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AIA Iowa recognizes ‘Citizen Architects’


Several members of the American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter (AIA Iowa), have been  recognized as participants in the AIA Iowa Citizen Architect Program by AIA Iowa for their service to the Central Iowa area. The program, started in 2008, encourages AIA Iowa members to actively engage in their communities and share in the AIA mission. This year, forty AIA members were enrolled in the program, including:

  • Joseph Benesh, AIA, of RDG Planning and Design, Des Moines
  • Tom Clause, AIA, Clause Architects, Cumming
  • Matt Cole, AIA, Brooks Borg Skiles Architecture and Engineering, Des Moines
  • Clark Colby III, Associate AIA, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, Des Moines
  • Bill Dikis, FAIA, Architectural Strategies, Clive
  • Scotney Fenton, AIA, RDG Planning & Design, Des Moines
  • Steven Gray, AIA, SVPA Architects, Inc., West Des Moines
  • Naura Heiman Godar, AIA, StruXture Architects, Des Moines
  • Kristen Greteman, Associate AIA, Kaufman Construction Inc., Des Moines
  • Scott Hatfield, AIA, SVPA Architects, Inc., West Des Moines
  • Frank Hoifeldt, Associate AIA, RDG Planning & Design, Des Moines
  • Karl Kaufman, AIA, FEH Associates, Des Moines,
  • Paul Mankins, AIA, Substance Architects, Des Moines
  • Matt Ostanik, AIA, Submittal Exchange, West Des Moines
  • Raymond Phillips, AIA, Phillips Consulting, Norwalk
  • Tina Rhodes, Associate AIA, GENESIS Architectural Design, West Des Moines
  • Brian Schwartz, Associate AIA, GE Wattier Architecture, Des Moines
  • Rod Stevens, AIA, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Johnston
  • Stephen Stimmel, AIA, Brooks Borg Skiles Architecture and Engineering, Des Moines
  • David Unick, AIA, Brooks Borg Skiles Architecture and Engineering, Des Moines

About the Participants

Among the participants is Joseph Benesh, AIA, of RDG Planning and Design. Benesh, a volunteer on the membership committee of the Rotary Club of Greater Des Moines, encourages and fosters the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise. Specifically, Benesh strives to encourage positive impacts on the culture and environment of the community, advocating for making sustainable and environmentally sensitive service projects.

Clause Architects owner and architect Tom Clause, AIA, serves on the Iowa Board of Architectural Examiners.  Appointed by Governor’s office, the Board responds to complaints of practice act violations and works with the Attorney General’s office on interpretation of practice act and administrative rules. As the licensing board for the state of Iowa, they strive to be pro active in educating the general public and building officials when architectural services are required by law. Clause is also a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).    

Matt Cole, AIA, Brooks Borg Skiles, is involved as a team leader with the ACE Mentor Program.  In this capacity, Cole is responsible for organizing, coordinating and communicating the weekly activities for 25 ACE students and 12 other mentors, ensuring that students and mentors have the information and tools they need to participate in the program.  As a team leader and mentor, his primary role is to be an advisor to the students regarding the architectural profession.

Clark Colby III, Associate AIA, is an Americorps Construction Associate with the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity. Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity partners with the community to build simple, decent housing which strengthens families and transforms neighborhoods through homeownership. In his role, Colby works on site, directly with volunteers and Habitat partner families to construct safe, decent affordable housing. His goal in volunteering for this position was not only to assist others in realizing their dream of homeownership, but to help initiate better construction material recycling and waste management ideas into the Des Moines Habitat branch.

Several participants in the Citizen Architect Program use their expertise in architecture and project planning to aid their cities, including Bill Dikis, FAIA, Architectural Strategies. Dikis serves on the City of Clive Planning and Zoning Commission and is responsible for reviewing the city’s comprehensive plan, requests for zoning changes, and ensuring conformity within the city limits.  Dikis was also appointed to commissioner of the Capitol Planning Commission and the Terrace Hill Commission for the State of Iowa and the Terrace Hill Commission. In addition, Dikis serves as co-chair of The Art of the Automobile: The Salisbury Concours d’Elegance.  This organization celebrates the art and design of vintage automobiles and motorcycles while raising funds for the preservation and youth education missions of the Salisbury House.

Scotney Fenton, AIA, of RDG Planning & Design is commissioner with the Des Moines Historic Preservation Commission.  As commissioner, Fenton reviews and acts upon all applications for certificates of appropriateness; reviews and makes recommendations to the City Council on proposals for designation of historic districts, makes amendments to boundaries of existing historic districts, and the repeal of existing historic districts.  In addition the organization cooperates with property owners and City agencies and departments to develop preservation solutions and plans; furthers the historic preservation efforts in the city; and makes recommendations for the listing of a historical district or site in the National Register of Historic Places.

