Emerging Professionals Committee
Traditionally, Non-Traditional: Applying The Architecture Skill Set in Non-Traditional Careers
From oil and gas to outer space, technology, and everything in between! The Emerging Professionals Committee is excited to announce an intriguing discussion that examines careers that transcend traditional practice. On June 16, 2021, join us as we meet six accomplished professionals who share what it means to shake things up beyond the walls of architecture.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
MICHELLE HUERTAS, AIA
Michelle is a Manager in the Fixed Asset practice and works primarily in Construction Tax Planning and Cost Segregation Services. She is a licensed architect and has been part of the Accounting Methods and Credits Services (AMCS) Fixed Assets practice since joining KPMG in 2015 after briefly working in industry after her graduations from Texas A&M’s Master program. Her knowledge of construction schedules & processes and her architectural background make her a great asset in the analysis of large new construction facilities. Her experience includes Healthcare, Financial Institutions, Corporate Campuses, New Headquarter Offices, Manufacturing etc.
Projects range from $20 - $700 million dollar facilities.
CHARLIE KLECHA, ASSOC. AIA
Charlie received his Bachelor's degree from the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of Michigan in Production Management and Lighting Design, and a Masters degree in Architecture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In his final year of graduate school, he was elected to serve a one-year, full-time appointment in Washington DC as National President of the American Institute of Architecture Students, an organization he later returned to for a six-month term as Interim Executive Director. After moving back to Detroit, Charlie held several roles in traditional practice before accepting a staff position with AIA Detroit, the metropolitan chapter of the American Institute of Architects, where he served as Managing Director for two years before returning to the AIAS in 2019.
After concluding his (second) term with the AIAS, Charlie returned to Detroit and the AIA in a consulting capacity before a global pandemic changed his plans to launch a freelance event planning and consulting practice. But before long, his breadth of experience and management insight led him to a new opportunity with a startup design-build studio. In his role as General Manager of Woodward Throwbacks, he oversees a studio seeking to promote the beauty, cultural heritage, and sustainability of using reclaimed and salvaged materials to create custom furniture, furnishings, and interior spaces. He enjoys the opportunity to contribute positively to the beautification of Detroit through the repurposing of materials otherwise destined for the landfill, and serving the city and design community by providing unique and high-quality products made in Detroit.
EVELYN LEE, FAIA
Evelyn Lee, FAIA, is the first ever Senior Experience Designer at Slack Technologies, Founder of the Practice of Architecture, and Co-Host on the Podcast, Practice Disrupted. Lee seamlessly integrates her business and architecture background with a qualitative and quantitative focus to build a better experiences for organization's Employees, clients, and guests.
Evelyn received her Bachelor of Architecture degree with honors in 2002 from Drury University where she minored in Global Studies while playing on the Women’s Soccer Team. In 2003 she received her Masters of Architecture degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture SCIArc). Most recently, in 2012, Evelyn finished a dual MPA Masters Public Administration)/MBA Masters Business Administration) in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School.
She is widely published, wrote a monthly column for Contract magazine for over 3 years, and now is a frequent contributor to Architect Magazine. Evelyn has received numerous industry awards including the 2016 40 Under 40 award for Building Design + Construction and the 2014 AIA National Young Architects Award. She currently serves as the first ever female Treasurer to the AIA National Board in 2020-2021.
Evelyn has been a featured Keynote Speaker, Invited Guest, Panelist, and Moderator at national design and architecture conferences including AIA National Convention, Dwell on Design, and Women in Green. Her topics focus on developing knowledge leadership, organizational change management, capacity building, stakeholder engagement, and strategic approaches to put design thinking into practice. Evelyn has over 15 years working with individuals, organizations, and companies who are interested in applying design thinking to their decision-making process.
Jeffrey Montes is a Senior Space architect in ardent critical support of Space settlement. He has worked on numerous NASA proposals across the fields of architecture, spacecraft and exploration robotics and excels at finding opportunities for design excellence in highly technical systems governed by engineering constraints.
