April Drake is a Senior Project Architect with HDR in Arlington, VA focusing on complex government facilities. A native of Hampton Roads, Virginia, April received her B. Arch from Hampton University in 2004. With 15 years of education, government and commercial project experience, April leads multidisciplinary teams through all stages of design. She is a skilled facilitator and is well-known for her dedication to both collaboration and communication.
April is especially passionate about her mentorship role in promoting the growth of women and minorities in architecture and allied fields. As one of only 400+ African American licensed women in the country, April is aware of the leadership and encouragement that is necessary to guide women from graduation to licensure. To that end, she is an active member in the AIA and a committee volunteer for NCARB (National Council of Architecture Registration Board). After serving two years on the Board of Directors, she is now the 2020 Secretary for the AIA Northern Virginia (NOVA) Chapter. Since 2014, she has volunteered with NCARB on a number of task forces developing the new ARE 5.0 Exam. She is also Past Chair of the AIA NOVA Women in Architecture Committee, which champions the advancement of women in the profession throughout Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
April also dedicates her efforts to creating events geared toward introducing young girls to Architecture. In 2015, she started a STEM event for local Girl Scout troops. Through a series of both collaborative and individual hands-on activities, each girl is able to explore aspects of architecture while also earning a STEM patch for their vest.
In November 2018, April was the Local Keynote speaker in Washington, DC for the AIA Leadership Institute. Speaking about the “Missing Middle”, she highlighted the challenges faced by mid-career professionals. Finally, in 2019 she was honored as one of the AIA VA Emerging Professional Award recipients.