MEMBER PROFILES

Get to know the chapter’s committee chairs, title sponsors and fellow members with our Member Profiles below.

SUBMISSIONS WELCOME

Interested in introducing yourself to fellow AIA Cincinnati chapter members? Complete and submit a member profile form to info@aiacincinnati.org.

Looking for inspiration on great projects completed by chapter members? Check out Project Profiles.

Amie Anderl

Amie Anderl, Director of Cincinnati Branch, Hamilton Parker

What does your firm do? 

Hamilton Parker has over 85 years of experience in supplying residential and commercial building supplies for the entire state of Ohio, including tile, stone, masonry, fireplaces and garage doors in Central Ohio, and supplying exclusively tile and setting materials in the Cincinnati and Cleveland markets. Hamilton Parker also supplies additional building materials through Construction Building Components (CBC,) it’s National Accounts Division. Hamilton Parker has also recently added two LVT lines to their offerings.

How did you get into this field? 

I have a degree in Interior Design from Bowling Green State University and while I never did 100% design, I’ve always managed to stay connected to the design industry. My first job out of college was sales for a cabinet company. I ended up in the Dayton area 15 years ago with Design Forum, doing new business development and then got into the flooring business after that stint. That was where I was introduced to Hamilton Parker. When I heard they were opening a location in Cincinnati, I knew I wanted to be part of the team. The rest is history.

How does your firm work with architects? 

Hamilton Parker’s core purpose is to achieve our customer’s vision through trust and expertise. In order to do this, our team works with customers to specify the right materials for both residential and commercial projects, keeping both budget and timelines in mind. 

Who or what inspires you? 

I’m inspired daily by the talent that we get to work with and the projects we get to be a part of. I also love to travel and am inspired by different cities, cultures and countries.

What is your favorite building and why? 

September 2019 I had the chance to travel to Bologna, Italy, for work and I kept passing this building and just loved it – sorry for the picture quality but I was hanging out the window of the cab trying to capture it. I have no clue who the architect is or what it’s used for but it was so out of place among all of the thousand-year-old buildings and it was not only in my favorite color but happened to be a beautiful, large-format glossy tile. What’s not to love?

When you’re not working, what do you love to do? 

Spending time with my 4-year-old son, family and friends, traveling, art, checking out new restaurants, breweries, projects around my place and being outdoors soaking up the sun!

Hamilton Parker is a long-time supporter of AIA Cincinnati’s CRAN community, including sponsoring the CRANawards before becoming one of the first Title Sponsors. To find out more about Hamilton Parker, please visit their website: hamiltonparker.com.

Afsaneh Ardehali, UNM

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing? 

Generally speaking, I believe my accomplishments for the year 2000 would include: increasing membership and sponsorship, as well as expanding continuing education luncheon series. However, what I am most proud of would be Urban Poetry 1, the first AIA Cincinnati national design competition held in collaboration with the City of Cincinnati. This event challenged architects and designers from various design disciplines across the nation to “transform an ordinary parking lot in Downtown Cincinnati into an extraordinary urban moment.” The 45 ingenious submissions we received were exhibited in Downtown Cincinnati Public Library to educate the public and inspire their imagination.

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture? 

On one hand, in recent years, greater environmental consciousness, energy efficiency, and more concerted move toward sustainable designs have been important areas of change in architecture. On the other, although the number of women students in schools of architecture are nearly equal to the number of men these days, the promotion of women as well as minorities in higher levels of architecture practice are far behind. 

Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today?

Regardless of the concerted efforts of AIA in national, regional, and local levels, we still have a long way to go till the general public develops full understanding and appreciation of the value of what it is that we bring to the table. I firmly believe our greatest challenge still remains to be in redefining our role and regaining our power in forming the physical, social, cultural, and environmental consciousness. 

How has AIA membership benefited you?

Like most architects, I always enjoyed designing until I experienced the joy of teaching architecture. It was being in AIA and my contacts through AIA that I found my calling in academia.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate? 

Find your passion in a particular aspect of the field and develop your expertise. However, be flexible in your attitude, versatile in your collaborations, and most importantly be the expert in marketing your work.

Robert W. Dorsey, FAIA, Professor Emeritus of Construction Science, University of Cincinnati

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

I was AIA Cincinnati President 1981 and co-chaired the AIA National Convention in Cincinnati in 1980. Hosting that convention is one of the things I’m proudest of—it was very successful. Cincinnati had last hosted the AIA convention in 1889 when the AIA and Western Association of Architects merged.

David Richards was the AIA Cincinnati President in 1980. He, four other AIA Cincinnati presidents – Jerry Kelch, Kenneth Wright, Gordon Garn, and Jack Gartner – and I all graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1956. That must be a record!

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture?

The computer has to be the biggest change to the practice of architecture. I am probably one of the last to have done all the drawing by hand.

Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today?

