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.

Founded in 1893, and employee-owned, Oswald is one of the nation’s largest independent insurance brokerage and risk management firms. As a proud Partner of Assurex Global, the world’s largest association of privately held insurance brokers, our risk management professionals service and support the needs of our clients locally and worldwide.

Our Architects and Engineers Professional Liability Practice is part of the Design | Construction vertical within Oswald. With the ever-changing landscape in project delivery methods, we saw it as an opportunity to combine both practices into one department to better serve the needs of our clients. 

An Advocate for Design

At Oswald we are advocates for the design industry, with an average tenure of 15 years in the business, our team not only keeps a pulse on the insurance market but also the legislative and trade issues. Currently the Ohio state legislature is reviewing some key initiatives that would have a positive effect on the design industry:

  • OFCC State Contract Review ACEC/AIA task force, full document review relative to insurability
  • ACEC Ohio Indemnification Bill- Public Contract Indemnification- Senate Bill 56 would regulate the use of indemnity provisions in contracts related to public improvements. The A/E professions have been confronted with having to sign contracts with public bodies that included uninsurable “broad form” indemnification and/or defense requirements. 
  • Payment Assurance Legislation- Senate Bill 49 would establish a payment assurance program (i.e. lien rights) for registered design professionals (architects, landscape architects, engineers, and surveyors).
  • Ohio Revised Code section 9.239179D Internal Revenue Code Tax Deduction – Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction addresses the tax deduction that the state of Ohio is to allocate to design firms

Other state laws that apply to design professionals:

  • New Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Continuing Education. New law was passed in the beginning of 2020 that requires sexual harassment prevention training for all persons who hold a professional license issued by the Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) for professionals that require CE to renew. The law requires licensees to complete a one-hour CE course in sexual harassment prevention training and is effective for all renewals on or after January 1, 2020. This law currently applies to Illinois. Contact us for links to Illinois-approved providers.
  • Anti-Harassment Training. There are now 11 states that require anti-harassment training for both managers and employees who work in those states. Each state also has specific requirements that the training must discuss. The 11 states with these laws are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Maine, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont. Contact us for information on software available to provide and track this training for your managers and employees.

We are also dedicated to providing education opportunities to the industry because a sound risk management plan starts with education. 

Upcoming Learning and Risk Management Opportunities

Oswald’s All Ohio Convocation– Columbus, OH- Thursday September 9th, 2021- will be live and in person

AXA XL & PLAN/Oswald Sponsored Webinars

  • Managing Your Risk and the Duty to Defend– Thursday July 8th, 2021
  • Ethics– Thursday August 26th, 2021; 1:00-2:00 PM EST
  • Watch Out for That Project/Project Risk Analysis– Wednesday September 1st, 2021
  • Resilient Design and the Evolving Standard of Care– Wednesday November 3rd, 2021

Registration

For registration information on these programs, contact Brian C. Baumgardner, CIC, CRIS, ARM, Associate Client Executive, Design | Construction, Oswald.

Through our approach and our collaborative business units—property and casualty, employee benefits, personal client management, retirement plan services, and life insurance—we help individuals and businesses identify, reduce, and manage their risks.

We are grateful for the opportunity to serve this industry and look forward to a continued partnership. Thank you for your support.

Oswald is an AIA Cincinnati 2021 Title Sponsor. Learn more at oswaldcompanies.com.

Steve Kenat

Steve Kenat, Board Member, Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, LISC, ULI Cincinnati, and YWCA Cincinnati

Firm and Role: GBBN, Director of Community Development

What is the purpose of the organization/committee that you are involved with? 

There are several organizations for which I serve on Boards and Committees, and their missions have a significant overlap in the realm of creating equitable opportunities for people. The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), and ULI Cincinnati each share a focus on responsible development in urban areas, specifically in core neighborhoods of Cincinnati. YWCA Cincinnati has a mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, which is broader but also highly relevant in our city, and to me personally. 

Why did you choose to get involved? 

In every case, the mission of the organization is what I found personally compelling to get involved, and I’ve always been appreciative of GBBN for the encouragement and flexibility to do so. I enjoy working with organizations like the OTR Chamber, ULI, and LISC that align with my interest in creative urban environments, and working with residents and entrepreneurs who are passionate about their own neighborhoods and cities, to make them more equitable and sustainable. I fell in love with OTR and its historic fabric when I arrived in Cincinnati as a DAAP student, and I love exploring cities and their stories. 

Supporting others’ efforts to bring neighborhoods together around their strengths and a shared vision is very rewarding. I enjoy working with diverse professionals to make that happen; learning from crazy-smart people in business, finance, development, planning, policy-making, and community-organizing. Perhaps most personally, I wanted to get involved in the YWCA as the father of an adopted daughter from Guatemala, because I didn’t want anyone to limit her potential as a girl, or by the color of her skin.

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the organization? 

Architects are often sought after first in the realm of facilities and construction. We also bring needed design and experience-focused perspective, and are strong collaborators and consensus-builders. 

In the case of the YWCA, we design for trauma-informed care for survivors of domestic violence, to rebuild their dignity and independence with our shelters and programs. 

Understanding and curating the urban environment is much broader. The OTR Chamber attracts and retains a vibrant mix of businesses to activate the neighborhood. We review business plans and provide grants for minority-owned businesses who may struggle with access to investment capital, so business ownership in the neighborhood can better reflect the residents of the neighborhood – making the streets more engaging for businesses, residents, and patrons. That’s similar to the work of LISC’s mission to support affordable housing, help entrepreneurs build businesses, and better serve neighborhoods. ULI has excellent local thought-leadership, and like AIA, broad national perspectives and resources. I appreciate the opportunity to be involved in these teams because they are so cross-disciplinary. 

How has serving in this role benefited you as an architect? 

There’s a tangible impact to the neighborhood in our work. As a downtown resident, I see the benefit of these organizations as a patron of OTR and other surrounding neighborhoods. Understanding the challenges of mission-based organizations has also been a valuable lesson in empathy that I apply to my work, especially with GBBN’s not-for-profit clients. I’ve learned a lot from industry experts in each organization, not to mention the remarkable friendships beyond the architectural profession. 

