VALPARAISO | At 22, Taylor Wegrzyn said he is where he wanted to be in the job he wanted to have.
Wegrzyn was named assistant city planner recently by Mayor Jon Costas. He fills a vacancy left when Tyler Kent became planning director after the departure of Craig Phillips in February.
Wegrzyn graduated magna cum laude from Valparaiso University in the spring and served as an intern to the planning department the past three summers.
"I was going to go to grad school, but they offered me the position and this is where I wanted to go, so I took it," he said. "I'd love to stay in Valparaiso my whole life. I was a fan of the city even as a freshman. I enjoyed being in the city and visiting the stores.
"I always knew I wanted to do something in geography. I came to VU to study that. I was investigating careers and planning stuck out."
Wegrzyn has degrees in geography and political science and was the winner of the VU Alfred Meyer Award, given to the most outstanding geography major. Originally from Crystal Lake, Ill., he worked on such projects as a comprehensive map of the city's historic homes and a map of locations compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
"Taylor has demonstrated his valuable skills to the city through three years of internship experience," Costas said. "We're delighted to have him join us long term."
As assistant planner, Wegrzyn will serve as transit director, overseeing the ChicaGo Dash and V-Line bus services, as well as advancing the city's ADA compliance and working with the city's Historic Preservation Commission.
Wegrzyn said he hasn't counted out going to graduate school some day, but there are no schools close by where he could easily commute to study planning while continuing to work for the city.