BOARD
AIA|LA BOARD BIOS 2021
PHOTO: dges Residence. Belzberg Architects. Detail from photo by Benny Chan

PRESIDENT
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.


VICE PRESIDENT/2022 PRESIDENT-ELECT
Mitra Memari, AIA – ZGF Architects LLP

Born in Iran, Mitra emigrated to the U.S. as a teenager. With the last name Memari, which means architect in Farsi, one thing is clear: Mitra was born to be an architect. Through adapting to a new culture and language at a young age, she developed a passion for diversity, inclusion, and equity. In her practice and in her role as a partner, Mitra has made it her mission to create a more equitable profession that represents the communities where we live and work. Mitra’s ethics-driven approach also leverages a passion for sustainable design to create seamless, collaborative, lasting relationships across client and project teams.

TREASURER
Annette Wu, AIA – NAC Architecture

With over 26 years of experience as a designer, project manager, and architect, Annette has worked in Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles. Gaining strong experience in conceptual design and execution, today she brings both these emphases together in project types which transform and engage the lives of the greater community.  Her passion finds its voice in K-12, Community College and Higher Education projects.  As a Principal at NAC, Annette’s focus is on best practices and the processes which ensure a holistic approach to design and execution.

She received her BARCH from the University of Southern California and MARCH from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

SECRETARY
Kevin Holland, FAIA, NOMAC – k.michael architects

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 served 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. He is the Managing Principal at k.michael architects.

PAST 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, as Chapter VP/President-Elect in 2019, and as Chapter President in 2020.

DIRECTOR
Michael H Anderson, AIA, NOMA – Anderson Barker Architects

+  Principal and founder, Anderson-Barker Architects
+  California registered architect, practicing for 42 years
+  Member of AIA, NOMA, and ULI
+  Specialist in transit and aviation architecture, and urban economic development
+  Author of NO MORE BROKEN PROMISES: The Challenge of Change and Other Obstacles to Economic Growth in Communities of Color (due 2021)
This book describes a pragmatic, practical recipe to trigger urban regeneration along with land uses and building types needed to kick-start revitalization for the wider community, with multiple concrete examples of what did and didn’t work from decades of his own work in low-income–impacted communities of color in and around Los Angeles.

DIRECTOR
Pooja Bhagat, AIA – poojabhagat architects+planners

Pooja Bhagat, AIA, leads her own firm, as Principal, poojabhagat architects+planners. With more than 20 years of experience, her desire to shape community has manifested in many projects locally and internationally. She has designed, detailed and managed multiple building types and master plans with complex client & consultant teams. Her focus on community oriented projects have resulted in the creation of self-sustaining communities that have positively shaped the urban fabric. Pooja’s goal is to make design accessible for all and contribute to transforming spaces and places for people for the greater good.

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
Christiana Kyrillou, AIA – Woods Bagot

Christiana is the Principal in Charge and Studio Executive Chair of Woods Bagot’s newly opened Los Angeles Studio. A graduate of SCAD, she is a LEED AP and California Licensed Architect. Over her 21-year career, she has developed a diverse and extensive experience in both international and local projects with deep understanding of the complexity of large mixed-use projects and multi-disciplinary collaborations. In addition, while at Woods Bagot, she has developed the Internship and Graduate Recruitment Program and is leading the EDI task force. Recently relocated from San Francisco, she was previously on the Governance Committee and Programs Committee of CREWSF.

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
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.

EX-OFFICIO ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Alise Robles, Assoc. AIA – NBBJ

Alise Robles is a Healthcare Designer at NBBJ. Since graduating from USC’s School of Architecture, she has been involved in a variety of projects, from schematic design to construction documentation to construction administration. She has served as a key team member on multiple projects for top tier healthcare providers in the Los Angeles area. She contributed to the 2017 Patient Centered Design Conference and Innovation Summit where her presentation placed first in the Experiential Design Competition. Alise is dedicated to redefining welcoming and inclusive environments for patients and staff.

PUBLIC DIRECTOR
Molly Rysman – Chief Programs Officer, LA Homeless Services Authority

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
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.

AIA CA REPRESENTATIVE
Michael W. Folonis, FAIA – Michael Folonis Architects

Michael W. Folonis, FAIA, approaches his work with a generous spirit of inquiry, infusing each project with an awareness of environmental responsibility, context, theory, function and materiality.

His broad base of experience ranges from healthcare, mixed-use, multi-family, affordable housing and commercial projects.

The work has received more that 50 design awards from National, State and Los Angeles Chapters of the AIA, and has been published nationally and internationally.

Michael holds a Master’s degree from UCLA and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from SCI-Arc.  In 2008, the National Chapter of the AIA elected him to the College of Fellows.