How much time and effort does your role require? 

Every organization is different, and many Boards only meet quarterly or every other month. But the real work is often done at the Committee level, and my experience is they meet more frequently around more specific initiatives, but that’s also the most rewarding and tangible. 

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in similar organization? 

Absolutely! Before someone can be a good designer, they need to be a good listener. As designers, our goals are rooted in the goals of our clients and understanding the communities in which we practice. I’m definitely a better architect for the skills I’ve learned volunteering in these organizations. I like to believe it’s been mutually beneficial towards advancing Cincinnati as a more equitable and vibrant city. 


Are you a Citizen Architect? Please let us know by emailing julie@aiacincinnati.org.

Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).

To keep up with AIA Cincinnati activities, sign up to get our weekly Architext e-newsletter.

Laila Ammar, Board Member, NEST (Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation)

Firm and Role: MSA Design, Project Architect

What is the purpose of the organization that you are involved with? 

Born of grassroots passion mixed with professional wisdom, NEST has brought a clear vision for the redevelopment of the Northside community since our inception in 2006. Through renovation, new construction and partnerships with qualified owners, NEST has facilitated the sale or transfer of 39 properties—more than half of which were income restricted. In 2018, our scope of work expanded into commercial development, targeting affordable rental housing and business district improvement. 

Why did you choose to get involved? 

After buying a home in Northside I was looking for a way to volunteer my time in my neighborhood, and not long after it had been on my mind, a friend happened to reach out to see if I might be interested in joining NEST’s board of directors. They were starting to expand their goals into more commercial work and were looking for people with industry experience in that regard for the board.

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the organization? 

A better understanding of typical project timelines and processes gives foresight to making informed decisions for the community. I also advocate for critical, or at least thoughtful, design. Development has so many moving parts and intricacies to get meaningful or affordable projects done at all that “design quality” can be lost in the conversation quite easily.

How has serving in this role benefits you as an architect? 

A looking glass to sitting on the other side of the table, representing “the client”; A continued education in development; Learning about the structures that exist to develop affordable projects and the extreme gaps that exist in that system.

How much time and effort does your role require? 

I have at least one Board Meeting and one Committee meeting every month, many times with some tasks to work on between meetings. Our rules allow for four terms of two-years per term (8 total years).

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in a similar organization? 

Of course! Everyone should find a way to give back to their communities but Architects have a special knowledge to offer. If you have any interest in community advocacy, Architects are well positioned to be heard. Even if you don’t join an organization, go to your neighborhood council meetings or our city council meetings—and when anything has to do with our built environment, your opinion could carry weight and help amplify voices that aren’t being listened to.


Are you a Citizen Architect? Please let us know by emailing julie@aiacincinnati.org.

Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).

To keep up with AIA Cincinnati activities, sign up to get our weekly Architext e-newsletter.

Sheri Scott, AIA, NCARB, Springboro Historic Downtown Architectural Review Board

Firm and Role: Founder & Principal Architect, Springhouse Architects and Springhouse Structures

What is the purpose of the organization/committee that you are involved with? 

The Springboro Historic Downtown Architectural Review Board is charged with promoting development sensitive to the historic character of Springboro’s Historic Preservation District and local Landmark structures by establishing uniform standards and guidelines. Also to foster the city’s economic development by preserving the historic character of its unique downtown to attract new businesses. We strive to celebrate our past through preservation.

Why did you choose to get involved? 

Being involved was a natural professional extension to serve the community in which I live. I was invited to apply to the board by the city planning official. The city council appointed me to the position for a 2-year term. I chose to accept the appointment because I believe that buildings are not disposable and the preservation of unique architectural districts is important.

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the organization? 

As an architect, I can contribute in a unique way to the preservation of our downtown environment. Bringing to light alternate design solutions and construction processes leads the conversation in a productive way. As a licensed architect, I help the organization meet federal requirements of the board that they would otherwise be missing.

How has serving in this role benefits you as an architect? 

Community service benefits me professionally as well as personally. Professionally, it adds to my credibility as a productive, thoughtful and contributing architect. Personally, I believe we should all give to our communities what time and talents we have. The connections I have made through the board and the petitioning business owners has been very valuable.

How much time and effort does your role require? 

My term length is two years. We meet one time per month. With review, prep, and meeting time, it is around a three-hour commitment every month.

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in a similar organization? 

I do encourage other architects to get involved in some type of community service. It is good for you personally and professionally, it serves a greater good, and requires very little outside of what we are already trained to do.


Are you a Citizen Architect? Please let us know by emailing julie@aiacincinnati.org.

Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).

To keep up with AIA Cincinnati activities, sign up to get our weekly Architext e-newsletter.

Steven Gress, Sales Specialist & Architectural Wall Project Manager, Hansen Distribution Agency (Manufacturers Rep Group)

What are the services that you provide/what does your company do?

Partnering with some of the most customer focused manufacturers; Hansen Distribution Agency serves the contract/commercial furnishing needs of corporate, educational, healthcare, and hospitality environments across the state of Ohio.

How do you work with architects?

HDA regularly partners with some of the largest firms throughout the state of Ohio. I pride myself on doing whatever I can to make specifying our products as effortless as possible.

How are you innovating and bringing value to your projects?

Flexibility and social distance are without a doubt major design factors within today’s environments. Each of our represented manufacturers offer some of the most innovative and effective solutions to account for these new norms.

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

Local public library renovations. KI is second to none for both K-12 and higher education solutions. As the husband of an elementary school teacher, I am always moved to see our solutions helping students learn more effectively without sacrificing comfort or flexibility.

What do you consider your strongest skill?

Public Speaking/communication.

What do you love most about what you do?

In addition to working with the most amazing team anyone could ask for, I love the rewarding feeling of seeing my projects come to life and add functionality to any space.

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?

I am a huge sports nut. I love to both play and watch just about anything.

Carl Sterner, Board Member of NEST (Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation) & Member of the Cincinnati 2030 District Advisory Committee

Firm and Role: Director of Design & Sustainability at Sol Design + Consulting

What is the purpose of the organization that you are involved with? 

