2020 AIA Grand Rapids Board of Directors

Board of Directors

2020 AIA Grand Rapids Board of Directors:

President (January 2020-December 2020)

Matthew Christie, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Ghafari Associates – Grand Rapids

Matt holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Lawrence Technological University and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Matt is a key member of Ghafari Associates’ design team with over ten years of experience. He is skilled at aviation planning, site planning, design, and programming. His project types have included aviation, commercial, education, single family residential, institutional and industrial facilities.

An active member of the architecture community, Matt has been involved with the AIA for 4 years and is a licensed architect in both Illinois and Michigan. He is also a LEED Accredited professional in addition to being NCARB Certified.

In his free time, Matt enjoys photography, playing hockey, exploring the West Michigan landscape, all while keeping up with his two kids.

Vice President (January 2020-December 2020)

Megan Feenstra Wall, AIA

Mathison | Mathison Architects – Grand Rapids

Megan Feenstra Wall is an architect with Mathison|Mathison Architects in Grand Rapids. After a bachelor's degree in art and engineering from Calvin College and a Master of Architecture at Columbia University in New York City, Megan spent some time working in NYC and then traveling through SE Asia and India, eventually landing and working in Newcastle, England for a few years.

She's been back in her home state of Michigan for a decade, working on a variety of commercial, institutional, and residential projects, from a historic concert hall to a distillery to a number of private schools and some new residential projects.

Always curious, Megan loves the variety and complexity of our profession and the opportunity to build relationships with our clients. Her calm demeanor allows her to provide clarity and perspective in challenging situations.

Megan spent a number of years on the AIA Grand Rapids board as Associates Director, served on an AIA Michigan Strategic Committee and a number of AIA award juries, as well as starting an informal gathering of local women in the profession.

She is passionate about her community and her beloved Eastown neighborhood and has served on various boards for organizations such as Children’s Healing Center, Design Week West Michigan, Ferris State Architecture Advisory Board, and the Board of Formation for the MArch program at Kendall College. She has been a critic for reviews at several programs including Kendall, University of Michigan, and Ferris State University. Megan received the AIA Michigan Young Architect award in 2016.

Secretary (June 2018-December 2020)

Patrick Brechting, AIA, NCARB

Patrick was born and raised in Grand Rapids. In college, he ventured to the east side of the state where he received a Master of Architecture from University of Detroit Mercy in 2009. Patrick then settled into an architectural firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he worked on various large-scale commercial projects around North America including retail, health care, office, and multifamily developments. After completing his licensure in 2013, Patrick and his wife, Kelley, decided to move their young family back to the west side.  He treasures the opportunity to enhance the skyline and community that he has known his entire life.Patrick is a registered architect in Michigan and is NCARB-certified. He has been a member of AIA Grand Rapids since 2013.  In his free time, Patrick enjoys golfing, fishing, woodworking, and spending time with his family.

Treasurer (June 2019-December 2021)

Neale L. Bauman AIA, CCS, LEED AP

The Design Forum, Inc.

Neale is the President and Co-Owner of his firm, The Design Forum, Inc.  He graduated with a Master Degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan. He is licensed in the states of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana and has led The Design Forum, Inc. since 1983 working as the principal planner. His experience in the profession extends all the way back to 1974.Neale has been serving as the company’s corporate director and president since 1978 and is its lead programmer and designer as well. The experience he brings allows the firm to work better with clients, properly establish priorities, develop ideal budgets, and maintain strict and effective time management plans.

Past President (January 2020-December 2020)

Andrew Eckert, AIA, ALA, NCARB, LEED AP

Ghafari Associates – Grand Rapids

Andy holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Lawrence Technological University and a Master of Architecture degree from The University of Michigan. He has nearly 20 years of experience as an architect. Impressively, Andy worked full-time a majority of his college career.  Andy is currently the Manager of Architecture at the Grand Rapids office of Ghafari Associates. An active member of the architecture community, Andy is an AIA member, LEED-accredited professional, and licensed architect in the State of Michigan. He is also NCARB-certified and licensed in Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Indiana.  His resolution-based approach and attention to detail have earned the respect of the Grand Rapids Development Department.  He was invited to be part of an advisory council to recommend improvements in the process of how the city interacts with professionals in the building industry.  He also has been a part of the AIA intern mentorship program.His passion for architecture and the City of Grand Rapids is evident in his projects that continue to transform the city. In his free time, Andrew enjoys spending time with his family, travelling, golfing, and skiing and is interested in motorcycles and classic cars.

AIA Michigan Director (2018-2020)

Eric Biller, AIA, LEED AP, CDT

Progressive AE

Eric Biller is a Senior Architect at Progressive AE, where he has worked since moving to Grand Rapids in 2005.  Eric earned both his Graduate and Undergraduate degrees in Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University.  He has experience in a wide variety of project types and roles, primarily as lead Project Architect.  He is currently serving as the Architectural Discipline Leader at PAE, where he is responsible for quality standards, best practice and improved workflow among the Project Architecture staff.  Eric has a passion for bringing conceptual design to reality, working to integrate various building systems into the design, and producing quality construction drawings and specifications.  He is very detail oriented and is always ‘looking up’ to discover new ideas and ways to execute those ideas.  Over the years Eric has maintained AIA membership and has served as AIA Grand Rapids Vice President, President, and Past President.  Eric is also a member of CSI Grand Rapids.  Outside of work, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife, Michelle, and his three young kids.  

