Issues & AdvocacyIssues & Advocacy
AIA Government and Community Relations: About Our Staff
Paul Mendelsohn, Assoc. AIA
Prior to joining the AIA, Paul worked in the Michigan State Legislature for 10 years, most recently as chief of staff to State Representative Bob Brown, where he developed a thorough understanding of political strategy that contributes to his ability to provide effective advocacy leadership to the AIA, its components, and members. Paul earned the BA degree in political science with a minor in psychology from Michigan State University.
Andrew Goldberg, Assoc. AIA
Andrew Goldberg, Assoc. AIA, was named the AIA's Managing Director of Government Relations and Outreach in November 2011, following four years as Senior Director of Federal Relations. As Managing Director, Goldberg runs the AIA's advocacy program before Congress and the Executive Branch and its grassroots mobilization efforts, including ArchiPAC, the AIA’s political action committee.
Goldberg spearheaded the AIA’s successful lobbying efforts to enact far-reaching legislation to promote energy efficiency in federal buildings, reform procurement regulations that unfairly target architects, and spur the State Department to create a design excellence program for America’s embassies. Goldberg also created and leads the AIA’s Rebuild & Renew campaign to promote long-term economic recovery through investments in sustainable buildings and communities.
Goldberg sits on the Board of Directors of the National Home Performance Council, the Advisory Board of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, and the Advisory Board of the U.S. House Livable Communities Task Force. He has been quoted in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, Roll Call, Politico, and Business Week. Goldberg received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania's Design of the Environment program in architecture and landscape architecture.
Christina Finkenhofer joined the AIA in August 2010. As Manager, Federal Relations, Christina plans, coordinates, and implements the AIA’s federal legislative and regulatory agenda and represents the AIA before members of Congress, Congressional staff, Executive Branch staff and officials, and outside organizations.
Christina comes to the AIA from the Office of Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-11), where she was Legal Fellow for Appropriations and Tax Policy. Prior to her time on the Hill, Christina worked in a legal capacity for the Office of Chief Counsel at the IRS and for Anti-Piracy and Theatrical Distribution Litigation at Sony Pictures Entertainment. She earned her BA degree in Communications and English from La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA, and later earned her JD degree from Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC. Christina is a licensed attorney for the State of Maryland and is a member of the Washington Government Relations Group.
Adam Melis was named Director, Political Affairs & Engagement, in November 2011. Adam is responsible for advancing the Institute's goals by directing the Government and Community Relations team's political outreach initiatives and year-round advocacy program, including the AIA's political programs and PAC, grassroots mobilization, and citizen architect/leadership programs and training.
Before joining the AIA in 2003, Adam's experience includes serving as finance director for a member of Congress, the aide to the Mayor of Anaheim, and a campaign fundraising consultant. Adam has made numerous presentation to AIA components on the importance of member engagement and political advocacy, he has also presented at conferences sponsored by the Public Affairs Council, the George Washington University, and other organizations. Adam earned a BA from the James Madison College at Michigan State University, where he studied international relations and political theory.
Jessica Salmoiraghi joined AIA in September 2010 as Director, Federal Relations. Jessica directs the AIA’s advocacy and outreach efforts before the executive branch of the federal government. She also provides advice to the AIA on federal, state and local regulatory matters, and represents the AIA in coalitions and on initiatives regarding federal regulatory issues affecting the practice and profession of architecture.
Jessica has experience on the construction industry from many different perspectives. Jessica comes to us from the Associated General Contractors of America in Arlington, VA where she was employed as Director, Construction Law and Contracts. There she worked with many construction groups creating coalitions for various programs. Prior to that Jessica was a law clerk at Identity Theft Assistance Center in Washington, DC. Jessica earned a B.A. in English from University of Pennsylvania. Jessica also earned a JD in law from Catholic University in Washington, DC.
Wendy Perez Young
Wendy Perez Young joined the AIA in February 2012 as Manager, Political Action Committee & Compliance. This is a professional position on the Government and Community Relations team responsible for the development and management of ArchiPAC (the AIA’s federal political action committee), PAC donor retention and recognition strategies, PAC and federal lobbying compliance, peer to peer network building, political fundraising, and data management. In addition, Wendy serves as liaison and advisor to AIA state components on state PAC fundraising and strategy.
