Ready for the Future: Announcing New Leaders and Promotions
At Ayers Saint Gross, we are grateful to all of our employee-owners who show up, work hard, and share their expertise to keep us growing and moving forward. This year, we would like to recognize 20 of these talented individuals on their well-deserved promotions.
In an ever-changing field, these leaders think creatively and respond to many of the biggest issues of our day. To celebrate their accomplishments, we asked each of them to reflect on the industry challenges they are most excited to face and what keeps them optimistic about the future.
Shannon Dowling: I am excited about utilizing design thinking to combat some of the challenges facing higher education in the coming years: enrollment declines, achievement gaps, the shift away from a traditional-aged student population, declines in public funding, the mental well-being of students and faculty, and the overall attitude towards higher-education as a public good. … As planners and designers, we are uniquely positioned to work in new ways and with new partners to design future-forward learning environments centered around students, educators, and their needs in a fast-paced, global, and ever-changing world.
Michelle Kollmann: As environmental, social, and economic challenges become increasingly more complex, I am optimistic and excited by the higher level of interdisciplinary collaboration they demand. I think we’ll see a higher caliber of problem-solving that pushes the boundaries around how we design for people, space, and community. I am eager for the reinvention: the new materials, methods, and solutions that result.
Laura White: Design is all about balance and prioritizing the resources at hand today to yield the best outcome in the long-term. Part of our role as an architect is to facilitate and execute a process so that our clients can overcome their challenges. In designing academic health science and nursing facilities we often have more demand for space than the budget can afford, and inflation has made that more challenging. However, it is forcing us to have new conversations and to think differently about how space is being used. I am excited to see what unique and compelling spaces will be conceived to educate the next generation learner and how the building, or place, will foster a meaningful experience.
Justin Dahl-James: It makes me optimistic to see clients demanding more sustainable projects. I am also excited to see advancements in construction materials that are more renewable.
Mindy Dunn: As designers, we are in a unique position to craft experiences and realize change on local and global scales. I am looking forward to opportunities to listen, learn, and work across disciplines and with our clients to create spaces that authentically celebrate communities.
Elizabeth McLean: The many thoughtful and committed individuals I’ve met through my involvement with AIA, NOMA, and teaching make me optimistic about the future of the profession.
Angelo Pirali: As architects, we have a direct role in shaping the environment. We also have a responsibility to consider equity and inclusion as well as our industry’s role in energy consumption, pollution, waste, and impacts on habitats. I would love to get to the point where the importance or inclusion of these sorts of things aren’t even a conversation but just how we think.
Adam Ravestein: Landscape architects are at the forefront of many design conversations as we understand the critical intersection between the complex systems of our natural and built environment. Our role has never been more vital in advocating for this balance and delivering timeless, integrated solutions that are not only responsible and equitable, but tell a story.
Amber Wendland: I am optimistic about the push for inclusion and diversity across our industry. Diversity of thought, background, and experience only results in better design and a more equitably built environment.
Cari White: Being an employee-owned organization presents unique challenges and opportunities. As the firm’s controller, I am excited to be able to analyze and present data about the financial performance of our projects and organization as a whole to inform decisions that keep our organization successful and healthy.
Jason Hearn: My optimism in the future of our industry lies with our young designers. Their ideas are fearless, so with a little guidance and an open mind, we can better adapt to the ever-evolving challenges the process of building the world throws our way.
Katy Potts: People are looking to architects for problem solving that goes beyond the physical facilities – we are big thinkers who bring ideas together. We touch so many areas – climate, equity, economy, wellness, and community – all while creating beautiful spaces.
Katherine Richardson: I look forward to future mentoring opportunities. It requires purpose and dedication of time and effort, but it is such an important aspect of our field and a huge part of how I learned and developed as a professional. I love being able to pay that forward to the next generation.
Tim Stapleton: I am excited to see that more projects are trending toward adaptive re-use as we try to reduce the waste involved in traditional demolition and construction. The added complexity in the design and detailing process offers tremendous problem solving opportunities. Achieving a successful end product is even more rewarding.
Gerrard Allam: The industry is becoming more inclusive and diverse, which should lead to more innovative and equitable solutions. With all of these factors, the architecture, planning, and design industry is well-positioned to make a significant positive impact on the world.
Ghada Allam: What I find exciting about the field of architecture, planning, and design is that over one’s career you are put into the unique situation where you must think creatively, strategically, and critically all at the same time. I am looking forward to seeing how future design processes will lead to innovation and experimentation as the field evolves.
Eric Bos: New and innovative approaches to building science are becoming more acceptable to owners, which is great because as an industry we need to upset the status quo in order to reduce and harness the carbon in our projects to meet global climate goals.
Amber Fults: As society becomes more accepting of a more fluid idea of gender, I appreciate the challenge of designing facilities that respond to the needs of the community. Code requirements are catching up to the idea of things like unisex or gender-neutral bathrooms and being part of the design community that can bring creative design to this issue is fascinating to me.
Brian Kinninger: I am excited to keep tackling climate change and environmental issues and providing more socially just and equitable landscapes for all users. I am also eager to give more focus to post-occupancy research to ensure our projects continue working as intended.
Rishika Shrivastava: The increased focus and urgency on climate change within our industry makes me hopeful that together we can work towards improving the efficiency of buildings, advocating the use of renewable energy sources, and helping our clients achieve carbon neutrality.