Featured Member

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April C. Drake, AIA, LEED AP ID+C

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.

AIA Virginia Newsletter: January 2020

What’s Ahead in 2020
AIA Virginia President, Beth Reader, FAIA, shares her vision for 2020.

Steven Holl Headlines March Design Forum
Holl headlines an incredible line up of internationally-recognized speakers who will explore light, shadow, and materiality at the Design Forum in Richmond on March 27-28, 2020. Registration is now open>>

2020 Political Outlook in Virginia
Politically, it is a new day in Virginia. What once seemed to be a doomed Democratic party is now in control of both the legislative and executive branches of government

Class of 2020
Meet the 16 members of the 2020 Emerging Leaders in Architecture program.

Inform is Coming
We’re inching closer to the launch of Inform Magazine. Learn how you can become a contributor, advertiser, and pitch story ideas.

Fellows Fete
The Virginia Fellows Fete will be Saturday, March 28, 2020 in Richmond following the Design Forum. Stay tuned for more details.

Interested in Architecture Tours?
We’ve received some great suggestions for multi-day architectural tours that offer the opportunity to earn learning units while exploring interesting and significant sites — like the Jefferson Pools Renovation and Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. We think they sound exciting, but we want to make sure you do too before exploring them further! Let us know what you think.

Remembering Wayne Conners

New Architects
Congratulations to the following member for passing their exams and gaining licensure.

NOMA Virginia
Are you interested in the creation of a National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) chapter in Virginia?

At the Last Board Meeting
Read about decisions made, and items discussed at the last meeting of the AIA Virginia Board of Directors.

Welcome These New Members
Please help us welcome these new members to the AIA as architects and associate members, and AIA Virginia Allied Members.

Virginia Values Veterans
AIA Virginia has partnered with Virginia’s Department of Veterans Services to Support those in Architecture School who have served in the Armed Forces. See how you can help.

Virginia By Design Awards
The 2020 nomination deadline has been extended to Jan. 31st.

Meet the Fellows
Which Virginia Fellow enjoys working with like-minded professionals who volunteer their time and talent to promote the future of the profession?

2020 AIA Virginia Dues
Important news about your 2020 AIA Virginia membership dues.

Where’s Corey
Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, has pledged to get around the state and visit firms, components, partner organizations, and universities. Here’s his recent travel agenda.

Dues Installment Plan
Need more time to pay your 2020 AIA dues? Installment plans are available.

At the Last Board Meeting


AIA Virginia | 2019 Board of Directors
December 12, 2019
AIA Virginia Headquarters

Motions Made and Approved:

The Board of Directors of AIA Virginia voted as follows:

  • Approval of the October 11, 2019 Meeting Minutes
  • Approval of the change to the Honors Committee composition as listed in the Rules of the Organization
  • Approval of appointments to the Invest in the Future Task Force
  • Approval of investment amount required to receive a PAC lapel pin
  • Approval of PAC Board of Trustee appointments

Written reports were provided for the following consent agenda items:

  • PAC Update                                                                                                   
  • Membership Update                                                                                                                                      
  • Disaster Assistance Committee Update                                                                    
  • Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Update           
  • ACE Joint Owner Forum
  • NOMA Virginia Exploratory Committee
  • Emerging Leaders in Architecture – 2020 Class
  • Publication Update     

Members may request a copy of these written reports by emailing AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, AIA at cclayborne@aiava.org.


  1. Position Architects as vital contributors to our built environment.
  • An overview of the proposed changes to the Rules of the Organization regarding the composition of the Honors Committee were provided. A motion was presented by the Honors Committee Diversity Task Force recommending acceptance of the presented recommendations.  The motion passed unanimously.
  • Advance the knowledge and expertise of members.
  • The attendance and revenue statistics of Architecture Exchange East 2019 which included attendee and exhibitor survey results were presented. It was noted that attendee diversity is increasing.  Survey results indicated that exhibitors would be interested in a conference collaboration with other AIA components like AIA DC and AIA Maryland.
  • Become a model of a strong nonprofit and vibrant membership organization.
  • The proposed appointments to the Invest in the Future Task Force which is charged with exploring a full range of possibilities that would result in access to a 501c3 philanthropic arm for use by all five local components and the state component were presented. The motion passed unanimously.
  • Advocate for the profession.
  • The Government Advocacy Advisory Council’s proposed recommendation of establishing a $25 minimum PAC contribution to receive a lapel pin was discussed. However, any individual who contributes in addition to the PAC Opt-In amount will be recognized on the AIA Virginia PAC website. The motion passed unanimously.
  • The proposed appointments to the PAC Board of Trustees were provided. The motion passed unanimously.