NEST is Northside’s Community Development Corporation. CDCs are non-profit organizations that help shape development based on the priorities of the community. NEST’s current areas of focus are affordable housing and revitalization of Northside’s business district.

I’m also involved with the Cincinnati 2030 District. The aim of a 2030 District is to reduce carbon emissions 50% by 2030, including emissions from building energy use, transportation, and water use. Cincinnati has added a fourth metric aimed at improving occupant health. I served on the working group that got the District started in 2018, and I now serve on an Advisory Committee.

Why did you choose to get involved? 

For NEST, I wanted to contribute to the efforts to keep Northside diverse, affordable, and sustainable. I hoped that my expertise in sustainable design could help NEST further improve its efforts on that front.

For the 2030 District, I believe there is a huge opportunity for cities to take the lead on fighting climate change and drawing down carbon emissions, and I wanted to help make that change happen locally. The 2030 model appealed to me because it is both ambitious–aligned with targets needed to keep climate change to 1.5 degC–and also practical, with a history of success.

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the organization? 

For NEST, my architectural background helps me understand how and where to intervene for maximum impact in our community. It also helps me understand how to achieve design quality and character that is appropriate to the neighborhood, and what to look for when it comes to sustainable design.

For the 2030 District, a big part of the District’s goals relate to reducing energy use in existing buildings. My background in sustainable design and energy modeling helped me make the requirements tangible and concrete. A 50% reduction can sound daunting, but once you understand the path to get there you see that it’s achievable.

How has serving in this role benefits you as an architect? 

Through my involvement with NEST, I have gained a deeper understanding of the development process, including the financing mechanisms for affordable housing and the constraints that come with assembling financing. Design is in many ways a navigation of constraints, so understanding the financial constraints allows me to contribute more productively to projects.

For the 2030 District: Because of the focus on existing buildings, much of the discussion here revolves around the needs of building owners and facility managers. These folks are juggling a large number of priorities, and understanding their perspectives can help architects design buildings that better address the needs of clients and the end users–and that also perform better, because so much of a building’s energy use depends on how it is used and operated.

How much time and effort does your role require? 

NEST has just one paid staff member, our executive director Sarah Thomas—which means a good amount of our work happens through the volunteer efforts of the board. In addition to monthly board meetings, members serve on at least one committee, which have their own monthly meetings and often several hours of effort in between.

My level of involvement with the 2030 District has scaled over the years depending on the needs of the organization. Launching the District initially was a big effort from a number of very committed volunteers. My current role on the Advisory Committee involves monthly meetings with some work in between.

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in similar organization/committee? If so, why? 

Absolutely, it is incredibly valuable for architects to be involved as advocates, helping to shape policy and community development decisions. Architects have unique expertise about the forces that shape the built environment, from codes and policy to cost and buildability. Often times the “rules of the game” constrain what we as architects can do on individual projects. In many cases, those rules or incentives need to shift to achieve our goals, whether that’s rapid decarbonization, or diverse, vibrant neighborhoods, or affordable housing, or historic preservation, or any number of other important goals. Designing those policies can be even more impactful than designing our buildings—and can ultimately allow us to design the sorts of buildings we really want.


Are you a Citizen Architect? Please let us know by emailing julie@aiacincinnati.org.

Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).


To keep up with AIA Cincinnati activities, sign up to get our weekly Architext e-newsletter.

Doug Gallow, City of Cincinnati AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, Advisory Council Member

Firm and Role: Lifespan Design Studio, Co-founder, Principal

What is the purpose of the organization that you are involved with? 

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities targets improvements in eight domains that influence the health and quality of life for all as we age. Communities participating in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities commit to improving their livability through an assessment of needs, development of an action plan, implementation of new projects and programs, and ongoing assessment – all with the involvement of older residents and other key stakeholders. The focus areas are: Outdoor spaces and buildings; Transportation; Housing; Social participation; Respect and social inclusion; Civic participation and employment; Communication and information; and Community support and health services.

Why did you choose to get involved? 

Lifespan Design Studio is a specialty architectural firm focused on design-for-aging and universal design. Our mission is to create environments that provide real accessibility and enhanced user-friendliness to as many as possible, going far beyond the minimum requirements of the ADA. The goal of The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities to influence the health and quality of life offered me an opportunity to serve the Cincinnati community to this end.   

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the organization? 

Architects are problem solvers. Lifespan Design Studio brings architecture and gerontology together. I understand how the built environment can broadly impact health and quality of life in the eight domains of focus. Age-friendliness in community is about far more than physical accessibility and curb cuts. I see positive outcomes time and time again in communities where we work to support a broader definition of inclusivity and aging-friendliness.

How has serving in this role benefits you as an architect? 

I have always viewed my practice as advocacy. Although none of us like to admit it, we are all aging. Aging is something we do from our first breath to our last. Those who are impacted by our designs are always changing. If the built environment in the community does not seamlessly allow these changes to occur, the built environment “handicaps” people needlessly. This opportunity to observe how the community and its residents react to these challenges, and participate in finding solutions, makes me a better architect. 

How much time and effort does your role require? 

This Advisory Council had an initial kick off meeting in November of 2020, followed by another meeting in December, each of these being virtual and lasting approximately 2 hours. The goal is to meet quarterly throughout the first year. It is expected that some sub-committees may be formed to focus on the domains which will result in intermediate meetings between the quarterly ones. After the first year it is expected that a similar process will occur during year two.  

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in similar organizations? If so, why? 

As architects we are involved on a daily basis addressing the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Involvement beyond our offices is a natural extension of this stewardship. I think there is much that architects can bring to a discussion. Being involved outside of our jobs also exposes us to other issues and people that we may not encounter on a regular basis expanding our vantage point. I have found great satisfaction in advocacy and encourage others to find a way to get involved.


Are you a Citizen Architect? Please let us know by emailing julie@aiacincinnati.org.

Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).

To keep up with AIA Cincinnati activities, sign up to get our weekly Architext e-newsletter

Craig Gossman, AIA, Board of Directors, Heritage Ohio

Firm and Role: Owner, GOSSMANgroup

What is the purpose of the organization where you are involved? 

