RICHMOND, VA —For the past 19 years, the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects has counted on Director of Government and Industry Affairs, T. Duncan Abernathy, AIA, to spearhead its government advocacy efforts. Duncan lobbied on behalf of the Virginia Society for a better, more sustainable, more resilient built environment throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

“Respected by his colleagues, Duncan was awarded the American Institute of Architects Distinguished Service Award in 2002 and the Virginia Society’s Award for Distinguished Achievement in 2010,” says Virginia Society AIA Executive Vice President/CEO Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA. “He was known for his collaborative efforts to effect change not just for architects, but for engineers, contractors, interior designers, landscape architects, planners and code officials as well.”

In 2005 after Williamsburg architect Scott Spence conceived of the concept of a “Citizen Architect,” Abernathy took the lead, forming a committee and developing a chart of appointed and elected positions in Virginia for which architects would be appropriate candidates. The concept has now been adopted nationally.

Abernathy’s peers have called his work “inestimable.” One person on the panel that determined Abernathy’s Award for Distinguished Achievement said, “The whole profession benefits from his work.”

Abernathy’s last day in the office was March 16, 2015. Recently promoted VSAIA Deputy Director Rhea George is assuming Abernathy’s duties.

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