Meet Randy Holmes, FAIA

Where did you go to college?
I attended UVA Undergrad (1979) and also UVA Grad School (1982)

Would you recommend studying architecture to a young person? Absolutely. It is a wonderful major with many options for how to apply architectural training to various career paths. Architectural training can take one towards a more traditional route of designing buildings to newer forms of a career like CAD modeling, gaming, or other types of application of design training.

What does it take to be an architect?
It requires perseverance, faith, enjoyment of the creative process, good listening skills, and respect for collaboration and leadership…..many more qualifiers could be added, however, the great thing about architecture is that it can utilize a wide variety of abilities within the profession. Most important, it requires a commitment to the built environment and the elevation of people’s experience of it.

Was there an architect that particularly inspired you?
There are many. As one who appreciate history, I value Vitruvius, Alberti (and many other Renaissance Architects), Wren, Lutyens, Cram, McKim, Mead and White, Carrere and Hastings, Bottomley, and others from around the turn of the 20th century. I was mentored by Jaquelin Robertson who heavily influenced the start of my architectural career and he introduces me to people like Leon Krier, Demetri Porphyrios and Andres Duany, and Liz Plater Zyberk. I collaborated on one project with Quinlan Terry who was influential to me. Jim Glave was a longtime mentor and friend. Robert A M Stern and his firm have always been an inspiration to me.

What are you currently reading?
The Future of the Past by Steven W. Semes. I just finished On the Road with Saint Augustine by James K. A. Smith which was fantastic.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
That’s tough. I like many meals (my waistline is proof of the fact). It is often the combination of food and atmosphere that makes meals memorable to me. I just returned from Jamaica where a group of my friends, my wife and I sat on a point, looking out on the sunset over the ocean and had a fabulous meal of fish, vegetables, bread, and wine….these kinds of experiences seem to make the best meals to me.

Why do you volunteer with the AIA?
Because AIA is the architect’s advocacy group and our only large, national, professional association. We must make it as strong as we can and so volunteering is one way to make a small contribution towards that aim.

Initiative: Reach, Retain, and Develop

AIA Virginia is launching an initiative to connect our members with architecture students graduating in May 2020 from Virginia schools of architecture.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor to a graduating student, click here to sign-up.

Many of those graduating from Virginia’s schools of architecture this year are facing an unprecedented time in the world. A global pandemic has ravaged the economy, unemployment numbers are currently bleak, and companies are in survival mode. A number of architecture firms have frozen hiring or delayed starting dates. Quarantines and stay-at-home orders have shifted most of our interactions to a virtual space which makes it incredibly difficult to meet new people and form meaningful relationships.

This operation seeks to facilitate building these new relationships by connecting our recent architecture graduates with our AIA Virginia members. AIA Virginia has an approximate pool of 2,300 members to select from to begin building the match-making database. The goal of the AIA is to keep these emerging professionals engaged and connected to the profession. We will call our members who participate Hosts.

Until the public health crisis dictates otherwise, it is envisioned that the recent graduate and Host will engage virtually. The goal is to meet twice per month with this emerging professional, but under no circumstance, commit to not less than once per month. All coordination will be the responsibility of the Host and graduate.

Desired Outcomes:

  • Through these forged relationships, keep recent graduates engaged in the profession of architecture during the recovery phase of a global pandemic and troubled economy
  • Assuming personality chemistry is formed, these relationships become long-term friendships which is beneficial for career growth and exposure to career opportunities
  • Good people know good people. Through these relationships, expose these emerging professionals to other AIA members thus expanding their professional network
  • Keep recent architecture graduates in Virginia so that the profession and our own communities can reap the benefits of their contributions and leadership

Below are some activities for consideration to occupy any given meeting or a series of meetings:

  • Facilitate the transition to AIA membership (free for graduates)
  • Get to know each other
  • Align on goals and priorities for the mentoring partnership
  • Provide support and guidance for new graduates as they pursue licensure
  • Portfolio and resume review and critique (even invite other Architects)
  • Mock interview (or real) and critique
  • Share about current firm culture, working environment, and projects
  • Invite the graduate to a virtual team meeting
  • Attend an AIA component virtual event together
  • Attend a virtual lunch and learn together and then discuss

If you are interested in becoming a mentor to a graduating student, click here to sign-up. The deadline to sign-up is May 27th.

