steffey, who was born in Maine and calls Knightdale, N.C., home, said he fell in love with the area after transferring from the University of North Carolina Charlotte to Wilmington.

“I’ve really enjoyed working for the town so far, and I’m sure there are a lot of things I have to offer the town in terms of experiences,” Steffey said. “I’m excited to bring those and offer those to the community.”

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