The overall economy is the biggest challenge right now. A number of firms are furloughing people. The coronavirus hanging around has already affected the international economy and will obviously affect the built environment.

How has AIA membership benefited you?

Being involved with AIA was very important. We had monthly meetings that were well attended and brought in speakers. When Randy Vosbeck, FAIA was the AIA National president in 1981, he came to talk about a plan to encourage energy efficient architecture. 

Going to meetings, meeting other architects, getting involved with the national convention—those activities were very important to me. I got to know people at the national office and architects from across the country.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?

Become involved in AIA and in your community. Serve on the zoning board or planning commission, and maybe even run for office. There are not enough architects involved in government. Get licensed. Once we got out of school and started working, getting licensed was THE objective. Then continue to get as much education as you can through continuing education and even advanced degrees.

Brian Baumgardner, Associate Client Executive, Oswald Companies

What does your firm do?

Oswald Insurance Companies provides risk management and insurance brokerage services with a focused lens on professional liability insurance.

How did you get into this field?

My grandfather owned an insurance agency and during college I completed a couple of internships and fell in love with the business.

How does your firm work with architects?

We help them be better practitioners of risk. The design and construction field is risky and although we can’t help them be better designers we can help them see the risks and manage accordingly through the services we offer, which include contract reviews, education opportunities and deep experience in the design industry.

What inspires you?

Helping our clients manage their business and serving as a consultant role for them. We help them walk through the business challenges they face so they can do what they do best which is design.

What is your favorite building and why?

I do not know that I have one favorite building but rather love old photos of buildings in black and white to see how they have changed and updated over the years.

When you’re not working, what do you love to do?

I love spending time with my family (my wife Margo and two awesome kids, Tripp-6 and Taylor-4) whether going to the farm or playing in the backyard just watching them grow up is a blessing.  When I am not with them, I enjoy staying active, playing golf, tennis and yoga and being outside are just a few of my joys.


In addition to being an AIA Cincinnati Title Sponsor, Oswald Companies has participated in the CRANawards, Golf Outing, Sycamore Creek Sporting Clays, and Cincinnati Design Awards. Learn more at OswaldCompanies.com.

Michael R. Mauch, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal, RWA Architects, Inc.

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?   

I was President in 2009. Firms were laying off in mass. The market had just crashed and AIA Cincinnati lost about 20% of its members. Many Architects were out of a job wondering what to do. I knew my year wasn’t about me, it was about them. Keeping the Chapter members who were left engaged through their committee work by empowering the Chairs of those committees to lead, gave those members who remained something to focus on. My most proud accomplishment was being able to encourage and support those young leaders to lead their committees during one of the Chapter’s darkest hours and come out on the other side. I was quite proud of those folks and what they accomplished keeping the Chapter engaged. Many of those Chairs went on to become leaders on the Board.

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture? 

How we convey information and the medium used is the biggest change since I started in this profession. I started out in school with bum wad. On co-op I started out using lead on vellum. Press type. And 2080 Xerox copies. Then it went to ink on mylar. With LeRoy lettering. Then plastic lead on mylar. Then pin bar. Then digitizing. Then came the Apple computer and digital 2-D drafting. Then 3-D modeling. Now virtual reality. I am currently waiting for my brain chip.

Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today? 

There are many but the one that worries me the most is the challenge of holding on to our slice of the pie. Everyday, some other group or organization is trying to take away our piece of the pie in the design process. Our relevance and value is slowly being eroded away and Architects seem to be too passive to resist.

How has AIA membership benefited you? 

I have benefitted tremendously in being an AIA member by giving me the opportunity to meet so many talented people across the country. And I mean really good people, great Architects.  It seemed the more I got involved in AIA, especially through the AIA’s Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), the more I grew as an Architect and as a person. The benefit wasn’t about getting more work, it was about being better. I like to say that the AIA doesn’t make you an Architect, the AIA makes you a better Architect.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate? 

It is simple really. Get licensed as soon as you can. Licensure is not the end, it is the beginning. Get involved in the profession you made a choice to be in. Get engaged with your Chapter.

Jeff Kirker with AIA Cincinnati Chapter President Cynthia Williams

Jeff Kirker, Kirker Kubala

What does your firm do?

Kirker Kubala represents over 50 independent lighting manufacturers and offers quality customer service and project management from the idea conception to project completion.

How does your firm work with architects?

Kirker Kubala, Inc. provides specifiers, contractors and distributors with the most innovative lighting selection from today’s leading manufacturers. We offer custom design and installation for indoor and outdoor spaces, from the Art Climb to the Saks 5th Avenue in New York City,  we bring creativity, vision, and experience to every project.

Kirker Kubala got involved with AIA Cincinnati’s golf event before becoming a Title Sponsor in 2013. Learn more at kirkerkubala.com.

John Westheimer President Cincinnati Commercial Contracting

John Westheimer, President, Cincinnati Commercial Contracting

What does your firm do?