Are the Kids Alright? read an article by AIAS President Curry, The Current Student Perspective

Associated Thoughts

AIA Virginia Resources for Unlicensed Professionals

As an emerging professional architect, are you feeling out of the loop? Like you might be missing something? Too many things to do, and not sure where to start? Are you an architecture student wondering how to make connections for jobs, put together your portfolio, or simply sign up for licensure hours? Are you trying to take the next step in your career, but could use some help?

Michael Spory, Associate AIA

Virginia is a great place to be a young designer—full of diverse and growing communities, dynamic designers, dramatic landscapes, surprising little towns, and vibrant urban places. As an emerging designer who found my footing in Charlottesville’s design community, I have learned so much from the talents and resources of architects across the commonwealth, and I hope Virginia continues to be a place where designers can flourish in their firms, start their own successful practices, and do the compelling work that serves our communities and our environment.

As the AIA Virginia associate director, I represent all unlicensed associates on AIA Virginia’s Board of Directors, advocating for the unique statewide and local needs of Virginia’s students and young professionals, and serving as a connector for initiatives and people in each of our five regions. I began my two-year term on the AIA VA board in January, strategizing about how to best connect emerging professionals with the right people, skills, and resources they need to take the next step in their careers. In my day job, I am a designer for VMDO Architects, focusing on educational and community projects.

This snack-sized monthly newsletter is intended to connect you, as an unlicensed architectural professional in Virginia, with the right resources and the right people to take that next step in your career. From ARE test study guides to job postings, procedures for the Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) Program (you should apply!) and advice on salary negotiation to tips from colleagues about how to lead a meeting, or even just finding the nearest architecture happy hour in your city—we at AIA Virginia are here to help bridge that gap. I want to help you find what you need next to grow, and many of those resources are right under our noses.

And if that one thing you need doesn’t seem to exist yet—let’s talk about getting it started together. Sometimes big ideas get started with the brave-but-simple question: “Can you help me?”

In the meantime, let’s get started. Please reach out at any time to me, with requests both big and small, and we will connect you to local EPs near you. We are here to serve you.

In social distancing solidarity,

Michael Spory, Associate AIA

Just a Few Fun Things to Click On

Because You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: Read your monthly newsletter from AIA Virginia. Want to read back issues? Click here.

Someone You Should Know: Michael Hammon, AIA is the NCARB Licensing Advisor for Virginia. He knows all things NCARB and is appointed by AIA Virginia to help you. Reach out to him at

Someone Else You Should Know: Corey Clayborne is the Executive Director of AIA Virginia, a recently awarded AIA Fellow (one of the youngest ever and the first ELA alum!), a dynamic leader and advocate for the profession, and an all-around great guy.

Something You Might Need: AIA National is offering their ARE prep course ArchiPrep FOR FREE for associate members until August 31. This is a steal, so you definitely should use it if you are taking your ARE exams like I am.

Something That’s Different Than Before: NCARB’s Youtube channel is surprisingly helpful, and they recently recorded a video session with Covid-related updates to the ARE registration and exam procedure. Super helpful if you’re not sure how your testing experience may be affected by a global pandemic.

Something to Brag About: AIA Virginia just successfully lobbied for the first ever statute of limitations for certain state projects. For those of us whose Professional Practice memories are a little hazy, this keeps us from getting sued into eternity. Or something like that. But it’s a big deal.

Something to Bookmark: For those on the job hunt, take a look at the job board on the AIA Virginia website — with employment opportunities all across Virginia.

Something Inspiring: Foster + Partners releasing templates for DIY paper architecture.

At the Last Board Meeting

AIA Virginia | 2020 Board of Directors
April 17, 2020
Virtual Meeting

Motions Made and Approved:

The Board of Directors of AIA Virginia voted as follows:

  • Approval of February 28, 2020 Meeting Minutes
  • Acceptance of the Invest in the Future Task Force Recommendations
  • Approval of revisions to the Award for Distinguished Achievement criteria listed in the Rules of the Organization
  • Approval of revisions to the Emerging Professional Award criteria listed in the Rules of the Organization

Written reports were provided for the following consent agenda items:

  • PAC Update                                                                                                   
  • PAC Opt-In Report
  • Membership Update                                                                                                  
  • Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Update          
  • NOMA Virginia Exploratory Committee
  • Emerging Leaders in Architecture
  • Emerging Professionals Summit Recap
  • Publication Update
  • Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Letter                                                        
  • ACE Virginia Conference Update
  • Key 2020 General Assembly Victories                                              

Members may request a copy of these written reports by emailing AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, FAIA at

The next meeting of the 2020 AIA Virginia Board of Directors will take place Friday, June 26, 2020.

