Board of Directors
The AIA Chicago Board of Directors is the representative leadership body elected by the local membership each year. All members in good standing are eligible to be nominated or self-nominate for an open position on the Board of Directors. Open positions and calls for nominations are sent to members in September of each year, with elections held in December at the Annual Meeting.
You can view the approved 2020 board minutes here.
Jessica Figenholtz, AIA
As a respected leader and the higher education practice leader for the Perkins and Will Chicago office, Jessica is focused on enhancing learning experiences and outcomes in the rapidly evolving education landscape. Jessica’s curiosity constantly drives her to ask how things are done and the reasoning behind specific decisions, allowing her to critically think through the approach from multiple lenses.
Known also for her agility in operating within multiple practice areas, including higher education, K-12, retail and commercial interiors, she is deeply involved in planning, redevelopment and sustainability.
First Vice President/President-Elect
Drew Deering, AIA
Drawing from two decades of his architecture experience across a diverse spectrum of architectural projects, Drew approaches management to ensure the skilled execution of project within Moody Nolan. His in-depth construction administration and project management experience have driven the successful completion of projects from schools, arenas, and recreational centers.
Drew served as the chair of the National Regional and Urban Design KC. He served on the National Associate Committee, as the Central States Regional Associate Director, and the Missouri Associate Director.
April Hughes, AIA
April Hughes, AIA, the 2013 AIA Illinois and AIA Chicago Dubin Family Young Architect, is the owner and managing principal of HPZS, a full service woman-owned architectural firm specializing in historic preservation and sustainable design in order to combat climate change through adaptive reuse. Her firm is the first in Chicago to design a PHIUS certified renovation, an exemplary study in the high-performance sustainable reuse of existing buildings. Co-founder of the AIA Chicago transFORM Leadership Program, she is a recipient of the DuPont Emerging Leader Scholarship at the 2016 Design Futures Council Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design, is a U.S. Small Business Administration Emerging Leader 2016, and is a 2017 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Scholar. She advocates for women in the profession at all levels, from intern to executive.
Laura Garcia, AIA
Laura Garcia, AIA, has a broad range of experience in many project types and scales, from commercial high rises to small residential interior remodels. She founded her architecture and consulting firm Laura Garcia Design (LGD) in 2010 and provides a full range of architectural services for the design, permitting, and construction of new buildings, additions, and renovations. Laura has served on the AIA Chicago Board of Directors since 2015. She has been an active member of the AIA-Department of Buildings (DOB) Working Group, and she co-chaired the DOB Small Residential Code Modernization Group earlier this year. She also co-chairs AIA Chicago’s Small Practitioners Group (SPG).
Mindy Viamontes, AIA
Mindy Viamontes, AIA, joined M Viamontes Architects in 2021 as a partner. Her firm specializes in luxury home renovations, new construction houses and hospitality. Prior to starting her own practice, Mindy spent 16 years in the corporate world and led many high-profile civic projects including the award-winning CTA Washington/Wabash Station and the CTA 95th Terminal. She was recognized in 2019 as “40 Under 40” by Building Design + Construction. Mindy is a past president of Chicago Women in Architecture. She has served AIA Chicago in various capacities including Sponsorship, Membership and 150th Anniversary Committees.
VP Honors & Awards
Tim Tracey, AIA
Tim Tracey, AIA, is the director of SmithGroup’s Chicago office. He leads a multi-disciplinary office with a focus on design quality achieved through a holistic and integrated design process, building relationships with clients and partners, and furthering SmithGroup’s reputation as an award-winning firm. Always with a goal of design excellence, Tim builds teams, studies process improvement, and embraces interdisciplinary design for optimized design outcomes. Tim received a Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Jason Golub, AIA
Jason Golub, AIA, is the Leader of Vertical Design and Construction at Woolpert. His 20-year career has been focused mainly on the retail industry, highlighted by several high-profile projects and national rollout programs with some of the world’s leading retail companies. Jason has emphasized dedication to the profession through his volunteer work, involvement in AIA Chicago’s Architects in Schools program as well as teaching in local junior highs and high schools. Jason is also a member of the Architecture Review Committee.
Manuel Hernandez, AIA
Manuel J Hernandez, AIA, is the founder and principal at Design Seed, Inc with over 15 years of experience in architectural project design, building, preparation of construction documents, construction management, and on-site construction supervision. His project experience includes residential, healthcare, commercial, educational, and municipal works. Manuel is involved in many architectural and design-build projects throughout the Chicago land and surrounding areas as the lead architect and builder. Manuel is also the current president of Arquitectos' board of directors, a past Auxiliar Board member of the Chicago Parks Foundation, and an ongoing Habitat for Humanity volunteer.
Lynda Dossey, AIA
Lynda Dossey, AIA, is a principal at JAHN. The majority of her work has focused on high-rise, community buildings, urban streetscapes, education, government and unique projects like bridges, canopies and gateways.
In addition to managing projects at JAHN she has been an adjunct professor at IIT, a lecturer and juror at IIT, SAIC and AHO Oslo School of Architecture and Design and served as IDP mentor for professional staff. Lynda has volunteered as an Open House Chicago tour guide, a working group member for the new Chicago Building Code adaptation, an AIA Chicago Award juror and an enthusiastic career day presenter in her sister’s classroom.
Julie Hacker, FAIA
Julie Hacker FAIA, is a partner in the firm of Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects LLC where she has worked since 1986. She and her partner are the recent recipients of the SAH Award for Excellence in Design, Academics and Scholarship. Her residential work has been published nationally and internationally and is the subject of the book Transforming the Traditional. She currently sits on the CRAN Chicago steering committee and the CRAN National AIA Advisory Board. As an Evanston Preservation Commissioner, she is responsible for rewriting the Preservation Guidelines and the Solar Panel Preservation Guidelines for the City of Evanston.
