Alumni Now

To submit news items, please contact onome.aganbi@uta.edu

October 2021

Joseph Chacon (Master of Public Administration) has been named chief of the Austin Police Department, Patch reported. Chacon served as interim chief since March 2021.


Shane Pace(Master of City and Regional Planning) had been named president of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation in Jacksonville, Texas. 

The Jacksonville reported.


September 2021

UTA alumnus Alfred Vidaurri Jr. (M.ARCH) became the president of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and was featured in a Q&A with Texas Architect. Vidaurri is a vice president of Freese and Nichols, an engineering, planning, and consulting firm with several offices throughout the southern United States. He works and lives in the City of Fort Worth.


SUPA graduate student Evelyn Mayo is selected for the ULI/Randall Lewis Health Mentorship Program. Evelyn Mayo is a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning. She is the Co-Founder of RAYO planning, a non-profit planning firm that works with low-income neighborhoods to address environmental justice, fair housing and community development issues caused by racist zoning and land use policies.

 

This program supports learning and sharing about health and real estate among graduate students and ULI members. In addition to being matched with a ULI Full Member mentor based on professional interests, mentees earned the opportunity to attend the 2021 ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago and the 2022 ULI Spring Meeting in San Diego, where they will experience Product Council meetings and health-focused programming alongside their mentors. 


Brannon Heake’s ( BS ARCH, 2017 and M.ARCH (Path B), 2019) promotion to Professional Designer was announced by BOKA Powell. BOKA Powell as a leader in creating innovative, inspiring solutions in building design, interior design, and land planning.


August 2021

James Hubbard is the new city manager in Jacksonville, Texas, the Jacksonville Progress and Yahoo! News reported. Hubbard’s first official day as city manager was Friday, Aug. 13. Hubbard earned a master's in public administration and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice/criminology from UT Arlington.


Dr. Malcolm K. Oliver has been appointed Dean of the John S. Watson School of Public Service per the Trenton Daily news release. Dr. Oliver earned his PhD in Public and Urban Administration from the University of Texas, Arlington in 2012.


Brian Joseph Renteria earned his Master of Public Administration at UTA in 2010. Renteria works at Texas Wesleyan University and recently became a member of "BoardBuild" to participate in community stewardship. Renteria has never heard of BoardBuild before but liked the idea of building strong communities.


Amina Taj, Assoc. AIA, LEED Green Associate was hired by Tesla in July 2021 for the position of Architectural Designer. Ms. Taj was highly involved during her time at UTA as a 2015 GTA for Lee Wright and a GRA for IUS in 2016 until she earned her MARCH Degree in 2016.


Jes Prince, Chief Deputy Clerk for Jefferson County, (MPA, CCIM 2017 Public Admin MPA (NT) AO) announced her intent to run for the seat in the fall. Prince was hired to the deputy’s position in March in this article “Prince has a Master’s of Public Administration and Urban Development from University of Texas Arlington. She attended Lamar University for her undergraduate degree and has held positions at the city of Beaumont and the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission” Prince is a member of NAACP, HPAC and TASI. She completed Leadership Beaumont in 2013, was recognized with the Outstanding Leadership Award by Ubi Caritas in 2014 and was awarded the 40 Under 40 Designation in 2015


Alexia Christine recently graduated Spring 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, won First Place in the Commercial Student Design Category at 2021 Celebrating Design TX by the American Society of Interior Designers! This award recognizes the NEXT Steelcase Project completed in Fall 2020 at Interior Design studio with Dr. Barbara Marini, Director of Interior Design.


July 2021


Brian Joseph Renteria, Masters of Public Administration alumni, currently works for Texas Wesleyan University and has recently became a member of BoardBuild. Renteria previously devoted 15 years of service to public education, which has provided numerous experiences and refined various skills that has allowed him to participate in community stewardship as a member of the Board of Directors for BoardBuild


June 2021

Alexia Koltes, an Interior Design alumni, was recognized by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and awarded first-place in the ASID 2021 Dallas Design Ovation Student Awards for Commercial Design. Koltes worked with Steelcase products to create an innovative, human-centric, and evidence-based solution for post-COVID workspaces. Koltes’ Steelcase project was completed in Fall 2020 with the help of Dr. Barbara Marini in the CAPPA studio.