R. Corey Clayborne, FAIA, NOMA, MBA

Corey Clayborne currently serves as the Executive Vice President of AIA Virginia. In this position, he has the responsibility of ensuring the success of the Advocacy, Education, Communications, and Member Services portfolios. Corey has been recognized by the AIA at the local, state and national levels. In 2017, he was an AIA Young Architects Award recipient and named to Building Design + Construction’s 40 Under 40 class. His volunteer service has spanned across a multitude of roles for all levels of AIA, several NCARB Committees, and an appointment to Virginia’s regulatory Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, Landscape Architects by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Corey is an architect licensed to practice in Virginia who worked in private practice for 13 years serving as a project manager for local, state, and federal clients before taking the chief executive position at AIA Virginia.

Where did you go to college?

Virginia Tech for a B.Arch
Liberty University for a Master in Business Administration with a Public Administration cognate

Would you recommend studying architecture to a young person?

Absolutely! Architecture teaches you how to think systematically and how to problem solve. These two skills are extremely valuable across a variety of career spectrums. Whether one pursues the traditional architecture path with his or her degree or moving to a non-traditional path – like I did – you can be a valuable asset to our world.

What does it take to be an architect?

Discipline, perseverance, and the drive to make positive change. The path to licensure is not easy: Education, Experience, and Examination. And it is not intended to be as the responsibility of an architect to the public is great. However, when you reach that milestone, your creations – whether design or policy – touches many lives.

Was there an architect that particularly inspired you?

Not while I was growing up or in college. However, when I entered the professional field, I was adopted by several architects within the firm. They took me under their wing and much of my career success is attributed to these individuals. This is the power of mentorship.

What are you currently reading?

I honestly don’t find reading fun which does not diminish its importance. I’m not a fast reader and I often get drowsy while doing it.

My goal is to read more, about 10 minutes each day. I’m currently making my way through the latest Virginia Business magazine to keep up with what is happening in our Commonwealth. One of my friends is being featured in this particular publication. He put Danville on the map in terms of economic development and just took the Economic Development Director position in Arlington. It’s great to see your friends being blessed for their hard work.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

Tough question. There is not a clear-cut favorite so I’ll tell you the best cocktail I have had. Get the “Old Fashion” at the newly renovated Cavalier in Virginia Beach. They put it in a smoke box which takes the cocktail to whole new level. I experienced it on a CEO retreat with other association colleagues. We all had more than one. Or two.

Why do you work for the AIA?

Once in a lifetime opportunity. Over 2,500 members have put their faith in my vision, my team, and our organization to make our profession increasingly more relevant each day.

Meet Robert L. Easter, NOMAC, FAIA

Robert L. Easter, AIA, NOMA, assumed the role as chair of the Department of Architecture at Hampton University in September 2008. He has overseen the reaccreditation effort of the professional program, securing a six-year affirmation of the program’s standing with the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Professionally, he is President of KEi architects (formerly Kelso & Easter, Incorporated) in Richmond, Virginia. A graduate (Bachelor of Architecture) of Hampton University, he also holds a Master of Architecture degree in Architecture / Urban Design from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. He is an ordained minister and has done extensive graduate studies at the Divinity School at Howard University. His initial registration is in the state of Maryland, and he is licensed to practice architecture in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He holds certification with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and his firm holds active registrations in twelve states and Quebec, Canada. He began practicing architecture in 1977 in Baltimore, Maryland where he served as a Project Architect and designer for Ford & Associates, Inc. He also worked with the New River Valley Planning District Commission as a staff Architect and taught Architectural Technology for the Northern Virginia Community College. Following a four-year tour of duty in the US Army Corps of Engineers, he founded the Easter Design Center, later merging with John Kelso to form Kelso & Easter, Architects serving the Washington, DC metropolitan area. They were incorporated in 1985 and opened an office in Richmond, Virginia in 1987. In 2001, Mr. Kelso retired, and the entire operation was consolidated to the Richmond office.