Treasurer’s Report:

The organization’s Balance Sheet indicates the cash and cash equivalents are approximately $20k greater than at this point last year. The deferred revenue of over $50k reflects the number of exhibitors who have signed up for Architecture Exchange East 2020.  The organization’s excess of revenue over expenses was recorded at just over $13k.

New Business:

  • AIA Virginia, AIA DC, AIA Maryland Collaboration:  The three components have agreed to explore the feasibility of a potential conference collaboration.   
  • AIA National Environmental Stewardship Update: An Institute update on “The Big Move” which is an AIA National position on Environmental Stewardship and Climate Action was distributed. This stance has influenced the development of AIA Virginia’s 2020-2022 Strategic Plan.
  • Members of the Board shared what they were most proud of regarding their service.  Items noted included advocacy efforts, the digital creation of Inform magazine, relocation of the organization’s headquarters, the organization’s improving financial health, and progress with increasing diversity.

This was the final meeting of the 2019 AIA Virginia Board of Directors.

2020 Political Outlook in Virginia


Politically, it is a new day in Virginia.  What once seemed to be a doomed Democratic party is now in control of both the legislative and executive branches of government.  Not so long ago, the three elected statewide offices were getting pummeled with negative national press regarding “black-face” scandals with the Governor and Attorney General and sexual assault allegations against the Lieutenant Governor. There was a moment where prominent Democrats in Virginia and in Congress were urging for the resignation of Governor Ralph Northam.  It appears he has weathered the “storm” and in fact can make the case to be one of the most consequential Governors that Virginia has seen.

Now, Democrats control the Senate by a count of 21 to 19 and the House 55 to 45.  This is the first time Democrats controlled the state government in nearly 30 years. Speaking of firsts, the 2020 General Assembly will welcome the first female Speaker of the House in the 401-year history of the legislative body. In addition, this is also the most diverse legislature ever with a record number of women and minorities to hold a seat.  It should be noted that this diversity includes the first female Muslim legislator, Sen. Ghazala Hashmi and the first African-American/first woman Majority Leader, Del. Charniele Herring.

Type of Legislation to Expect

Democrats have many “pent-up” demands that will be presented in the General Assembly this year now that they are in control.  Many predict that passing the Equal Rights Amendment will be the first order of business.  Next, expect to see minimum wage raised, the ushering in of gun safety measures, and legislation that prohibits discrimination against underrepresented groups.  For architects, we will see action on affordable housing, transportation, broad-band expansion, and mitigating a changing climate.  We will have many opportunities to engage and shape the policy that impacts our communities.

AIA Virginia’s Legislative Priorities

AIA Virginia works in partnership with the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia during each General Assembly for our advocacy efforts.   This year, we have two major goals:  to eliminate the “duty to defend” language in pubic project indemnification contract clauses and to work with the Associated General Contractors of Virginia to get a statute of limitations in the law for the work we perform on state projects.  Our professional liability insurance will not defend other parties, thus posing substantial risk to our members who do public work.  In addition, the locality’s attorneys typically will not strike this clause as architects and engineers are viewed as a commodity (if firm A doesn’t sign this, we will just go to firm B).  Getting a statute of limitations on the books will put a finite cap on how long you are liable for your design work on all state projects, including public universities.

In addition to these priorities, we are advocating and monitoring bills in the arenas of school safety, resilience, sustainability, and housing access affordability.

Duty to Defend – AIA/ACEC filed bill

SB 658Surovell – Contracts with design professionals; provisions requiring a duty to defend void.

Statute of Limitations – AGC filed bill with language from AIA/ACEC

HB 1300Hurst – Virginia Public Procurement Act; statute of limitations on actions on construction contracts.

Please be on the lookout for weekly General Assembly updates on the bills we are actively engaging and monitoring beginning the week of January 17.

Also, please support our advocacy efforts by investing in our PAC.  We can’t do the great work we are doing without your support.

Important Dates of the General Assembly

  • January 8 – General Assembly session convenes
  • January 17 – Final date members can submit any legislation for introduction
  • February 11 – Bill crossover
  • March 7 – Sine die
  • April 15 – Reconvene session

Class of 2020

The 2020 Class of Emerging Leaders in Architecture includes:

Allison Powell, AIA
Amanda Ferzoco, Associate AIA
Ariana Arenius, AIAS
Catherine Hendrick, AIA
Chris Cheng, AIAS
Gabriela Orizondo, Associate AIA
Jacob Sherry, AIA
James Vidoni, Associate AIA
Kenneth Johnston, Associate AIA
Kristin Jones, Associate AIA
Matt Stevison, Associate AIA
Mert Kansu, Associate AIA
Michael Lawson, AIA
Paris Casey, AIAS
Randa Malkawi, AIAS
Zachary Robinson, Associate AIA

Also pictured are Interim Chair, Christopher Kehde, AIA, Vice-Chair, Nick Cooper, AIA, and ELA 2019 member Divya Nautiyal, Assoc. AIA.