As a designer among engineers and scientists, Jeffrey helped his team win the 2015 Caltech Space Challenge with Labitat, a deep-space habitat for an asteroid sample return mission. After completing his studies at Columbia University GSAPP, he co-designed Mars Ice House, an architectural concept for a translucent Martian surface habitat made of Martian water ice awarded First Prize in Phase I of the NASA 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge and subsequently Mars Ice Home, an ongoing design collaboration with NASA Langley Research Center that combines the rigors of first-principle design with a commitment to creating spaces that support human living on a strange but strangely familiar planet. In November 2018, materials specified for the ice-wall assembly of the Home will be tested for one year aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and exposed to the Space environment as part of the MISSE 11 mission.
Jeffrey holds a Master of Architecture from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science from the School of Architecture at Northeastern University. He is based in New York, NY.
CARYN OGIER, AIA, LEED AP, PMP
Caryn Ogier is an Owner’s Representative and Project Manager, most recently with Noble Energy. She is a Registered Architect and Interior Designer in Texas, LEED AP, NCARB certificate holder, and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Caryn is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and has served at the local and state levels. She is a past-president of the Architecture Center Houston Foundation.
After her graduation from Rice University’s School of Architecture in 1998 (B. Arch), Caryn began her career at Jackson & Ryan Architects, working on corporate, religious and hospitality projects. Intrigued by the non-design-based challenges, influences and decision-making that shaped these projects, she pursued roles and opportunities that allowed her to study the owner experience and ultimately help owners become better clients.
Her first foray into Owner’s Representation came with Milestone Project Management, where she supported healthcare institutions with their capital and operational building programs. Looking to expand the company’s reach into other market sectors, she helped land the company’s first Oil & Gas client, a 500,000 SF renovation project on the former Compaq/HP campus. After accepting an in-house position with Noble Energy, Caryn went on to manage the company’s domestic building program – completing over 750,000 SF of new construction in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Texas. Additionally, she oversaw numerous real estate transactions to align Noble’s portfolio in response to market conditions and long-range planning projections. Caryn’s insights into workplace experience (the intersection of a company’s culture with its physical and technological footprint) allowed her to serve as an internal subject matter expert for other teams at Noble, helping them establish five international office locations.
During the energy sector’s recent economic downturn, Caryn took the opportunity learn more about the Oil & Gas industry, translating her skills as a project manager to Noble’s onshore Operations Technology group. In this role, she supported projects in the Denver-Julesburg basin, helping achieve regulatory compliance and ensuring the company’s license to operate.
Caryn lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, son, rescue dog and foster cat. She enjoys painting,drawing and reading and has been a member of the same book club for over 15 years.
CAROLINA SADA, RID, LEED AP ID+C
Carolina is a Project Manager with the Project and Development Services team in the Houston office. Her strong construction and project management skills include overseeing the planning, design, budgeting, scheduling, construction, quality control and completion of client projects. Her excellent organizational and analytical skills enable her to continuously deliver projects effectively and efficiently surpassing client expectations.
By focusing on communication and coordination with team members, she ensures projects remain on schedule, within budget, and maintain a high standard of quality. Carolina assists the client with the procurement and integration of the design team, contractor(s), furniture, IT, security, A/V, along with others for a complete and successful project.
Carolina provided preliminary programming and test fits for the new Houston corporate office at 200 Park Place as well as being part of the finish selection committee, ensuring design is in accordance with the JLL Workplace Experience guidelines. The project is underway with construction drawings and is expected to take occupancy in Summer.
MODERATOR - Alex Morales, Associate AIA, EDAC, LEED Green Associate
Alex has worked and collaborated across the AEC industry for over ten years. Exploration, curiosity, and due diligence have been essential in his commitment to perpetually improve as a designer. His career began in traditional architecture, working on industrial, commercial, mixed-use, civic, and institutional projects. Thereafter, Alex joined the dark side and undertook roles in construction management to support his goal of knowledge diversification and to become a better designer. Bridging the worlds of architecture and construction led him to develop passion and expertise in steel design and construction. Alex continues collaborating with AEC professionals, where he brings the resources of his experience and current company, the American Institute of Steel Construction, to investigate design solutions in steel.