Closing Reception

The 2014-2015 class of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program wrapped up a successful second year with a closing reception held at the District Architecture Center on Friday, May 8, 2015.  The reception began immediately following the final class session, with a theme of optimistic celebration as scholars were inspired by the future of the practice.  Invited guests included current and past scholars and their family members, as well as speakers and sponsors from the 2014-2015 program year.  Future candidates were also encouraged to attend the reception to meet the organization and become more familiar with the aspects of the program.

After some time to enjoy the refreshments and partake in socializing, program Co-Chair’s Ryan McEnroe and Sean Stadler made a short presentation to the crowd, which included a tribute to the late Christopher Kelley, acknowledgement of the AIA board support and the benefactor sponsorship.  Special thanks were also noted to the firms, speakers, and suppliers who continue to support the program each year.

Before the scholars were presented with their certificates of completion, Emerging Professionals chairs Ricardo J. Rodriguez and Abigail Brown gave an overview of the AIA DC Emerging Professionals committee, and encouraged all emerging professionals to continue to be involved in the local chapter.

As Steve White called each of the 16 2014-2015 scholars to the podium, a certificate of completion was presented to each individual with congratulations made to the entire class for their successful year in the program.  On a final note, the 2015-2016 schedule was reviewed by incoming program Chair Aimee Woodall, with specific attention to the upcoming call for applications and application deadline.  It was clear that the Executive and Advisory Committees for the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program shared great enthusiasm for the success of the outgoing class and even greater optimism for the future 2015-2016 class.


Session 8: Future of the Practice

Date: May 8, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Dennis Daisey, AIA, LEED AP BD+C & Jeremy Sharp, AIA, LEED AP 

Session 8 PDF


The eighth and final session of the 2014-2015 CKLDP was held at the District Architecture Center.  Dennis Daisey and Jeremy Sharp closed out the year with a fantastic session looking at the Future of the Practice.

01-Coke Interview

To look forward, it’s important to understand the past. Coke Florance, FAIA, LEED AP from Smithgroup JJR came in to offer his perspective over his 40+ years in the industry. Coke explained the evolution of the design firm; in 1956, the average firm size was 40 people.  There was no marketing department – marketing consisted of “answering the phone, unlocking the front door, going to cocktail parties and ivy league connections.”  Oh how the times have changed.  Coke elaborated on the 4 big changes he’s seen; technology, preservation, sustainability and accessibility.  Technology “allows us to show our clients, which is a critical act of leadership.”  Coke ended with a great quote that he gave the mother of a student who asked if her kid should go into architecture.  Coke replied “it’s just like bullfighting, it’s important to be good.”

A panel discussion followed the interview. The topic: how architects will work with clients in the future.  Panelists were Martin Ditto from Ditto Residential; Brian Hanlon, AIA LEED AP, Vice President, Skanska USA Building; Jennifer Olson, Principal at KGO Management and Mina Wright, Director of Office Planning and Design Quality at the U.S. General Services Administration.  There was a lot of talk about the value architects provide.  Mina explained: “You’re not bringing value if you don’t bring your expertise to the table and assert it – desperate architects are order takers.”  Good architects listen, bad ones don’t. Jennifer also mentioned that KGO does not negotiate architect fees – “I’m appalled at the low fees!” Brian talked about the architect’s ability and opportunity to solve world problems – particularly the urgency of sustainability. “Our time is limited on the planet and we’re not grasping the opportunity enough.”  The discussion ended on the importance of soft skills, especially charisma.  Martin suggested that each of us should get a business coach to be more effective.

Kim Vanderland, Senior Vice President and Holly Ellis, LEED AP ID+C, Senior Associate, both from Jones Lang LaSalle, switched things up and led the group on a change management exercise. They illustrated key challenges by dividing us into 2 groups and splitting us into different rooms.  We would later find out that these two groups were ‘managers’ and ‘employees’.  All participants were given 1 dollar bills and then required to give them back to the bank. The employees were given numbers and asked to sit in a line of chairs, not in numerical order. The employees would get back their 1 dollar if they did not move themselves or their chairs.  Little did the employees know that the managers were in another room being told that their job was to get the employees to arrange in numerical order – if they could make that happen, they would receive a company bonus. The managers came back in to find the employees sitting in a random order (they assumed) and started asking the employees to reveal their numbers in an effort to get everyone in numerical order.  They did so without initially explaining their objective. The employees thought this was a trick and didn’t reveal because they wanted to get their dollars back.  Rearranging people in chairs turned out to be harder than everyone thought! After a few exchanges, it was revealed that there was a mistrust between the “sitters” (employees) and the “standers” (managers) and the management was unable to get the employees to re-arrange.  It was a very enlightening exercise that revealed an initial lack of communication as making even the simplest tasks difficult.

The final presentation of the day came from Lance Hosey, FAIA, LEED AP, Chief Sustainability Officer at RTKL.  Lance gave a very animated talk about the practice and how shifts in society and the environment present new opportunities for the profession to rethink its standards and the values we offer.  He focused on four key concepts: promote value, seek diversity, collaborate and make better places. He explained the lack of diversity in our field and explained that diversity is “not just about people who don’t look like you, but it’s about people who don’t think like you.”  This is crucial to our process as it opens our minds to solutions and ideas we may have not thought about previously.