May 2021

Maria Rodriguez (Interior Design 2021) has been announced as the second-place winner of the 2021 FORM Student Innovation Competition. The FORM competition allowed both architecture and design students to submit innovative furniture designs for an opportunity to win cash prizes and display their work at NeoCon 2021. Approximately 244 entries were submitted under the “Design for the Next Generation Theme” from more than 35 universities across the United States and Canada. The theme called for students to interpret designs for a variety of post-pandemic commercial settings. Maria Rodriguez recognized the significance of today’s employees engaging in video calls more than ever, which influenced her to design the “Portal” as an all-encompassing workspace set up. The design strategically provides ample lighting and writable surfacing for notes. Additionally, the semi-enclosed space ensures safe social distancing between colleagues.

Theresa O'Donnell (2005 MPA) has been appointed the City of Vancouver's new director of planning and general manager of planning and general manager of planning, urban design, and sustainability. 


April 2021

Timothy D. Strucely, 1982 BS UTA Architecture graduate AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, FMA, was recently hired by Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN) as a program manager. He will be responsible for planning, executing and finalizing the design and construction of K-12 school facilities and higher education projects as well as  being  responsible for expanding the firm’s program management services in these markets. Strucely has 30 years of experience as a program manager and architect. He has managed massive capital bond programs from inception to completion, both as an owner’s representative and consultant and has previously served the Dallas Independent School District (ISD) as executive director of construction. Prior to that, he served two other school districts in Nevada and Texas in senior leadership roles. 


Dr. Linda Plank, 2002 UTA Public and Urban Admin - PHD alumnae,  serves as a clinical associate professor and was recently appointed Dean of Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing. While serving as a nurse at Baylor University Medical Center, Dr. Plank received her MS in Nursing from Texas Women’s University and then received her PhD from University of Texas at Arlington, Texas in 2002. She is nationally certified by the ANCC as a Nurse Executive Advanced (NEA-BC).


October 2020

Myriam Igoufe (2018 Urban Plan & Public Policy Ph.D.) is the vice president for policy development and research at the Dallas Housing Authority, recently featured in The Wall Street Journal. Igoufe is "Dallas Housing Authority staff rejiggered sales software to help distribute Cares Act rental assistance faster and more equitably." The Wall Street Journal Dr. Igoufe's work involves developing and implementing short-term and long-term strategies designed to facilitate the achievement of DHA’s goals and priorities which include; addressing long-term segregation and affordable housing crisis in Dallas and North Texas.

July 2020

Bradley E. Ford (2007 City & Regional Plan MCRP (TS) - Master of City and Regional Planning) was named City of Waco’s City Manager. He previously worked for the City of Waco but began his new position in July 2020. He is a current member of the International City Management Association (ICMA) and the Texas City Management Association (TCMA). Ford has an interest in using analytics in local government.


Alfred J. Vidaurri, Jr., FAIA, NCARB, AICP( 1979 UTA BS Arch and 1982 UTA Architecture MARCH (Path A) (NT)), was elected as first vice president/president-elect of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), which handles licensing and credentialing for architects in the U.S. Alfred will become NCARB’s first Latino president in June 2021. Alfred has been a leader in Texas and nationally on strengthening architectural education and has been a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the profession. Vidaurri was a member of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners from 2004-2015, serving as chair from 2009-2015. He is also the vice president of the 900-person, multi-discipline firm of Freese and Nichols Inc., which is the first architecture/engineering firm to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. 

June 2020

Ahoura Zandiatashbar (UPPP ’19) recently accepted an offer from San Jose State University to join them as an assistant professor of urban and regional planning. Dr. Ahoura Zandi(atashbar) is joining San José State University (SJSU) as Assistant Professor of GIScience where he will expand his research in the application of geospatial analytical techniques in mapping the U.S. geography of high-tech zones and exploring the role of urban form inequitable and robust knowledge economy and innovation productivity of small firms. Prior to joining SJSU, Dr. Zandi was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he was a key member in developing web-maps for Illinois Map-The-Count 2020, Illinois COVID-19 Vulnerability, and Chicago’s Tap Water.