Steven Gray, AIA, SVPA Architects, has been appointed as a member of the City of Indianola Sustainability Commission.  As a commissioner, Gray is charged with enhancing sustainability efforts throughout the city of Indianola through various programs and education outreach to the citizens and businesses.  After assisting in the development of potential energy saving techniques in construction which would yield tax incentives to home owners and builders, he took on more responsibilities that focused on identifying generalized approaches to further enhance sustainability efforts throughout the city.

Naura Heiman Godar, AIA, of StruXture Architects serves as president of Preservation Iowa.  Preservation Iowa works to educate and advocate for historic preservation.  They build partnerships that enhance our economic and cultural future through the preservation of Iowa’s historic resources.  Preservation Iowa promotes that the reuse of existing buildings is not only sustainable, but encourages the invigoration of downtown and other older areas in a town, which in turn encourages livable communities.  Godar oversees the board of directors, committees and volunteers.

Kristen Greteman, Associate AIA, Kaufman Construction Inc., serves as volunteer crew leader with the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity.  Greteman also volunteers for Iowa Architectural Foundation (IAF), an organization that promotes awareness and appreciation of architecture and design through events made available to the public. 

For over 16 years, Scott Hatfield, AIA, SVPA Architects, Inc. has helped to review planning and zoning issues for the City of West Des Moines as commissioner, including individual commercial site plans to Comprehensive Plan updates.  Included in his responsibilities, Hatfield reviews landscaping and architectural designs to make recommendations to the City Council.

The Waukee Planning & Zoning Commission has engaged the skills of Frank Hoifeldt, Associate AIA, of RDG Planning & Design since 1992.  The Commission is appointed by the City Council, and reviews applications in accordance with approved regulations pertaining to all zoning districts within the City of Waukee. The Commission also gives reasonable consideration to the character of districts and their unique suitability for particular uses, with a view toward conserving the value of buildings, encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout the City, and encouraging compliance with an approved comprehensive plan.

Karl Kaufman, AIA, FEH Associates, volunteers as vice chair for the IAF. Leading architectural walking tours through downtown Des Moines, conducting adult education courses and developing lecture series to promote Architecture Month are a few of the activities of which Kaufman is involved to help raise awareness.

Paul Mankins, AIA, Substance Architects, serves as president on the board of directors for the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation.  The Foundation’s goal is to better the community through commissioning public artwork and involving artists in public works in Central Iowa. They lead the Board of Trustees in promoting how public art plays an important role in creating livable communities

Matt Ostanik, AIA, Submittal Exchange is assisting the city of Dallas Center as Vice Chair on their Board of Adjustment committee.  In this role, Ostanik is responsible for viewing and approving requests for zoning variances and adjustments, therefore, helping to ensure an effective community planning and design.

Appointed as the president of the board of directors of Northern Warren County Fire and Emergency Response Agency, chairman of the Greenfield Township Trustee of Warren County and a member of the Warren County Joint Planning Commission, Raymond Phillips, AIA, of Phillips Consulting, still finds time to lead the Warren County Democrats as vice chairman.  In this role, he serves as Caucus site chairman for all county caucus sites, chairs the Finance Committee, is responsible for member publications and participates in the Warren County Convention

Tina Rhodes, Associate AIA, GENESIS Architectural Design, also serves as a committee member and docent for the IAF.  In addition, Rhodes is team leader for the lecture series and the Architecture at Hand Walking Tour. She has volunteered for the foundation since 2007.

Brian Schwartz, Associate AIA, of GE Wattier Architecture, took on the challenge of Mercy Hospital’s “New Daddy Boot Camp Facilitator,” helping new dads learn about the joys of parenthood.  In addition to this full-time role, Schwartz serves on the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Curriculum committee and the Beaverdale Betterment Coalition.

Potential building projects for the City of Urbandale are reviewed individually by the Board of Appeals for code compliance, ordinance compliance, and design critique. Rod Stevens, AIA, of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont company, currently chairs this committee.  For nearly 20 years he has put his skills and knowledge as an architect to use on the board for the City of Urbandale.

Brooks Borg Skiles Architecture and Engineering’s Stephen Stimmel, AIA, is a State Historic Preservation Review Board Member.  The board was created to function primarily as a professional body that objectively evaluates the historic significance of properties and provides professional advice on historic preservation matters.  They are responsible for the review of National Register nominations and nomination appeals.  The board also reviews and provides advice about the State’s Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan and the State’s Annual Historic Preservation Fund Grant program.


Also of Brooks Borg Skile is David Unick, AIA, who serves as the vice chair of the local board of directors and as chair of the scholarship committee for the ACE Mentor Program.  ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) is an after-school program that seeks to engage, excite, and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in the integrated construction industry through mentoring; and to support their continued advancement in the industry through scholarships and grants. Unick became involved in ACE “because it allows me to share my passion for architecture with students who are considering a career in architecture, construction or engineering.”   

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