Pillars Leadership Program

AIA Kansas City is proud to introduce Pillars, a leadership training program for AIA Kansas City members. The purpose is to prepare a representative cross section of the chapter’s emerging leaders for their role in shaping the future of both the architectural profession and the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. The training program includes active participation in programs and exposure to community leaders and issues. Applications are accepted for the program once each year. Criteria for acceptance include proven career success and community involvement. The benefits of the program include: development of relationship skills, skill development, team performance, and chapter and community leadership.

Topics that will be discussed throughout the year include: politics and advocacy, academia and mentorship, business and legal issues, project delivery and partnership, communication methodologies, outreach, industry trends and economic development.
 

2020 - 2021 PILLARS CLASS

20200818_153243.jpg

Jake Brannon, Assoc. AIA - Gould Evans
Ashlee Deck, AIA - ACI Boland
Andrew Fabin, Assoc. AIA - RMTA
Trevor Freeman, Assoc. AIA - Pulse Design Group
Justin Gomez, AIA - Hoefer Wysocki Architecture
Harriet Grindel, AIA - SFS Architecture
Mackenzie Koepke - New Horizons LLC
Michael Kopper - Turner Construction
Annie Merrill - HOK
Tim Ockinga - JE Dunn Construction
Kevin Pearson - Smith & Boucher
Chris Penland, AIA - Studio Build
Dan Pierce, AIA - GLMV Architecture
Jessica Reed-Shultz, AIA - Finkle + Williams Architects
Mike Schwaller, AIA - Helix Architecture + Design
Allison Wonder, AIA - The Clark Enersen Partners


Pillars MaY 2021 Overview - Access & Empowerment
Youth Sports for All Abilities

 

pillars may.PNGRecently hailed as the ‘Soccer Capital of America’, Kansas City boasts a feverish sports culture and impassioned fan base for all of the city’s professional sports teams. Much of this support comes from the young athletes dreaming of one day hitting a home run at Kauffman Stadium, catching a touchdown from Patrick Mahomes, or burying a penalty kick in front of the Cauldron. For some, these dreams can only be made possible by the support of organizations throughout Kansas City with the mission to empower the city’s youth. From under served communities, to those on track to become professionals, the city offers opportunities for youth to have fun, develop character, and grow not only as athletes, but as leaders in the community.

The May session started with a ‘tailgate’ style lunch and yard games to dive into the sport day experience. The group then toured the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy, led by Darwin Pennye, Executive Director. Mr. Pennye has a vast career in sports and explained how the Urban Youth Academy provides baseball and softball experiences for kids between the ages of 5-18 years old within the urban core. Mr. Pennye discussed the four main pillars of the organization: physical, academic, social and spiritual

Read More >


It Can Be Done
Renderings.jpg

If you’re craving a good story during this not-so-good year, here it is. It has passion, community spirit, designing for equity, chance encounters, history, and a focus on the future. And porch swings.

Our 2015-16 Pillars Leadership class is one of the main characters in this story, and they set in motion a remarkable chain of events that is resonating today.

Each year, the Pillars class completes a community service project as part of their program. After watching the documentary Our Divided City*, which focuses on the economic and racial divide that exists east of Troost, they learned about the needs of Oak Park Neighborhood Association (OPNA) to redevelop and bring a sense of community to their area.

Inspired by what they saw, these 16 Pillars decided to team up with the OPNA and develop a master plan for the northeast block of 39th & Prospect. They organized a day-long charrette in May 2016 to develop architectural ideas for the residential and commercial components, streetscape, parking, and community amenities. Their efforts grew from the hard work that OPNA had been doing to revitalize their neighborhood. Prior to the charrette, the Pillars toured the area and talked with residents about what would like to see be done to redevelop that block. The first tangible response from the Pillars was to deliver and install porch swings to 12 senior citizen residents of Oak Park.**

Forest Tyson, Jr. was born and raised in the Oak Park Neighborhood. His business, Tyson Brothers, LLC, is a construction and real estate development company headquartered there. Forest was featured in Our Divided City, and the Pillars class reached out to him after viewing the film to ask what OPNA needed. In a recent conversation with Forest, he pointed to that early conversation as the starting point for the exciting project taking shape today.

“We need housing plans for homeowners,” was Forest’s request. Most of the OPNA homeowners are elderly; younger people who rent in the neighborhood don’t tend to stay around very long. With his knowledge and history of the neighborhood, Forest knew they wanted similar housing styles to what already existed. 

Renderings2.jpgThe renderings that came from the May charrette were delivered to Forest, along with the Neighborhood President Pat Clarke and the OPNA in June 2016. “The whole concept came from the Pillars,” said Forest. It was “easy from there,” giving him specific plans that he could sell to the OPNA stakeholders, City Council 3rd District, and [then] Mayor Sly James.

Forest used the renderings to communicate the vision for what this neighborhood east of Troost could achieve. The wheels were turning.

Fast forward to 2020…just 3.5 years after the Pillars charrette, their concepts and renderings are becoming a reality. An initial phase breaks ground this November. Thirty-nine 1-, 2-, and 3-Bedroom Townhouses with attached garages will be in the first phase, and commercial projects will be in the second phase. Forest dreams of a sit-down coffee shop and a Goodcents!

This is a major catalyst to spur more single-family residential development. “People can’t miss this development” due to its prominent location. Forest knows what the negative perceptions of this area include: safety issues, blight, too many rental properties. But he is excited because he knows that 39th and Prospect is a major spur. “A lot of people are going to see that good things can happen in this area.” OPNA’s hard work in this neighborhood shows that the residents are dealing with what needs to be done.

A key component for the longevity of this project is having OPNA as co-developer of this project. They will ultimately gain stability through investment, residents who want to remain in the neighborhood, and businesses that feel connected to the residents. It is also of importance to note that “as Co-developer, it will allow OPNA to address some of the single-family housing the community desperately needs,” Forest explained. 

AIA Kansas City’s efforts to connect our members with the community reached a new level with this Pillars project. Ongoing contact between OPNA and Pillars makes future collaboration a possibility. Putting action to our strategic plan statement that good design is a human right is more important than ever. Each Pillars class is a unique group that sets its own goals and outcomes; an ambitious outreach project like this was one-of-a-kind. But this experience shows that architects have both a role and a responsibility to make our communities equitable – it can be done, by design.

*Made by Michael Price, presented on KCPT. The film won the national 2017 NETA award in the Documentary category.

** The porch swings were generously built and donated by the Western Missouri Carpenters Joint Training Program. 

 

Year in Review

2021 Pillars >

2020 Pillars >

2019 Pillars >

2018 Pillars >

Pillars applications

Applications are available in April of each year.

QUESTIONS ABOUT Pillars

Contact Tiffany at (816) 979 3181 or tiffany@aiakc.org

View Mobile Site