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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.



Andres Alfaro, Associate AIA - Helix Architecture + Design

Maggie Bierschwal - Image Flooring

Nadav Bittan, Associate AIA - BNIM

Bryce Cummings, AIA - Hoefer Wysocki Architecture

Alli Hill, Associate AIA - Pulse Design Group

Doug Hurt, AIA - Gould Evans

Jackie Kolpek - DLR Group

Zach Loy - Turner Construction

Christina McCoy - Thornton Tomasetti

JJ Nicolas, Associate AIA - HOK

Marcus Perry - Henderson Engineers

AJ Prizzi, Associate AIA - HNTB

Brooke Schnurr - Centric Projects

Paul Spears - Stand Structural Engineering, Inc.

Lindsay Tatro, AIA - SFS Architecture

Branden Vissat, Associate AIA - Hufft

April & May 2017 Overviews

pillars april.jpg

April Session

Transportation Panel
In April, the Pillars class met at the Farmhouse near the Rivermarket in Kansas City, MO to kick-off the Community Amenities sessions. The head chef and owner of the Farmhouse provided a brief history of the restaurant and its local sourcing of food.  After lunch at the Farmhouse, the class took the Streetcar to Hollis + Miller Architects’ office in the Corrigan Building.  There the class listened to a panel discussion on transportation – with an emphasis on issues and projects in the Kansas City Area.  The transportation panel included Eric Bunch, Mike Goodman, David Johnson and Christopher Redline with BikeWalkKC, The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance and MODOT respectively.  The panelists discussed the current state of the various transportation modes that they represent, as well as the challenges and upcoming projects.  Panelists also discussed the impact of the Kansas City Go Bond and the interaction of the various forms of transit in the Kansas City region. Following the panel discussion, Bob Berkebile provided a history the current Kanas City International Airport and the drive to renovate or replace it.  Bob led this discussion from his perspective as the architect for the existing airport and from his role as co-chair from the Airport Terminal Advisory Group.

Kansas City Ballet Tour
The Pillars class traveled on foot through the Crossroads District from the Corrigan Building to the Kansas City Ballet’s Todd Bolender Center.  Kevin Amey, the Kansas City Ballet’s General Manager, gave the Pillars a tour of the historic building that houses the Kansas City Ballet.  Built in the early 1900’s, the building was once the main steam distribution center for Union Station, the Post Office and other area buildings.  Many elements from the original coal boilers and steam distribution were saved during the renovation of the building and have been incorporated into the design of the Ballet’s main classrooms, office space and practice theater.

May Session – Urban Gardening and Food


Cultivate KC
The May session was all about edible amenities.  After lunch at Grandstand Burgers in Merriam, Kansas, the Pillars carpooled to Cultivate KC’s Juniper Garden’s facility.  Vladimir Mitton, Cultivate KC’s Program Manager for the ‘New Roots for Refugees’ gave the Pillars a tour of the urban farm’s 16 quarter acre plots, cleaning and storage facilities.  During the tour, Dr. Mitton provided an overview of both the ‘New Roots for Refugees’ program and urban farming.

City of Mission Farmers Market
After visiting Juniper Gardens, the Pillars traveled to Mission, Kansas to the view the lots that currently host the Mission Farm and Flower Market.  The City of Mission is looking to accommodate a number of improvements to help with vendor set-up, hosting activities and providing a civic face for the market and east end of the Johnson Drive Corridor.  After a brief tour of the existing market site, conducted by Mission’s Public Information Officer, Emily Randel, the Pillars convened at Sylvester Powell Community Center for a design charrette.  Working with a city wish list site plans and photos of the site, the Pillars groups the Pillars broke into four groups to brainstorm ideas for phased growth and permanent facilities at the Mission Farm and Flower Market.  The concepts were presented to Emily Randel and other City representatives at the end of the Charrette.  The Community Amenities committee will also be presenting the ideas at the July 5th City of Mission meeting.

Community Amenities Committee: Kyle, Valerie, Jeremy & Jacob


Year in Review

2016 Pillars >

2015 Pillars >

2014 Pillars >

Pillars applications

Applications available in April.


Contact Tiffany at (816) 979 3181 or

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