Heritage Ohio is Ohio’s official historic preservation and Main Street organization. The organization’s headquarters is located in Columbus where a full-time Director and 4 full time Staff Associates oversee numerous programs, workshops, and events throughout the state focused on historic preservation. Administering the Main Street Program for 22 towns and 35 emerging communities is a significant part of the organization’s offerings. Another key responsibility of the organization is in the area of historic preservation advocacy. Staff and board members work closely with the State Historic Preservation Office to educate and support state and federal legislators regarding the benefits and importance of historic renovation tax credits.  

Why did you choose to get involved? 

I have always had a love for historic buildings and an interest in the ways in which historic towns and cities can leverage their historic assets into significant community and economic development benefits.

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the commission? 

In addition to being a board member, I serve on the Executive Board and also Chair the Strategic Planning Committee. I think my architectural and urban design background has provided me with unique problem-solving methodologies that I can bring to the table when working on numerous board assignments and in particular long-range planning for the organization.

How has serving in this role benefits you as an architect? 

Having always appreciated historic buildings, my experience is a natural fit with what Heritage Ohio is advocating. Working with various real estate development interests over the years has provided me with a unique perspective on what makes a successful downtown, district, or neighborhoods. Sharing this knowledge with the leadership in the communities we serve contributes to Heritage Ohio’s mission while rewarding me personally as well.

How much time and effort does your role require? 

Heritage Ohio recently adopted mandatory three-year term limits. We have quarterly full board meetings, monthly executive board meetings, and committee meetings as required at the discretion of the chair. Additionally, we are encouraged to attend our workshops and visit the towns and cities we represent occasionally to better understand our constituents needs and concerns.

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in similar commissions? 

I strongly encourage architects to get involved with organizations in their communities regardless if the organization has a direct link to architecture or not. The organization might focus on causes you might be personally interested in which can be extremely rewarding. Architects bring a unique perspective to the table which can benefit the organization greatly. Additionally, it might provide an opportunity to educate others within the organization on the architecture profession and the benefit of working with architects on their current & future building needs.


Are you a Citizen Architect? Please let us know by emailing julie@aiacincinnati.org.

Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).

To keep up with AIA Cincinnati activities, sign up to get our weekly Architext e-newsletter.

Jeffrey Sackenheim, AIA, President of the Board, CHNK Behavioral Health (aka Children’s Home of NKY)

Firm and Role: Vice President, Architecture at SHP

What is the purpose of the organization where you are involved? 

CHNK Behavioral Health’s mission is to be a trauma-informed healthcare organization focused on creating holistic partnerships for health and wellness that are inclusive, innovative and inspiring. Founded in 1882 as a traditional orphanage for youth, the organization has evolved with changing community needs. CHNK now provides trauma-informed mental health and addiction treatment services to nearly 4,000 children, adolescents, adults and families in crisis each year.

Why did you choose to get involved? 

CHNK’s mission is very personal to me: I have close family members that have struggled with mental health issues throughout their lives. My wife and I are personally invested in trying to help remove the stigmas around mental health and improve resources and access to care within the community.

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the commission? 

I started my tenure with CHNK as a Real Estate and Facilities Committee Subject Matter Expert on the Board. CHNK currently operates out of three facilities and we are routinely planning for the future of our facilities. This includes updating our rolling 3-year capital improvements plan, undertaking routine maintenance and repairs, and strategically thinking about how our facilities can continue to evolve to provide the highest level of care and treatment to our clients. We routinely work with outside construction partners, vendors, engineers, and other architects. I’m really proud of the fact that CHNK fully recognizes the positive link between a well-designed space and its ability to help improve a client’s personal journey as part of a safe and therapeutic environment.

How has serving in this role benefits you as an architect? 

I’ve met some really amazing and dedicated people first and foremost. People that give selflessly to help others. Secondly, it does bring me joy to know that in some small way I’ve been able to help make a young kid’s life a little bit brighter. A lot of the kids we serve have really difficult back-stories and home lives. I can’t imagine what that must be like. The cards are stacked against you from the day you were born. I feel blessed to have had the upbringing and opportunities that I did. Just knowing that I can now leverage my experience as an architect to help others is the biggest benefit.

How much time and effort does your role require? 

I’ve been on the Board for about 4-years now and my term as President of the Board will last for about another 2-years. We meet as an EXCOM each week and as a full Board about every other month. There are periodic meetings that might pop up in between as certain initiatives or issues come up. I’d say that I give about 3-hours per week on average right now. It’s like anything else – the more you put in, the more you get out. Ultimately, we are really looking for Board members that want to be active contributors to help us deliver our mission, not just add something to your resume.

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in similar commissions? 

Without a doubt: YES! I believe it’s in most of our DNA to want to help out when and where we can. I believe most architects and designers are fundamentally invested in making the world a more equitable, resilient, and beautiful place. Getting involved in the community is a great way to do just that. It’s really rewarding and does make a difference. Lastly, I’m really proud and thankful that I’m a part of a firm that fully embraces and supports this type of service, especially in times of uncertainty and unrest like we’ve witnessed over the last 12-months.


Are you a Citizen Architect? Please let us know by emailing julie@aiacincinnati.org.

Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).

To keep up with AIA Cincinnati activities, sign up to get our weekly Architext e-newsletter.

Dorothy Hazinski, Architectural Design Representative, Benjamin Moore

What are the services that you provide/what does your company do? 

Project Specifications, Product Recommendations, Color Services

Tell us more about you.

Dorothy Hazinski is the Architectural Design Representative for Benjamin Moore & Co. She has worked in the paint industry for over 30 years. Previous to Benjamin Moore, Dorothy held the position of Senior Technical Manager for a large coatings manufacturer with laboratory experience in research and development. 

Her vast experience allows her to troubleshoot field problems and find solutions. Representing premium and high quality products, Dorothy is able to provide expertise and education to the Architectural Design community.

Chris Kepes, AIA, with Village of Fairfax Planning Commission

Sole Proprietor of KepesArchitecture

What is the purpose of the organization where you are involved? 

