Meet the AIA Cincinnati 2021 Board of Directors

Cori Cassidy, AIA

A359 Partners in Architecture
AIA Cincinnati Alternate AIA Ohio Representative

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
Working from my home office, well connected to colleagues and clients with skype and zoom. My house looks like a materials lab with samples and submittals arriving daily! 

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
Spring through Fall provided great opportunities for kayaking (ultimate social distancing activity), hiking, and spectating at HS sports. Winter is a bit more challenging but good books and new recipes provide some distraction. Looking forward to warmer days ahead. 

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
I hope to get some new adventures on the calendar soon and spend time with far-flung family and friends.

Stephanie Crockett, Associate AIA

Elevar Design Group
AIA Cincinnati Associate Director

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
Thankfully, my workplace was able to quickly implement a good virtual work-at-home system. There were a lot more of zoom calls, of course!  

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
Getting fresh air by going out into the backyard and sitting out on the porch kept me sane.

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
I miss traveling; I can’t wait to visit family and friends without having hesitations about possible spread.

How is your AIA membership a value to you? 
I love being alongside like-minded professionals who have a desire to further the profession. 

Zoe A. Gizara, AIA

Gizara Architecture
AIA Cincinnati Director

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
2020’s COVID shutdown launched a roller coaster from being laid off from a brand new position to finally working for myself. 

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
Cooking, exercise, restoring an historic property and a healthy dose of allowing myself time to just relax and breathe. The world has “slowed down” a bit, so take advantage when you can!

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
We will be throwing a party in our newly restored historic home, and probably taking an extended vacation.

How is your AIA membership a value to you? 
Being ‘plugged in’ to a community with colleagues from a range of firms and backgrounds has provided a way to maintain that feeling of camaraderie from architecture school – working side by side on different projects, talking shop and cheering each other on. 

Brittany Grannan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Nelson
AIA Cincinnati Secretary

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
I have been working from home for almost a year with half that time balancing having two small children at home. They have since figured out how to use door knobs and find us in our home office, usually without knocking. The best part is enjoying lunches on our deck in good weather and getting to pick them up from school.

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
On nicer days we have been enjoying walking or biking on the new sections of the Wasson Way trail. I get my much needed alone time by doing Zoom Pilates in our newly refinished basement.

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
I can’t wait to eat at a restaurant and go to a movie theater. I want a giant diet Dr. Pepper and a huge buttered popcorn. I also miss catching up with friends at a restaurant for happy hour.

How is your AIA membership a value to you? 
The local Cincinnati chapter has allowed me to expand my professional network outside my office and also given me a better insight to the architecture happening around our city. I love meeting new people and being involved has allowed me to meet some wonderful people.

Krutarth Jain, AIA, EDAC, LEED AP

Champlin Architecture
AIA Cincinnati President Elect/Vice President

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
Very used to the words  “You Are Mute” message. My dogs used to wonder why I talk to my computer all day long. Adjusting to a hybrid approach with part of the group in person and rest in virtual is more challenging than all in person or all virtual.

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
I miss in person meetings. I grab every opportunity I get to attend socially separated meetings in person.

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
I will start shaking hands to avoid awkward greetings when we meet in person.

How is your AIA membership a value to you? 
I rely on AIA to advocate on our behalf at national, state and local level. We face very similar challenges and to have friends willing to exchange thoughts is a very valuable benefit.

John Jaskiewicz, AIA

MSA Design
AIA Cincinnati President

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
I’m still adjusting daily which has been the tough part.  I assumed I would jump right into a regular schedule and it would be easy going but reality set in quickly that every aspect of our lives needed readjustment. It’s not as easy to find a groove when everything your family is doing clashes together under one roof. Constantly adjusting my schedule, sometimes on an hourly basis, has been quite stressful!

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
We’ve been cooking a LOT.  We’ve always enjoyed cooking but until this year we’ve stuck to what we know. It has been exciting to try new techniques and realize that with a little extra time and care we can really elevate our cooking. Sadly we have not elevated our exercise regimen to match our new eating habits but eventually we’ll work that out.

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
Throw some parties and go to Reds games! We love to entertain and miss having people in our home for gatherings. Reds games are our go-to spring/summer activity so we are very excited to get back to the ballpark.

How is your AIA membership a value to you? 
My AIA membership from day one has been my portal to what is happening in the design community.  Over the years I haven’t always been able to commit time to extracurricular activities beyond my 9-5 and I’ve had to walk away for periods.  Every time I was ready to hop back into making exciting things happen I knew I could rely on the AIA network to tell me what is happening and how I can fit in with my ideas. I like working with teams and because of the AIA I know I always have teammates.

Michael R. Mauch, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

RWA Architects, Inc.
AIA Cincinnati AIA Ohio Representative

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
The pandemic has impacted our work in both a very negative way and a very positive way.  The negative is that there is more stress in the office as everyone is striving to stay healthy and maintain the use of PPE and social distancing while moving projects forward. The positive is that workload has increased as Clients realize that they are going to be in their house 24/7 and they need a place to work at home, or a place to get outside, or get away from kids, or a remote retreat. 

