Bridget Gaddis, AIA, LEED AP

Bridget Gaddis has had her own practice in Alexandria, VA since 2011. Gaddis Architect specializes in all phases of commercial and commercial retail design, design management and construction. We work to maximize the success of a business by optimizing the performance of their space. Many common, and some not so common, design challenges are analyzed. Solutions aimed at creating a visual presence in various environments, and expressing a brand, are presented. We think that, on some level, all design is retail and we are sure that no project is too small to be great.

Allison Ewing, AIA

As an architect and leader, Allison Ewing has advanced sustainability through design, implementation and advocacy – both within and beyond the architectural profession — by modeling change in the building industry with solutions both visionary and practicable. Working on commercial, institutional, residential, and mixed-use projects at both large- and small-scale, Allison Ewing’s architectural experience spans twenty-five years and three continents. Ms. Ewing’s work seeks transformation – of site, of workplace, of living environment. She pursues design excellence at all scales, from site to building to detail – an approach which encompasses meeting client’s goals while arriving at elegant solutions that embody sustainable best practices.

Jennie Gwin, AIA

Jennie Gwin, AIA, is a Principal in Beyer Blinder Belle’s Washington, DC office who specializes in historic preservation and adaptive re-use projects. Jennie has extensive experience with government projects involving multiple stakeholders. She has particular expertise in materials conservation and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. She has deployed this expertise on high profile historic landmarks with complex project requirements, including the US Supreme Court, Cannon House Office Building, Washington DC Carnegie Library, and National Park Service National Capital Region Headquarters.

Jennie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural History and Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia, a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Jennie is a Commissioner on the Arlington County Historical Affairs Landmark Review Board, a Docomomo DC board member, and she serves on the AIA HABS Knowledge Community Committee. Jennie is an active member of AIA Northern Virginia and an instructor in the AIA NOVA ARE prep series. In coordination with WIA Jennie has organized a series of panel discussions on equity, diversity, and inclusion in architecture firms. Beyer Blinder Belle is hosting the three-part series that started in February.

Jennie lives in Arlington with her husband and 19-month old daughter.

Alice J. Raucher, AIA

As Architect for the University, Alice Raucher, AIA advises the Board of Visitors, the University’s governing body, on the development of the University’s capital planning and design guidelines. Ms. Raucher manages University-wide land-use and campus planning projects, engaging in community and agency interface in these areas. She oversees the architectural design of all capital projects and provides professional guidance on the selection of consultants associated with planning, building and landscape projects. Ms. Raucher works to support the Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative in stewardship of the UNESCO World Heritage site and participates with stakeholders around the Grounds to advance the University’s sustainability goals.

Ms. Raucher previously served as Senior Architect, Major Projects Planner, and Chair of the Design Steering Team for Yale University’s Office of Facilities Planning, Construction and Renovation. For eight and a half years prior to coming to UVA, Ms. Raucher had overseen and held key roles on many high-profile capital projects at Yale that included the 590,000-square-foot New Residential Colleges building project, the largest development in Yale’s recent history.

Prior to joining Yale University, Ms. Raucher held senior positions at notable architecture firms based in New York City and managed several significant restoration and renovation projects. She also held faculty positions at New York Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Design and Syracuse University School of Architecture, including serving as Director of the school’s Florence Program in Italy.

Raucher earned a bachelor’s degree in studio art and art history from Queens College of the City University of New York and her Master of Architecture degree from Syracuse University School of Architecture. She is a registered architect in Virginia, is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Association of University Architects, is a LEED Accredited Professional, and holds NCARB certification.

Kevin G. Sneed, FAIA

Kevin Sneed is a Partner and Senior Director of Architecture of OTJ Architects in Washington, DC where he leads the office quality assurance/quality control program, which sets the standards of his office construction document and construction administration process. Kevin is also a frequent participant in the marketing and business development for his firm.

As a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, Kevin received his bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He has over 30 years of experience in architecture, interior architecture, and the construction industry. He has earned his LEED AP(BD+C) as well as the Construction Specification Institute (CSI) Construction Documents Technologist certification.

