Brian Frickie Recognized as 2023 Noland Medalist

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. For 2023, the medal is awarded to Brian J. Frickie, FAIA.

As senior principal, president, and CEO of Arlington’s Kerns Group Architects, Frickie has helped his firm earn more than a dozen design awards. Within the firm he has institutionalized a practice culture that encourages young professionals to take on leadership roles on projects, in the office, in the AIA, in the profession, and in their communities.

But it is his service to the profession at state, local, and national levels that sets him apart as a worthy recipient of the Noland Medal. As his nomination asserts, “his visionary activism and collaborative, participatory style uphold the profession’s stature, elevate the organization’s relevance, and empower individual architects.” Over four decades, Brian has worked through local, state, regional, and national AIA components and in community organizations to highlight the instrumental roles architects can have in solving society’s most pressing issues.

As president of AIA Virginia, Frickie implemented initiatives to reconnect architects in schools and firms, to rebuild relationships among architects at all levels of the AIA, and to prepare future leaders. As charter member and later chair of the AIA National Small Firm Roundtable (SFRT), Brian refined and refocused the SFRT to… “advance the mutual interests of architects practicing in small firms,” and rebranded it as the Small Firm Exchange (SFx). Within the SFx mission, Frickie conceived AIAKinetic, the SFx APP (Architects’ Professional Primer), and served as its program director and managing editor. And, while representing The Virginias on the AIA National Strategic Council, he convened the Professional Development Study Group and chaired the AIA National Strategic Planning Committee in creating AIA’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, which is now being implemented.

Frickie has devoted his career to preparing future generations of architects to take on the mantle of creating a better environment for society, becoming more effective leaders, and developing a better profession. His vision of a year-long leadership development academy for emerging professionals came to fruition in 2009 as AIA Virginia’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program, now one of the oldest and longest continuously operating leadership programs for architects in the country.

For his passionate service, Brian Frickie, FAIA, will be presented with the Noland Medal at the Visions for Architecture event on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, at the Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond.

Presidential Citations Awarded to UVA and Frickie

At Visions for Architecture, AIA Virginia President Rob Reis, AIA, awarded Presidential Citations to The University of Virginia School of Architecture and Brian Frickie, AIA.

The citation to the University of Virginia School of Architecture reads:

AIA Virginia is privileged to confer this Presidential Citation upon The University of Virginia School of Architecture Recognizing 100 years of unparalleled contributions to the profession through the education and training of Virginia practitioners, educators, and scholars in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, planning, architectural history and building technologies, while steadfastly advancing design innovation, technical research and critical thinking; AIA Virginia hails a legacy positioned to inform a more valiant, just, sustainable, and aesthetic future.

University of Virginia’s Felipe Correa (center) accepts the Presidential Citation from AIA President Rob Reis, AIA (left) and AIA Virginia EVP, Corey Clayborne, AIA (right). Photo by Yuzhu Zheng.

The citation to Brian Frickie, AIA reads:

AIA Virginia is privileged to confer this Presidential Citation upon Brian J. Frickie, AIA, LEED AP for his outstanding leadership as the Region of The Virginias Regional Director on the AIA Strategic Council. Further, his colleagues in Virginia acknowledge his notable dedication to shaping the profession’s future through his service as Chair of the Institute’s Strategic Planning Committee and Leadership Development Program Steering Group.

Brian Frickie, AIA, (center) accepts the Presidential Citation from AIA President Rob Reis, AIA (left) and AIA Virginia EVP, Corey Clayborne, AIA (right). Photo by Yuzhu Zheng.

Frickie Awarded Presidential Citation

On Friday, March 31, 2017 AIA Virginia President, Bill Brown, presented a Presidential Citation to Brian J. Frickie, AIA:

“Before you are a leader, success is all about grooming yourself.  When you become a leader, leadership is all about grooming others.” ~ Jack Welch

AIA Virginia President, Bill Brown, AIA and Brian Frickie, AIA

Brian J. Frickie, AIA is just such a leader, dedicating much of his career to “grooming others.”  Many, many others.  As the 2008 President of The Virginia Society AIA, Brian conceived of the Emerging Leaders in Architecture Program and has continually served as its primary shepherd.

Since its inception the following year, ‘the ELA’ has enhanced hundreds of lives, and these emergent leaders are visible statewide as principals of their firms, officers for their AIA components, and activists in their communities.  The program transformed them … and they have, in turn, transformed us.

As he transitions away from his ELA role, his professional colleagues salute Brian J. Frickie, AIA for his devotion to grooming others, nurturing others, developing others, and inspiring others.

William T. Brown, AIA, President

Emerging Leaders in Architecture Profiled at Grassroots

The 2011 Emerging Leaders in Architecture presented their project.
The 2011 Emerging Leaders in Architecture presented their project "What Do You See?" at Architecture Exchange East.

Virginia Society AIA members and staff collaborated with AIA California Council to deliver a session at AIA’s Grassroots Leadership conference in March.  The seminar, entitled Emerging Professionals: Grooming Our Future Leaders, was intended to provide examples for the attendees about initiatives that components are undertaking to encourage involvement of emerging professionals in the AIA.

California Council representatives Jason Silva, AIA, and Alexander Tsai, Assoc. AIA, described the Council’s Academy for Emerging Professionals, which provides for an infrastructure within the existing framework of the California Council.  This infrastructure gives emerging professionals a voice at all levels of the organization; sets up a communications network to more readily reach emerging professionals; and provides for readily identifiable roles that can be filled by interested members.

Society speakers Brian Frickie, AIA, Christopher Kehde, AIA, and Wayne Conners, provided a detailed look at the Society’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program.  Frickie described the background and philosophy of the program in detail.  ELA recruits the best and most promising young architects from across Virginia, including participants from each architecture school.  The primary goal of the program is to “jump-start” the careers of the participants through a rigorous program designed to immerse them in knowledge and skills they might not otherwise get for years.  Conners gave an overview of the topics and structure of the program, which includes monthly day-long meetings and out-of-class work.  A class project with a real-world focus and client provides participants with the opportunity to develop their own leadership skills and apply the concepts being discussed during the class sessions.  Kehde then gave a detailed look at the 2011 class’ project “What Do You See?” which was a kiosk designed to inspire residents of the Manchester neighborhood in Richmond to describe their vision for the neighborhood.  The kiosk was installed at three different locations in Manchester and then exhibited at Architecture Exchange East.  It will also be exhibited at the Virginia Center for Architecture in the fall of 2012.

The Grassroots session was very well received, and generated questions and discussion afterwards — as well as requests to share information with other components interested in developing similar programs.

Applications for the 2013 Emerging Leaders in Architecture program will be available in August on the VSAIA web site.  For further information, contact Wayne Conners at or (804) 237-1769.