It is a zoning commission so the purpose is to review and make decisions on whether or not to allow zoning variances, whether or not to approve PUD (Planned Unit Development) proposals and to, at times, adjust or even rewrite sections of the zoning code. 

Why did you choose to get involved? 

Three reasons. 1) it was an opportunity to volunteer and serve others with my professional expertise; 2) it was an opportunity to influence and hopefully improve the local built environment; 3) I thought it might raise my visibility as an architect in the area.

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the commission? 

As an architect I have an educated sense/understanding of space and approach and proximity that other commission members usually don’t. I also know how design happens, obviously.

How has serving in this role benefits you as an architect? 

It has helped me to understand more about commercial development and how and why zoning codes get written the way they do. 

How much time and effort does your role require? 

Meetings are fairly rare in our community recently; perhaps three a year. Some years there have been many more than that. I have been a commission member since the early 2000s. I am not aware of any term limit. 

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in similar commissions? 

Yes! One of the great opportunities we as architects have is to influence and improve our built environment. This would be another way to do that and learn more about one’s local community at the same time.


Are you a Citizen Architect? Please let us know by emailing julie@aiacincinnati.org.

Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).

To keep up with AIA Cincinnati activities, sign up to get our weekly Architext e-newsletter.

Jeff Raser, President, Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation

Firm: CUDA Studio

What is the purpose of the organization where you are involved?

To promote the heritage and equitable redevelopment of Cincinnati’s Brewery District. 

Why did you choose to get involved?

I wanted to be deeply involved in the renaissance of the wonderfully complex neighborhood known as the Brewery District (which is roughly the northern half of Over-the-Rhine centered by Findlay Market). 

How does your experience as an architect contribute to the organization?

My work as an architect who is focused on urban design and community revitalization provides me with valuable insight into creating and maintaining vibrant urban places. The Brewery District has the largest collection of 19th and early 20th century brewery-related structures in the country – all embedded in the intimate fabric of the Italianate Over-the-Rhine. The redevelopment of large industrial buildings strewn within a neighborhood of smaller mixed-use buildings, connected by urban street corridors and public gathering spaces, is well-served by the broad, creative thinking engendered by my architectural background. 

How has serving in this role benefited you as an architect?

I’ve had to learn the intricacies of event-based programs and business models (something many of my clients have to deal with regularly). As with many non-profit organizations, I’ve had to help figure out how to originate ideas, turn them into actionable objectives and strategies, and achieve results with little or no money. Then there’s the beer – I’ve had to learn about that (though the hands-on study and research has been rewarding). 

How much time and effort does your role require?

I’ve been on the Board of Directors of the Brewery District since 2005 but I’ve only been president since January of 2020. Our board meets monthly as do our standing committees. As president of the organization during the COVID-19 outbreak I’ve had to put in quite a bit of time – from 8 to 20 hours per month. 

Would you encourage other architects to get involved in a similar organization?

Absolutely. Civic organizations, such as community councils and Community Development Corporations, need the “big-picture” thoughtfulness and innovative thinking that architects bring forth. Also, the experience of serving on such a board provides architects with priceless real-world experience (and networking opportunities). We need them and they need us. 


Are you a Citizen Architect? Please let us know by emailing julie@aiacincinnati.org.

Are you interested in getting more involved with your community? Check out AIA Ohio’s Finding Your Voice advocacy series or come to one of AIA Cincinnati’s Local Advocacy Working Group meetings (second Thursday each month at 8:30 am on Zoom).

To keep up with AIA Cincinnati activities, sign up to get our weekly Architext e-newsletter.

James Tavernelli, President and Chief Operating Officer, KLH Engineers

What are the services that you provide? 

KLH Engineers’ services include mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, lighting, technology systems, and commissioning. KLH is also positioning itself for broader opportunities by offering BIM technology development, data management strategies, and design to support industrialized construction strategies.

How do you approach your work? 

As design team members, KLH is meeting the owner’s requirements; however, it also recognizes the contractors are the consumers of its work. KLH’s goal is to think downstream with respect to what information owners need to operate their building and what contractors need to construct with less waste. To do that requires KLH to identify, leverage, and transfer data that is valuable to each stakeholder.

How are you innovating and bringing value to your projects? 

KLH is creating software for industry users through the creation of custom Autodesk Revit add-ins, project management applications, design databases, asset management applications, machine learning, and web applications. By leveraging design data, KLH is eliminating rework and waste, and saving clients time and money.

What are some of the challenges in the industry and how do you address them? 

The AEC industry has struggled with inefficiencies and missed opportunities to utilize data. Therefore, KLH launched Levcon Analytics, a company solely focused on Data as a Discipline™. Levcon Analytics creates strategies to help identify, manage, and audit data as the project goes through design, construction, and operations. Its data integration platform, Convergit™, improves an owner’s ability to manage assets and streamlines the design and construction process by uniting teams through a single source of truth.

What’s next for you? 

KLH aspires to be a firm that drives the entire project, as well as the industry, into its next evolution of a digitized, industrialized construction industry. KLH seeks like-minded partners willing to break down barriers and adopt a willingness to share project data for greater outcomes. It will require education and KLH is committed to doing its part to keep the industry informed.

Steve Kenat

Steve Kenat, Director of Community Development | Principal, GBBN

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

In 2005, the city was beginning to rediscover the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and seeing its potential – something that architects were already well aware of. We hosted numerous events in collaboration with other organizations – aimed at bringing together partners in the A/E/C industry like SMPS and ULI, and others targeted toward architects, like the young architects and interns, (YAiF) broadening our own diversity and engaging others. With exciting new projects going on, we hosted a variety of hardhat tours, including negotiating a tour of Zaha Hadid’s new Contemporary Arts Center that included an annual membership to this new groundbreaking building to all attendees.

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

Our use of technology in both design and construction has unleashed possibilities in fabrication and construction I never envisioned when I graduated. New technologies truly support iterative testing processes, and being able to test and digitally prototype ideas in the computer has helped us improve our work at all scales. Innovation has never been coming faster!

