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Diversity and Inclusion > Multicultural Summit > Multicultural Summit Speakers

Diverse-Cities Multicultural Summit Speakers & Planning Committee



Sylvia Acevedo – Opening Keynote Speaker


Sylvia Acevedo, is the CEO of CommuniCard LLC, a company specializing in education and workforce solutions.

Sylvia has had a broad business career, serving as an executive for several Fortune 100 companies, such as IBM, DELL and Apple. She started her career literally as a rocket scientist at Jet Propulsion Labs. Sylvia holds a master’s degree of science in Industrial Engineering (Stanford University, 1983), and her undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from New Mexico State University.

Sylvia was recently named by US News and World Report as one of the top 100 American Women in STEM. In 2011, Sylvia was named by President Obama to the White House Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The Government of Mexico honored Sylvia with the Ohtli award, one of its most prestigious civil rights recognitions. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the United States and the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, the largest public single gender school in the nation. Sylvia has received many awards and recognitions for her innovative, social entrepreneurial work and is an in demand corporate and conference speaker as a visionary thought leader.



Jeff Potter, FAIA
2012 President, The American Institute of Architects


Jeff Potter, FAIA, is a long-time advocate for the architectural profession and actively seeks to raise the awareness of how design works to the world around us.

A registered architect, Jeff has an extensive portfolio of primary and secondary educational facilities. He founded POTTER in 1983; the firm also engages in landscape architecture and planning of places. The firm has won numerous design awards and actively seeks to improve people's lives wherever it works.

A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, and current resident of Dallas, Texas, Jeff holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design and a Master of Architecture degree from Texas A &M University. In 2009, he and his wife Shelley were the first husband- wife team to be honored as Outstanding Alumni of the College Architecture at Texas A & M.

He is a long-time contributor to the success of Texas Architect magazine, and was President of the Texas Society of Architects in 2004. Jeff has been a member of the national board of directors of the American Institute of Architects, was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows of the AIA, and has led the AIA as chair of numerous committees and task forces.



Sanford E. Garner, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP ND, NCARB
2012 President, The National Organization of Minority Architects


Through his role as founding partner at A2SO4, Sanford Garner has focused on historic preservation, master planning, project assessment, and urban design. His experiences and interests in these areas were developed through his architectural studies at Howard University, in Washington DC, Helsinki, Finland and at University of California, Los Angeles, and through his work with DC Preservation League and HABS/HAER (Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Survey).  In addition to his professional practice, Sanford has maintained a strong commitment to community service and development through his involvement with local and regional advisory councils and boards.



Closing Keynote Speaker


Clyde Porter, FAIA, IIDA, NCARB, NOMA, is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities Management and Planning/District Architect for the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD), an organization that administrates and supports the traditional approach to design and construction contracting for the seven campuses, one institute and two administrative, plus five satellite facilities of the community college system, serving over 100,000 students and faculty annually. During his tenure, he has master planned and completed over $1 billion of district-wide new construction, renovation, and expansion projects, i.e.: student centers, classrooms, administrative and infrastructure improvements. Presently, he is directing the DCCCD sustainability and maintenance long-range master plan $100 million program. Prior to that, he served as the chief architect for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit $2.9 billion transportation project, where he completed 10 transit center designs and set the regional architectural vernacular for the DART rail and bus transit center program.

Throughout his career, he as managed more than $6 billion in design and construction.

In 2003, he was the first architect in the history of Texas to be honored by Governor Perry with the highest award Texas can bestow, a commissioned Admiral in the Texas Navy, for his outstanding contribution to the state. This was preceded by honors from both the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate by resolution for his outstanding contribution in architecture as a premier public architect. He is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, one of the highest honors the AIA can bestow upon a member. Again, he was honored by the State of Texas in 2007 by resolution for this achievement. In addition, Mr. Porter, FAIA, was awarded the 2009 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award by the National AIA Board of Directors and received the State of Texas Governor’s Recognition for that achievement. In 2011, he served on the National AIA Jury for Collaborative and Professional Achievement Awards, and was appointed to the National AIA Ethics Council for 2011-2013.



Derwin Broughton, AIA, NOMA


Derwin Broughton, AIA, NOMA serves as a staff architect for Ron Hobbs Architects of Garland, Texas. The firm specializes in the design of churches, municipal facilities and other corporate structures.

