Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Speakers – Professional Practice Forum 2021

Vaki mawema

Vaki Mawema

Vaki Mawema leads Gensler’s Baltimore office as Managing Director and Principal. He also leads Gensler’s Southeast regional Mixed Use practice area which focuses on the planning and design of experiential, branded environments that include office, retail, hospitality and food & beverage. His leadership within Gensler has created an enterprising workplace culture that embodies creative passion, design excellence, exceptional client service, and promotes leadership and entrepreneurship. Within the community Vaki is known as a business leader and industry expert and was named one of the Washington Business Journal’s 40 under 40 for 2016. His colleagues admire his creative eye and rigor, and his vast array of award-winning projects speak for themselves.

David Barkin

David Barkin FAIA, Chief Architect – State of Connecticut, DAS | Construction Services

The Chief Architect for the State is a member of the management team overseeing design and construction of State buildings. David is responsible for developing and monitoring design and quality standards for new and renovated construction and participates in the selection of AEC consultants to the State. In addition, the Chief Architect is the State’s interface with the AEC industry. David also has served as adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy in Hartford.

David graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, and from the University of Connecticut with a Master of Public Administration. Previously he worked at Cesar Pelli Associates, New Haven, and subsequently headed his own firm, Barkin Associates Architects PC, for over 14 years. Prior to joining state government in 2013, David was Principal at JCJ Architecture, Hartford, where he established and led the Science and Technology Group; in 2011 he was named Director of Architectural Practice Standards.  He is noted for historic preservation expertise in the state and has been active in the architectural community both nationally and in Connecticut, serving on the American Institute of Architects’ Connecticut Board of Directors and, since 2008, on the Connecticut State Architectural Licensing Board where he was appointed Chair in 2017. He currently serves on national committees at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), and on the Industry Advisory Council for Central Connecticut State University’s construction management degree programs. Recently David received the 2019 Public Service award from AIA / Connecticut acknowledging decades of participation within his community and the broader design profession. David was awarded Fellowship in AIA in 2020

Michael Ayles

Brad Benjamin

jim mcmanus

James M. McManus, FAIA Emeritus, Retired Chairman, The S/L/A/M Collaborative and President, S/L/A/M Construction Services

As former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the S/L/A/M Collaborative, Mr. McManus has over 45 years of experience in the design and construction industry.
He has lead dozens of complex projects in Education, Science and Health Care including the 800,000sf Campus Crossroads project and the Eck School of Law at the University of Notre Dame; and the Shriners Hospital for Children, Mexico City. He has been instrumental in developing the firm’s Integrated Project Delivery process that combines planning, design and full construction services for client projects.
He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
He is also a member and Past President of AIA/Connecticut. He has been an active participant in Large Group National Roundtable of AIA; American Arbitration Association, Alumni Advisory Council Notre Dame School of Architecture; and the Board of Advisors of The Construction Institute.
Katelyn Chapin headshot

Katelyn Chapin, AIA

Katelyn Chapin, AIA is a project architect and associate with Svigals + Partners, an architecture, art and advisory firm in New Haven, Connecticut.  In her ten years with the firm, she has developed a passion for projects within the education sector and has been monumental in such high-profile projects as the University of New Haven’s Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation, and the new Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. Building Design + Construction recognized Katelyn as an “education heavy hitter” in their 40 Under 40 Class of 2020.

Katelyn’s leadership within the Institute extends locally, regionally, and nationally. She currently chairs the mentorship subcommittee of AIA Connecticut’s Women in Architecture Committee, serves as the 2020-2021 Community Director of the Young Architects Forum, represents young architects on the AIA – Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Joint Committee, and serves of the Equity and Future of Architecture (EQFA) board committee.  From 2018-2019, Katelyn represented New England as the 2018-2019 Young Architect Regional Director in addition to her role serving on the AIA New England Council. Katelyn was named a recipient of the AIA National 2021 Young Architect Award for her contributions to the Institute and profession.


Je’Nen M. Chastain, MBA, Assoc. AIA

Je’Nen M. Chastain, MBA, Assoc. AIA is trained in architecture and business management with a decade of experience working with award-winning architects. She founded Apostrophe Consulting to help architecture firms win more work, build a culture of leadership and trust within the studio, and create a pipeline for emerging leaders to grow. She is the co-host of Practice Disrupted, a podcast that addresses how technology, cultural shifts, and emerging best practices in business are prompting industry disruption and transformation.

Evelyn M. Lee, AIA, a 2014 AIA YoungArchitects Award recipient, is part of the strategy team at MKThink, San Francisco-based research, planning, and design firm. Lee, who has been active in the AIA’s Repositioning efforts, holds graduate degrees in Architecture, Public Administration, and Business Administration and is an advocate for architects to expand the definition of their traditional roles. “As an architect I do not thrive as a designer of buildings, project manager, or construction administrator,” she says, “and so, I have really found my place as a designstrategist and communications expert.”