Mr. Easter is active in community, civic and professional activities. He has twice served as a Director for the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects and is now the chair of the City of Richmond Board of Code Appeals and a board member of the Metropolitan Business League. His other civic involvements have included: board member Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau for the City of Richmond, Board member of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Board chair of the and is a member of the Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council. He has served as a board member for the Commonwealth Girl Scout Council of Virginia, Freedom House, Social Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation; Member, Woodley-Nightingale Land-use Task Force, Fairfax County; Member (and former Chair), Architectural Alumni Committee, Hampton University; Board of Directors, Richmond Opportunities Industrialization Center, Richmond, VA; the Board of Directors, Greater Metropolitan Richmond Literacy Council, and as a member of the Northern Virginia Minority Business & Professional Association.

In 1992 he was elected as the fifteenth president of the National Organization of Minority Architects and has been a vigorous advocate for increased minority participation in the public and private sector building industry. During his tenure, NOMA worked to increase opportunities for its members throughout the nation. International engagements included a tour to South Africa where he served on a mission to bridge relationships between black and white architects and assisted in the formation of the Association of Black Architects in that nation, a sister organization to NOMA, during the transition from apartheid to democratic rule. His work, both civic and professional has been recognized in local and national print media, including NOMANews, the New York Times, Metropolitan Magazine, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Richmond Free Press, Progressive Architecture Magazine and Inform Magazine.

Where did you go to college?
I attended Hampton University for undergraduate work and Virginia Tech for graduate school.

Would you recommend studying architecture to a young person? Absolutely. As an educator and practitioner, I believe that the work we do makes a difference

What does it take to be an architect?
Passion, creativity, determination and opportunity.

Was there an architect that particularly inspired you?
I only knew two architects before attending school: John Spencer, FAIA, who was the dean of Architecture at Hampton University (and a friend of our family), and Bert Berenson, who was Mr. Spencer’s predecessor (whom my mother worked for). Since beginning my career, I am inspired by a number of great architects, including John Chase, Wendell Campbell, and John Kelso. Stylistically, my favorite was the Japanese American design icon, Minoru Yamasaki.

What are you currently reading?
I am reading Slaves in the Family, by Edward Ball.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
The next one. Every meal is good. I love food.

Why do you volunteer with the AIA?
It is an opportunity to serve our profession and to share a perspective that is not always considered. It is an opportunity to make a connection between the profession and students who need to know that our profession welcomes them.

Newly Licensed

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

Herman A. Nadal, AIA (Hampton Roads)

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,

New Members

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

New Architect Member

Mr. Michael Vallese, AIA (Northern Virginia)

New Associate Members

Mr. Scott R. Bennett, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Ms. Rebecca Bish, Assoc. AIA (Richmond)

Transferred In

Mr. Abhishek A. Desai, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Michigan

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

Call for Nominations: 2020 Honors Awards

Do you have a colleague who deserves recognition? Is there a firm that consistently produces incredible work? Is there a building that has captured your heart? Consider nominating them for AIA Virginia’s Honors Awards program.  

The Honors program recognizes the best efforts of Virginians who — by profession or avocation — have made creating, preserving, and enhancing Virginia’s communities an important life commitment.

Important note: The AIA Virginia board, at its April 2020 board meeting, revised the descriptions of the Virginia Emerging Professional Award and the Award for Distinguished Achievement to recognize individuals engaged in initiatives to advance social justice, equity, diversity, or inclusion. As you’re considering your nominees, please keep this in mind!


Nominations must be submitted online. Nominations should be submitted as a single PDF up to 20 pages (not including letters of support) and no larger than 15 MB.

Nominations for all AIA Virginia honors may be made by individual members, by chapter honors committees, by AIA Virginia committees, or by the Board of Directors itself.

Current AIA Virginia Board members and Honors Committee members are not eligible for any award. Members of the Honors Committee may not be used as a reference or adviser or be solicited by the candidate or the candidate’s advisor.

The deadline is Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Want an overview of the awards or some tips on putting together a successful nomination? Register for our webinar on June 3.


Eligibility criteria and submission requirements vary by award. Click on the awards listed below for additional details and to review past recipients.

