Hosted by AIA Detroit 
Local Contact: Charlie J. Klecha, Assoc. AIA 

local programming

November 16, 2017
The Loft at Madison, 1555 Broadway, Detroit, MI 48226
8:30am–6:30pm (EST)

Detroit will take part in a joint dual-broadcast between Washington, DC and Detroit, Michigan for the National Plenary Broadcast. In addition to this national programming, local programming will include three sessions.

Register now > 

Participants will earn up to 6.25 LU|HSW

Follow the discussion online #AIALi17 or #AIALi17_MI


Sponsored by: 

DETROIT schedule overview

08:00 - 08:30a Breakfast / Registration

08:30 - 08:45a Welcome and Opening Remarks

08:40 - 09:30a Leadership is Fundamental

A panel discussion on K-12 outreach programs bringing design thinking to pre-college students, fostering a more diverse and accessible pipeline into the design profession, and demonstrating industry leadership by shedding light on the architectural design process to the public, featuring:

Andrew Dunlap, SmithGroupJJR, AIA Detroit Treasurer (Moderator)
Michael Ford, Hip Hop Architecture Camps
Kelly Lyons, AIA Detroit ABC:D Program
Bryan Cook, NOMA Project Pipeline
Tracey Alfonsi, CAM 3D Program

09:30 - 09:45a Coffee break and feedback activity

09:45 - 10:30a Thought Leadership in Practice

A conversation on the many, sometimes unexpected ways to hone and demonstrate leadership within the practice, through innovation in areas like environmental responsibility, architectural technology, new business models, community engagement, and diversity and inclusion initiatives, featuring:

Najahyia Chinchilla, Gensler, AIA Detroit Secretary (Moderator)
Emile Lauzzana, USGBC Michigan Director of Community
Karen Burton, Founder, SpaceLab
Meredith McLellan, SmithGroupJJR and 2017 AIAD Young Architect Award winner
Ceara O'Leary, Detroit Collaborative Design Center

10:30 - 10:45a Coffee break and feedback activity

10:45 - 11:15a (Ring)leading in a Bigger Tent

Panel discussion on the many opportunities to exercise leadership beyond, or in addition to, traditional practice, including alternative career paths and consideration of global issues that architects are uniquely positioned to address.

Kim Montague, Herman Miller, AIA Detroit President-Elect (Moderator)
Ann Phillips, AIA Detroit CKLDP Chair and 2017 AIAD Associate Award winner
Ashley Flintoff, Director of Planning, Wayne State University
Karl Daubmann, Dean, College of Architecture and Design, Lawrence Technological University

11:15 - 12:15p Lunch and casual conversation

hosted by AIA Detroit Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program Scholars

12:15 - 12:30p Countdown to National Plenary Broadcast

12:30 - 05:00p National Plenary Broadcast (click to view Eastern Schedule)

05:00 - 06:30p Local Closing and AIA Detroit Reception

Light Refreshments and Cash Bar

06:30 - 08:00p AIA Detroit Annual Meeting and Elections for 2018 Board of Directors                 


R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, NOMA
Urban Design Director, City of Detroit

Steven Lewis is an architect and a tireless advocate for social justice and diversity within the field of architecture. In 2016, Steven accepted an appointment by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to serve as Urban Design Director for the central region of the City. Steven is also an entrepreneur, previously launching "Thinking Leadership" - a consulting practice distinguished by a facilitated approach to collaborative problem-solving. Prior his work in Detroit, Steven worked with TRC for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Parsons Corporation in Pasadena, and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) as a Program Manager with the Office of the Chief Architect in Washington, DC. 


Kimberly Dowdell, AIA
Partner, Century Partners

Kimberly Dowdell has designed or managed over $100 million in assets as a licensed architect, a real estate project manager and a city government official. Her career with major architectural firms in Washington, DC and New York coupled with her real estate experience with Levien & Company in New York and her tenure working with the City of Detroit have all rounded out Kimberly’s experience as an equitable development professional. Kimberly is a native of Detroit and a lecturer at the University of Michigan. She is the First Vice President/President-Elect of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). Kimberly is passionate about the revitalization of cities and is excited to lead real estate development efforts in Detroit as a Partner with Century Partners.

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Kimberly Montague
Herman Miller

Kimberly has been a licensed architect for over 25 years and has worked in many capacities; as a project architect, medical planner and healthcare design strategist. In her current role at Herman Miller, she serves as Healthcare Knowledge & Insights Program Lead, working to develop strategy and research knowledge programs toward innovations in human-centered design. Prior to joining the healthcare team at Herman Miller Inc., Ms. Montague was the Director of Design Consultation Services for Planetree, Inc. She has been previously recognized by Healthcare Design Magazine as one of health care’s Top 25 Most Influential People in health care design. She currently serves as Vice President for the AIA Detroit Chapter.