In 2019, Kevin was the recipient of the AIA Virginia’s award for Distinguished Achievement for his noteworthy accomplishments. In 2017, Kevin was elevated to Fellow by the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows for his contributions to the Institute, which placed him as the third African-American to be elevated in the AIA Virginia Chapter. Active in the AIA Northern Virginia and AIA Virginia since 1987, Kevin co-founded one of the earliest AIA groups focusing on young architects. Since then, he has served as President of AIA Northern Virginia and on the board of AIA Virginia for multiple terms. He is the recipient of the 2004 AIA National Young Architects Award, and his work has received awards from AIA, IIDA, and NOMA. In 2004, Kevin was the chair of the AIA National Diversity Committee and in 2006, he chaired the AIA National Interior Architecture Knowledge.

Kevin was a contributor to “Becoming an Architect – A Guide to Careers in Design,” a book which aimed to delineate pathways for potential architecture students, interns and young architects on their way to becoming established professionals.

Kevin is the epitome of the AIA’s Citizen Architect; to also serve the community-at-large, he provided his expertise on the City of Alexandria’s Board of Architectural Review Parker-Gray District and currently serves on NCARB’s Region 2 Mid-Atlantic Region Member Board as well as a committee member for NCARB’s Professional Conduct Committee, where he oversees the application, and adjudication of Council policies and practices relating to the professional conduct of record holders.

Ashleigh Brewer, Associate AIA

Ashleigh Brewer is a designer with Johannas Design Group in Richmond, VA., focusing on single and multifamily housing. Born in North Carolina and raised in Virginia, Ashleigh received her B.S. in Engineering from North Carolina A&T in 2012 and went on to receive her M.Arch from NC State with a concentration in City Planning, concluding in 2012. Dedicated to being active in her community, Ashleigh is currently the Vice-Chair of Richmond Women in Design and active on the AIA Richmond board.

Dr. Kendall A. Nicholson, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, LEED GA

Dr. Kendall A. Nicholson is a licensed educator, trained architectural designer and an avid researcher. A native of Prince George, Virginia, his interest in architecture started in middle and high school with local and regional involvement with the Technology Student Association (TSA). Dr. Nicholson received his B.S. in Architecture from the University of Virginia in 2009, where he was the first to ever graduate the program in 3 years. He later obtained a Master’s in Real Estate from Georgetown University in 2010 and a Doctor of Education from Regent University in 2014.

Dr. Nicholson has professional experience working in the US and France as an architectural intern but found his calling while teaching architecture to grades K-12 and working in higher education administration. He is currently the Director of Research and Information for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) in Washington, DC. ACSA is the organization that leads architectural education for 147 accredited schools of architecture in the US and Canada. His research explores the discipline of architecture through the lens of a social scientist. He has presented research on architectural education internationally and his research interests surround teaching, learning, and curriculum in the context of architecture. At ACSA, he makes efforts to engender research investigating diversity within the discipline of architecture, architectural relevancy and the economy, K-12 education and opportunity for architectural impact, and design scholarship and measurable student outcomes.

Nationally, his passion for equity, diversity and inclusion manifests in his role as the lead researcher for the 2016 and 2018 Equity in Architecture Survey sponsored by AIA San Francisco and EquitybyDesign (EQxD). He also volunteers as a member of the AIA’s Equity and the Future of Architecture board committee and as an at-large director for the AIA National Associate Committee leading a work group on Mentorship and Equity. Locally, Dr. Nicholson serves on the Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee for Chesterfield County Public Schools and has started a term on the AIA Richmond Board of Directors.

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.

Jeffrey G. Butts, Jr., Associate AIA

In the Pursuit of Architecture

It was an April spring day in my beloved hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia that I arrived into this world ready to paint the town red. At an early age I was enamored with buildings, skyscrapers mostly. I would gaze upon them on television totally mesmerized, and while on excursions through 1990s downtown Norfolk, marvel at their mass and scale. When I was a child, I used to build my own cities: inspired by the perfume and lotion cream vessels organically scattered along the bureau in my parent’s bedroom, I would strategically displace and rearrange them to mimic the skylines of New York and Chicago; in the kitchen, I would raid the pantry and stack all the canned food all about the floor, naming this stack “Capitol Building”, and that stack “Apartment Building”, and that other stack “The Bank”. And by the age of seven, I had my first visit to the Big Apple—my world was forever changed.

