BOARD
AIA|LA BOARD BIOS 2020
PHOTO: dges Residence. Belzberg Architects. Detail from photo by Benny Chan

 

PRESIDENT
Greg Verabian, AIA – HKS

Greg is a Principal at HKS Architects in Los Angeles. A native Angeleno, he has led the designs of project types that range from multi-family/mixed-use to corporate headquarters, laboratory and academic projects. Greg served as Chair of the Design Awards Committee for the AIA/LA, AIA California Council and has sat on the boards of AIA/LA, USC Architectural Guild and Southern California Development Forum. He formerly served as the Treasurer for AIA Los Angeles, and as Chapter VP/President-Elect in 2019.


VICE PRESIDENT/2021 PRESIDENT-ELECT
Wade Killefer, FAIA – KFA, LLP

Wade started KFA in 1975 and it has been his only job since he quit framing houses to attend architecture school. Wade was born in San Francisco and grew up in Washington, D.C., before receiving his B.A. in English from Stanford. He attended UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, where he met Barbara Flammang, his partner for 40 years; they were married in 1977 and have two adult children. Barbara and Wade received a special City Re-Builder of the year from the AIA/LA in 2004 for their work igniting adaptive reuse in DTLA: Wade was elected to the College of Fellows in 2006.

TREASURER
Mitra Memari, AIA – ZGF Architects LLP

As a Principal at ZGF Architects LLP, Mitra Memari leads projects with a collaborative approach, guiding multidisciplinary teams and diverse client / user groups from programming through construction while paying attention to the nuances of each design challenge to successfully deliver impactful projects. With over 25 years of professional experience in architecture, her work represents a mix of large-scale and technically complex projects, ranging from research laboratories, academic facilities, and healthcare buildings to high-performance commercial and mixed-use developments. Her portfolio includes projects for The University of Arizona, The University of Texas at Arlington, City of Hope, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and the University of Southern California, where she was responsible for the successful management of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research—a recipient of the American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum & The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and the Laboratory of the Year High Honors from R&D Magazine.

Born in Iran, Mitra emigrated to the United States when she was a teenager. Her experiences adapting and learning in a new country fostered a strong passion for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Internally at ZGF, she is one of the founding members of the Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Group, which focuses on improving the employee experience by promoting a culture of respect and support, and implementing firmwide changes to encourage all employees to reach their full potential. Mitra is also involved in the Southern California Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (SoCal NOMA) as a volunteer and mentor in the Project Pipeline Architecture Summer Camp, which introduces architecture and the design profession to minority youth. Mitra’s contributions to the community started early in her career. Her first volunteer effort was for Habitat for Humanity, where she designed a home for an elderly individual who was being displaced due to neighborhood development. This made an impact on her as she became aware of the challenges with housing and gentrification, and has resulted in her continued support for mentorship and playing an active role in the community.

SECRETARY
Kevin Holland, FAIA, NOMAC – Perkins&Will

Kevin M. Holland, FAIA, NOMAC, has practiced architecture for over 25 years, and from 2015-16, served as the 30th National President of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA.)

A graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan, Kevin holds, or has held, architectural registrations in Delaware, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. As a recent transplant to Los Angeles, Kevin now serves as the Director of Operations for the Los Angeles studio of Perkins and Will. In this capacity, Kevin was instrumental in establishing the first Annual Perkins and Will Visiting Scholar at Tuskegee University.

PAST PRESIDENT
Barbara Bouza, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP, EDAC
President, Walt Disney Imagineering
Business Operations Design & Delivery

Barbara is President, Walt Disney Imagineering, Business Operations Design & Delivery. Barbara most recently served as Co-Managing Director, Principal of Gensler Los Angeles. In this collaborative leadership role, she brought strategic design management to highly innovative clients, such as Netflix, Amgen, JPL/NASA, Debbie Allen, and the City of Hope. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, she was the 2019 AIA Los Angeles President. Barbara currently serves as the President of Architecture for Communities Los Angeles (ACLA).
In the community, Barbara was recognized by The Los Angeles Business Journal as Executive of the Year: Women Making a Difference. This honor recognizes women who lead by example, successfully blending effective business vision with passionate commitment to positively making a difference, both in the world of business and in the communities they serve.