May 2020

Fred Perpall, FAIA, LEED AP(1996 BS ARCH and 98' MARCH), is featured in the Column magazine, a full profile as CEO of The Beck Group, an international design, planning, and construction businesses. Also an active member of his community; he is currently on the President's Advisory Board, and he was a 2014 UTA Distinguished Alumni. "Fred began his career in the design and construction industry in 1996 and has been a registered architect since 2003. His main focus is on driving firm strategy, communicating our vision to clients, selecting and developing our senior team, allocating capital, and managing growth." Beck Group


January 2020

Zoranna Jones (2017 Ph.D. in Public and Urban Administration) has been appointed as the Assistant Dean at TCU’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies. She also received multiple scholarships from the R. L. “Jerry” and Lucille “Lucy” Mebus Public Service Graduate Fellowship. Jones is a longstanding instructor in the student success course University Life and has contributed to the creation of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies and African American and Africana Studies.


Clifford Welch, ('86-89 Masters of Architecture) has earned Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) status. He is a Principal at WELCH| HALL architects, he earned both his ARCH and ARCH Path A at UTA. Cliff is a past President of the Dallas Architectural Foundation and has taught graduate-level design at the University of Texas at Arlington. This fellowship is bestowed by the Institute on AIA member architects who have made outstanding contributions to the profession through design excellence, contributions in the field of architectural education. 


Victor Tomanek, (10' Bachelors of Science in Architecture) the project manager for design and construction at Tishman Speyer, is a development partner for the luxury retirement housing projects in Brooklyn. Details of the reconstruction and renovation of this project were published in ENRNewYork


December 2019

Myriam Igoufe ('18 UPPP), the Dallas Housing Authority vice president of policy development and research and UTA doctoral graduate in CAPPA, is heading up a DHA team that will lead the agency’s policy initiatives, Business Wire and Investor Network reported. Igoufe led the UTA-generated North Texas Regional Housing Assessment analysis, which included 21 cities and housing authorities across North Texas.

October 2019

David Shilson (14' Master of Public Administration) was selected as the new Police Chief for the City of Frisco according to the StarLocalMedia. Shilson is being promoted from deputy chief beginning Nov. 1. Chief Shilson has 20 years of law enforcement experience with seventeen of those years have been with the Frisco Police Department.


Emily Williams (01' Master of Landscape Architecture) was named Chairman of the City of Dallas Landmark Commission. 

September 2019

The AIA Dallas Latinos in Architecture hosted an ENLACES reception to provide an opportunity for many Latino architects and designers to showcase their works. A few UTA alumni had their work selected for an honors award:

  • Ana Larranaga ('16 BS Architecture), "Cultivando Sinapsis en Arquitectura " | Public Favorite Award
  • Maria Contreras ('16 BS Architecture), "Urban Infill"
  • Ramon Cavazos, "Scottish Rite for Children"
  • Ricardo Leon ('12 BS Architecture), "Olfaction Bank" 

Architect Ralph Duesing ( '84 Master of Architecture), was featured in the July/August 2019 issue of the Dallas Paper City magazine for collaboration with interior designer Joseph Minton. The featured architectural project in Preston Hollow, Dallas is an elegant modern villa inspired by french designer Jean-Michel Frank.


The City of Mesquite has announced Maria Martinez ('17 MPA) as its new Director of Neighborhood Services. She will direct Environmental Code, Neighborhood Vitality, Housing and Community Services, and Mesquite Animal Services.

August 2019

The city of Allen, Texas announced the hire of Rebecca Vice ('12 MPA) as Assistant City Manager, according to Allen America. Vice joined the city manager’s office in 2013 and later served as organizational development and employee engagement administrator.

July 2019

Alfred Vidaurri Jr., NCARB, FAIA, AICP, ('79 BS of Architecture and '82 Master of Architecture) vice president at Freese and Nichols, Inc., was elected second vice president of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) at the organization’s Centennial Annual Business Meeting in Washington, D.C.

June 2019

John Kessel ('00 MCRP) is one of the finalists for Spring Field, Oregon City Manager and is currently the recovery and resiliency coordinator for Sonoma County, Calif. He has 27 years of experience in local government and previously served as city manager in Schertz, Texas. 


Karla Cavazos ('94 BS Architecture) has been hired by Southern Land Company, a national real estate developer of multifamily, mixed-use developments and master-planned communities, as vice president of commercial design and construction, according to The Nashville Ledger and the Nashville Post. Cavazos has the critical role of synchronizing in-house and architecture and engineering teams with Southern Land Company’s Commercial Construction Division to maintain high quality, reduce costs and accelerate delivery.