As an award winning designer his entry for the Gus Garcia Park Design Competition in Austin, Texas took top honors. He is an advocate for the inclusion of minorities within the design industry. In 2008 he served as the organizer and moderator for a forum entitled “Closing the Crack: Recruiting, Retaining and Registering Women and Minority Architects” at the national American Institute of Architects convention in Boston, MA. He has been identified as an Emerging Leader within the Dallas Chapter of AIA and currently serves as the chairman for their Young Architect’s Forum. Derwin is also the immediate past President of the Dallas Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects.



Nadine R. Crutcher, AIA, LEED AP BD+C


Nadine R. Crutcher, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is a long time practicing architect. In her twenty (20) years of experience, she has worked on mixed-use buildings, multi-family, high-rise office, education and municipal facilities. She attended Oklahoma State University, receiving a 5-yr Bachelor of Architecture followed by a B.F.A. (emphasis in Painting). Earning licensure in 2000, Nadine became one of five (5) black female architects registered in the State of Texas at that time.

Her interest in sustainability led to LEED AP credentials in 2004. In 2009, Nadine founded Allforms Green, LLC a firm focused on sustainable building and consulting. As a green consultant providing LEED administration, she has guided and supported the achievement of LEED certification on many projects. Nadine participated as a speaker and moderator for UNCF’s 2010 and 2011 conference series “Building Green Learning Institute.” Nadine teaches green as an adjunct for TCCD and also provides periodic 2-day continuing education classes at U.T. Arlington. Her professional and volunteer work includes membership in AIA. She co-chaired Retrospect 2012 and is an ongoing member of COTE (Committee on the Environment).



Trung H. Doan, AIA


Trung H. Doan, AIA, one of the Founding Partners of Studio RED Architects, brings over 18 years of architecture and design experience in addition to a distinguished academic background including the award of a Fulbright Fellowship in 1999.

Throughout his higher education he was consistently recognized for achievement in design, which has in turn translated into numerous project successes during his architectural career.



Larry Edmonson, AIA


Larry Edmondson is a licensed architect with 59 years’ experience in the design of hotels, casinos, wellness centers, medical centers/clinics, community centers, educational facilities (elementary, high school, and college), fire stations and correctional facilities. In addition, he has developed many master plans for a variety of mixed-use projects, and has distinguished himself because of his knowledge of value engineering.

Larry has served as National Director for both the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. He also served on the Board of Governors of Licensed Architects of Oklahoma. He is Past President of American Institute Architects of Eastern Oklahoma, Past President of Central States Regional Conference (NCARB), Past President of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers (AICAE) and currently serves on their Board of Directors. He is honored to be a distinguished Richard Upjohn Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Larry has established himself as a gentleman architect able to consistently deliver quality design solutions for the most demanding projects.



Pete Garrett, AIA


Pete Ed Garrett, AIA, Founding Partner of Studio RED Architects, has over 25 years of award-winning architecture and design experience in the public and private sector with particular emphasis in entertainment, performing arts centers and public assembly facilities.

Pete Ed has designed almost a million square feet of non-profit facilities. Some of his most impressive project experience is in conversion, renovation and adaptive re-use projects. He is responsible for Lakewood Church, Harris County Jail, Memorial City Mall, all of which are renovation and repositioning projects. In addition, he renovated smaller projects such as Houston’s First Baptist Church and the Alley Theatre. Pete Ed graduated from University of Houston, is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Architecture and has taught design courses at the Hines College of Architecture.



Sheila Kleinpeter, AIA


Sheila joined JHP in 1999 upon graduation from the University of Texas, Arlington with a M. Arch. degree. With a decade of boots-on-the-ground experience in many Housing and Mixed-use building typologies, Sheila is one of the firm’s most qualified and prolific project managers. Known for her commitment to detail and her can-do-attitude Sheila is routinely assigned some of the firm’s largest accounts. In recognition of Sheila’s contributions, she was promoted to the position of Senior Associate in 2008.

In addition to her Project Management responsibilities, Sheila provides oversight to staff on issues related to Accessibility and Fair Housing requirements. Assisting each project team with compliance reviews and advising them on safe harbor measures for implementation of: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards/ Section 504 (UFAS). Sheila’s specialized training and targeted experience assists Owners, Developers, state and local government officials, and contractors to make informed decisions regarding regulatory compliance.