Barbara is on the Board of Directors of Imagine LA, a leading not-for-profit dedicated to mobilizing the community to end the cycle of family homelessness and poverty, and is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects, and the Women Presidents’ Organization.

DIRECTOR
Pooja Bhagat, AIA – Abode Communities | Architecture

Pooja is Associate Principal at Abode Communities – a unique non-profit organization dedicated to designing, developing and managing a variety of mixed use and low income Affordable Housing & community serving projects. Her desire to shape community is manifested in many local projects in the Los Angeles region. Over the past 20 years, she has designed, detailed and managed multiple building types and coordinated master plans with complex client & consultant teams. Her focus on multi-family and affordable housing development projects has resulted in the creation of self-sustaining communities that have positively shaped the urban fabric. Her design process is deeply rooted in context, craft, and environmental planning strategies.

Pooja is founding co-chair of the Women in Architecture Committee of the AIA Los Angeles Chapter. She co-led the planning of the 2016 & 2017 Powerful Conference – a platform which attracts over 500 local women architects and designers to empower women to be assertive, lead, and to further the mission of Gender Equity in architecture. She serves as a Board of Director for the AIA LA Chapter and continues to collaborate with staff & AIA community to bring more conversations into actionable initiatives, to further the Chapter’s goal of equity and diversity, and to create links with other organizations that support similar and complementary initiatives. She also serves on the Land-use Comittee for the Del-Rey Neighborhood Community Council.

Pooja has an undergraduate degree in Architecture from Delhi and post graduate degree from Sci-Arc.

DIRECTOR
Ziba Ghassemi, AIA – Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Ziba is Vice President of Airport Design at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, a global developer focused on making positive social, cultural, environmental and economic contributions to users and communities. She has led the experiential design of airport terminals across the country, including LAX Bradley International, Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 6, Chicago O’Hare, and Boston Logan. Her approach to design brings local architects and experts from the private and public sector together with an internal team of multi-disciplinary experts, to foster an investigative and explorative process where smart products, technology, sustainable features and strategies for resiliency all contribute to creating a more connected transportation facility and traveler experience.

DIRECTOR
Dan Herman, AIA – Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Dan Herman is an Associate Director and Project Manager in the Los Angeles office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Dan’s primary area of focus is the commercial sector, including large-scale mixed-use projects such as Sunset La Cienega, 100 West Walnut and 1111 Sunset and adaptive reuse creative office projects such as the Desmond Building and Pen Factory. He was on the Board of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design from 2003-2007 and on the City of Glendale’s Design Review Board from 2011-2013. Dan is co-author, along with Rem Koolhaas, of The Harvard Guide to Shopping and has written articles on architecture for Artforum, Interiors and Metropolis.

A graduate of the Harvard GSD, Dan has taught undergraduate studio at USC and has been a guest critic at UCLA, USC, SCI-Arc, and Woodbury. He is a member of NCARB and a LEED Green Associate.

DIRECTOR
Fabian Kremkus, AIA – CO Architects

Fabian Kremkus is a Design Principal with CO Architects in Los Angeles. Past Chair of the COTE AIA |LA. During his 23-year architectural career – 18 with CO Architects – he has worked nationally and internationally on academic facilities, secondary schools, and corporate headquarters, sports, and entertainment facilities. With CO Architects, he has designed major research, higher education, healthcare, museum, performing arts and justice facilities. Fabian holds both a Master of Architecture and Pre-diploma of Architecture from the University of Braunschweig, Germany, and is a California licensed architect. He is also one of Los Angeles’ most avid bicyclists.

DIRECTOR
Sarah Lorenzen, AIA – CalPoly Pomona; TOLO Architecture

Sarah maintains one foot in practice and one in academia. She is a partner at TOLO Architecture (previously Peter Tolkin Architecture), architecture professor and former chair at Cal Poly Pomona (2013-2017), and resident director of the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences.

Sarah spent her first eighteen years living in Mexico City. At 18 she left Mexico to attend college in the U.S. to pursue a BFA in Drawing at Smith College and at the Atlanta College of Art. After graduating art school, she broadened her interest to architecture, receiving an M.Arch I from Georgia Institute of Technology and later an M.Arch II in Metropolitan, Research & Design from Sci-Arc. During her early career, Sarah worked on the design of research and technology buildings at Lord, Arch and Sargent Architecture in Atlanta and at MBT Architecture (now Perkins + Will Architecture) in San Francisco. Sarah has taught urban design and architecture courses at Cal Poly Pomona (2005-present) and at Georgia Tech (in 2000). In 2011-12 Sarah spent a sabbatical at TU Delft in the Netherlands conducting research on the influences of technology on mapping and urban development. In 2015 Sarah was honored by AIA LA with educator of the year.