Evelyn Lee, FAIA

Coming Soon

Maria Loitz_VP-Regional Marketing
Maria A. Loitz, FSMPS, CPSM, Vice President, Regional Marketing
BVH Integrated Services, a Salas O’Brien company
With 25 years of experience, Maria A. Loitz, FSMPS, CPSM, directs the marketing and communications efforts for BVH Integrated Services, a Salas O’Brien company.
Recognized as an industry leader throughout Connecticut, Maria tirelessly promotes careers in architecture, construction, and engineering to high school students. For nearly 20 years, Maria has held leadership roles in the ACE Mentor Program of Connecticut, currently serving as its president. The organization, awarded Non-Profit of the Year by the Hartford Business Journal in 2018, continues to serve the community via a virtual program due to COVID to students across the state. Many alumni are now professionals in the A/E/C industry and serve as mentors in the program.
Passionate about the recruitment and diversity challenges in the design and construction industry, Maria co-authored “Addressing the AEC/O Workforce Shortage: How to Attract and Retain Women in Today’s Talent Pool,” published in 2018. This whitepaper discusses significant issues in retaining, replacing, and growing the industry’s workforce.
Inducted as a Fellow by the Society for Marketing Professional Services in 2016, Maria also received a Lifetime Achievement Award by SMPS Connecticut in 2020. She recognizes the tremendous impact mentors have had on her career, and she is committed to giving back to other professionals as a mentor and chapter advisor.
In 2016, the Connecticut Chapter of Professional Women in Construction recognized Maria with the Women of Achievement Award for her commitment to professional growth and serving as a role model to others in the industry. The Construction Institute also honored her in 2011 with the Distinguished Achievement Award for her contributions to the advancement of Connecticut’s construction industry.
A hockey mom, Bruins fan, and avid golfer, Maria enjoys spending her free time with family and friends, as well as her Old English Bulldogge, Tuukka.

Phil Bernstein, AIA

Phil Bernstein is an architect, technologist and educator who has taught at the School of Architecture since 1988 and where he received his B.A (honors) and M.Arch. He was formerly a Vice President at Autodesk where he was responsible for setting the company’s future vision and strategy for BIM technology as well as cultivating and sustaining the firm’s relationships with strategic industry leaders and associations. Prior to Autodesk Phil was a principal at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects where he managed many of the firm’s most complex commissions. He is the author of Architecture | Design | Data – Practice Competency in the Era of Computation (2018) and co-editor of Building (In) The Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture (2010 with Peggy Deamer), and consult, speaks and writes extensively on technology, practice and project delivery. He is a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council and former Chair of the AIA National Contract Documents Committee.

Jeff Pinheiro

Jeffrey Pinheiro, AIA 

Jeffrey is a registered architect in the state of Connecticut and has 16 years of experience in varying roles throughout the industry.  Jeffrey has designed and constructed an array of building types from small residential additions to multi-million dollar hospitals.  Jeffrey began his professional career at the age of 16 working in a local architecture firm and continued gaining valuable experience at one of the largest architectural firms in the state.

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Jeffrey holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science (Architecture) from the University of Hartford.  Additionally, he obtained associate degrees in Architecture and Construction Management from Norwalk Community College.

Jeffrey is a leader in the industry when it comes to the use of BIM (Building Information Modeling) and technology.  He has spoken and taught classes at national conferences and is the creator of The Revit Kid.com (a worldwide resource on all things Revit and BIM related).

Jeffrey currently holds the role of Regional VDC Manager for Turner Construction, is an adjunct professor at the University of Hartford, and also runs an online community dedicated to the education and advancement of BIM called "BIM After Dark".

Andrew J. Swartzell,  LEED AP, Associate & Director of Design Computing

Andrew Swartzell is an Associate and the Director of Design Computing at Pickard Chilton. In those roles, he enables studio members to adopt and adapt to an array of technological developments at the forefront of the AEC industry and leverages his background in computational design to address complex challenges on projects across the studio.

As a designer, Mr. Swartzell has coordinated all phases of design and construction projects for a diverse and international client base. Recently, in collaboration Uber and Arup, he led Pickard Chilton’s design efforts to help the Uber Elevate team envision the future of urban aviation. The resulting work, dubbed the “Uber Sky Tower” and “Uber Sky Loft”, has been presented and exhibited at the Uber Elevate conference, the Boston Society of Architects as part of Balancing Act: Urbanism & Emerging Technologies, and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s Philadelphia Chapter.

Mr. Swartzell is also an engaged member of his community, collaborating annually with AIA CT and other residents to plan the “Box City” program for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven. Together with Festival volunteers and industry professionals, the team assists children in the collaborative construction of a visionary, temporary, recyclable model city of the future.

Mr. Swartzell received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Penn State University and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Alison DiVenere

Amy Graver
Amy Graver
Amy Graver is the Principal & Creative Director of Elements®, overseeing all projects that come through our busy studio. She works closely with clients to identify their marketing and design needs and develops effective strategies with her team to meet and exceed their goals.
Amy’s design work has been recognized and awarded both nationally and internationally by leading industry publications and organizations such as AIGA, CADC, AdClub of CT,  Print, Package Design Magazine, HOW, Communication Arts, Graphic Design USA and more. Amy was named on of the top designer's in the country to watch by Graphic Design USA magazine and 40 Under 40 from New Haven Business
Amy frequently is asked to judge design competitions, speak, write on the topics of graphic design and marketing. She also wrote a best-selling book on graphic design that's been translated into many languages and used in many universities all over the world called "Best Practices for Graphic Designers: Grids and Layouts."
Amy is the past President of the Connecticut Art Director’s Club (CADC) and the co-founder and past Vice President of the Connecticut Chapter of AIGA, which is the largest national professional organization of graphic designers in the nation. She also sits on the Shoreline Chamber Board of Director’s and the Town of Branford Green Committee and is a member of the SMPS (Society of Marketing Professionals Services), the CADC and AIGA .

Kara Gruss