A paper authored by Ahoura Zandiatashbar ('19 UPPP) and Shima Hamidi, has been published: “High-tech Business Location, Transportation Accessibility, and Implications for Sustainability: Evaluating the Differences between High-tech Specializations using Empirical Evidence from U.S. Booming Regions", Sustainable Cities and Society. Their research focused on the relationship between the knowledge economy and sustainable outcomes.

May 2019

Ahoura Zandiatashbar ('19 UPPP) has been invited to participate in the Journal of Planning Education & Research (JPER) Writing Workshop for New Scholars at the Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Ahoura is one of the eleven selected participants for this July workshop.


Kevin Lasher, AICP ('81 BS Architecture & '90 MCRP), was recently promoted to the Assistant City Manager for the City of Hearth. With 35 years of experience as an architect and city planner he has achieved and maintained his certification as a city planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) since 1992. Kevin has served as a city planner in several Texas cities of various sizes such as Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Burleson, and Midlothian. Kevin has been with the City of Heath since August of 2017


Steven Duong, ('13 MCRP), was featured in Dallas Innovates for his contribution to the DFW metroplex's future in design and transportation. He recently won the contract to create the City of Dallas’s first ever climate action plan to help them meet the Paris Agreement goals. He is currently the Associate Vice President at AECOM in the Design + Planning group.


Steven Duong, ('13 MCRP), was featured in D Magazine as the "Forefront of Dallas’ Physical and Social Challenges". He is currently the Associate Vice President at AECOM in the Design + Planning group.

April 2019

Ana Margarita Aguirre ( '16  Master of Architecture), is working for HKS and is part of the team designing Globe Life Park, the soon-to-be new home of the Texas Rangers,The Dallas Morning Newsreported in a Cheryl Hall profile on Aguirre.


Mike Foreman ('10 MPA) has been appointed as the Town Manager of Monument, Colorado. Foreman has served as the interim down manager since December of 2018.

March 2019

Ryan Dollinger ('17 MPA), has been appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the Texas Juvenile Justice Advisory Board for terms at the pleasure of the Governor. The board advises the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division on programs and preventative solutions and submits recommendations regarding federal compliance issues and federal grant disbursements.


Stephanie R. Finniri ('15MPA), is a student in the Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) program at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), and has been selected as a 2019 New Leaders Council (NLC) fellow. NLC is a public charity and leadership development organization with 50 chapters across the United States.


Bryan Fenstermaker ('07 MCRP & MPA), was one of the 30 individuals selected by the International Downtown Association's (IDA) as industry's brightest professionals for the 2019 Emerging Leaders Fellowship (ELF) Program. The Emerging Leader Fellowship is a week-long experiential program in New York City to bring together a cohort of IDA professionals from within the urban district management industry.

February 2019

Dian Nostikasar ('15 UPPP), accepted an offer for an Assistant Professor position in Environmental Science and Sustainability position at Drake University in Iowa, beginning in the Fall 2019.

January 2019

Myriam Igoufe ('18 UPPP) was promoted to Vice President of Policy Development & Research at Dallas Housing Authority (DHA).


Thomas Scott ('18 MPA) received "Outstanding Student of the Year" by The Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) at the Transportation Research Board conference in Washington, D.C. 

December 2018

Mike Foreman ('10 MPA) has been appointed as interim town manager in Monument, Colorado, The Tribune reported. Foreman has more than 30 years’ experience working in local government, including as city manager of Craig, Colo., and the City of Celina, Texas.


Chad Edwards ('05 MCRP) is the city of Fort Worth’s new mobility and innovation officer,FortWorthTexas.gov and Fort Worth Business Press reported.


Spiezle Architectural Group Inc. has hired Michael Thurston  ('92 Master of Architecture) as senior project manager,HC+O Newsreported.

November 2018

Myriam Igoufe ('18 UPPP), a UTA doctoral graduate in urban planning, discussed North Texas' lingering housing inequities onKERA News. She is the project manager of a comprehensive new study for the North Texas Regional Housing Assessment


Andrew Mack ('87 MCRP) has been hired as the City Planner for city of Park Rapids, Minnesota. Council member Tom Conway, who was present at the interview, said he was "extremely impressed" and that Mack "did admit to having grant-writing experience. The way he came across, it seemed like he would be a team player, and I think staff agreed."