Cincinnati Commercial Contracting was founded in 1979 to provide clients with full service commercial construction management and real estate development expertise. From retail stores and restaurants to manufacturing facilities and fabrication shops, CCC’s expert construction management team provides thorough preparation, superior craftsmanship, and attention to detail to each project. That is how we have done business for over 40 years. 

How did you get into this field?

I have been in the commercial real estate business since 1969. I’ve stayed in the business because of a desire to serve others with the construction and real estate development skills that I have acquired over the years.

I started CCC as a commercial real estate development and ownership company. One of our first projects were mini-warehouses. By 1983, the company had three 80,000 SF mini-warehouse developments, making us the largest operator in the area. In 1985, CCC sold its portfolio to Public Storage, then invested heavily in conventional flex, retail, and office buildings.

We began offering commercial construction services to the public in 1995 and became an authorized Butler Manufacturing Builder in 1997. In 2011, CCC was recognized as “Northeast Butler Builder of the Year.” This accomplishment came within 14 years of working with Butler Manufacturing. CCC was selected from a group of over 300 builders. 

Today, CCC continues to be active in the area of real estate development. We currently own over 400 acres of strategically located commercial and industrial land from Walton, KY, north to Springboro, OH. We also own and manage several developments from Monroe, OH, to the Red Bank Corridor. These include vibrant retail, office, and warehouse space. We continue to be heavily invested in providing superior commercial construction services to business owners that are growing, expanding, or renovating within the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana area. 

CCC’s goal of being the highest-value building contractor in the Greater Cincinnati area is simultaneously being achieved and yet improved and relentlessly pursued. We continue to challenge the status quo and push for an ever higher standard of excellence. 

How does your firm work with architects?

We have learned, from decades of experience, that the key to providing the most value to a project is early collaboration with the design team.

It really doesn’t matter if the project delivery is design-bid-build, design-build, or CM at risk. The important thing is that, from day one of a project, we are fully engaged with our architect partner and working together on our client’s behalf. 

Who or what inspires you?

I am constantly inspired by the happiness and continued success of our clients. They inspire me to continually find ways to improve on our process and the quality of work that we produce. 

What is your favorite building and why?

The next one! In all honesty, I cannot say that I have a favorite building or project. I have worked on every type of commercial project, to include everything from retail, restaurant, and hospitality buildings to industrial, warehouse, and office complexes. Our team of professionals know that bringing each job in on-time and on-budget is the standard all clients deserve, and should always expect from their builder. This is the standard that we continually strive to achieve. The highest standard is a happy client.

When you’re not working, what do you love to do?

When I’m not in the office you can find me farming hay, taking care of the land, and making improvements. 

Cincinnati Commercial Contracting is AIA Cincinnati’s newest Title Sponsor. Learn more at cccontracting.com.

Credit: MSA Architects

Submitting Firm: Spohn Associates, Inc.

Project Name: Blue Ash Summit Tower

Location: Blue Ash, Ohio

Date Completed: April 2018

Project Team:

Architect: MSA Architects

Customer: City of Blue Ash

Contractor: Turner Construction

Photographer: Lindsay Nesbitt

Manufacturer Rep/Installers: Spohn Associates, Inc.

Brief Description

Spohn was very excited to see this beautiful project come together! The City of Blue Ash decided they wanted to erect this incredible 180′ observation tower in Blue Ash, Ohio. MSA Architects, Turner Construction and Spohn Associates collaborated to help in the design process. Spohn provided the entire exterior skin. This includes the perforated and ACM panels, the point supported glass, the ornamental railing, etc. 

Because of the scale and complexity of the job, Spohn has had a dedicated project manager on site since its inception. Spohn’s local sales rep in Cincinnati, Andy Muhlada, has also played a big role in the process, and had this to say: “From the beginning this has been a testament to teamwork. As each new challenge arises, there is a confidence that we have all the right players to overcome any obstacle.”

Spohn Associates is a Visionary Partner of AIA Cincinnati’s 2020 VISION program.

AIA Cincinnati Past President Stephen Sendelbeck

Stephen Sendelbeck, Retired, Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati and KZF Design

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

During my presidency, we focused on organizing and planning Chapter events and communicating with our members to enhance the value of membership. We increased the number of annual events from 7 to 12, and we issued an event calendar for the year in January identifying monthly programs. This calendar was in paper form (this was 1998) and designed by Kelly Kolar so that it could be displayed on each member’s workspace wall. We also established the Chapter’s first website making AIA Cincinnati the first chapter in Ohio to have one, and we used our redesigned newsletter to give monthly updates and reminders.  

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture?

Technology has undoubtedly changed the profession the most since I graduated in 1975. In particular, 3D visualization tools have helped clients understand proposed designs and eliminate surprises.

Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today?

The complexity of projects and the speed of delivery required will continue to increase. The challenge to the profession will be to find ways to do this without compromising the quality of our work.

