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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.



Nicholas Bosman, AIA - BRR Architecture
Diamond Bronson, AIA - Hoefer Wysocki 
Zac Buckmiller - Lankford | Fendler + associates
Jesse Crupper, AIA - hufft
Julie Garvey, AIA - McCownGordon Construction
Janet Getz, AIA - TreanorHL
Ellen Hailey, AIA - Helix Architecture + Design
Nicole Mater, Associate AIA - DRAW Architecture + Urban Design
Ryan McCabe, AIA - BNIM
Danny McGrail - Henderson Engineers
Mandy Moore, Associate AIA - Odimo
Michael Patrick, AIA - Hollis + Miller Architects
Vanessa Petersen - PMA Engineering
Jean Stoverink, AIA - Gould Evans
Timarie Trarbach, Associate AIA - Populous
Callum Virthaler, AIA - Pulse Design Group

MaRCH 2019 OverView

Pillars March Session Write Up.jpgPillars Session March 21, 2019: Unions

On a national level, the skilled construction labor work force decreased significantly with the recession in 2008. Similar to the design professionals, these ramifications have industry leaders scrambling to replace that “lost generation.” With construction continuing to grow in Greater Kansas City, the demand for skilled labor has outweighed the supply for the past six years. The labor supply will continue to be a major factor in regional construction as market trends predict an increase in all sectors.  Construction in the KC Metro, including large construction projects such as the new airport and expanding campuses for both Cerner and Garmin, will keep the demand high. Since labor supply and skill level drives everything from project timelines to what building components are available for the design of the project, the building trade training centers are on the front lines of strategizing how to increase the supply of skilled labor. Again similar to the efforts with qualified construction design professionals, the skilled labor sector is placing greater emphasis on diversification with specific programs focused on informing female and minority high school students about the opportunities available to a skilled laborer.

As a way to bring multiple perspectives to the topic, the March Pillars session explored three
facets of unions; the managerial/general contractor side, the trades person’s training side, and the union leadership side. The session began with a presentation by Dr. Richard Bruce, Gregory Lever, and Greg Davey. Dr. Bruce introduced those who were unfamiliar with the Builders’ Association and the training center to the facility. He also discussed some pertinent statistics from the recently released Skilled Labor Talent To Industry Exchange (TIE) Report. Similar to the statistics of the TIE report for the design industry, the research done with skilled labor in Kansas City showed a disparity in diversity among the trades.

The next presenter, Greg Lever, discussed the National Institute for Construction Excellence
(NICE) and his involvement with bringing a variety of trades programs to local schools. Mr. Lever also discussed the yearly conference where students who participate in these programs showcase and compete against each other in a variety of semester or year long design challenges. These middle and high school design and drafting competitions range in complexity based on the average age of the participant.

Greg Davey wrapped up the first part of the session with a presentation on the history of the
legislation pertaining to trade unions. Mr Davey also discussed the differences between how
union and non-unions work on job sites in Kansas City as compared to other cities.

After a brief break, Romond Holt, the Outreach Manager at the Builders Association divided the group up into 4 teams to experience the drywall, glazing, ironworkers, and advanced career center training facilities housed at the Builders’ Association North Kansas City location. For the drywall session, a trainer and a third year apprentice demonstrated vinyl wall covering application before offering an opportunity for each Pillar to attempt the same task. The glazing trainers and apprentices provided the choice between practicing how to safely cut glass and getting up on a lift to experience installing a curtain wall system. In the ironworkers’ area, a trainer explained one of the virtual reality programs they use for teaching new apprentices about beam walking and crane signalling. Pillars also had the opportunity to don a lightly loaded harness, step onto a swing stage, and practice installing bolts into a bridge girder connection (this was an actual section from a local bridge that was previously demolished). The final hands on learning session was experiencing the advanced career training center, which works with middle and high school students and provides an experience using the new technology companies are currently providing on actual job sites as well as translating CAD to actual construction.

After a doughnut and coffee break, Pillars resumed classroom learning from Judy Ancel, a
retired labor instructor who has been working with and educating labor managers on how to
negotiate the best for their shops for the past 29 years. Ms. Ansel brought the labor perspective to the legal history of unions in the United States and explained the difference between a craft union and an industrial union. She also gave specific examples of how the reduction in competition between workers established by the collective bargaining power of a union actually helps to promote quality of construction on jobsites.

Finally we heard from Alise Martiny, the first female business manager of a trade organization in the country. She shared her perspective from decades of working as a concrete mason
journeyperson and an officer with the Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades
Council. Ms. Martiny spoke on some of the finer points of management within a trade union and the connective mentality between all trade unions and their efforts on behalf of their members. Finally, she explained one of the outreach programs that caters specifically to female high school aged students who are interested in construction trades, Camp NAWIC.


Year in Review

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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