View All Posts

Apr 07


Posted on April 7, 2020 at 1:28 PM by Melitta Duncan

As I evaluate and communicate new information for many hours daily, some of which is not good, I know how important a positive attitude is for all of us during this challenging time.  I choose to keep my head right and know that God is in control of this situation.  Please join me with a positive attitude and as I “tell you something good”, please also forward some positivity to another person today.

Let me introduce to you our talented team with the City of Southaven who helps me and serves our citizens in a tremendous way daily.

Today’s introduction is Whitney Choat-Cook, our Planning and Development Director.  Whitney began her service with the City on March 10, 2003 when she was hired as City Planner.  In 2008, she was promoted to her current position as the Director of Planning and Development.  In 2013, the City expanded her responsibilities to include supervision of the Building and Code Enforcement Divisions.  Prior to joining the City, she worked with the Pickering Firm, Inc. as Land Development Expediter from 2001-2003 and the City of Bartlett, TN as Geographical Information System Analyst from 1999-2001.

Whitney received her Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning and Urban Affairs from the University of Memphis in 2007.  She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban Geography with Minors in both Land Design and Spatial Analysis in 1999, also from the University of Memphis.

When asked to consider some of her biggest professional achievements, Whitney first noted her certification with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) which only allows testing by invitation of the National Planning Organization for a very limited number of applicants based on high standards of experience and education.  This test is widely recognized as the most difficult test in this professional field.  She also values the honor of being selected to serve on the Executive Board of Directors for the A.W. Bouchillon Institute for Community Planning in its inaugural year.  Lastly, she will always consider it an honor to have been asked by her alma mater to come back and teach the undergraduate design labs due to her knowledge in the field of city planning.

When asked the self-inquiry, “Why do you do what you do”? Whitney replied, “I grew up in a family that designed and built subdivisions and commercial developments in Memphis, so at a very young age, approximately 9-10 years old, I was looking at blueprints on my parents’ dining room table and “helping” review their design.  When I got to college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but my knowledge of development guided me toward the planning field.  I enjoy taking a blank property and creating a new development that is an asset to the community and seeing residents utilize it.  I view it like an artist does a blank canvas and taking that canvas and turning it into a piece of art.”

Whitney has been married to husband, Benjamin Cook for 10 years and they have one son, Garrett.  Both of her parents and her brother live locally.  When she is not working, she enjoys exercising and working in both her yard and garden.

Planning and zoning in a city are paramount objectives.  Poor decisions in these areas have consequences that last for decades.  Making the right decisions with developments and their corresponding locations has a significant impact on the overall economic success of any city, specifically in maintaining or improving general economic demand and the resulting effects it has on long-term property values.  Whitney has played a vital role in helping the City make good decisions with quality developments that have enhanced our city in every aspect.  She is a talented planning professional with exceptional vision and creativity.  The City is fortunate to have her on our team as we continue to move forward with development and growth opportunities.  #tellmesomethinggood

Whitney Cook