How has AIA membership benefited you?

While I never held national office, I benefited greatly from participating in regional and national conventions/conferences and getting to know professionals from around the country. It was a great way to stay abreast of the changes in the profession and to keep me thinking about how to innovate in my practice.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?

While architects often prefer to be generalists, developing expertise in a specific area of the profession that excites you will provide greater professional opportunities to you.

Your education has given you special training in problem solving that is not typically taught in other disciplines/professions. That skill will allow you to do more than you realize and make you a true asset to your clients. Look for ways to utilize your problemsolving skills to go beyond the scope of architecture and tackle bigger issues. You will be seen by your clients as innovative and the organizations where you work and volunteer your time as a true leader.

AIA Cincinnati congratulates two members who recently passed their exams to become licensed architects, moving from Associate AIA to full AIA! Kudos on your hard work and impressive accomplishments!

Jessica Dangelo AIA LEED

Jessica Dangelo, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, LFA

Sustainability Coordinator, Project Coordinator
M+A Architects

As a recent 2018 graduate of the Masters of Architecture program at the University of Cincinnati, where she was awarded the AIA’s Henry Adams Medal, Jessica brings to the table a wealth of diverse experience. Although young, she has studied internationally and worked at various architectural firms around the United States giving her a unique perspective. As a LEED professional, Jessica is passionate about sustainability and actively pursues ways to incorporate it into her designs to make each project the best that it can be. Jessica has cemented M+A’s status as a member and Professional Stakeholder for the Cincinnati 2030 District. 

EDUCATION

Bachelors of Science in Architecture, University of Cincinnati

Masters of Architecture, University of Cincinnati

REGISTRATIONS & CERTIFICATIONS

LEED Accredited Professional, Building Design + Construction (LEED AP BD+C)

WELL Accredited Professional

Living Future Accreditation

Brian Oldiges AIA

Brian G. Oldiges, AIA

Architect
SHP Leading Design

Brian has been at SHP for over 5 years and stayed connected through graduate school at Miami University. He graduated from the Masters of Architecture program just over one year ago and promptly completed his exams within 6 months. Brian brings a disciplined yet eager attitude towards research and experimentation. Is an avid pursuer of advancing technologies and how they can influence our work. Brian has taken special interests in VR and AR systems that can be leveraged throughout project development, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, also harbors a fascination in natural materials and intricate detailing as an amateur woodworker.

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, University of Kentucky

Master of Architecture, Miami University

REGISTRATIONS & CERTIFICATIONS

Ohio RA

AIA

AIA Cincinnati VISION Class 10

LEED Green Associate

Mansion Hill Custom Floors Coowners

Jeff Rose & Bill Walz, Co-Owners, Mansion Hill Custom Floors

What does your firm do?

We are a custom woodhouse, meaning we specialize in one-of-a-kind, unique custom wood flooring and wall-treatments that you won’t find anywhere else.

How did you get into this field?

Jeff: I started sanding floors at a local company to kill time after I got out of the Navy, before I planned to go to college with my GI Bill in the fall. I found a passion in wood flooring. I also met my partner Bill at that same company. Needless to say, I never made it to college, and Bill and I teamed up and went out on our own in 2011 and we’ve been growing and expanding for the last 9+ years!

Bill: I applied for a job when I was 19 with Schumacher, he called me back a year later and what started as a job turned into my career. That is where I met my business partner Jeff Rose and the story is history.

How does your firm work with architects?

Our main clientele are Architects and Interior Designers. We want to be a trusted resource for the Architectural community, that means making sure our Architect partners have the proper applications and processes in place to make sure that their clients get a superior and functional product. We also serve the Architectural community by providing CEU trainings, all of which count as HSW credits for AIA members.

Who or what inspires you?

Jeff: Creativity is what inspires me. To take a client’s vision and bring it to life is what I’m passionate about.

Bill: My family. I work hard so I can provide the best life for them.

What is your favorite building and why?

Jeff: Le Château Frontenac in Québec, Canada, built in 1893. A little note about this historic building, in 1943 it was the site of secret meetings between Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt to devise invasion plans to end WWII. I love it for its breathtaking architectural design and the attention to detail, including all of the rift and quartered oak in the lobby which is stunning.

Bill: Union Terminal, because of its unique design and historical importance in the tri-state area.

When you’re not working, what do you love to do?

Jeff: I like to golf, work in my garden, and listen to live music.

Bill: When I’m not working, I love going camping, hiking, fishing, being out in nature, and enjoying good food and drinks with my lovely wife and family.

Mansion Hill Custom Floors is a longtime supporter of AIA Cincinnati, especially our CRAN community, and was one of our first Title Sponsors. Learn more at mansionhillcustomfloors.com.

Art Dierks, Chief Operating Officer, The V Collective

What does your firm do?