LPA has hired Teresa Rodriguez ('12 Master of Architecture) as managing director of the firm’s Dallas office, New York’sWICZ Fox 40,Bezingaand theAlbany, N.Y., Times Unionreported. Rodriguez holds a master’s degree in architecture from UTA. LPA is an integrated design firm.


Matthew Foster ('13 MPA) was recognized at the UTA 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception as a "Distinguished Recent Graduate". Foster is the Director of External & Legislative Affairs for AT&T.


While UTA’s affordable fair housing assessment study reflects an unflattering image of segregation in Dallas, the city had the courage to initiate the research and is learning from this study, a UTA alumna wrote in an op-ed piece inThe Dallas Morning News. Myriam Igoufe ('18 UPPP), who earned her doctorate at UTA in urban planning, wrote that the Dallas City Council expressed a commitment to finding bold ways to tackle these complex issues.


A UTA fair housing assessment showed economic and racial segregation across Dallas,The Dallas Morning NewsandD Magazinereported. Myriam Igoufe ('18 UPPP), who recently earned her doctorate from UTA, and Stephen Mattingly, a UTA civil engineering professor, performed the assessment for the city of Dallas and 20-plus other cities and housing authorities. “Dallas is marked by a very stark geography of inequity,” Igoufe said. “We have also documented systemic barriers to opportunities.” Mattingly said if the study had gone back earlier than 1990, he believes data would have shown these areas of inequity for a long time.

October 2018

Two graduates, Clodagh Ryan ('18 BS Architecture) and Estefania Barreto ('18 Architecture History Minor) produced an “Architour: The Legacy of Wiley G. Glarkson" for Historic Fort Worth on October 27, 2018.


UTA alumna Laurie Leenhouts ('99 MPA) has been named Texas division president of the North American Title Co., overseeing the company’s operations throughout the state,News Central Asia and Cision reported. She earned her master’s degree in public administration from UTA.


Trinh V Nguyen ('18 BS Interior Design), received a full time offer with Gensler, San Fransisco as a Technical Designer specializing in "Interior Hospitality".


Rich Stoglin ('92 MPA) was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, the Guidry News reported. Stoglin, CEO of Arlington’s The Stoglin Group, earned his master’s degree in public administration from UTA.


Dr. Myriam Igoufe('18 UPPP) has joined the Dallas Housing Authority as director of Housing Services for DHA's Housing Choice Voucher program, Dallas Business Journal reported. She will be responsible for ensuring DHA continues to effectively enhance affordable housing options in high opportunity neighborhoods.

September 2018

This summer, Dr. Ali Adil ('18 UPPP) joined the nonprofit research sector. Dr. Adil is a new a Research Associate with Texas Energy Poverty Institute (TEPRI) where he will be working towards alleviating energy poverty challenges in Texas.  


UTA alumnus Tim de Noble ('86 BS Architecture), professor and dean of the College of Architecture, Planning & Design at Kansas State University, has again been selected and recognized by DesignIntelligence as among the Top 25 Most Admired Educators in Architecture, Interiors and Landscape Architecture for 2019, Kansas State University reported. He earned his bachelor's degree in architecture from UTA. 


Jose Landeros ('12 MPA) has been named El Paso County's new planning and development director. He has more than 15 years of public policy and economic development research experience.

August 2018

UTA alumnus Skip Ogle was elected chair of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, the Tyler Morning Telegraph reported. Ogle graduated UTA with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master's degree in city and regional planning. 

July 2018

Justin Pruitt ('10 MPA), has been hired as the City of Lubbock organization’s new Business Development Director. His initial focus will be on enhancing downtown redevelopment and continuing to improve communications with the business and development communities as a whole.

June 2018

Colorado-based architect Mark Harris ('87 BS Architecture) pushes boundaries from what is to what can be with his exhibit at the 2018 International Venice Biennale,Modern in Denver reported. Each project in the exhibit transcends architecture to investigate human culture with an optimistic vision of our “future future,” depicting what already exists in radical and innovative ways. Harris is a UTA architecture alumnus.

May 2018

AJ Fawver ('10 MPA), has been hired as the City of Lubbock’s new director of planning. As the director of Planning, Fawver will oversee the department’s mission to promote and protect the health, safety, comfort, convenience, prosperity and general welfare of the citizens of Lubbock by assuring quality development in the city.Her scheduled start date is June 6.