DIRECTOR
Jason E. Morris, AIA – Marx|Okubo Associates

Jason E. Morris, AIA, is an Architect at Marx|Okubo Associates. He has experience ranging from managing large-scale luxury retail projects for exclusive high-end brands to providing architectural consulting and owner’s representation services. Jason remains an active member of the AIA|LA chapter as well as other local organizations; and with his involvement in the SoCal NOMA chapter has taken special interest in increasing diversity in the profession and improved opportunities for minority-owned architecture firms. He was recently awarded by the AIA California Council the 2016 Associate Award. He was an invited speaker at the AIA|LA Encompass conference on equity and diversity, as well as featured a number of times on NPR radio stations for his work promoting diversity and inclusion in the profession.

Jason is a Licensed Architect in the state of California, and holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

DIRECTOR
Leslie Sydnor, AIA – Cumming Corporation

Leslie is a director at Cumming. Currently an owner’s rep at Hacienda La Puente School District she has over 25 years of experience in the design of education, aviation, industrial and low income housing projects. Leslie has been a member of the Design Awards committee and is on the Board Nominating Committee and the Long Range Strategic Planning Committee. She was a panel moderator at the 2019 Encompass conference on equity and diversity.

Leslie was interviewed on Audrey Sato’s XXLA podcast which features LA women in architecture and was a guest interviewer on the podcast as well. Realizing the importance of representation in the profession she has served as a juror at Woodbury University, Cal Poly Pomona and USC. Leslie is one of the fewer than 500 Black women licensed architects in the U.S. She is a LEED A.P. and has a B.A. in Architecture from Yale and an M.Arch from UCLA. She believes mentorship and visibility are the keys to the diversification and future of the profession.

When not in zoom meetings she’s in the kitchen cooking Italian food.

EX-OFFICIO
Carlo Caccavale, Hon. AIA|LA – Executive Director, AIA Los Angeles

Coupled with his knowledge of architecture and passion for policies that support excellence in the built environment, Carlo Caccavale brings 15 years of experience at the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles chapter to his position as its Executive Director.

Carlo has initiated a number of AIA|LA conferences that contribution to the profession and surrounding region. They include Encompass, the AIA|LA Conference to Actualize Diversity and Inclusion; Design for Dignity, the AIA|LA conference focused on homelessness and housing affordability; and Powerful, Women Leading Design. To facilitate greater recognition for design excellence and widen the spectrum of offices participating in design awards programs, Carlo launched the Restaurant Design Awards in 2005 and the Residential Architecture Awards in 2016. In 2017, he started the chapter’s Architectural Photography Awards to celebrate those who translate three dimensional design to the single plane while capturing its intent.

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Hector Puga, Assoc. AIA – USC Office of Real Estate & Asset Management

Hector Puga currently is a Project Manager at the University of Southern California in the Office of Real Estate and Asset Management. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a Bachelors of Architecture and most recently an MBA from Mount Saint Mary’s University. Previously, he has worked at Gensler, Marmol Radziner and the J Paul Getty Trust. The majority of his professional background has been in facilities management and construction. Hector is heavily involved with the AIA as the former Associate Director, South with AIA California and his local chapter. For the past few years, Hector has been part of the Emerging Professionals Task Force working, towards empowering recent graduates and those starting within the profession. His passion is to represent Latinos and emerging professionals within architecture and construction.

EX-OFFICIO ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Francisco Arias, Assoc. AIA – Ware Malcomb

Francisco is a Senior Project Designer at Ware Malcomb, an international design firm providing planning, architecture, interior design, branding, civil engineering and building measurement services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. As a design leader, he is actively engaged in a series of projects at various stages of design. Francisco is currently the Vice Chair for the Emerging Professionals Committee, member of the Jean Roth Driskell Scholarship Committee, and was the 2018 2×8 Committee Chair. Francisco provides several years of expertise to a diverse portfolio of projects; he embraces their respective communities and takes pride in helping them thrive.

