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Third Woman to Serve as AIA President

Thursday, January 2, 2014

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Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, executive director of the Virginia Center for Architecture, has been inaugurated as the 2014 American Institute of Architects president.

Dreiling is only the third woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1857. Susan Maxman, FAIA, became the first woman president of the AIA in 1992-93. Katherine Lee Schwennsen, FAIA, served as president in 2006-07.

Helene Combs Dreiling

Helene Combs Dreiling will serve as the AIA's 90th president.

Dreiling succeeds Mickey Jacob, FAIA, becoming the institute’s 90th president and representing nearly 83,000 members.

A video of her Dec. 13 inauguration ceremony is posted here.

Goals of Term

“During my term as president, I want to look towards the future of our profession and society in general,” Dreiling said.

“We need to stimulate research to benefit the design and construction industry, emphasize a culture in firms that nurtures emerging professionals, and promotes diversity and inclusiveness for under-represented groups, and advance the profession in the eyes of the public.

“Ultimately, our efforts will be focused on bringing a shift to our own professional culture—the way we think, act and behave to transform the way that our culture regards architects and architecture.”

Leadership Experience

Dreiling, of AIA Blue Ridge, has held a number of leadership positions with AIA, including secretary (2011-12), national vice president (2000) and national board membership (1997-98 and 2000). She is a past member of the board of trustees of the American Architectural Foundation and a past president of both the Virginia Society AIA and AIA Blue Ridge.

From 2000 to 2009, Dreiling held several positions at AIA National, including managing director of component relations, vice president of strategic initiatives and relationships, and team vice president, AIA Community.

Her Work

The Virginia Center for Architecture is a Richmond-based nonprofit that works to develop public understanding of architecture through a broad array of outreach programs.

Dreiling’s private-practice architectural career includes work with The Plum Studio and The Dreiling Partnership Architects, both Roanoke, VA-based firms that she headed.

She received her bachelor of architecture degree from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architects; Architecture; Associations; Design; Personnel

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