The V Collective is the parent company to Innerwood, Don Justice Cabinet Makers, and HBI.  We were started by Dan Hueber over 40 years ago as Hueber Brothers Inc., focusing on trim carpentry. After a few years and requests for fine cabinetry, Innerwood was formed to focus on building custom cabinetry. Over the years, as the business grew and a number of acquisitions took place, the companies came together under one name, The V Collective.

Today we work with architects, builders, and homeowners, specializing in the build and installation of fine cabinetry and architectural millwork. 

How did you get into this field?

Prior to joining The V Collective, I spent 14 years as SVP of Operations with TimberTech, a composite decking company. There I was fortunate to be part of a management team that grew the business from just an idea, to over 400 employees, ultimately selling the company. I was looking for an opportunity to run a smaller company with an exceptional product and growth potential, when I ran into Dan and Janine Hueber through a mutual friend. I have been running the company for over five years now and really enjoy the continuous learning experience.

How does your firm work with architects?

We are extremely fortunate to have relationships with a number of architects and are frequently introduced to projects by them. Depending on the nature of a project, our team can collaborate on design, or just manage the build and installation of cabinetry that was already designed and specified. During the process, we work closely with the architect through an exchange of shop drawings. This process ensures our shop is aligned with details specified by the architect, so that homeowners receive their cabinetry as they envisioned. 

Who or what inspires you? 

People…I find great pleasure helping people to develop, cultivating a team, and creating opportunities for employees to succeed. 

When you’re not working, what do you love to do?

My wife Amy and I love boating and travel.  We have two grown children and many friends that live out of town, so we take as many trips as we can.  When possible, we combine travel and boating which we were able to do last year visiting Lake Michigan, Lake Norman, the Jersey Shore and the Hilton Head. 

The V Collective is a longtime supporter of AIA Cincinnati, especially our CRAN community, before becoming one of our first Title Sponsors. Learn more at http://thevcollective.com.

Robert E. Gramann, FAIA, Chairman Emeritus, GBBN Architects

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

Well, 1977 is a long time ago, but many of the challenges of chapter recruitment and retention remain the same today. Recruit and retain the young and the old (mature). We had a group we called the young guns! Many are practicing today. Our vision was based on a new strategic plan focused on excitement, chapter growth, programs, leadership development, and getting everyone involved! It worked!

We began planning for the national AIA Convention Cincinnati 1980 and began the development of the AIA Foundation.

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture?

“TECHNOLOGY HAS ANNIHILATED TRADITIONS.” Designing, drawing, writing, building, communicating, and many more have positively changed our personal and professional lives.

Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today?

We must differentiate ourselves and our role in the design and construction process in the eyes of our clients. Design is the GLUE holding us together, we must lead creatively and innovate. This is the tip of the iceberg – don’t be afraid, embrace change, be the change leader.

How has AIA membership benefited you?

Thanks to very supportive leadership at GBBN Architects, I was encouraged to get involved. I became an AIA JUNKIE which made me a better professional and leader. That was very beneficial to our firm and my other community activities. My AIA involvement as a leader at local, state, and national was invaluable. It enabled me to travel with my family, partners, and friends. Those relationships over time have led to wonderful friendships, contacts, and commissions.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?

  • Ask yourself: What do you want to be recognized for? What is your individual strategic plan? The long view. How am I going to improve myself this year?
  • Verbal communication is a skill you must develop. Stay Flexible and Adaptable.
  • Be a “work-a-like-it not a workaholic.” Do GREAT work, have FUN!
  • Focus on relationships, projects will follow.
  • You are what you think you are!
  • Keep your priorities straight, GOD, FAMILY, then WORK.

David S. Collins, FAIA, President, The Preview Group, Inc.

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

The 1980 National Convention, although I was not president then, I was a member of the local planning committee and chaired the committee to create the Convention Book; fascinating, spirited Cincinnati. The 1980 Convention in my hometown was a great awakening for me to the vibrancy of the national AIA.

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture?

The digital age has come to full force. However, I still have bumwad!

Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today?

Gaining back and maintaining preeminence in the design and construction process. 

How has AIA membership benefited you?

I originally joined AIA to meet more architects and to find a job. It has been much more than I could ever hope and not only job-wise, but satisfaction with things that have been achieved at the local, state, and national levels.Perhaps more than ever AIA membership is a significant and important investment for architects to invest as we are addressing pressures in every segment of business and all our lives.  AIA at the national, state and local levels doggedly looks out for our interests in the authorization, legislative and administrative process regulating construction and the licensing that sets architects apart.

But perhaps even more important during times of COVID, serious questions on sustainability and environmental impacts on our lives, the way we practice and the way we design, AIA has provided resources and directions to assist us all to build for a better future.  No one and no other organization provides better leadership, but without your involvement and leadership the weight and power of our united voice is lost.

No, it isn’t cheap, but the value is immeasurable!

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?