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

Challenges of sustainability & resilience at all levels is something we must face head on, as architects and urbanists. We are thinking of buildings & construction beyond mere shelter – they are a means to heal the environment, serve all inhabitants, and make the world a better place. But demands on the industry to perform faster, with budget expectations to build for lower costs, create challenges to quality of the design process itself and for buildings and their material longevity – create a frequent contradiction to that resiliency and those aspirations. It’s well documented that the global trend toward urbanization will continue. Our cities must evolve with those demands and remain affordable, accessible, and diverse to stay vibrant, let alone competitive. We have the responsibility to be thinking much further ahead, leading smart policy, delivering vision for current clients, and as stewards for future generations.

How has AIA membership benefited you? 

AIA has helped me grow as a professional both within and outside our practice at GBBN. When I moved to Cincinnati, AIA involvement helped me build a network of firm leaders, and being involved in AIA leadership kept me connected to other practitioners and programs. Beyond local experiences, annual meetings and conferences, especially the national convention has been a great resource on all aspects of the profession. I’m excited to see AIA taking a leadership role in the 2030 Commitment, which elevates those conversations inside our practice and with our clients.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?  

Simply put…get involved! AIA and the profession get better and more diverse with each new voice. While firms are admittedly professional competitors, the organizational culture of the AIA is one of helping each other make connections, advance careers, and genuinely driven to make our communities and neighborhoods better through design.

michael_schuster_faia

Michael Schuster, FAIA, President, MSA Design

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

Looking back, there were several things that stand out. Not all of them happened when I was president, but occurred during the years when I was on the board and associated with AIA and the AFC (Architecture Foundation of Cincinnati). 

The Cincinnati Design Awards were founded through conversations with myself, Bob Rich, Kevin Speece, and Pat Daugherty. During the formative years of the program, I was involved for a number of years. I was a collaborator with a number of incredible design-passionate people who built the program. And proudly, the CDA’s have just finished their 24th year. The mission of the CDA’s was, and is to promote all the outstanding design being done by our local talented designers.

Another was the initiation of the Student Design Program, which became the Architecture by Children Program, and now Design LAB. I was heavily involved with the formation and worked with so many talented architects in our region as they gave back to our community (especially Zoe Hardy). The mission of that program was to introduce a wide, diverse community of our K-12 area students to architecture to support a potential lifelong interest and awareness to the design of our built environment, and to help recruit racial diversity to the practice of architecture.

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

It would have to be the constant insertion and interruption of technology to the process of design. The ability to “build” the project virtually has and will continue to transform the way we design and build. As we continue to explore the potential of transforming our designs to reality, the processes of fabrication and construction will benefit incredibly. The duration of on-site construction will lessen. The accuracy of construction will improve. The opportunities for injury during construction will be reduced. And, the opportunity for a high level of design benefits, beauty, and humanization will occur, and allow more people to live with a richer and more substantive environment.

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

It is imperative that architects understand that as technology becomes inserted into the design and construction process, that the historical need to be the absolute “detailer” of the technical design of the building will constantly shift ownership between contractor and technologists, many of whom will not be traditional architects. Architects are the designers of the environments. It is imperative that architects train and study design, design strategies, and the essential aesthetics of our places. That is our ultimate purpose. To be the “creators” of places. Our architects need to be ready to not become obsolete, by only focusing on the instructions for the technical building of projects.

How has AIA membership benefited you? 

I would not trade any of my time with my involvement with the AIA. I have learned from so many great and talented architects, I have met and developed lifelong connections, and friendships. I am a better architect for my many years in the AIA. 

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate? 

Be designers. Be thinkers. Solve complex problems. Learn how to draw by hand. Do not only rely on the computer to illustrate and communicate your ideas. When you draw using the connected neurons between your hand and brain, you begin to intuitively “see” architecture in real time and in three dimensions. Then use the computer. You will use it better and it will be a tool in your tool belt. Not the only tool.

Eric Todd Inglert, AIA

Associate Professor and Assistant Department Head, Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management, College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Cincinnati

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing? 
I was so happy to be a part of a team of diverse voices and big ideas. Our 2002 board had some great thinkers and future leaders in our profession. Each year, your AIA board embarks on an ambitious schedule of programs that takes an enormous amount of time to deliver to members. From the retreat we had at Grailville one cold late autumn Saturday in 2001, to the Cincinnati Design Awards one year later, it was a great ride! What I found most surprising about the position was the amount of resources needed. I was a small firm owner and adjunct professor at the time, and a chapter president sometimes seemed a full-time job by itself. I appreciate those who came before me and after me, because it is a very cool gig!

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture? 
Before we started our firm Inglert & Kolber, we were members of a generation (Xgen) of architects who on any given day shared the experiences of drafting in ink on linen(!) and lettered at times with a Leroy set, and who also were learning the new technologies of CAD. Indeed, a primary business model of Inglert & Kolber was to leverage our knowledge of CAD and make our tiny firm appear much larger. The defining change in culture for the profession of architecture must at least acknowledge the great equalizer…the personal computer.

Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today? 
Our biggest challenge is thinking too small…of having a lack of imagination in the face of all that currently besets our nation. In the US, policy makers have woefully ignored a duty of service toward our infrastructure: bridges, roads, telecommunication, and in particular our aging housing for the disenfranchised. We have been trained to envision a better future like no other profession I know, and our greatest challenge (opportunity?) will be in our willingness to shepherd the inevitable transition from an oil-based economy to an economy based on renewables and on an equitable distribution of quality-of-life assets. While at once acknowledging our allegiance to the owners for whom we traditionally provide contracted services, it has been equally helpful for me as an architect to remember an overabiding ethic of service in the duty granted by the architecture license: to protect the health, safety and welfare of users who inhabit our body of work. If we as a profession do not pick up the staff, then who else has the vision to see the job through as we can.

