Get to Know Brad Mueller

Brad Mueller joined the City of Boulder in June 2022 as director of Planning & Development Services. He joins us after serving as the Community Development Director for the City of Greeley.

We caught up with Brad to learn more about him as he takes on the role of director of Planning & Development Services!

What drew you to Boulder?

I have a public servant’s heart, and the opportunity to serve Boulder citizens and council is an honor. Quality of life and diversity are the soul of the Boulder community, and land use and development services touch each of those in ways that are exciting and challenging. In addition, working in Boulder is a bit of homecoming for me! I attended CU-Boulder as an undergraduate and met my partner here, so the prospect of reengaging in civic life again in a city we love is exciting.

Are there any experiences from your time in Greeley and Weld and Douglas counties you will be applying in the planning and development of the City of Boulder?

Citizens in every local community appreciate simple and predictable processes. From my earliest interaction with City of Boulder staff, it was obvious to me that they are dedicated to the noble calling of public service, as well as being fully committed to excellent customer service. The combination of that commitment to citizens, combined with operational excellence, will allow planning and development services in the city to move forward in addressing the challenges of the next ten years.

What are you looking forward to doing most this summer in Boulder?

While Boulder is familiar from my student years, so many parts are unfamiliar or changed since then, so I’m looking forward to “re-discovering” Boulder this summer. I have several family and friends' weddings, and we always look forward to getting up into the mountains whenever we can. Maybe we’ll fit in a family trip to Water World!

What’s your outdoor sport of choice?

My partner and I are huge fans of hiking the Rocky Mountains, so it doesn’t get any better than to be in Boulder for that! A few years ago we also started backcountry backpacking as well – we’ll see how long we can continue that before evolving to a camper instead. 😊

What shows and books are you currently binging?

The latest season of “Stranger Things” supports my inner geek and provides some great 80’s throwback memories. I’m currently reading “Things Fall Apart,” a book by African author Chinua Achebe about traditional Ibo village life in Nigeria before the disruptive impacts of colonialism forever changed the nature of life for its citizens.

What have you learned from the pandemic that you will bring into your work with P&DS?

There is not a single person who has not, in some way, been affected by the pandemic. From personal health consequences, to upended routines, to isolation and loss of family – everyone has been impacted in one way or another. I’ve learned that we need to extend grace, space, and understanding to each other as we recover as a community. As such, all of my work at the city will be done with that filter of empathy and concern. As a world, we’ve also all learned that hybrid work and thinking outside of the traditional workspace box is possible, so I fully embrace the creative workspace and hybrid work plan developed by the city, which ultimately allows us to attract and retain the best municipal talent in the world. By doing so, we support the value the Boulder community has of engaging as world citizens.

What do you love most about working in planning and development?

Much about planning and development has to do with safety, quality of live, and permanence – all done on behalf of the taxpayers. Whether making sure a building is safe, a property is adequately maintained, or city assets like streets are constructed for the long-term, we have the ability to make a tangible difference. When the private and public sectors propose new development, we have the ability to ensure excellent quality of life for a very long future, in way that is fiscally responsible and accounts for the lived experiences of all our citizens, including those who may have been historically marginalized or under-represented. Taxpayers give us a sacred trust that we must steward well -- the built environment tends to change very slowly!

What is your vision for how Boulder will change in the next 20 years?

Really, it’s not so much my vision, but rather it’s all our vision! Boulder citizens and council already have done the great work of mapping out a vision for the future, so my job will be to implement and inform it. The vision is articulated in council’s work plan, the annual budget, and the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. In looking ahead for the next 20 years, however, I do think that the city is at an interesting inflection point in many ways. For example, Boulder’s rich history of valuing the environment, inclusiveness and a high quality of life will likely be re-defined as we better appreciate the implications of climate changes, weigh the options and trade-offs of providing additional housing and balance sustained growth with the quality of the built environment.

What project in Boulder are you most excited to begin working on?

The real question is, what project am I not excited to begin working on – I’m excited about them all! There are both unique and familiar challenges at the city and in the community. As a Planning & Development Services team, we have the opportunity to work on some amazing projects that will make a difference for the citizens of Boulder. I couldn’t be more eager to get started!