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times?  
What makes you think I am sane? Seriously, I keep myself occupied by trying to stay ahead of the pandemic latest news and anticipate the next move.  

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
Visit my parents who live out of state. 

How is AIA membership a value to you?
As I like to say, the AIA doesn’t make Architects, it makes Architects better. My AIA membership experience has made me better, both personally and professionally. My membership has allowed me to meet some very good Architects in other cities that I would not have met had I not been a member. There are really great people in the AIA that I can call on to bounce things off of, both professional questions as well as personal questions.

Angela Mazzi FAIA, FACHA, EDAC

GBBN
AIA Cincinnati Treasurer

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
Its led to a whole lot more meetings because you just can’t do some of the same things online as you can face to face. I’ve had whole days totally booked from 8-6 with meetings and had to turn off the sound and camera just to eat lunch. We also had to be creative about how to do things like mock up reviews to allow our clients to experience the space in small groups while we facilitated from a laptop that got pushed around on a chair.

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
Feeling empowered and savoring every moment of life has become more important to me than ever, so I get out in the world and interact as much as I can. I never use the words “quarantine” or “lockdown.” As soon as restaurants and businesses opened, I patronized them in person and got back to our Friday dinner out routine. My kids go to school in person. We still took a vacation this year to somewhere really special (though not to Italy as planned) and did a ton of bucket list stuff. I signed up to be one of the first to go back to work in the office. Aside from not being able to go to conferences in person, attend large family events, and having to improvise some yoga classes after the studio I went to closed, I am doing everything I did before the pandemic.

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
Finally take that trip to Italy originally scheduled for June 2020 and attend large family events scheduled for this year like weddings and baby showers.

How is your AIA membership a value to you? 
AIA is our platform as architects. As an organization, it is what you make it. If you feel like it’s not offering value, get involved locally and be an advocate for the issues you care about. You can be a change agent a lot easier with a whole membership behind you supporting your effort than you can alone. The resources of AIA are your resources as a member, use them.

Jeff Raser, AIA NCARB

Cincinnati Urban Design & Architecture Studio
AIA Cincinnati Director

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
As an urban designer and community planner with a passion for community engagement, the pandemic has been a very high hurdle. From using on-line engagement platforms to facilitating spread-out, outdoor events, I’ve tried every strategy I can think of to find out how people think the future of their neighborhood should be shaped. Simply put, there is no suitable replacement for meeting with people in person.

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
Sanity was an elusive destination even before the pandemic.

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
After the pandemic is over the first “normal” thing I’ll do is visit the closest neighborhood craft brewery. Come to think of it, maybe I’ll visit all of them.

How is your AIA membership a value to you? 
My AIA membership has been very valuable – especially during 2020. I’ve been able to network and compare notes with my peers; was clued-in to the most relevant and satisfying AIA continuing education events throughout the state; and have been at the forefront of making changes to systemic racism which – for decades – has prevented many Americans from achieving their highest potential.

Cynthia Williams, AIA

Cynthia Williams Architect
AIA Cincinnati Past President

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
Fortunately for those of us in the residential architecture sector, there is a lot of work right now. The health department’s recommendation to “stay at home” has created a demand for home offices and home classrooms, and the relative safety of gathering together outdoors has created a demand for outdoor living spaces. I am grateful for video conferencing which has allowed us to continue to serve our clients and stay connected with our colleagues even under difficult conditions.  

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
I learned to make sourdough bread! It’s a science experiment every weekend and the variations in results are endlessly fascinating.

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
I can’t wait to sing! I am a member of my church choir and we have been mostly silent since last March. Singing beautiful music as a group is very inspiring and rewarding to me.  

How is your AIA membership a value to you? 
AIA membership is my connection to the architectural community. The increased personal isolation wrought by the pandemic has emphasized how much we need each other. I am grateful that the AIA has continued to offer opportunities to connect with colleagues locally and across the country while gaining design inspiration and technical knowledge.

Kenneth Workman, AIA, LEED AP

Architectural DesignWorks Studio LLC
AIA Cincinnati Director

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 
My office is in my home and normally it’s just my dog and I, but COVID changed that. Our daughter came down from Columbus and stayed with us and worked remotely from our home for several months and my wife taught her pre-school classes virtually from our home. Suddenly, my quiet office turned into a flurry of activity.

What do you do to keep yourself sane during these trying times? 
I try to get in a brisk walk every day. It’s beneficial to the mind and body. I also enjoy photography with my iPhone.

When the pandemic is officially over, what’s the first “normal” thing you’ll do? 
I’d like a nice getaway vacation to the beach with my wife and daughter.

How is your AIA membership a value to you? 
AIA offers many opportunities to make connections and develop relationships with like minded professionals. It also helped me gain knowledge and provided me with resources to be a better architect.

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