Craig Hoffman, a 1989 Galt High School graduate, started his career in City Planning as the City of Galt’s first Planning Intern in the early 1990s. Now, he has come full circle and is currently working as the city’s interim Community Development Director.
“This is very unexpected, not something I ever thought would happen,” Hoffman said. “I still have lots of friends that live and work here [and] family in the area. It is a lot of pressure. You always want to make sure that you are doing your best and looking out for the community. I take the responsibility seriously.”
After graduating from GHS, Hoffman attended California State University, Chico, where he earned his bachelor’s in history with a minor in geography in 1995, but an internship opportunity the summer before helped change the trajectory of his career and set him on a new path toward city planning.
For three months after his junior year of college, Hoffman worked for the city of Galt as their first-ever planning intern. His responsibilities included shadowing the city of Galt planners, helping them with their projects, and learning the processes, policies and how the department functioned.
“Everyone was really supportive,” he said. “[They] tried to help me understand what it was really like to work in a Community Development Department, what the work really entailed.”
In 1997, Hoffman earned his master’s in rural and town planning and landed his first job working for Sierra County. Since then, he has worked nearly every planning position, including assistant planner, associate planner, senior planner, planning manager and city planner.
“I have worked for rural counties, urban counties, small towns, large cities, home builders, entitlement companies, [and] the California Energy Commission [where I did] licensing and compliance oversight of power plants,” Hoffman said. “It has been a very diverse and rewarding career.”
As of Aug. 17, Hoffman is back in Galt, having accepted the interim community development director position with the city of Galt.
Hoffman explained that his main responsibilities are “making sure that the department moves forward with work product, service and any deliverables.”
In layman’s terms, he sizes up the city’s projects, coordinates the logistics, anticipates problems that might arise and how to head them off, and ensures that expectations are met and results are delivered on time. Even in the first weeks in this role, he has found that “the Community Development Department staff is second to none,” adding “I have really enjoyed working with them in my short time here.”
“No one grows up thinking ‘one day I am going to be a land use planner,’” Hoffman said. “It is a different profession and interesting to see how you could make a positive impact on a community and help it to grow, trying to get the best outcome for everyone from new development and projects.