Natalie Hicks, AIA
Natalie Hicks, AIA, is a project manager with Wright Heerema Architects. As part of the WHA Sustainability Standards Committee, she assisted the firm in signing onto the 2030 Commitment and implementing sustainable measures throughout the office. She was previously on the Board of Directors for Illinois Green Alliance and served as president of Chicago Women in Architecture. Natalie was a member of the first cohort of the AIA Chicago transFORM program and has also participated in the Bridge Mentorship Program. She also volunteers with Dress for Success to assist women in preparing to enter the workforce.
Arathi Gowda, AIA
Arathi Gowda, AIA, AICP, LEED AP BD+C, is a team leader for SOM's High-Performance Design Group. As an educator, she is committed to training the next generation of sustainable practitioners having taught coursework on sustainable urbanism at multiple universities. She is an advocate for collective climate action and is the co-chair of AIA Chicago's 2030 Commitment Working Group and one of 20 Steering committee members for the US Architects Declare. In 2016 she was honored with the individual Chapter Mission Award from Illinois Green and in 2019 was named one of ten recipients of Green Building & Design's Women in Sustainability Leadership Award.
Oswaldo Ortega, AIA
Oswaldo Ortega, AIA, earned a Master’s in Science of Urban Design and Architecture from Columbia University. In 2007, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of HOK and continued to develop his leadership skills through the Leadership Development Program at Johns Hopkins University.
Currently, at Gensler Chicago, Ortega has led master planning studies, architectural and interiors projects. Most recently he was the project architect for the Johnson Controls Asian Regional Headquarters in Shanghai, to which he frequently traveled to represent his team at Gensler.
Beyond Gensler, Ortega is very passionate about giving back as a co-lead mentor of the ACE mentor program and as 2018 president of the Illinois chapter of NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects).
Enrique Suarez, AIA
In his tenure at HED, Enrique Suarez, AIA, has held various roles and responsibilities from leading a design team to Studio Leader, to the firm’s national studio leader for the corporate market sector. Eventually, he moved into leading the Chicago office as managing principal and became a board member of the HED. Currently Suarez serves on firm’s executive leadership team as Corporate Marketing Leader. Enrique is active in civic activities in Chicago and is trustee of the Children at the Crossroads Foundation and is the chair of the board of trustees at the Frances Xavier Warde School.
Chey Hsaio Taylor, AIA
Chey Taylor, AIA, LEED AP, is an Associate at SMNG A Ltd with over 20 years of experience. Her project experience includes K-12 public school modernization and new construction projects, community health care clinics, early childhood facilities and affordable housing facilities. As the sustainability lead at SMNG A, she is the LEED project administrator for projects pursuing certification. She is a past co-chair of the AIA Chicago Community Interface Committee and helped develop the Architect in Schools program. She has previously chaired the Community Outreach Committee for the United Way Young Leaders Society.
Justin Banda, Assoc. AIA,
Justin Banda, Assoc. AIA, WELL AP, is an emerging professional working in the field of sustainable architecture. He currently works as the director of the annual Think Tank at Legat Architects, where he is also a project associate for diverse education and transit clients such as CPS and Metra, and serves on the company’s Creatives Committee. He received his Master of Architecture (M.Arch) with a concentration in Sustainable Design from Judson University in 2017. He is the 2020 co-chair of the AIA Chicago Young Architects Forum, and serves as the Chicago Delegate to the AIA Illinois Emerging Professionals Network.
Jeremy Gentile, Assoc. AIA
A graduate of the Bachelor of Architecture program at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Jeremy’s practice experience spans from ground-up public sector buildings to high-end residential renovation, with a focus on commercial interiors and hospitality. An advocate for Emerging Professionals and the future of the architectural profession, Jeremy has served on the Board of Directors for AIAS National, AIA Illinois, and the National Associates Committee. He is currently the Founding Chair of the AIA Illinois Emerging Professionals Network. He also writes From the Window Seat, a travel blog, and published a cocktail book, In Good Spirits. He recently launched 408, a creative consultancy
Professional Affiliate Director
Chris Carpenter, Affiliate AIA Chicago
Chris Carpenter, Affil. AIA Chicago, is an architectural consultant with Pella Windows & Doors. Chris was awarded the 2018 Architects-in-Action Service Award by the AIA Northeast Illinois chapter for his leadership and service to the profession and is a former Affiliate Director. He is past secretary of the Chicago chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute and is a Certified Construction Products Representative. Chris also serves as vice president of Open Door Rehabilitation Center, a 501c3 providing person-driven services to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Chris received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Professional Affiliate Director
Bob Magruder, Aff. AIA
Bob Magruder, Affil. AIA Chicago, has grown his structural experience, knowledge, and his consulting firm in Chicago. Bob’s experience includes design leadership roles at the Chicago office of A. Epstein & Sons for super large-scale projects and has led structural design teams at Perkins&Will and Thornton Tomasetti.
In 2008, Bob joined Kurt Goodfriend to form Goodfriend Magruder Structure LLC, a boutique structural design firm offering creative and innovative solutions to engineering challenges. Their work has been recognized numerous times with national and local awards. Bob loves to educate students of architecture at UIC, participate in student design reviews and collaborate in design competitions.
Nyah Tsai, AIAS
Nyah Tsai, AIAS, is currently attending the College of Architecture at UIC. She is going into her third year in the 2021-2022 academic year. She currently maintains the Chapter President position of AIAS at UIC. She is also involved in UIC Arquitectos as the Social Events Coordinator.