How has AIA membership benefited you? 
I am able to draw a path between the folks I have met in the AIA and all the highlights of my career that have resulted in me being in front of students and teaching architectural engineering today. Without the generous support of architects I have met and without their leadership by example, then I would certainly be a less fulfilled architect. Many of us like to espouse a myth of self reliance, and it is certainly true that some personal grit is required to endure the rigors or our shared profession. Yet, an attitude of gratitude toward my AIA colleagues evolved over more than two decades as a member. Thank you to all of you who challenged me to be a better professional.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate? 
Allow time in your day for continuous improvement. Schedule it if you have to. There is no greater duty that you have to our profession and to our society than to prepare yourself for the inevitable change that is coming. As an X-gen architect, I certainly could not have imagined how fundamentally our instruments of service would change and how rapidly some of my colleagues were eased out of a profession too early due to an inability to adapt. Learn a new 3D modeling package, learn Python, read actual books, develop hobbies, play a musical instrument, serve on a local pool board committee or school planning board; and, for the sake of your precious time to be creative, limit your exposure to social media: it’s a trap!

Jocelyn Privett, Showroom Manager, Tisdel Distributing

What does your firm do? 

We are the exclusive distributor resource showroom for Sub-Zero, Wolf, Asko, Faber, Best and Scotsman in the Midwest and Midsouth. We are the direct link between the manufacturer and more than 100 dealer showrooms. We are passionate about excellence and bring a depth of knowledge to our industry that is surpassed by none. 

How did you get into this field? 

I was in custom residential cabinetry for 16 years prior to coming to Tisdel. I had used the brands with my clients and enjoyed the support and knowledge that the team brought to our industry, as well as the longevity and customizations that their products provided. When Rufus (my rep) was retiring, he asked me to be his replacement. 

How does your firm work with architects? 

We have two collaborators at Tisdel that work with architects and their clients. On a business level, Amanda Cook engages the architects and reviews the needs of their projects. When a client wants to come into the showroom for a tour and product selection, I meet with them. On the education front, we provide CEU opportunities and soon we will have the largest showroom within this region that architects can bring their clients to for an immersive experience. 

How has the pandemic impacted your company’s work? 

While the showroom was closed to in-person visits for some time, we have now been able to reach out to clients through Zoom consultations. This has broadened our capabilities in our expansive region to give distanced customers the same enrichment that Cincinnatians receive. 

Who or what inspires you? 

People with both drive and compassion inspire me. Years ago, I began to admire Elon Musk for his commitment to drive and innovation. Not only through Tesla but Space-X, as well. He pushes past his failures to create a bold vision and is never afraid to announce it to the masses, as crazy as his ideas may first seem.

What is your favorite building and why? 

I don’t have just one favorite building but due to my love of organic elements and being a detail-focused person, my favorite architect is Louis Sullivan. Interning in Chicago, I got to walk by much of his work in my time there. 

When you’re not working (and we’re not in a pandemic,) what do you love to do? 

I am a creative nature-lover at heart. When I am not working, I enjoy being outdoors first and foremost. We love going on nature walks with our two kids or for a bike ride while I run with our pandemic-adopted aussie/coonhound mix. 

What is your favorite pandemic-safe activity (aka what keeps you sane during COVID chaos)? 

During Covid, I have taken up drawing and art again. Mainly re-invigorating my fondness for pastels after finding my discontinued Grumbacher favorites for sale on Ebay (as the stores were all closed). I have also newly expressed my love for graphic design and typography by hand-illustrating inspirational posters for friends and family.

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 tisdeldistributing.com.

Vince Terry, AIA, NCARB, NOMA, Regional Director of Business Development, Moody Nolan

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

When looking back on 2017, I think about how the nation had just experienced eight years of Barack Obama, our first African American President in history. The economy was stimulated, we had recently elected a new president, and many were gainfully employed. After working on the AIA board for five years in various capacities, I was excited to explore new ways to expand programming for our members and rebuild our identity as 2017 Chapter President; we were ready to rebrand ourselves as Cincinnati’s finest AIA chapter ever and reestablish a home office.

Due to the recession of 2008, our chapter was homeless as far as having a physical address. Many of the chapter leaders talked about finding a new home for our office and we targeted OTR as the best environment, Renaissance, Diversity and Central. We believed that this selection was appropriate for economic and architectural revival in Cincinnati. My role during the 2017 presidency was to guide our board through due diligence review and 5-year strategic plan in order to finalize an almost unanimous decision to reopen our new AIA chapter office. This included the associate design entities within what is now called the CCAD (Cincinnati Center for Architecture + Design). The CCAD is a collaboration of the annual Cincinnati Design Awards organizations, ASID, ASLA, IIDA, SEGD, and AIA, demonstrating successful solutions within the tri-state design community.

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

In my career, the biggest change I have seen, is our ability to work with many different client types outside of the actual owner. Our contract alliance seems to continually grow from developer, non-profit, contractor/CMs, third party agencies, and property managers. It amazes me to see how many times the client would like one manager to oversee all the moving parts of a new development and where our value lies in that process.

With design/build, design assist, and IPD strategic approaches, our work continues to be divided and distributed to vendors and installers. We must continue to manage our client’s expectations and play a larger facilitation role in our industry. Projects are becoming more sophisticated with innovation and scale; the budget does not always align with the client’s wishes. Lastly, the new virtual world of Revit, Enscape, VIR, Rhino, as well as the BIM 360 Model tool of producing design and working documents to describe design intent of the architect, has drastically changed the field of architecture. These tools are providing a new resource for visualizing the result and our ideas for the completed project. Design/Build procurement is also diversifying our field and how we deliver good architecture. This could be a good thing if we manage our new clients and their expectations correctly.

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

Our challenge is two-fold, the racial disharmony in our culture has exploded in 2020 along with the Covid-19 virus. Both public health emergencies will cause a great shifting in the workplace that we must respond to.

Covid-19 has morphed our lifestyles drastically and we now have both work and play all within the confines of our homes. How we plan for flexibility in this new reality will be interpreted differently and best practices will need to be endorsed by our clients. Creating safe workplace environments that still cultivate collaboration and improve productivity is essential.

Diversity and inclusion will also be an ongoing challenge with 13% of our country’s population representing Black Americans, while only 2% of Black America are represented in the architectural community. It saddens me to know that our country has shown and demonstrated its concern and love for other national crises over the years but could not lean-in to rectify this cultural crisis.

