Debra Campbell, 2018-2020 ULI Charlotte Chair, knows the importance of building strong, vibrant communities. A long-time city planner and now Assistant City Manager for the City of Charlotte, Debra has spent her career bringing residents and businesses together in the urban space.
Prior to assuming her current position in 2014, Debra was the Director of a joint City of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County agency that provided a range of land-use planning and economic development services to both entities. She brings nearly four decades of experience to her role at ULI, with an emphasis on urban planning, transit integration, neighborhood and business corridor revitalization, and housing and community development.
After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University, where she earned a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning, Debra worked for two years with Tennessee State Planning Office in Nashville. She then worked for a city/county planning department for four years, then briefly for a sustainable housing nonprofit in Chattanooga before arriving in Charlotte in 1988 to work for the City.
Although she has worked on various projects, she is particularly proud to have been part of the City’s Transit/Land-Use Strategy, an ongoing plan to improve connectivity and stimulate economic development along identified transit corridors. To build-out the system, the project called for extensive collaboration among stakeholders and government groups at the local, state and federal levels.
Debra has been very involved as a member of ULI for more than ten years. She was drawn to the organization because of its reputation and the credibility associated with its membership.
“ULI is and always has been on the forefront,” says Debra, “not only with innovative thinking, but also in terms of economic risk-taking. We have the potential to literally change how land is used and how communities are developed.”
As chair of ULI’s Charlotte chapter, Debra says she’ll continue to encourage innovation, while expanding the group’s diversity of thought and voices.
When Debra is not working, she volunteers in the community and spends time with friends and family. She is a sought-after speaker and serves on several nonprofit boards, including Charlotte Center City Partners, Foundation for the Carolinas and UNCC’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate.