Dennis Findley, AIA, Elected Chair of the Virginia Board of People with Disabilities

On June 4, Dennis Findley, AIA, was elected Chair of the Virginia Board of People with Disabilities, the state’s largest board. The Board advises the General Assembly and the Governor on disability matters to ensure disabled Virginians enjoy “A Life Like Yours.” As the parent of a disabled son, Dennis has been appointed by four successive governors to the Disability Board since 2009. He is a passionate advocate in the General Assembly, leading a six-year effort culminating in 2024 legislation that allows disabled Virginians to retain meaningful life jobs and essential services after a parent’s death.

Dennis Findley, AIA, is the President of Studio Findley Design in McLean, Virginia. He holds architecture degrees from Auburn University and Harvard University and has served a diverse clientele over his 40+ year career. His civic involvement is extensive; he represents the McLean Chamber of Commerce on the McLean Planning Committee as a Director and recently chaired the committee’s advisory role in drafting new streetscape urban design guidelines for McLean. Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Board for the McLean Project for the Arts and has been a member of the Heritage and Architectural Review Boards for the town of Herndon, Virginia. Elected to the McLean Community Center Governing Board in 2013, Dennis was also a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. 

For more information, visit

Happy Summer, Licensure Candidates!

Hopefully, many of you are settling into your summer internships, working through your onboarding activities, and getting to know your teams. If this is your first summer working for an architecture firm, congratulations! This is an excellent time to establish your NCARB record and start documenting your work experience. If you’re not working for a firm, don’t worry, there may be a way for you to record your experience too.

While it can be a daunting task, the AXP (Architectural Experience Program) is an essential step on your licensure path. The objective of the AXP is to ensure candidates get diverse experience that will prepare them for practice after they become licensed. In fact, most US jurisdictions require candidates to complete the AXP before they can earn their initial licensure. If you’re just getting started, there are a few key things to keep in mind about the process.

Start as soon as possible. With 3,740 total hours to report and 96 tasks split among 6 experience areas, there’s a lot to cover. If you worked 40 hours a week full-time, it would take almost two years to complete the minimum requirement, and some jurisdictions require additional documentation or reporting. Even though you can report AXP and sit for your AREs concurrently, completing the AXP is required to earn your initial license.

Find your supervisor. Your supervisor in the office could be anyone, but your AXP supervisor must be a licensed architect. Ideally, your AXP supervisor is someone you talk with regularly, and who has a good idea of what you’re working on day-to-day. All the hours you report for AXP must be approved by your AXP supervisor, so it’s important to have a good relationship with that person. Always ask the person you have in mind before sending them an experience report! Starting off right and maintaining a connection with them will also come in handy as you start completing some experience areas and need to shift focus to complete others.

Ask for and be open to diverse experiences. Once you dive into the experience areas and tasks, you’ll start to understand the breadth of information the AXP wants you to complete and understand. On the surface, it might seem like you can get general experience aligned with each phase of a project, but the 96 tasks that are part of each experience area are actually closely aligned with the content you’ll see on the ARE. Skipping tasks or being too broad may set you up for frustration as you start to prepare for your exams.

Keep detailed notes. Candidates can choose to report hours weekly or in bulk, and it can be a lot to keep track of over 3,740 hours. To complicate things further, each firm approaches timesheets and hourly tracking differently. While you’re working through your AXP hours it’s a good idea to practice over-documentation. If there’s a section to add notes to your timesheet, list what activities you performed during the hours that you worked each day. If taking notes by hand is more your speed, take that approach instead. You’ll need that information later to align your hours to the tasks and experience areas, and your AXP supervisor may request it before they approve your report.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Every licensed architect you know had to start this process and work through its challenges, so you’re not the first and only candidate to ever struggle with AXP. NCARB provides and maintains AXP Guidelines for candidates and supervisors to reference. Reporting requirements have changed a few times over the years, so if your supervisor doesn’t know the answers, that’s a great opportunity to learn about it together, or to reach out to a Licensing Advisor for help.

Most of the above applies to candidates who are reporting hours under Setting A, which is work performed for an architecture firm under the supervision of a licensed architect. Some candidates may report hours under Setting O, which includes experience outside an architecture firm. This can include work for other licensed professionals (including engineers), construction work, design competitions, or community volunteering. While there are some restrictions on how many hours can be reported under Setting O, it’s a good way to get started on your AXP reporting, even if you don’t land a job at a firm.

If you haven’t already, go establish your NCARB record and get started.  

As always, your questions about AXP, the AREs, or NCARB in general are always welcome and encouraged. Have fun this summer!