Award Categories

The William C. Noland Medal, as the highest award bestowed on a member architect, is intended to honor a distinguished body of accomplishments, sustained over time, that spans a broad spectrum of the profession and that transcends the scope of normal professional activities. Only one medal may be bestowed each year.

The Architecture Medal for Virginia Service is AIA Virginia’s most prestigious public award, honoring an individual or organization that has made an unusually significant contribution to Virginia’s built environment or to the public’s understanding and awareness of the built environment. Only one medal may be bestowed each year but may be given simultaneously to more than one person.

The T. David Fitz-Gibbon Virginia Architecture Firm Award, as the highest honor bestowed by AIA Virginia to a Virginia-based architecture firm, recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least ten years.

The Virginia Emerging Professional Award recognizes the accomplishments of an emerging leader in Virginia for their contributions to the profession in any of the following: design, research, education, service as a “citizen architect,” service to the profession, service to the community, or initiatives to advance social justice, equity, diversity, or inclusion.

The Award for Distinguished Achievement recognizes either a singular achievement by an architect or the work of an entire career in any of the following: design, practice, education, service as a “citizen architect,” service to the profession, or initiatives to advance social justice, equity, diversity, or inclusion.

Honorary Membership is bestowed upon a person of esteemed character who is not eligible for membership in the AIA Virginia but who has rendered distinguished and exemplary service, over a sustained period of time, to architecture and the built environment within the domain of AIA Virginia.

AIA Virginia Honors may be bestowed on non-member individuals or organizations that have inspired, influenced, or complemented the architecture profession in Virginia through practice of an allied profession, research, education, planning, legislation, architectural writing, the arts, or crafts. An individual who has previously been elected an Honorary Member of AIA Virginia is ineligible to receive AIA Virginia Honors.

The Test of Time Award recognizes architectural design of enduring significance. The structure should be in Virginia and must be no less than 25 years old. Building use may change over time if the overall design is cherished as a significant contribution to the community and the built environment.

From the President’s (at home) Desk

We are living during in a very bizarre time. Coping with a world- wide pandemic is not something any of us has experience with. It is very unsettling, from both a physical health perspective, and also from a financial health perspective. Additionally, human beings are social creatures by nature, and it feels uncomfortable to lose the common, everyday interactions that we took for granted, like just walking downtown for lunch, greeting friends and acquaintances along the way. Gathering around a table and sketching with “bumwad” and Sharpies. Having a beer with your co-workers at the end of a tough work week or a big deadline.

2020 AIA Virginia President, Beth Reader, FAIA

Now that most of us are working remotely, we’re bound to feel a little isolated. There is a way, however, to connect with other architects across the Commonwealth, and it’s through the AIA Virginia Roundtables. There are four of them in existence—the Small Firm, the Mid- Size Firm, the Large Firm, and the Emerging Professionals Roundtables. The Roundtables have existed for several years now, and have met during Architecture Exchange East and the Art of Practice conferences. Now they are becoming more active. Each of the four Roundtables last met via Zoom during the week of April 21 -24. There was a great turnout (although we were a little short on Mid-Size firm participants). There are now plans for the Roundtables to meet more frequently– some once a month, others quarterly.

During their virtual meetings, Roundtable participants discussed lots of relevant topics, like trying to collaborate creatively while working in isolation, virtually interviewing for projects, maintaining firm culture and morale, obtaining community input on public projects, making site visits while socially distancing, and even employees’ increased interest in working remotely after the pandemic subsides. On a positive note, there were also discussions among Roundtable participants that residential work inquiries may increase during this time, because potential clients, quarantined at home, are taking stock of their houses’ inadequacies. Another positive that could come out of the pandemic is that firms may allow staff members more leeway to selectively telework, thereby helping those who need more flexible schedules to accommodate their caretaking roles.

I encourage you to participate in these Roundtable discussions, which are accessible to you no matter where you’re located in Virginia. Ask your colleagues how they are dealing with issues that you or your firm is confronting. If you would like to participate please contact these Roundtable Chairs:

Dan Zimmerman, AIA, Small Firm Roundtable      

Andrew McKinley, AIA, Mid- Size Firm Roundtable

Paul Battaglia, AIA, Large Firm Roundtable

Krystal Anderson, AIA, Emerging Professional Roundtable

Please realize that you’re not in this alone. Your fellow AIA Virginia colleagues and staff are here as a resource for you.

With best regards,