2014 Forty Under 40: Christy Langley

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langley_christy_1col.jpg (IBJ Photo/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Schooling: After completing her undergraduate work in urban planning at Ball State University, Langley wasn’t quite ready to leave school. Once she earned her master’s at Indiana University, she felt ready to leave the state. But after a graduate assistantship in Sarasota, Fla., she missed Indiana. Badly. A job offer from the state of Indiana came quickly …

Never mind: … but on the Friday before the Monday she was supposed to start that job, Langley got another offer from the city of Noblesville. She took the job in Hamilton County and, by age 29, was running her department. The youngest head of a department in Noblesville history? “That’s been fact-checked very loosely,” she said.

Achievements: “We just finished updating the comprehensive master plan; that’s been a year-long effort. We are fully digitizing the department—which included scanning in about 400 boxes of building plans. But it’s not just me. That’s the department’s accomplishment.”

Convincing businesses of the value of city planning: “I can break down barriers more easily if someone sits down and talks to me. I try to make planning a more human process.”

AGE 31
Hometown: Madison

Family: husband, Chad; son, Harrison, 3

Fait accompli? “I look back and sometimes I don’t know how the hell it happened. I’ve blown with the wind and tried to take advantage of every opportunity given to me. I have a strong faith so I believe there’s a hand bigger than mine, but at the same time I had very supportive parents and family that let me know I could do anything … which I’m sure sometimes irks my bosses.”

The future: “I try not to plan too much,” Langley said. “That may seem bad coming from a city planner. But [in 10 years] I’d love to have or to have started on my Ph.D. I’m interested in how my real-world experience could be useful in an academic setting.”

Off hours: “My son is the coolest kid I ever met,” she said. “I love getting out into the world with him. He’s like a sponge.” She also has a love/hate relationship with running. “I exercise so I can eat. I do both a lot.” And in 2013 she picked up the banjo.•

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