Gina Robinson, AIA
Architect Licensing Advisor – Virginia

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
Katharine Lafsky, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Todd Martin, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Don O’Keefe, AIA (Richmond)
Michael Osysko, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Kelsey Williams, AIA (Hampton Roads)

New Associate Members
Ramon Balderas, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Amy DesJardin, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Joanna Dreiling, Assoc. AIA (Blue Ridge)
Lourdes Escobar, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Mateusz Gawad, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Rebecca Geiger, Assoc. AIA (Richmond)
Veronica Guzman, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Beverly Harris, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Isaac Kenner, Assoc. AIA (Richmond)
Faraz Khojasteh Far, Assoc. AIA (Blue Ridge)
Widya Ramadhani, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Andre Rezaie, Assoc. AIA (Hampton Roads)
Elizabeth Richards, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Justin Sherrill, Assoc. AIA (Central Virginia)
Catherine Swaniker, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Daniela Vargas, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Ami Willis, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Washington Fajardo, Intl. Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)

Transferred In
Diego Diez de Medina, AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Florida
Aaron Sheffield, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Texas Society of Architects
Julia Katherine Stokien Hunter, AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Pennsylvania

New/Renewed Allied Members
Justin Trent, Design Director, Lynch Mykins Structural Engineers, PC
Patrick Dyer, Vice President, Gulf Seaboard General Contractors Inc
Stephan (Hobie) Andrews, Partner, O’Hagan Meyer PLLC

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

A Quick Trip Through the Annual Conference

There is “good trouble”, and there is also “good tired”.

Good tired is how I felt right after AIA24.  Like all substantial events, I enjoyed both the content and the connections.  I enjoyed the stimulus of the sessions and the keynotes. I enjoyed the technology and the innovation of the expo. I enjoyed a great number of social events – including the tremendously pleasant AIA Virginia reception at VMDO|DC (Thank you to VMDO for hosting us and to all of you who made it out). And I enjoyed the journeys between those intentional destinations, which were pleasantly punctuated by opportunistic encounters with friends, fellow members, and former colleagues, classmates, and students. (I’ve enjoyed how the lines between those categories have blurred over the years.)

The fatigue has subsided – or at least it is now attributable to other causes. Satisfaction and gratitude remain. There are a lot of great people in our organization. My confidence in our colleagues and our members has been refreshed. There are challenges to be faced. (We even recognize some of them.) But I am convinced that we will overcome those challenges – together; and I know that there is, and will continue to be, much to celebrate along the way.

We are left to look forward to Boston. And I hope to see you several times in and around our own Commonwealth between now and then.

Back at it! We’ll rest when we’re dead. Be well.

Paul Battaglia, AIA
Executive Vice President

Newly Licensed

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!

Sarah Brummett, AIA (Northern Virginia)

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,

Are you ready to get licensed? AIA Virginia has discounted 60-day Amber Book subscriptions. Read more about it here>>

Have questions about licensure? Contact AIA Virginia’s State Licensing Advisor, Gina Robinson, AIA, at

From the President’s Desk

Happy May! As the blossoms yield to breezes and the forest canopy emerges, first fruits appear on the vines, and fish abound in rivers and the bay, I’m grateful to experience the cycles, seasons, and abundance of Virginia’s mountains, valleys, and coastal areas while connecting with members across the commonwealth. And I’m reminded of our common commitment to protect and promote these assets as we design a better built environment. AIA Virginia has enjoyed a banner spring, and we’ve got more opportunities to share and learn together. Here’s an update.

In April, we hosted Design Forum XVI, where students, practitioners, educators, and emeritus members packed the ICA at VCU to gather, eat, make, get inspired, and gain wisdom and insights from four remarkable keynote speakers. The words and work of Billie Tsien, Ted Flato, Rick Joy, and Dwayne Oyler still resonate with me, and I’m thankful for our time together and for our Design Committee for making it all happen.

Our April Board of Directors meeting was held at Hampton University, where Ex-Officio board member Dr. Daya Taylor, AIA, NOMA shared their studio spaces, introduced us to HU faculty and staff, and allowed us to participate in a 3rd-year project pin-up.

Just last week, AIA VA hosted our first 2024 Town Hall in downtown Roanoke, where leaders, members, and friends of AIA Blue Ridge came out for an evening to connect, share, and learn more about our activities and advocacy efforts. See below for a schedule of 2024 Town Hall events at each local component. Please save the date and look for more information on our Events page or from your local component!

And finally, I’m excited to attend AIA24 in Washington DC, where more than 250 AIA Virginia members will join AEC industry professionals from across the globe to connect, learn, tour, and celebrate. It’s not too late – register here!