AIA is a phenomenal value for anyone that is committed to the profession of architecture.  Ideas are always welcome and opportunities to serve and gain traction on changes you feel are needed are often accomplished by larger numbers of a like mind!

Rick Koehler, AIA, Co-Founder, President, and then CEO of Architects Plus (now retired)

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

I have two accomplishments that I am proud of, while I was on the AIA Cincinnati Board. I designed and initiated the Title Sponsor program which effectively gave the Board recurring revenue each year that they could depend on to underwrite their ongoing efforts to support local AIA architects. This has continued to this day, and obviously the Sponsors feel that they are being well represented by our members.

The second accomplishment, in conjunction with Jeffrey Sackenheim, AIA, was locating the space for the Cincinnati Center for Architecture + Design. We also developed the financial model of incorporating the allied services to AIA (ASLA, ASID, IIDA and SEGD) to help supplement the rent structure. Those efforts spanned almost three years, but we got it done and now AIA Cincinnati has a space they can call their own.

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture and looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today?

With the advent of email and texting, I see younger architects struggling to actually make a phone call when it becomes necessary. Communication is extremely important in our business and certainly emails and texting have made that easier, but there are times when actually talking to the person you are emailing and texting becomes the smart move, and all too often that is overlooked in my opinion.

How has AIA membership benefited you?

By being a member of AIA, especially AIA Cincinnati, you have an instant group of like-minded people who are there to assist you in whatever way they can. I called on friends from time to time, and without fail, they always came through for me. It takes a very large organization and makes it manageable.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?

Push boundaries, even if it makes people somewhat uncomfortable at times. People do not like change, so it takes them time to get used to your new idea/concept/way of thinking before they will embrace it. Nonetheless, go for it!

Lindsay Schweitzer, Assoc. AIA, LEED Green Associate, Designer II
RWA Architects, Inc.
Matthew Zix, Assoc. AIA
Project Designer
MSA Design

Lindsay Schweitzer, Assoc. AIA, LEED Green Associate, & Matthew Zix, Assoc. AIA

Of your recent projects, which is your favorite and why?

Matthew: There have been a number of projects at MSA that I have been proud to have worked on, but by far my three favorite projects are the FC Cincinnati Training Facility, Mariemont High School addition/renovation, and all the work I have been able to do with the Cincinnati Reds. Over the course of those three projects I have had the opportunity to get involved really early on in the design process and to work with some really talented people to impact the city I grew up in. To see a project like the training facility in magazines or on TV, or hear teachers say thank you for something as trivial as having a window in their classroom, or seeing a model I’ve worked on at Redsfest and watch everyone get excited to go to the ballpark, have been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling on a level I didn’t know was possible.

Lindsay: My favorite project so far at RWA has been a large basement remodel. This was my first project that I got to see all the way through from predesign and proposal writing all the way to construction administration. Seeing the design I drew come to life for the first time has been very rewarding, and being the project manager has taught me more in eight months that I ever learned in school.

Who inspires you?

Lindsay: My clients inspire me. Tailoring our architectural abilities to their varying needs and desires keeps us from doing the same thing repeatedly. We are constantly redefining what a custom home looks like. I am also inspired by strong women in architecture. It kept me motivated to keep going through school and get licensed to say that I am helping the ratio of women to men in architecture.

Matthew: I have always been inspired by the clients and end user. Seeing how little details can make a profound difference in the way others experience and interact with the spaces we design has been the driving factor behind doing what I do. 

What does the Emerging Professionals committee do?

Matthew: Our committee plans and hosts events tailored to emerging professionals in the AIA. We network and provide learning opportunities for those just starting out in the field or those who have been in the field for a while on the road to licensure. We also aim to connect the AIA EP to other members of the built environment community, forging personal relationships to better the city and local design culture.

Who should get involved with Emerging Professionals? 

Lindsay: Young, eager members, and diversity is important to us as well – women in architecture, people of color – let’s redefine who an “architect” is. We want to attract anyone who is hungry to get involved with our local design culture no matter their race or gender. 

How can AIA members get involved with Emerging Professionals?

Matthew: Contact either Lindsay or me and we will include you on the invite list for our events or offer ways for you to get more involved. We serve as the primary contact for the EP community to get engaged with one another and the built environment community as a whole. If you have an idea of something you would like to see, bring it to us and we can get it set up.

Credit: Paige Pederazni
Credit: Ross Van Pelt, The Scout Guide Cincinnati

Craig Russell, Founder & CEO, The English Contractor & Remodeling Services

What does your firm do?

We are a custom builder and bespoke remodeling company located in Cincinnati.

How did you get into this field?

