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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.


Full group.jpg

Gretchen Blain, AIA - Generator Studio
Laura Burkhalter - SFS Architecture
Steven Clark - Centric Projects
Sophie Dardant, Associate AIA - Burns & McDonnell
Tabitha Darko, AIA - HOK
Matt Enstrom - Stand Structural Engineering
Josh Hartman, AIA - Hermanos Design
Kirsten Hastings, AIA - BRR Architecture
Ben Hollon - Lankford | Fendler + Associates
Daniel Johnson, Associate AIA - BNIM
Bryan Kelly - Wallace Saunders
Sarah Kempf, AIA - Piper-Wind Architects
Philip Korthanke, AIA - Hollis + Miller Architects
Dan Meyer - Apex Engineers
Nina Riva, Associate AIA - Populous

MaY 2019 OverView

May Write Up.jpgThe May Pillars session focused on the past and future of the agriculture industry in Kansas City. The session covered a wide variety of topics both in content and size of impact on the agricultural industry in Kansas City.

The session begin at the new Dairy Farmers of American (DFA) building in Kansas City, KS. To start out the session right we started with an introduction to one of Kansas City’s favorite past times, BBQ. The KC BBQ Society brought ribs and brisket from three different well known KC BBQ establishments to teach the 2019 Pillars class about the work of BBQ judging. It was entertaining as well as surprising which of the three well known establishments were favored.

Just as lunch was wrapping up Monica Massey, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, from DFA joined the session to discuss how DFA has such an impact on the dairy markets throughout the world. Monic discussed how DFA not only represents a majority of the dairy farmers in the United States, but they also own or are part owner in over 40 major dairy brands including brands like Hiland Dairy. Monica was also able to described some of the logistics that are part of DFA’s every day work fl ow moving dairy across the nation. As the session was wrapping up at DFA, Monica was able to treat everyone to a milk chocolate dessert at the MILK bar as the class toured the innovative and unique offi ce building.

After the tour, Kristie Larson, Director of Education, for the American Royal, was able to join the session to teach the class about the history of the “Cowtown.” Pulling from some of the information discussed in the September session, Kristie was able to provide history and background for the west bottoms and the extreme impact the livestock exchange had
on the development of Kansas City.

Next, the session was relocated to the downtown Kansas City, Kansas library to meet with Stephanie Moore, Management Analysts in the Economic Development Department at the Unifi ed Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas City. Stephanie was able to present and discuss challenges of the new MERC Co-op project in down town Kansas City, KS and it’s affect on the food desert.

Finally, Katherine Kelly from Cultivate KC was able to join the class to discuss how Cultivate KC has made such a vital impact on refugees in Kansas City, Kansas and some of the challenges that have been associated with developing it. Kelly also gave the class a tour of the fields and equipment that are used by Cultivate KC and shared some of their future
growth plans.


Year in Review

2018 Pillars >

2017 Pillars >

2016 Pillars >

2015 Pillars >

2014 Pillars >

Pillars applications

Applications go out in May of each year.


Contact Tiffany at (816) 979 3181 or

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