Flash forwarding twenty years later, I’m now surrounded by others who share that deep love of the built environment and the edifice. Thinking back to preadolescence when I first learned of “architecture” as something to do when-I-grow-up, to me at the time, being an architect was synonymous with being God: I thought it to be the role of a creator, a destroyer, a master of imagination manifest; it defines and articulates the space of man—after all people need places to sleep, eat, learn, work, and play somewhere, and I intuited that being an architect gave access to creating these environments for the world.

In the pursuit of architecture, life, insofar, has granted me two watershed experiences: an education at an HBCU and the gift of seeing the world.

I studied architecture at Howard University, an immensely active HBCU in our nation’s capital, and a very rare and highly prized experience I savor to this day, learning within the craft and life experience of majority-black industry trailblazers of an earlier and very determined generation of underrepresented architects and designers. It was also the first time that I hadn’t felt like a “minority”, that simply I felt like a person among people and not merely viewed as a minority demographic. As a student-leader, I was very active in our school’s chapter of NOMAS (National Organization of Minority Architecture Students), serving as vice president and president consecutively, and where I was connected to many other underrepresented professionals within the industry.

It is also because of the study of architecture that I have been granted the privilege to sojourn the corners of this world: touring much of Italy as part of a design class, studying architecture abroad in Scandinavia, employed architecturally in India for nearly half a decade, and recently sent to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the AIA. “Oh, the places you will go” in the name of architecture.

The uniqueness of my education at an HBCU, coupled with my serendipitous life in India, brought to fruition a latently developing passion for collective-based collaboration—collaboration, literally, on anything random yet creative. Within and around the practice of architecture, I crave for collective, group-centric teamwork that specifically addresses issues and ideas around the built environment: as an architecture student, I lead NOMAS and instituted new programs and k-12 mentorship ventures; while in cosmopolitan India, I founded Paramorphous, an art and design think-tank collective—serving also as an ideas sandbox where I could “ideate” and hatch-up design experiments with other buzzing creatives; and now, not long back home in America, I needed to gather ‘round a collective mind again, and soon began the revival of our local Young Architects Forum—and now serving as the newly appointed Regional Associate Director for the Region of the Virginias, and with great plans to advocate for the advancement of our emerging professionals! Oh, the things you will do, in the name of architecture.

Having reintegrated back within my hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia after a decade-long estranged absence, I am empowered to bring my life experiences and rising passion of the built environment to the reimagination of my native city’s future; being appointed to the City of Portsmouth’s Downtown Design Committee has been one big way to get started. One of my current colleagues at Hanbury, and a rising star locally, had once shared in a public talk that it is our responsibility (as emerging professionals) to “feed the loop” of local innovation in the industry by simply bringing our talent back home and engage with our community.

In this pursuit of architecture, and as an emerging professional myself who has returned to his native town, I share in my colleague’s request and encourage those who have left the nest of Hometownsville to come back and reexamine, reimagine and re-excite the possibilities of your native city. The places we grew up can certainly use our architectural love. “Oh, the places we will go” …back to, in the name of architecture.

Jeffrey G Butts, Jr., Associate AIA
Hampton Roads, Virginia

Zakiya Toney, Assoc. AIA

Zakiya Toney, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, LEED AP, is a proud graduate of North Carolina State University (BEDA, 2015) and Morgan State University (M.Arch, 2017). She is an architectural intern at Clark Nexsen’s Roanoke, Virginia office and works primarily on federal and local public safety training facilities. Since graduating, she has been concentrating on getting licensed early in her career and encouraging her peers to do the same.

In 2017, Zakiya was awarded the AIA Fellowship of Emerging Leaders and selected for the prestigious Alpha Rho Chi Medal by Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning faculty. This year, Zakiya is a scholar of the AIA Virginia Emerging Leaders in Architecture Class of 2019. Her interest in the AIA Virginia ELA program stems from her interest in how the architectural profession engages with social responsibility. She believes that “when architecture functions well, it is not a part of a campus or block, but rather an ecosystem; where it lives and dies by way of its connection to the community.” Zakiya is looking forward to this year’s class project and the opportunity that it presents for community impact.

In addition to being a member of AIA Blue Ridge, Zakiya is an actively involved member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). As an executive board member of her local chapter, Zakiya is using her passion for advocacy and mentorship to increase awareness of the profession with underrepresented middle school and high school students through NOMA’s signature Project Pipeline Camp.