Lynn Paxson, Assoc. AIA, PhD


Lynn Paxson is a Professor in the Architecture department at Iowa State University. She holds degrees in both design and social science and is interested in students understanding architecture and design as a cultural phenomenon. She teaches social and cultural design classes as well as studios. She introduced the History of Native American Architecture class (cross-listed with the American Indian Studies Program) and has taught a number of studios related to First Nation projects and issues. A member of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers (AICAE) and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Lynn serves as co-advisor to the Native American student groups at ISU, and to the NOMAS group. She has been recognized by the ACSA (American Collegiate Schools of Architecture) for her work in diversifying the architecture curriculum through the incorporation of native cultures and issues. She has a visiting appointment with the School of Architecture + Planning at the University of New Mexico where she is working with two colleagues to develop a national exhibition of Contemporary Indigenous Architecture. She has also served as a member of the College of Design’s Diversity Board since its inception.

Her teaching and research reflect an integrative, interdisciplinary, approach and focuses on architecture as a cultural practice and on peoples and spaces that are often considered marginal.



Ken Rhyne, AIA


Urban Design Group’s newest shareholder, Ken has over 34 years of experience in conceptual architectural and interior design projects. His areas of expertise include museums, libraries, resorts, casinos, cultural centers and corporate offices. Ken’s award-winning projects include the National Museum of the American Indian, Cultural Resources Center for the Smithsonian Institution and the Kampen Eagle Wing Center in Lafayette, Indiana.

Ken is nationally recognized through his published works, lectures and notable projects. This national exposure led to his selection as a spokesperson for Dupont’s Antron Nylon Division in 2001. He has also been recognized as the Minority Entrepreneur of the Year, by the Atlanta Minority Business Development Center. Ken is often asked to speak on the topics of Sustainable Design and Green Architecture. This passion for sustainable architecture principles translates into his work.

A Tuscarora Indian, Ken is a member of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers.



Dr. Ikhlas Sabouni


Dr. Ikhlas Sabouni has been Dean and Professor at the School of Architecture at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) in Prairie View, Texas from 1998 to the Present.

She has been awarded several teaching honors; The Texas Society of Architects Edward J. Romieniec, FAIA Award, The American Institute of Architects Houston Chapter Educator Award, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Distinguished Professor, Prairie View A&M University Distinguished Professor, the Texas A&M University Systems Regents’ Professor, and the College of Engineering and Architecture Faculty of the year three times, to mention a few.

She was an active participant in the first National AIA Diversity Plenary and in the AIA CEO Large Firm Roundtable Dean’s Meeting to improve diversity and education in the field of architecture. She also served as a member on several professional honor award juries in architecture, such as the first National AIA Diversity Recognition Program, the ACSA Distinguished Professor Award, the AIA Houston Young Architect Award and the TSA 25 Years Award.



Jessica Strong


Jessica Strong is a structural engineer at JQ Engineering with a strong focus on giving back to the community. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2008 and moving to Fort Worth, she began participating in numerous philanthropic activities in the community such as the ACE Mentoring Program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, CANstruction, Hearts & Hammers, as well as numerous others. She has commuted to Dallas each week after work for nearly a year and a half to participate in the ACE mentor program before introducing the program to the Fort Worth area. Jessica has brought together numerous firms in the area to mentor high school juniors and seniors in the architecture, construction and engineering field. Several other opportunities for community involvement have developed from her participation with these other endeavors and she is now a board member for the Career and Technical Education Committee with the Fort Worth ISD and helping with various activities other related to education.



Lorena Toffer, AIA

Originally from Mexico City, Lorena Téllez Toffer, works for Corgan Associates Inc., specializing in higher education, aviation, adaptive reuse and museum facilities. Her clients include The University of Maine, DFW Airport, The Dallas Holocaust Museum and The Sixth Floor Museum, serving as Design Lead and Project Architect.

A member of the Young Constructors Council, AIA Dallas, and the Dallas Center for Architecture, her work has been exhibited, garnered with construction awards, and published in AIA Dallas 2011 WIA Competition Catalog. She was recently honored as 2012 Leader of the Future by Latino Leaders Magazine, and was invited to speak at AIA National Convention this past May as 2012 Co-Chair of Latinos in Architecture, committee of AIA Dallas that was the recipient of the Diversity Recognition Program. She is 2011 AIA Dallas Young Architect of the Year.

