After 31 years volunteering for the city of Merriam, Carol Whitlock is retiring as chair of the city’s planning commission.
Whitlock was chair of the planning commission for 21 years.
“Actually, I was having fun — that’s the best way to put it,” she said. “It truly has been enjoyable. I think the main reason I stuck around is because I felt like maybe I was doing something that was worthwhile, that I could see the results of what we’re doing.”
Some of the biggest projects Whitlock facilitated during her time on the planning commission include the development of Merriam Town Center, bringing IKEA to the city and the growth of auto dealerships over the past decade.
“It’s kind of neat to feel like you had a part in those things being achieved,” she said.
But after more than three decades, Whitlock has decided it’s the right time to let someone else serve on the planning commission in her place.
“We have some extremely good people on the planning commission right now, a lot of young blood,” she said. “It just felt like it was time for somebody else to start looking at doing things like that too.”
She said she plans to continue volunteering for the city, specifically as a member of the 5701 Merriam Drive steering committee, which is discussing future plans for the Irene B. French Community Center.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Whitlock has been a resident of Merriam for the past 40 years. After completing three degrees in environmental science, civil engineering and engineering, she started work at Black & Veatch in 1977 as a civil engineer.
“While at Black & Veatch, I was blessed to work with their international division and travel all over Europe, the Middle East and the Far East,” Whitlock wrote in her brief, unpublished autobiography. “That made a huge impact on my outlook on how we in the U.S. live, my patriotism, and how wonderful ideas can have horrible unintended consequences.”
After leaving Black & Veatch as senior project manager in 1995, she became conceptual developer and start-up editor in 1997 for Practice Periodical of Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste Management, the quarterly journal of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Whitlock was also a member of the Johnson County Planning Commission for 21 years, half of that time as chair, until she resigned in 2012. She enjoys stained glass work.
“I have loved living here in Merriam. It truly is like living in a small town with all the conveniences of a big city,” she said. “I have had many chances to move and have always said no, because I am so comfortable here.”