I was the kid who was forever driving my family crazy by taking things apart and putting them back together again, just so I could see how things worked. I grew up in England and ended up being an apprentice to a plasterer, where I learned the art of the trade. I gradually transitioned into learning the art of remodeling, where I worked in some of the most beautiful homes in London. I founded my own building and remodeling firm in England. Then I met my wife at Oktoberfest in Munich. After an 18-month long-distance-courtship, I made the jump to Cincinnati to join my wife as she began her career as an OB-GYN physician at Christ Hospital.

Starting from the ground up again and getting accustomed to the somewhat different building traits of the United States, I started as The English Handyman doing home repair and smaller home improvement jobs. As my reputation grew, so did my projects, as I established my knowledge and credibility within the construction industry in Cincinnati. I incorporated an apprenticeship program into my company, an important learning process and accreditation that is mandatory in the United Kingdom, to teach and encourage the next generation of trades.

Over the past 8 years, I have assembled a best-in-class crew of professional remodelers, with a thriving apprenticeship program of my own for those who want to learn the trade like I did and have transformed my business into a building and remodeling firm. My team of 40+ includes specialty trades, including our own plumber and electrician, so we really have everything we need to build a home from the ground up—from the foundation and mechanicals to the small, bespoke details. I spend most of my time in the field, where I still am happiest when I can get my hands dirty.

How does your firm work with architects?

As a home building and remodeling company, it is our passion to deliver the architect’s vision and the client’s expectations. The end result is a home that is both beautifully designed and beautifully built. A strong partnership between builder and architect helps manage any hurdles or challenges that any project may encounter along the way—and the end result is a customer who is thrilled with the end result.

What inspires you? 

Believe it or not, a challenge inspires me. My team and I love to problem solve. I’ve yet to come across a project that doesn’t have some sort of issue, problem or pain point that we needed to solve for a customer. There’s always a solution. After all, there’s a space station that was constructed in outer space, so I always use that as an example to show that anything is possible in construction. Sometimes, it just takes some creative thinking and troubleshooting to make it happen. When my team and I can put our heads together and solve a problem for one of our customers, that is something we really celebrate. Our partners know that we’re not going to walk away from a project shaking our heads. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and work until we figure it out. That’s just our style.

What is your favorite building and why? 

I feel like I have to pick one of my own, right? In 2018, my firm was selected as the contractor for the HGTV Urban Oasis. We worked with designer Brian Patrick Flynn and architecture firm Platte Architecture + Design to take a Dutch Colonial Revival in Hyde Park/Oakley down to the studs and then completely remodeled it, outside and out. The home is the shining star of the neighborhood now. I love how just one person remodeling a home in a neighborhood can start a chain of transformation on the street. 

When you’re not working, what do you love to do?

I’m a veteran Rugby player, although I don’t frequent the field as much as I would like to. Now I now spend my time as the coach for the University of Cincinnati’s women’s rugby team. It’s a club team at UC, but we’ve helped build up the program over the past few years and are nationally ranked. I’m also one of the assistant Rugby coaches at Moeller High School and previously coached the team at Walnut Hills. Many of those players are now attending college on full rugby scholarships, which is something I’m really proud of. 

If I wasn’t a home builder/remodeler, I’d probably be doing something in the automotive industry. I am a military veteran of the Royal Corps Transport, now known as the Royal Logistics Corps. I developed a real love for the Land Rover and off-roading then and now spend my infrequent free time working on my vehicles and riding my Ducati motorcycle. You may see The English Contractor sprinter vans and pick up trucks around the city, but I wouldn’t be a true Englishman if I didn’t drive a Land Rover as my personal vehicle. I have imported a Land Rover defender and a classic Mini from the U.K. I also have passion for horses and riding, having owned a few over the years. Most of my time is spent managing my business and meeting with my customers, but even my pastimes get me out, meeting new people, solving problems and learning new things. 

The English Contractor is not only a Title Sponsor, but also a Sesquicentennial Stakeholder, the Platinum sponsor of AIA Cincinnati’s CRANawards, and a 12 Gauge sponsor of Sycamore Creek Sporting Clays (October 1). Learn more at https://theenglishcontractor.com/.

Amanda Cook, Territory Sales Manager, Tisdel Distributing- Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove Distributor

What does your firm do?

For the past 30 years, Tisdel Distributing has been the exclusive distributor for Sub-Zero, Wolf, Asko, Faber, Best and Scotsman in the midwest and midsouth, USA. We are the direct link between the manufacturer and more than 100 dealer showrooms. It is our job to ensure that our products, dealer displays, and your ownership experience exceed expectations. We are passionate about excellence and represent the very best in residential kitchen appliance brands

How did you get into this field?

I went to design school and have always been passionate about the design and building industry. I completed my design degree and while getting my bachelor’s degree in marketing I started working for a local tile distributor. I quickly learned that I could stay engaged in the community of design that I loved, while working in it from a sales perspective. This keeps me connected to the clients that I have developed such strong relationships with, while continuing to build new ones.

How does your firm work with architects?