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Meredith McLellan
SmithGroupJJR’s Workplace and Building Technology Studios

As a Project Manager with SmithGroupJJR’s Workplace and Building Technology Studios, Meredith McLellan has more than 15 years of architectural and project leadership experience. She has served as a project architect and project manager for various clients including the University of Michigan, Oakland University, Michigan State University, Cranbrook, the Detroit Institute of Arts, General Motors, Boll Family YMCA, Bedrock and many more. Most recently she led the Campus Workplace Master Planning efforts for the Ford Motor Company. Meredith is active in the community through volunteering, engaging with multiple professional societies, and was recently the chair of the Building Enclosure Council Greater Detroit.  

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Michael Ford
Professor, Madison College

Michael Ford is a designer, born and raised in the city of Detroit. Ford received his Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), where he completed his graduate thesis titled “Hip Hop Inspired Architecture and Design.” He has worked as a designer at Hamilton Anderson Associates, and as an adjunct professor at his alma matter. Ford has spent the past decade working to blur the lines between professional practice and academia. His work stimulates cross disciplinary discourse between practitioners and residents on the sociological and cultural implications of architecture and urban planning on its inhabitants. Ford’s research has been published in FastCo Design, Blavity,  The Fader, CityLab and Vibe Magazine, and has guest lecturered at the University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign, University of Detroit Mercy, UPenn and Carnegie Mellon University. 

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Emile Lauzzana, AIA, LEED AP
Director of Community in Michigan, U.S. Green Building Council

At USGBC, Emile Lauzzana works to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. Lauzzana previously served as the Director of Energy and Sustainability at Detroit Public Schools where he was responsible for the oversight of $20 million annual utility budget for 96 schools and 12 support facilities. Lauzzana launched the DPS Go Green Challenge to incentivize schools to undertake sustainability projects and the development of the district’s Sustainability Management Plan. Lauzzana is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited green building professional, and has taught building science and sustainable design at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. 

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Kelly Lyons
Curator of Education, Cranbrook Art Museum

In summer 2013, Kelly Lyons joined the Cranbrook Educational Community to serve as Curator of Education for the Cranbrook Art Museum, including outreach efforts for engaging both young and adult learners with a focus on art, architecture, and design. She has developed and collaborated on the execution of curricular materials, teacher training, and programs related to K-12 architecture education, and taught collegiate courses on architectural pedagogy. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, focused on K-12 architectural education. Kelly is the Director for the Association of Architecture Organizations AAO, Co-Chair of AAO’s Architecture + Design Education Network, and is on the Historic Districts Commission in Rochester Hills, MI.

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Karl Daubmann
Dean, College of Architecture and Design, Lawrence Technological University

Karl Daubmann is an architect at the forefront of design and computation. He is Dean of the College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University. Daubmann is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome.  His architectural practice is DAUB (design, architecture, urbanism, building) which focuses on expanding the relationship between design and technology, particularly between digital/robotic fabrication and building. From 2001–12 he was a partner of PLY Architecture, co-authoring a range of award-winning work exploring design and digital fabrication with a focus in Michigan. As the Vice President of Design and Creative Director for Blu Homes, he led a multidisciplinary team that developed green, prefab houses that fold for shipping across North America.

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Ashley Flintoff
Director of Planning and Space Management, Wayne State University

Ashley Flintoff is a dual graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Master of Community Development. She is the Director of Planning and Space Management for Wayne State University’s Facilities Planning and Management department, and is currently pursuing a Master of Urban Planning at Wayne State University. An avid fan of urban environments, Ashley is one of Detroit’s biggest cheerleaders. She is a founding Board Member of the Volterra-Detroit Foundation, a member of the Association for Community Design Board of Directors and teaches Regional Development and Sustainability for the UDM Master of Community Development Program. 

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Tracey Alfonsi
Dir. of Education and Safety Services, Construction Association of Michigan

Tracey Alfonsi joined the Construction Association of Michigan in 2010 as the Director of Education and Safety Services.  From 2010 to 2015, she coordinated the classes offered by CAM and provided construction safety training to more than 3,000 workers.  In 2015, Tracey was promoted to Director of Sales & Marketing.  In this role, she oversees all of CAM’s marketing and sales activities, including membership recruitment and retention, new product development and roll-out, execution of networking events, and website and social media management.   In addition, Tracey has played an important role in the development of the 3D Workforce Development program.  She is an Authorized OSHA Outreach Instructor, an adjunct faculty member at Oakland Community College, and a member of the National Association of Women in Construction.


The Loft at Madison, 1555 Broadway, Detroit, MI 48226




For those requiring accommodations, a hotel block has been set up November 14-17 at Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney.