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40 Under 40 Edition

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Clayton Comstock, 39

City of North Richland Hills, Director of Planning

Clayton Comstock deserves to be recognized for his efforts over the past decade, says nominator Craig  Hulse, also with the City of North Richland Hills.

“Aside from doing a fantastic job for the City of North Richland Hills, Clayton is a regional and national leader in the planning profession through the American Planning Association and the Urban Land Institute,” Hulse said.

He’s able to balance competing interests from multiple stakeholders and he’s very well-liked by both the development community and the elected and appointed officials.

“Which,” says Hulse, “is not always the case.”

Comstock brings the perfect mix of interpersonal skills, experience and technical expertise to his profession and the community.

Comstock was responsible for the coordination of the Vision NRH 2030 Strategic Plan in 2019 that involved community leaders, local businesses and citizens.

The plan guides and informs the decision-making process to define and manage the city’s future, providing the opportunity to make sound, informed choices towards accomplishing the community’s goals.

“Since he joined the city in 2011, the quality, relevance and sustainability of development projects have benefitted from his efforts,” Hulse said. “His employees enjoy working for him and the development community enjoys working with him. He is an excellent partner to my Economic Development Department,” Hulse said.

– Paul K. Harral

Where did your first paycheck come from?

My first paycheck came when I was 16. I landed a job at a small florist and antique shop in Great Falls, Virginia. The owner trusted me – a teenage boy – to create flower arrangements, handle expensive antiques and make flower shipment runs to the airport.

What movie, TV series, play or video game influenced you growing up?

Video games had a pretty big influence on me growing up. Many games were how my group of friends socialized. Turns out SimCity had a big influence on my life. I suppose I was destined to dream up communities.

What other profession would you like to try?

I have the highest level of respect for teachers. My wife is a teacher, and I see first-hand how much they care about imparting critical education and skills that will leave a lasting impression on someone. I would love to eventually try teaching American history, political science or urban planning.

Tell us about an influential person in your life, how they influenced you and why he or she was important.

Life’s lessons and influences do not always come from those older than us. My daughter has been a significant influence in my life. Her own actions and aspirations remind me how much I don’t know and how exciting it is to continue learning and growing. At the end of a stressful day, she teaches me to chill out, have fun and not take things so seriously. 

When did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

It wasn’t until my last semester in college that I realized I needed to grow up and be something. My internship with the City of Southlake during my graduate studies at University of North Texas introduced me to the world of urban planning and I immediately knew it was the direction for me.

What is your favorite song?

Heaven Sent, The Steeldrivers

Tell us about your photo shoot prop.

My hiking boots, daypack and trekking poles represent my love for hiking, backpacking and the outdoors. My son and I have camped since he was a toddler and he has now reached an age where he can keep up on longer, more challenging backpacking trips. I have dreamed of backpacking the Appalachian Trail over the course of many years. My daypack reminds me of these outdoor experiences with friends and family.

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