PUBLIC DIRECTOR
Christopher Hawthorne – Chief Design Officer, City of Los Angeles

Christopher Hawthorne is the Chief Design Officer for the city of Los Angeles, a position appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. Prior to joining City Hall, Hawthorne was architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times from 2004 to early 2018. With Alanna Stang, he is the author of “The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture” (Princeton Architectural Press). His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Slate, Architectural Record, Architecture, Harvard Design Magazine, Domus, Metropolis, New York, and many other publications. He is Professor of the Practice at Occidental College, where since 2015 he has directed the Third Los Angeles Project, a series of public conversations about architecture, urban planning, mobility, and demographic change in Southern California. Hawthorne has also taught at U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. A frequent collaborator with KCET-TV, the PBS affiliate in Los Angeles, Hawthorne wrote and directed the hour-long documentary “That Far Corner: Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles,” which had its broadcast debut in 2018, and received an L.A.-area Emmy Award for the 2016 KCET program “Third L.A. with Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne.” His other professional honors include a mid-career fellowship from the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, the Bradford Williams Medal from the American Society of Landscape Architects and a Residency in Criticism at the American Academy in Rome. Hawthorne grew up in Berkeley and holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale College, where he studied political science and architectural history. He is married to Rachel Fine, executive director and CEO of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills; they have two daughters.

PUBLIC DIRECTOR
Molly Rysman – Housing and Homelessness Deputy for Supervisor Sheila Kuhl

Molly Rysman works to create systems change and public policy that support solutions to homelessness and expands the supply of affordable housing in the 3rd district and throughout Los Angeles County. Prior to joining Supervisor Kuehl’s office, Ms. Rysman served as the Los Angeles Director for CSH, a community development finance institution dedicated to expanding housing solutions to reduce homelessness. As the Director for CSH’s Los Angeles office, Ms. Rysman oversaw all of CSH’s training, lending, technical assistance, and systems change work throughout Los Angeles County Ms. Rysman also served as the External Affairs Director for the Skid Row Housing Trust, one of the largest permanent supportive housing developers in Los Angeles. She collaborated on efforts to serve the most vulnerable individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in Skid Row, including Project 50, the Skid Row Collaborative, and Downtown Pathway Home. Ms. Rysman has also been a stouthearted advocate for underserved communities in Los Angeles, including serving as a Legislative Deputy for Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, working for the Liberty Hill Foundation, and serving survivors of domestic violence at Haven Hills. Molly earned a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a proud alumnus of California State University Los Angeles, where she earned her bachelor’s degree.

AIA CA REPRESENTATIVE
Carissa Oyedele, AIA, LEED BD+C – Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners

Carissa Shrock Oyedele, AIA, LEED BD+C is an Associate Principal at Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners. She received a Bachelor of Architecture degree with a minor in Construction Management from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Her education provides a solid foundation for solving creative design solutions to various project types, such as those with complex programs, schedules, and delivery methods. Carissa’s portfolio includes masterplans, civic, campus, and mixed-use projects locally, nationally, and internationally- with notable projects of the Santa Monica Public Library and US Embassies in Helsinki and The Hague.

Carissa has been recognized as a leader in the architectural community as a recipient of AIA National Young Architect Award, Top 20 Under 40 by ENR (Engineering News-Record) California, and NextGen 10 in Real Estate & Finance by CSQ (C-Suite Quarterly) Magazine. She has been an active member of AIA Los Angeles Chapter since the onset of her career, serving as Chair of Design Awards and 2×8 Committees. She currently serves as California Representative on the AIA Los Angeles and California Boards. Carissa is also a mother of toddler boy Kayden.

AIA CA REPRESENTATIVE
John Egan, AIA – EGAN|SIMON Architecture

As Principal of EGAN|SIMON architecture, John Egan’s 24+ years of practice has focused on affordable housing, education, hospitality and mixed-use projects. Being a licensed architect, and well‐versed in both design and construction management, his work is recognized by many organizations including the Clinton Global Initiative, US Green Building Council and the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing (SCANPH). He is routinely called upon to speak at events including the Annual Housing California Conference and California Affordable Housing Development Association. John believes in environmentally responsible architecture and his practice borrows from the past, and current technologies, to create progressive architecture.