Remembering Wayne Conners

It is with tremendous sadness that we share news of the passing of our friend and former colleague, Wayne Conners, on Dec. 30, 2019. Wayne worked at AIA Virginia from 2007 to 2014 as our Director of Professional Development. Since then, Wayne was at AIA as the Senior Director of Member Education Services and a leader in the development of the AIAU platform.

A memorial service was held for Wayne on Saturday, January 4th and many current and former AIA Virginia staff were able to attend.

You can read his obituary here>>

In gratitude for the benefits he received from melanoma cancer research and treatment, Wayne became an advocate with the Melanoma Research Foundation and co-founder of the support group, Living with Melanoma Alexandria. To extend his hope for a cure for others facing melanoma, the family requests you GetNaked for a skin check and consider a donation in his memory to the Melanoma Research Foundation,  https://melanoma.org/.

photos courtesy of Taylor Dabney and Doug Gordon.

New Architects

We understand the dedication and effort required to study for and pass the ARE. Congratulations to the following member for passing their exams and gaining licensure. This is great news that thrills all of us and we are so proud to call you an architect!

Miss Sarah Stumpo, AIA (AIA Richmond)

Have you recently passed the ARE? Upgrade your membership to Architect using this AIA form. or send an email to your Member Services Director, Cathy Guske, cguske@aiava.org

New Members

We are always excited to welcome new members to Virginia. The following members recently joined the ranks of AIA Virginia.

New Architect Members

Ms. Kelly D. Miller, AIA (AIA Richmond)
Mary E. Valadez, AIA (AIA Northern Virginia

New Associate Members

Ms. Grace E. Anderson, Assoc. AIA (AIA Hampton Roads)
Mrs. Olivia Brookman-Amissah, Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)
Justin B. Creese, Assoc. AIA (AIA Hampton Roads)
Mrs. Elizabeth Diseati, Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)
Mr. Loay R. Elmagri, Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)
Mr. Carlos Rodriguez, Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)
Ms. Atoosa Sadeghi, Assoc. AIA (AIA Blue Ridge)
Mrs. Fabiola V. Sansaloni, Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)
Ms. Donna Underhill, Assoc. AIA (AIA Hampton Roads)
Miss Yuly C. Gelvis, Intl. Assoc. AIA (AIA Northern Virginia)


Mr. Jayson H. Thoemke, AIA from AIA Maryland (AIA Blue Ridge)
Dr. Robert Ernest Johnson, AIA from AIA Massachusetts (AIA Richmond)
Mr. William T. Powers Jr., AIA from AIA|DC (AIA Richmond)
Mr. Keith Stricker, AIA from AIA Maryland (AIA Northern Virginia)
Mr. Robert B. Reinders, AIA from AIA Maryland (AIA Northern Virginia)
Ms. Nicole M. Cavanaugh, AIA from AIA|DC (AIA Northern Virginia)
Ms. Ofra Gelman, AIA from AIA|DC (AIA Northern Virginia)

New/Renewing Allied Members

Mary Theil Holton, Owner/President, Hippo Seal, Inc.
Jeff Gary, Project Manager, Arch Resources
Art Bykonen, Storage Specialist, Spacesaver Storage Solutions
Elizabeth Connolly, Pella Windows of Virginia

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

Where’s Corey

Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, has pledged to get around the state and visit firms, components, partner organizations, and universities.

Here’s what is on his travel schedule:

AIA Local, Regional, and National Engagement
AIA DC Board Retreat Dinner
January 3

AIA Virginia Executive Committee Retreat
January 17-18

Ambassador Engagement
Legislative Reception with Delegate Wampler
January 2

Legislative Reception with Senator Reeves
January 6

Legislative Reception with Delegate Ward
January 6

Legislative Reception with the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus
January 6

Legislative Luncheon with the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus
January 7

Legislative Reception with the Virginia Joint Democratic Caucus
January 7

Legislative Reception with the Virginia House Republican Caucus
January 7

Virginia General Assembly Prayer Breakfast
January 8

Blues, Brews, and BBQ General Assembly Reception
January 15