Kelly D. Callahan, AIA
2024 President, AIA Virginia

2024 AIA VA Town Halls
5/23 AIA Coastal Virginia
6/21 AIA Richmond
9/5 AIA Central Virginia
10/3 AIA Northern Virginia

AIA Virginia letter of concern to AIA leadership
AIA Virginia recently became aware of various letters of concern sent to AIA National leadership related to AIA’s processes, finances, and proposed bylaws revisions. Two weeks ago, AIA Virginia, in partnership with our local component’s leadership, issued a letter of concern to AIA’s board of directors requesting a third-party review and transparent communication related to the allegations. Last week, AIA responded acknowledging our concerns and ensuring actions were being taken. As a member-driven organization, we trust that AIA will act with integrity and swiftly address these concerns. For our part, AIA Virginia continues in its commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability to our members. AIA Virginia’s board of directors’ meetings are held on the 3rd Friday of even-numbered months and are open to members. A financial report, membership data, and opportunities for involvement are presented at our annual meeting each November, and all substantive proposed revisions to our bylaws are published early and voted on by our membership at the annual meeting. To ensure open lines of communication and knowledge sharing between state and local component leaders, AIA Virginia hosted an inaugural state Leadership Summit in January, and we will continue to meet every six months. I’m grateful to serve you, our members, alongside our committed leaders and faithful staff, and hope that you will reach out to me, President-Elect Meagan Jancy, AIA, or EVP Paul Battaglia, AIA, with any questions or concerns related to this matter.

Please note that time was of the essence in getting this letter to AIA leadership. As such, AIA Central Virginia and AIA Coastal Virginia did not get their approval to us in time to be included in the signatories.

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
Zeena Al-Nasser, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Phillip Horst, AIA (Coastal Virginia)
Kyle Moir, AIA (Blue Ridge)
Jesse Robeson, AIA (Northern Virginia)

New Associate Members
Kayla Hinds, Assoc. AIA (Richmond)
Christiana Johnson, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
William Kopp, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Alejandra Landaverde, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Guido Seoanes, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Erika Workman, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)

Transferred In
Ahmed Hashem, Intl Assoc. AIA (Blue Ridge) from AIA Ohio
MacKenzie Miller, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Pennsylvania
Mark Palmer, AIA (Richmond) from AIA|DC
Rob Sabbir, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA California
Andrew Vargo, AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Maryland
Robert Volpe, AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA|DC

New/Renewed Allied Members

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

An Advocacy Coda: Lessons Learned

Recently, and more than once, I was asked what lessons I had learned through the experience of our advocacy efforts during the recent General Assembly session. Excellent questions should not remain unanswered. My response is the following:

  1. No surprises
  2. There are no permanent adversaries
  3. Identify the opposition

A little more on each of those…

No surprises: Nobody appreciates being surprised; in real time, notoriously. Positions can and do change; they evolve, they often depend on specific circumstances, and circumstances are likewise prone to change. People understand that. But it is not fair to ask that they understand something that has changed from what they last were told, or worse yet, something that was willfully concealed. If you have made someone aware of your position – and you should never withhold a position if it is inquired after – and that position has changed from what you told them previously, you owe it to them to communicate that change.

There are no permanent adversaries: Those who are not with us are against us – kind of. Not so much actually. And even with those who may be staunch adversaries on one matter, we may be able to find a common interest on another. Best to remain opportunistic. A related maxim: there are no permanent victories. Best to remain vigilant.

Identify the opposition: It is important to identify, and recognize, those who oppose, or might oppose, your position; in advance, candidly. This information should be offered freely, along with a summary of the issue and your position. And this is best done pre-emptively: if you can offer this information before the other party inquires, so much the better. This offers the other party a chance to better understand what they are getting into.

I reckon those as three of the most impactful lessons that I learned; or had confirmed. I expect that learning to continue.

Paul Battaglia, AIA
Executive Vice President

P.S. An update on the results of the 2024 General Assembly session will be highlighted during an Advocacy Town Hall Meeting via Zoom from 3-4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24. 1 LU (pending). Register here>>

Newly Licensed

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!

Scott Bennett, AIA (Northern Virginia)

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,

Are you ready to get licensed? AIA Virginia has discounted 60-day Amber Book subscriptions. Read more about it here>>

Have questions about licensure? Contact AIA Virginia’s State Licensing Advisor, Gina Robinson, AIA, at

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

Fanny Gonzalez, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Patricia Kettle Elzinga, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Jessica Lawrence, AIA (Blue Ridge)
Hee Lee, AIA (Northern Virginia)

New Associate Members

Kelly Antonios, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Giavanna Cambeletta, Assoc. AIA (Blue Ridge)
Diego Cuadros, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Aziz Ghani, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Aimee Latour, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Martin Neira, Assoc. AIA (Central Virginia)
Chau Nguyen, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Shelley Ruano, Assoc. AIA (Richmond)

Transferred In

Keith Brockman, Assoc. AIA (Richmond) from AIA Georgia
Matthew Hill, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA DC
Parul Jain, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Colorado
Alkananda Jakkaraju, AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Illinois
Sandra LaFontaine, AIA (Central Virginia) from AIA Ohio
Masoud Sharikzadeh, AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Massachusetts
Quentin Ward, AIA (Richmond) from AIA DC

New/Renewed Allied Members

Brian Hunt, Vice President, Keith Fabry
Hessam Nabavi, Promotions Director, Virginia Ready Mixed Concrete Association
Susan Pilato, CEO, Mantra Inspired Furniture
Kathy Blanchard, Senior Vice President, McGriff Insurance Services

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members