We provide education and resources for the architectural community for any Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove products. We have a staff that is educated to work alongside architects to assist in the specification process, design phase, service needs, and the distribution to the trade clients. Our showroom offers a space to bring clients to walk through product selection, experience the appliances through our living kitchen and cooking demonstrations, and we encourage architects to use our space to host meetings with their clients as well. 

Who or what inspires you? 

I am most inspired by travel. 

Mark Twain – “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s life” 

What is your favorite building and why? 

I cannot say I have one favorite building; I have an appreciation and love of seeing the creative work of so many. I have recently been trying to see, tour, or stay at as many midcentury modern architecture homes as I can. Airbnb stays have made pairing my love of travel and midcentury modern architecture a lot of fun to explore.  I absolutely love the style of incorporating nature and bringing in the outdoors.

When you’re not working, what do you love to do?

Spending time with my family, traveling, outdoor activities (kayaking, hiking, biking). I love cooking, baking, and visiting new restaurants whenever possible.

Tisdel Distributing is a longtime supporter of AIA Cincinnati, beginning as a CRANawards sponsor before becoming one of our first Title Sponsors. Learn more at https://tisdeldistributing.com.

John Rogers, FAIA, FACHA, President, John W. Rogers, Architect

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

The AIA Cincinnati Board focused on member value while I was on the Board. We continued to create a reserve that covered 120%+ of our annual operating expenses. We held Board members accountable to focus their service on member benefits and value. I led our emphasis on our chapter committees which engaged more of our members. Our membership increased over 25% during my service on the Board. Our newsletter was improved and included articles from leading area architects. We worked through the “signature architect” program with local clients to assure local AIA architects were involved and architect of record on many projects. We worked on resolving prior issues with AIA Ohio and developing common goals to advance the profession and AIA members around Ohio. We encouraged our architect members to get involved in community and political organizations.

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture?

Architecture is now a global opportunity for many firms and the shift to specialty design has changed the landscape of practice.  We now look at health on a global scale and an important component of planning and design for projects everywhere.

Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenging facing architects working today?

Positioning our profession to be experts in health, carbon neutrality, climate change, sustainability, and energy efficiency as we prepare our communities for the future. We must remain relevant and be valued as thought leaders in developing the successful future of our environment.  

How has AIA membership benefited you?

Creating and incredible network of industry friends who are exceptional professionals with such varied experience and expertise that it expands my knowledge and resources.  I have been able to create and lead projects as well as develop long time clients and friends for life. I am so blessed to have such successful and incredible people as friends and colleagues.  I have had opportunities to impact people all over the world thru the work and presentations I have made throughout my career. I am humbled to have had amazing opportunities to serve our profession at many levels and surround myself with professionals who are far more talented than I am to enhance my leadership impact.  

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?

Remember life is about people and the opportunities you have to impact their lives.  Create as many opportunities as you can to use your passion and knowledge to improve our environment to secure the future with empathy, knowledge, and leadership.

Andreas Lange, Senior Associate, PWWG Architects, CRANawards Chair (2016-2020)

Of your recent projects, which is your favorite and why?

Cincinnati Music Hall – I joined PWWG as the on-site Project Architect to help deliver this project. It was a once-in-a-lifetime project that demanded absolutely every architectural skill imaginable and more. The scale and speed of the renovation was overwhelming at first. In the end, being present, respectful, and responsive helped transform the potentially tense relationships between the design team and contractors. We figured out how to work together to solve very messy problems and maintain design intent. The project was delivered on-time and to widespread praise. I’m proud to have been part of the team that made it all happen.

Who inspires you?

My kids – Every day you can see them learn something new and make more connections. Seeing them slowly grow up into funny, beautiful little people is one of the most rewarding things in the world. Sure, redesigning Music Hall was challenging, but it had an end date. Thankfully, kids don’t have a deadline and they will continue to grow.

What does the CRANawards committee do?

The CRANawards Committee organizes and runs the annual awards program highlighting the best in residential architecture in Cincinnati. We gather entries from professionals, select and organize the awards Jury, collect sponsorships from industry partners, and organize the awards banquet. The CRANawards started in 2009 and has been very successful in raising awareness and recognition of the good work that residential architects do here in Cincinnati. Our committee also tries to improve the program every year. For example, this year we have created a student category and a 25 year category. The intent was to broaden participation to include emerging designers and established professionals with a legacy of work. We also teamed up with UC to share our visiting Juror who will give a free public lecture the day before the awards banquet.

How can someone get involved with the CRANawards?

We’d love for more young professionals to join the committee. Cincinnati’s CRAN committee is one of the most active in the country and the CRANawards is its signature event. Being on the CRANawards Committee is an opportunity to directly shape the story about residential architecture in Cincinnati and broadcast that to a much larger audience. It’s also good networking.Submit a project for the awards next year, attend the 2020 banquet (registration deadline is March 20!), and pay attention to who is building the best buildings in town. Challenge each other to build better.