Before joining the AIA, Wendy was the Executive Director of Political Affairs at the American Trucking Associations. Prior to that, she worked at the National Association of Home Builders as PAC Finance Manager and as Fundraising Assistant for Hillary Rodham Clinton For US Senate. Wendy attended Georgetown University where she earned a B.A. in Government & English.
Shervan A. Sebastian
Shervan A. Sebastian joined the AIA in March of 2012 as Manager, Federal Relations. In this position, Shervan promotes the AIA’s federal legislative and regulatory agenda, particularly on the areas encompassing the Financial Services and the Banking sector. He works to support the AIA’s key issues by monitoring and considering constructive legislation, tracking regulatory issues, and meeting with Members of Congress and their staff, Executive Branch officials, and the stakeholders that support the AIA’s mission.
Prior to joining the AIA, Shervan worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Committee on House Administration and subsequently for Congressman Robert A. Brady, representing Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District. As part of Congressman Brady’s staff, he was responsible for the judiciary, transportation, and government reform portfolio. Before managing that portfolio, he served as the Legislative Assistant for the Subcommittee on Elections, with oversight responsibilities for the Federal Election Commission, the Election Assistance Commission, and Congress’ Contested Elections program. Shervan is a graduate of Baruch College, where he studied Journalism and Political Science.
Amanda Stratton joined the AIA May, 2012 as Manager, Grassroots & Advocacy Outreach. This is a professional position on the Government and Community Relations team in which Amanda is responsible for advancing the Institute’s goals by implementing comprehensive political and civic outreach initiatives and year-round advocacy programming, including the AIA’s advocacy communication strategies, grassroots mobilization and member engagement.
Before joining the AIA, Amanda served as the Government Relations Coordinator at JDRF in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Amanda has worked at Chrysler LLC as Legislative Assistant. Amanda attended George Mason University where she earned a BA in Government & International Politics.
Derek Washam joined the AIA in March 2013 as Manager of Federal and International Programs. This position on the Government and Community Relations team is responsible for advancing the Institute’s goals by implementing comprehensive initiatives focusing on international market development, such as the AIA’s trade mission program.
Before joining the AIA, Derek worked at ExxonMobil as International Political Strategy Research Assistant. Derek attended Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, where he received a BA in International Studies.
Jessyca Henderson, AIA
Jessyca Henderson, AIA, was named Managing Director of Policy and Community Relations in November 2011. In this position, she oversees Codes Advocacy, State Relations, Local Relations, and Community Resilience. In addition, Jessyca’s responsibilities include government related policy development, analysis, and strategic direction to assist AIA state and local component efforts to influence issues that affect the practice of architecture and the built environment. Jessyca works closely with other members of the Government and Community Relations team, the AIA Board Advocacy Committee, and other key internal and external stakeholder groups.
Prior to joining AIA staff in 2007, Jessyca practiced architecture for nine years, in the Maryland-DC-Virginia region. She is a 1998 graduate of Tulane University School of Architecture.
Yvonne Castillo was named the Director, State and Local Relations in April 2012, following more than nine years as General Counsel and registered lobbyist for the Texas Society of Architects. Ms. Castillo is a licensed attorney of nineteen years.
As Director, Castillo is responsible for advancing the Institute’s and the architecture profession’s goals by promoting AIA’s public policies and empowering state and local components to effectively manage their legislative, regulatory, and legal efforts. The Director works with components to improve their government relations’ capabilities, and handles liaison and advocacy roles with the applicable governmental organizations and other professional organizations. The Director provides stewardship for AIA policies and position statements, provide guidance and strategy on professional practice issues and works with fellow AIA staff and volunteers to actively promote and protect the profession of architects on behalf of all AIA members.
Cooper Martin is the director the AIA Disaster Assistance program, which provides advocacy, education, and training to advance the role of AIA members in disaster response. He coordinates a nation-wide network of architects who are specially trained to provide damage assessments and other services alongside emergency management officials. As a member of the Policy and Community Relations team, Cooper also has several years of experience in policy analysis and advocacy for issues such as emergency management, transportation and infrastructure, community development, and financial services.
Prior to assuming his role managing the Disaster Assistance Program, Cooper has fulfilled several roles with AIA Government Relations. Beginning as a research associate, he was lead researcher co-author of Local Leaders in Sustainability, a series of reports on green building policy innovation. He has also served as staff in the AIA Center for Communities by Design where he led teams of multidisciplinary professionals on charrettes to provide design expertise and technical assistance to local communities, including Hilo, HI; Ft. Worth, TX; and New Orleans, LA. Most recently, he was Manager of Federal Research and Policy Development.