In her spare time, Ms. Toffer enjoys road-trips, walking her dogs, water coloring, and cooking.



Wendy Ornelas, FAIA

Wendy Ornelas, FAIA, is the 2012-2014 Regional Director for AIA Central States, 2012 Co-Chair of the AIA Diversity Council, and associate dean and professor at the college of architecture, planning and design at Kansas State University. She and her husband, Robert Condia –a professor in the department of architecture at Kansas State – also have a firm, Condia + Ornelas Architects, with offices in Manhattan, Kans., and San Diego. The firm does small commercial projects, limiting themselves to one a year.

Wendy is the director of the PhD program in Environmental Design & Planning and the director of the Architecture Internship Program at the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design. From her work at Kansas State, to her work with her firm, Condia + Ornelas Architects, she has earned distinguished recognition from her involvement with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, a past member of the IDP Coordinating Committee, her participation in the 2008 Accreditation Review Conference, and her term as 2009-2010 president of the National Architectural Accrediting Board.



Miguel del Rio, AIA


Miguel Del Rio is 2012 Co-Chair of the AIA Diversity Council, and Past President of AIA Puerto Rico Chapter. Under his leadership, the Chapter organized the AIA Haiti Reconstruction Summit. Also during his presidency, he conceptualized the successful 2010 Puerto Rico Convention entitled Diverse City. The central themes of diversity, inclusion and collaboration were promoted beyond ethnicity, gender etc., but also in the broader sense of the word to encourage alternative practices, emerging professionals, students and general public participation.

Since 2001, he has been principal of Del Rio Arquitectos, CSP, a design firm specializing in residential, mixed use and hospitality projects. His practice has resulted in several collaborations with local firms such as JC Deya & Associates and SCF Arquitectos. Both alliances resulted in the award of two major RFP competitions: Metro City Village Mixed Use Development and Los Altos Mixed Use Development respectively.



Planning Committee


Curtis Sartor, Jr., PhD, Min. Assoc. AIA, NOMA
Planning Committee Co-Chair


Dr. C., as most people prefer to call him, is the Dean of the School of Art, Design & Architecture. He has general charge of all academic areas in the School of Art, Design and Architecture. As an architectural professor, he has been teaching for over twenty years and in private practice with Architectural firms in San Francisco, Ca. and Atlanta, Georgia for over ten years. He has professional experience in the design and planning of commercial, residential and institutional projects in both the public and private sector. He teaches courses in architectural design, environmental design, environmental psychology, earth stewardship, multiculturalism & non-western architecture. He has also taught students at Tuskegee Institute, Morris Brown College and at Southern Polytechnic State University.



Joyce Raspa-Gore, AIA, Esq.
Planning Committee Co-Chair


Ms. Raspa is a solo practitioner in the areas of Construction, Real Estate, Contracts, Collections, Wills/Estate, Corporate, Municipal and Personal Injury Law. She graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, with a Bachelor of Architecture, and graduated cum laude from New York Law School with a J.D. Joyce is admitted to the New Jersey Bar, United States District Court, District of New Jersey and the New York Bar. She is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Construction Law, Woman in the Profession and GLBT Committees, and the Bergen County Bar Association, Construction Law Committee.

Ms. Raspa is Past President of the Architects League of Northern New Jersey, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects; Directing Editor of The Leagueline, the Architects League’s quarterly award winning publication; and a recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Service Award and Trustees Award from the Architects League.



Tamarah Begay, Assoc. AIA, AICAE, LEED AP

Tamarah has over 8 years of experience working with Native American Tribes on schools, housing, office buildings, cultural centers and multi-purpose buildings. Her experience includes project management, marketing, proposal writing, specification writing, programming, master planning, design (all phases), construction documents and construction administration.

Tamarah is one of the founding members of the University of New Mexico Student Chapter of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers (SC-AICAE). As a professional member she also serves as a board member for the AICAE and continues to help mentor Native American students in the field of architecture and related degrees. Tamarah is also an associate member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a certified construction document technical (CDT), and a LEED® Accredited Professional.