Continuing Education Director (June 2019-December 2021)

Gary Gerber, AIA

Gerber Architectural

Gary is currently an Associate Professor in the Architecture Technology and Facility Management School of Built Environment at Ferris State University.  He is the sole proprietor of his own architectural firm, Gerber Architectural.

Sponsorship Director (June 2019-December 2021)

Daniel C. Colella, AIA

Paradigm Design

Starting his architectural career in Chicago, Dan has a unique combination of operational experience in sales, market research, real estate, design, construction, finance, and facility management. As a registered architect and licensed real estate broker, Dan consistently meets and exceeds objectives. His success can be attributed to developing winning solutions while maximizing processes, recognizing talent, and pursuing profitable opportunities.  Dan and his wife relocated to Grand Haven in 1995. Their oldest daughter will be starting her third year at Virginia Tech in the architecture program, and their youngest daughter will be a junior at Grand Haven High School.

Public Relations Director (June 2018-December 2020)

Jenny Waugh

Fishbeck

As Marketing Operations Director at Fishbeck, Jenny Waugh oversees business development, sales and marketing, and public relations for the firm.  She is responsible for brand development and management and strategic planning. Jenny's experience is shared with her clients, too, as she often leads capital campaign efforts, media relations, and event planning for particular projects.  She is passionate about sharing her talents with non-profit and academic institutions within the community, especially in support of workforce development or housing initiatives.  Jenny began her career in recruitment and managing staff.  After eight years of extensive presentation, communication, and management work, she moved into a marketing role for a national audit firm.  Most recently, Jenny spent ten years with Rockford Construction, building their brand and name recognition and leading their national growth strategy.

Membership Services Director (June 2018-December 2020)

John Rizor, AIA

Progressive AE

John Rizor is an architect at Progressive AE and has most recently served local organizations such as Frederik Meijer Gardens, Steelcase, and the Grand Rapids Chamber within the firm’s community-based projects studio.  John also currently serves as the Chair of the ACE Mentor Program of West Michigan. Throughout his career, John has sought opportunities that create positive impact and serve a larger purpose within their respective communities---a pursuit central to John’s philosophy on architecture.  John sees the practice of architecture as a privilege, having the opportunity to not only better our surrounding environment/buildings/spaces, but also the quality of life for our neighbors for whom they are designed.John earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Ball State University and has worked in a variety of markets since his graduation in 2009.  Following practice at award-winning architectural firms in Chicago and San Antonio, John has returned to his native state of Michigan and has been a member of AIA Grand Rapids since his homecoming in the fall of 2016.  He has a diverse background of professional experience, having spent time in general contracting, real estate, and design editorial as a contributor for ArchDaily and Design Bureau magazines.  While untraditional, John sees his diverse career path as an asset and routinely leverages his broad range of experience to complement his true passion, the practice of architecture proper.On a personal note, John is a resident of Spring Lake, enjoys international travel, and spends his free time engaging in outdoor activities with his wife and two children.

Professional Affiliates Director (June 2018-December 2020)

Elizabeth Bovard Strong

Builders Exchange of Michigan

Elizabeth Bovard has worked for the Builders Exchange of Michigan for over 14 years. This career has been a perfect match to her love for all things construction. Her desire to learn the many faceted and ever changing construction industry has also turned into volunteering opportunities with the local chapters of the Construction Specifications Institute, the American Society of Professional Estimators and the Association of Architects. She has also seen the need for the associations to collaborate and continues to help foster that atmosphere in the construction industry. Elizabeth is a self‐motivated problem solver with a wide range of experience in managing people, projects and products.

Associates Director (June 2018- December 2020)

Nathan Lohrer, Associate AIA

Fishbeck

Nathan Lohrer has recently joined the architecture team at Fishbeck as a graduate architect. Nathan earned his Master of Architecture from University of Detroit Mercy. During his summer co-op, he gained experience as an intern architect developing construction documents of a healthcare facility renovation at Albert Kahn Associates. He also has a professional background as a designer/project manager at Britten Décor where he developed designs for interior décor and signage for retail grocery clients. Nathan is currently starting his path towards becoming a registered architect and is looking forward to learning from his peers, as well as passing on his own experiences as a design professional in both a traditional and non-traditional architecture career path.

2020 AIAGR COTE Co-Chair

Matthew VanSweden, LEED® AP BD+C, LFA

Catalyst Partners

2020 AIAGR COTE Co-Chair

Andrew Queenan AIA, NCARB, LEED® AP, CSI, CDT

TowerPinkster

Executive Director

Pamela Danckaert, Associate AIA, LEED AP

AIA Grand Rapids

PO Box 2884

Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2884

616.438.0392 (office)

Pam holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Lawrence Technological University and a Master of Architecture degree from The University of Michigan.  She worked for over ten years in the architectural industry until becoming a full-time Mom-in-Chief.  Pam is a highly motivated, dedicated, and ambitious professional with a broad background in managing projects, planning, promoting business services, and ensuring a high level of client satisfaction.  

She has a passion for promoting the value architects bring to shaping the built environment and our community, to improving the practice of architecture, and to raising public awareness of this noble profession.  Her educational, professional, and volunteer experience have introduced her to several valuable areas of organizational leadership.

Pam is passionate about the local West Michigan community and the potential for AIA Grand Rapids’ involvement, and is excited by the direction the organization is moving in.  She looks forward to working as an advocate for architects and emerging professionals locally, state-wide, and nationally.

Pam has served on several volunteer committees at her Church.  She enjoys volunteering at her daughters’ schools, traveling on adventures with her family, and spending her free time with her husband and two daughters.

Image credits

Board of Directors