Cooper’s educational background includes a Masters degree in Public Policy from American University and a BA in political science and international studies from the University of Kansas. Before moving to Washington, he worked in the Kansas State House of Representatives.
Zachary Hart was named Manager of State Issues & Programs in October 2011, following a seven-month stint as the Local Relations consultant at the AIA, in which he contributed research to the Local Leaders in Sustainability report series. As manager of State Issues & Programs, Zachary assists AIA state components with their government advocacy programs by providing policy research, strategic guidance, and management of the State Government Network (SGN). He also works with other organizations such as the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) and the Council of State Governments (CSG) to advance the AIA’s policy priorities.
Prior to working at the AIA, Zachary worked in politics and legislative advocacy. He has worked on political campaigns at the local, state, and federal level and as the lead organizer for the Kansas Organization of State Employees. Zachary holds a BA in English from the University of Kansas and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Michigan.
Stephanie Spear joined the AIA in October 2011. is responsible for assisting industry codes and standards stakeholders and governmental entities at the local, state and federal level in codes and standard development efforts to benefit AIA members. She represents the AIA on national association boards, commissions, and committees. She has been heavily involved in guiding AIA’s engagement in the creation and publication of the 2012 IgCC and the AIA resource materials that accompany it. Stephanie is also responsible for several of AIA’s efforts in building commissioning, including representing AIA on many commissioning related initiatives in partnership with the National Institute of Building Sciences.
Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Richmond, where she majored in Journalism. Stephanie earned her Juris Doctorate at the Catholic University of America. She is a native of the DC area and when not at work, enjoys Washington Redskins football, playing with her dog, and spending time outdoors hiking or canoeing.
Manager, Business & Practice Policy
Kristen M. Stewart was named the Manager of Business and Practice Policy in September 2013, following a fifteen-month term as the State and Local Government Relations Consultant at the AIA. Kristen is responsible for researching and developing programming related to policies that promote the business and practice of architecture. In this capacity, Kristen serves as a policy and advocacy expert on procurement, licensing, and project delivery methods, including public-private partnerships and design-build.
Kristen earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington and her Juris Doctor from Syracuse University. At Syracuse, Kristen concentrated on real property law and policy, earning a Certificate of Advanced Property Studies upon graduation. Kristen is a licensed attorney in the state of New York.
Joel Mills is Director of the American Institute for Architects’ Center for Communities by Design. The Center is a leading provider of pro bono technical assistance and participatory planning for community sustainability. Its processes have been modeled successfully in the United States and across Europe. The Center has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing its impact. In 2010, the Center was named Organization of the Year by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) for its impact on communities and contributions to the field. In 2013, the Center received a Power of A Award from the Center for Association Leadership, and a Facilitation Impact Award, given by the International Association of Facilitators.
Joel’s 20-year career has been focused on strengthening civic capacity and civic institutions around the world. This work has helped millions of people participate in democratic processes, visioning efforts, and community planning initiatives. In the United States, Joel has worked with over 100 communities, leading participatory initiatives and collaborative processes that have facilitated community-generated strategies on a host of issues. During the past five years, this work has catalyzed over $1 billion in new investment. His past work has been featured in over 1,000 media stories, including ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, CNN, The Next American City, Smart City Radio, The National Civic Review, Ecostructure Magazine, The Washington Post, and dozens of other sources. He has served on numerous expert working groups, boards, juries, and panels focused on civic discourse and participation, sustainability, and design. He has also spoken at dozens of national and international conferences and events, including the World Eco-City Summit, the Global Democracy Conference, the National Conference on Citizenship, and many others.
Erin is a leading practitioner of the design assistance process. Her portfolio includes work in over 45 communities across the United States. A frequent lecturer on the subject of creating livable communities and sustainability, Erin recently contributed to the American Planning Association publication “Assessing Sustainability: A guide for Local Governments”. Prior to joining the AIA, Erin worked as historic preservationist and architectural historian for an environmental and engineering firm in Georgia, where she practiced preservation planning, created historic district design guidelines and zoning ordinances, conducted historic resource surveys, and wrote property nominations for the National Register of Historic Places. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia.
AIA Government Relations
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