The session ended with a party to celebrate the 2014-2015 class.  Sean Stadler and Ryan McEnroe said a few words about the program, the class and shared fond memories of Christopher Kelley.  They then presented each of the scholars with their diplomas while session highlights were cycling on the screens of the DAC.  All in all, it was a fantastic session, great party, and most of all, an extremely valuable and rewarding program. The celebration was bittersweet, but we were all happy knowing that another 16 scholars will get the same opportunity and represent the 2015-2016 class.


Session 7: Industry Trends

Date: April 10, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Elizabeth Barrett, AIA, LEED AP & John Schippers, AIA

Session 7 PDF


The Seventh session of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) was held at Gensler on a beautiful sunny spring day. John Schippers and Beth Barrett planned a full session of speaker presentations exploring Industry trends in architecture that encompassed the areas of technology, process, and sustainability.

Wanda Lau, a senior editor of technology, practice, and products for ARCHITECT magazine began the session with an overview of the most innovative projects from the magazine’s R&D Awards. Wanda identified the following trending themes in architectural innovation, Pre-fab and modular construction, Urban Infrastructure, Made to Order, Additive Manufacturing, Material Exploration, and Code Rewrite. Although all of the projects were intriguing we can only highlight a few. Afterhouse and the FXFOWLE telephone booth proposal both found new purpose for defunct elements in an urban environment. Afterhouse, by University of Michigan think tank ARCHOLAB, deconstructs houses beyond repair in Detroit to reuse the foundation for subterranean geothermal greenhouses. FXFOWLE redesigned the phone booth into both urban furniture and an interactive smart phone notification system while creating an identifiable neighborhood entity.


newP1000288A Pecha Kucha style presentation followed the overview of the ARCHITECT magazine R&D awards. For the presentation each scholar was given thirty seconds to present a slide that represented their definition of innovation and/ or an industry trend impacts them personally or professionally. The range of topics varied from drones, photography, sanitation, smart phones, the renaissance, to the cancer pill.


After the excitement of the Pecha Kucha exercise, Daniel Davis, Senior Researcher at CASE Inc., in the “Computation Design in Architecture” presentation discussed the use of technology to make better buildings. As a premise, he notes that productivity has increased 2.5 times in the last 50 years largely due to advances in technology, yet, the building industry has experienced a slower progress despite innovative products like laser cutters, drones, and 3D printing. Still, we are creating better buildings as a consequence of these advances and a clearer understanding of these products would greatly benefit the profession and cleints. Daniel highlights three technological innovation categories: Sensors, Parametric Modelling, and Building Analyticals. Sensors collect data which could be easily accessed by multiple platforms as “every architectural element is able to associate itself with data driven technology.” Parametric Modelling permits designers to develop complex shapes in a fraction of the time while allowing for multiple iterations of concepts simultaneously. “Technology changes the process as much as it changes the product.” Building Analyticals encourages the use of technology to collect all the data into a database to analyze and understand building performance. The scholars were presented with several examples of each innovation and given insight into the opportunities each provided in solving complex design problems and encouraged to think about how we can better understand architecture by collecting data in order to produce better buildings.


Louie Sarracino, Project Executive, Josh Bronitsky, Project Manager of DPR Construction and John Tobin, Vice President of Operations, EYP Architecture and Engineering provided an overview of IPD: Integrated Project Delivery as an alternative to the traditional project delivery methods such as Design Bid Build. The presentations flowed into an interactive round table discussion. The overview was very informative to the scholars as most us work within traditional project delivery methods. We learned that with IPD the owner, Architect, General Contractor, major systems contractors, and Engineers, share responsibility in an interactive design build venture and that they sign a contract at the onset of the project that waives the rights to sue each other. The project begins with team building sessions, product research, shared goals, and a defined project budget before design even begins. During the project one BIM model is utilized by the team streamlining the process and sharing real time information. IDP is a project delivery method when the client has a locked down program at the onset of the project, it also creates more efficiencies for large scale projects. A benefit to all vested parties is that there is a shared profit pool. The net savings are distributed by percentage of invested team members. Aspects of IPD that may entice Architects are the challenge to think beyond the traditional roles of the Architect to become a building industry specialist and share in the profits when a quality project is delivered on time and under budget.


The presentation was followed by a tour of the Gensler office, beginning at the entry lobby on the first floor off the street, acquired after a restaurant tenant vacated the space allowing for a two story atrium-like space with grand staircase, a multi-use space, and a reception/café, espresso machines included. The walk flowed by the fabrication room housing 3D printers, laser cutters, and samples art pieces made by the designers utilizing this new technology to incorporate artwork into their projects. The scholars learned of the office configuration and collaboration spaces finalizing at the corner glass conference room for the final presentation.


Carl Elefante, Principal at Quinn Evans and Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for the AIA National, concluded the day’s session with an energetic presentation about the AIA Sustainability Leadership Opportunity Scan. Carl emphasized “sustainability is one the elements of massive change” we are faced with today. In order to provide the scholars with a better understanding of architect’s impact on sustainable progress, he presented the works of Edward Mazria, “2030 Challenge”, and Mary Ann Lazarus as an AIA Resident Fellow in Sustainability and Design for Health. Their efforts afforded the addition of 20 billion new construction yet added zero operational costs, noting also that the roadmap they had developed has a commitment to existing building stock which is a personal passion of the presenter. Mr. Elefante encouraged the scholars to think about the opportunities provided by the AIA and within the building industry where the “architect participates as leader” by reflecting on the question “how to be engage architects into leadership areas?” His enthusiasm was clearly contagious as he expressed “we have the ability and the tools to reach these goals. We just need to do it!” At the presentation’s conclusion, the scholars were visibly inspired and empowered to innovate and be the change the profession needs.