Nov 5

Mia Birk to Leave Alta Planning + Design


Portland, OR – After 16 years of leading Alta Planning + Design, helping grow the company from a small specialized bicycle and pedestrian transportation planning firm to a full-service, international planning, design, and engineering company of close to 200 people in 25 offices across North America, Mia Birk is leaving Alta, effective at the end of this year, to explore new opportunities.

“Alta has been a major part of my life and I have been grateful for all I have been able to achieve at Alta in helping create active, healthy, and safe communities, particularly for people on foot or bike. It was always my greatest wish to leave Alta on a high note, when we are thriving and stable, and have a terrific leadership team in place,” she explained. “Seeing our amazing work has filled my proverbial bucket a million times over.”

Mia was the third Alta employee when she joined the company in 1999, after serving as the City of Portland’s  Bicycle Program Manager from 1993-1999. Over the years, she has led Alta in many capacities, from managing projects, to launching Alta’s efforts to increase the number of people walking and cycling, to serving as President and CEO. In 2010, she wrote a book about her experiences at the forefront of the nation’s bike transportation boom. That book, Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet, formed the basis of a class developed for Portland State University (PSU), which in turn led to the creation of PSU’s Initiative for Bicycle & Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI) in 2007.

In 2008, Mia gathered a group of like-minded colleagues from across the nation and co-founded the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Cities for Cycling Project. In 2012, Alta led the development of NACTO’s groundbreaking Urban Bikeway Design Guide, for which Alta serves as an official trainer and leading design expert.

With Mia’s departure, founder Michael Jones resumes the role of CEO, supported by Carolyn Sullivan, CFO/COO and Alta’s 18 principals.

“Thanks to Mia’s contributions through the years, Alta is stronger than ever, and continues to be North America’s leading firm in active transportation and recreation.” says Michael Jones. “With our strong management group and structure, our leadership transition will be smooth. We’re excited about the future.”

Alta Planning + Design, Inc. is an international consulting firm with a mission to create active communities. We plan, design, and implement infrastructure and programs that improve community and individual health, safety, mobility, and livability, such as bicycle, pedestrian, trail, park, greenway, and roadway planning, design, and implementation, as well as outreach and education.


CONTACT:  Natalie Lozano, Vice President of Development, (503) 230-9862 | |