Arlington Planning and Development Services Director Recognized Among Dallas Business Journal’s 2023 Leaders in Diversity Awards Program
By Office of Communication
Posted on March 14, 2023, March 14, 2023

Gincy Thoppil, the City of Arlington’s Planning and Development Services director, was among 17 individuals recently honored by the Dallas Business Journal's 2023 Leaders in Diversity Awards program.

Gincy Thoppil, the City of Arlington’s Planning and Development Services director, was among 17 individuals recently honored by the Dallas Business Journal's 2023 Leaders in Diversity Awards program.

Thoppil, who has worked for the City of Arlington for 18 years and has served in her latest role since 2018, was recognized for her efforts to foster a culture of inclusion within the community as well as to create a positive work environment and to develop a retention strategy to keep underrepresented talent within the 70-member Planning and Development Services Department.

In addition to long-range planning, Planning and Development Services oversees zoning, platting, permitting, and construction of development projects and natural gas wells within the City of Arlington. The team also oversees health permits and inspections for businesses such as restaurants and childcare facilities. Planning & Development Services is also home to the One Start Development Center, which assists homeowners, business owners and the development community with the permitting process as well as guidance from a development planner, engineer and plans examiner.

The City of Arlington is the 8th most diverse city in America. Thoppil pays special emphasis in making sure that she has staff who can speak different languages such as Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Hindi, and French, so that all customers can communicate easily with her staff. She has been able to change the makeup of certain teams that were dominated by a certain gender or age, by encouraging underrepresented staff to get trained and certified, and have a seat at the table for decision making. Other examples of Thoppil’s leadership include advancing diversity and inclusion by encouraging staff to celebrate festivals of different nationalities within the department as well as Global Diversity Awareness Month. She has also worked to foster a culture of inclusivity through the implementation of the iCARE culture and its initiatives, which aims to help the City provide an exceptional experience for every customer.

“My department's success is measured by our customers' satisfaction. I truly believe that - if you come happy to work, you will make others happy too. Hence, it is important for me that my staff is happy, and they are able to make my customers have an exceptional experience when they interact with my staff in-person, over a phone call, online or on our website,” said Thoppil, AICP, CPM.

For the Arlington community, she has led programs with the goal of encouraging economic prosperity, enhancing housing accessibility, and improving the health and wellness of all citizens of Arlington, especially in areas where disparities exist. This includes collaborating with The University of Texas at Arlington in developing Arlington’s new Healthy Connections initiative. Other initiatives include a Small Business Promotion program that publicize one minority/women-owned business in Arlington each month. She also supports her managers working with the University of Arlington to hire students with financial aid so they receive real-world work experience and are paid through a work-study program federal grant.

 Thoppil is a Certified Public Manager (CPM) and has been recognized for her work by professional organizations such as the American Planning Association and holds a master's degree in Community Planning with Urban Design specialization from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a bachelor's degree in Architecture from the University of Mumbai, India. She worked with the City of Cincinnati and later with City of Denton before joining Arlington.

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