Melissa Daniel, Assoc. AIA

Melissa Daniel currently works on several standard embassy design and renovation projects for the U.S Department of State for Washington, DC-based firm Karn Charuhas Chapman & Twohey (KCCT). Ms. Daniel has significant experience with the design of major public and commercial projects, with particular expertise in construction administration.  As an active member in AIA|DC Chapter Emerging Architect Committee, Ms. Daniel has worked on the Architecture Uncensored lecture series (Fall 2009) and implemented a weekly ARE study group called DCstudyARE.  Recently elected board member for DC chapter of National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), she serves as chair of the Education committee. Ms. Daniel received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of District of Columbia and currently sits for the Architecture Registration Exam. Outside of architecture, she is a PACK (People & Animal Cardio Klub) volunteer with the Washington Humane Society.

Donna deJongh, AIA, CSI, NCARB

Donne deJongh co-founded The deJongh Group, Architects and Planners in 1973. Today, the Virgin-islands based professional has completed a significant body of work, with projects in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Georgia.

She has supported active development of the architecture profession for most of her career. She served on the Virgin Islands Board of Architects for over 16 years, and represented the Virgin Islands on the Southern Conference of NCARB. During much of that period, she actively participated ARE committees, in writing and grading of the ARE. She has continued to give time to NCARB, and is actively dedicated to encouraging youth to become involved in architecture.

Presently, she is completing her fourth term as President of the Virgin Islands Chapter of the AIA. In this capacity, she has supported many goals and objectives of the AIA, throughout the Chapter and the Florida Caribbean region.

Gabriel Durand-Hollis, FAIA

Gabriel Durand-Hollis was elected as the the 2012-2013 Treasurer for American Institute of Architects. He was elected president of AIA San Antonio (1992), after serving on the local component‘s board and as it vice president (1998-1992). Gabriel was later elected president of the Texas Society of Architects/AIA (1999), after having been its vice president and chair of government affairs committee (1993-1997). He began a community service award program, the Jim Pfluger Award, which recognizes a Texas architect distinguished by their longstanding service to their community. Gabriel has been a member of the national International Committee (1997-2000), and chaired the Small Project professional interest area (1992-1995). He was elevated to the College of Fellows in 2003.

Gabriel is the president of Durand-Hollis Rupe, Inc. (DHR), a San Antonio firm that designs interiors, commercial, planning, municipal, aviation, research, medical and retail projects. DHR is noted for improvements to the San Antonio International Airport, Texas Medclinics, Alamo Colleges, and a portion of the restored Pearl Brewery that received Gold LEED certification.

Judson Kline, FAIA, LEED AP

Judson A. Kline, FAIA, LEED AP, Senior Director of Herschman Architects, Inc., a retail and shopping center design firm where he has practiced for 34 years. He is an adjunct professor in the Kent State University College of Architecture. Jud is licensed in 11 states and has NCARB certification. He is a member of AIA (Cleveland past president AIA Ohio 2011 President-elect, AIA 150 Cleveland Champion), Greater Cleveland Real Estate Organization past-President, and Rotary Club of Shaker Heights past President, Chairman of the John Hay High School of Architecture and Design Advisory Board, a LEED Accredited Professional and certified as an Institute of Store Planners professional.

Brian McAlexander, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Prior to his appointment to the 2012 AIA Diversity Council, Brian McAlexander served on the AIA Dayton High School Student Design Competition, AIA Dayton Associate Director, AIA Ohio Associate Director, AIA Ohio Valley Regional Associate Director, and the AIA National Associates Committee.

He is also involved with Equality Ohio and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Amy Slattery, AIA

Amy Slattery is group as a Senior Architect and Project Burns & McDonnell Architecture and was recently named a 2011 AIA Young Architects Award recipient. Through her leadership with the AIA at local, regional and national levels, she has emerged as a national voice advocating for diversity and emerging professionals. A recognized leader amongst her peers, Amy was named Emerging Professional of the Year by AIA Kansas City in 2008 and was recognized by ENR Midwest’s Top 20 under 40 in 2012.

In 2005, Amy initiated Women in Design Kansas City (WiDKC) as an attempt to reach out to established professionals in the community, to learn from their success, to advance the work women are doing and to improve the way our lives intersect that work. WiDKC was one of ten programs selected for the first annual AIA National Diversity Recognition Program in 2009 and the only program to receive that recognition for the second time in 2010.

Amy currently serves on the Board of Directors for Kansas City Commercial Real Estate Women (KC CREW).


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