Love and hate are very strong terms to use, but what else motivates one to make such sacrifice and show great determination to suppress and dominate a people or an industry? Over the last 12 years, I have seen much love given and delivered as “bailout funds” authorized and distributed to the auto industry, banking/investment industry, housing mortgage industry, and now we are experiencing the payroll PPP bailout followed by federal aviation funding. However, the Black American that has been suppressed and damaged for more than 100 years after slavery. There has not been a “bail out” but instead, they have been left behind to fend for themselves. Some made it, but most did not. But laws and zoning and banking practices have been written to suppress and publicly pin down instead of free up and respect Black Americans. It is not the fruit of love to treat another with suspicion and distrust. So, I am challenged with what motivates the political law maker, banker, and policy makers that strategize toward controlling the outcome and success of the Black American.

My hope is that in response to the 2020 crisis, many will begin to pivot and reframe their focus to be more relevant to today’s needs. If we do not get involved now advocating to fix climate health and structural racism, it will never be done. We must understand the buildings that frame the most disenfranchised neighborhoods have been robbing those people of their mental and physical health. This leaves them vulnerable to unpredictability in this uncertain climate. Knowing this, we should continue to strive to create spaces that are healthy, safe, and equitable.

How has AIA membership benefited you? 

Community: The AIA community is wonderful and provides a great space to build your brand and reputation throughout the region. I’m excited to be in the organization and have grown because of the interactions and friendship that I have been able to form. It is amazing that there will always be strength in numbers and power with unity. The AIA provides a place that we can speak with one voice. As the unity of our voice grows in volume, the AIA can advocate for change where it needs to be. We can speak truth to our government leaders and their old policies. I have personally benefited from AIA by increasing my exposure to governance and transparent leadership on the board. Holding several offices throughout my six years on the board allowed me to build authentic relationships that resulted in teaming opportunities for new work. This continues to benefit me and my practice here at Moody Nolan’s OTR Office.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate? 

The only advice I could offer a recently registered architect is to seek and provide leadership on your projects; do this with an open mind and always listen to your client’s goals and needs. Architects are always being challenged by our neighboring support industry of construction management and unfortunately, which has been taking our market share and leadership roles. The architect must command the trust and understanding of many more components of the development process. Yes, beyond just good design. Our work is so much more than just a complete and functioning space. We must strive to inspire our clients to enhance relationships, promote unity, and assure equity in addition to practical items of reducing carbon footprint, waste, and initial costs while promoting inclusivity and storytelling within their newly crafted space.

Tom Shumaker, Director of Business Development, Cincinnati Commercial Contracting

What does your firm do? 

Cincinnati Commercial Contracting (CCC) is a full-service real estate development, general contracting, and construction management company. CCC 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 graduated from UC DAAP in 1985 and started out life as an architect. In the early ‘90s, I was lured to the “dark side” of real estate development, and never looked back. Over my career, I have earned experience in real estate development, design, construction, corporate real estate management, and business development.

How does your firm work with architects? 

For more than 40 years, Cincinnati Commercial Contracting has been able to provide the most value to clients when we are engaged day one as a member of the project team. It really doesn’t matter if CCC or the design firm is the project lead. The important thing is that the client enjoys direct collaborative access to both of our expertise from the outset of the project. We especially thrive in a design assist role, particularly when design professionals seek our expertise with pre-engineered metal building systems. 

What is your favorite building and why? 

Although it might seem trite, I am still a huge fan of Frank Lloyd Wright. And although choosing a “favorite” FLL building is a bit like choosing a favorite child, Falling Water and Taliesin West are hard to surpass. But locally, Union Terminal is it hands down.

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

Golf and travel. I’m also a life-long POTUS geek, and read a lot of presidential biographies and U.S. History.

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

Dan Becker, Designer, The V Collective

How did you get into this field? 

Prior to joining The V Collective, I spent about 18 years working in Architecture firms. I graduated with a four year architecture degree from Miami University (Bach. Of Science in Environmental Design) and was on track for graduate school. Because of life’s circumstances through those early years, I continued working and gaining valuable experience from various firms, which eventually directed me into construction management. In that time, I enjoyed serving as Associate Director for AIA Columbus (2000-2001) and AIA Ohio Valley Region Associate Director (2001) along with various local AIA committees.

What experience do you draw from in your work at The V Collective? 

My work as a designer and project manager at The V Collective really combines my architectural background of both design and construction management but takes it from the macro-level of an entire building or room to this very specific micro-level of the cabinetry and/or trim and these elements within the larger context.

How does your firm work with architects? 

Depending on the nature of a project, our team can either help execute the design set forth by the architect, usually through shop drawings, or we can be more collaborative on design and production. It just really depends on the nature of the project and the expectations of the architects and owners. For architects with whom we have an on-going relationship, we are sometimes involved early in the process to quote on schematic design documents. It helps establish early budgets for architects and builders to further guide the later document phases.

What inspires you? 

I do love a good building. Or just the really beautiful woodwork at a home like the Henry Probasco House in Clifton. I admire that attention to detail and the craftsmanship. I was a tour guide for Architreks here locally and I loved sharing the architecture and history of our city and trying to help others understand that what is here is special and has value.

What is your favorite building and why? 

That’s nearly impossible to determine. I’ve loved buildings since I was a kid! I’m drawn to buildings that have a really strong sense of materiality and permanence with an attention to detail. Locally, I would probably say Union Terminal but H.H. Richardson was an early favorite architect and I love Trinity Church and its setting in Copley Sq. in Boston. But I can get excited about a lot of them. And I certainly have opinions on what I don’t like!

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

I enjoy the gym and traveling. I am on a quest to visit all 50 states. (Three more to go!) My travels usually include either hiking out in nature or doing some sort of urban exploring and immersing myself in a city’s architecture and culture. A lot of times I might combine the two experiences. For instance a recent road trip out west included the Badlands and Black Hills but also included a tour of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines and a stop in Fort Collins, Colorado to check out their brewery scene.

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 thevcollective.com.