Kate Aoki ('11 Master of Architecture), architect at Dallas-based DSGN Associates, moderated The Dallas Architecture Forum’s panel discussion of “Design Inspirations” last night at Dallas Black Dance Theater,Dallas Uptown BubbleLifereported. Aoki earned her master’s degree in architecture from UTA. Bang Dang, a UTA lecturer and graduate, and UTA alumni Jessica Stewart Lendvay and Madhavi Sonar were on the panel.


Jesica McEachern ('15 MPA), has been hired as an assistant city manager in Lubbock, according to Lubbock Avalanche Journal. McEachern will oversee the departments of public works, engineering, and development services at the City of Lubbock. Her scheduled start date is June 4.


Courtney Sandifer Terry ('09 MPA), producer, director and production designer was mentioned in a WoodlandsOnline.com article for shooting a quirky thriller currently titled “Life Insurance Lottery” film in the local Spring area. 

April 2018

IA Interior Architects in Dallas hired David Lubin ('94 Interior Design) as co-managing director to grow the firm locally and nationally, retailenvironments.org reported. Lubin earned his bachelor’s degree in interior design from UTA.

March 2018

Rebecca Cox ('14 MPA), was mentioned in a starlocalmedia.com article for being named the new executive director for CASA of Denton County. As director, Cox is responsible for leading CASA in its mission to provide trained community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children and promote community awareness about child abuse issues.


Nicole Foster ('16 UPPP), a doctoral graduate and former adjunct professor for CAPPA, was mentioned in a CityLab.com article about the connection between the arts and gentrification. Foster and Carl Grodach, a former CAPPA associate professor, published a 2016 study on the issue.


Mark Harris ('87 BS Architecture), principal founder of markharris ARCHITECTS, LLC , has received three project awards from the "2017 Rethinking the Future (RTF) Sustainability Awards". The awards program recognizes distinguished and innovative architecture with specific emphasis on sustainable design.

1. Category: Cultural Concept Award- Punk Music Venue (Abandoned Water Tower)

2. Category: Institutional Concept Award- US/Mexico Border Crossing

3. Category: Public Building Concept Award- Lonetree Athletics Center

Mark Harris will also have multiple projects featured at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the world’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious international stage for Art and Architecture.

*NOTE: MARKHARRIS ARCHITECTS WON FOUR RFA Sustainability AWARDS IN 2015

February 2018

TheDallas Business Journal recognized alumna Shannon Carpenter Bearden ('09 Master of Architecture) as one of its 2018 “40 Under 40” honorees.


Bilal Caliskan ('17 MCRP), received a "Student Project Award" from the Midwest Section Texas APA board. His project thesis was titled: "Factors Making a Street a Vibrant Place: Comparing Street Users’ Vibrancy Perception between Main Street, Fort Worth, Texas, USA and Inonu Boulevard, Sivas, Turkey. The Section’s annual awards program recognizes outstanding planning efforts, innovative projects, best practices, and planning leadership, advocacy and education. The entries were evaluated based on originality, quality, implementation and the role of planners, among other category-specific criteria.

January 2018

Kevin Park ('17 BS Architecture), was selected to participate in the American Institute of Architecture Students CRIT Scholar fellowship program, Archinect reported. The program is supported by the AIA in partnership with several prominent architecture firms. Recipients receive a $1,000 grant for their research project and are matched with a mentor conducting research at an architecture firm. 

December 2017

Steven Duong (’13 MCRP), an urban designer with AECOM, was awarded the "Urban Pioneer Award" by the Greater Dallas Planning Council (GDPC)

November 2017

Wes Blair (’12 MPA) and Cape Girardeau, Mo. police chief, was named to the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board by Gov. Eric Greitens, STL News reported.


Renovations completed on the Chester W. Ditto Golf Course in Arlington provide new space for UTA’s golf teams to practice, according to golfcoursearchitecture.net. Architect John Colligan (’80 BS Architecture and ’86 Master of Architecture) performed the redesign.

September 2017

Bradley Ford (’07 MCRP) has been hired as assistant city manager for the city of Waco, KWTX reported. He was previously deputy city manager of Burleson.


Phillip Contreras (’90 BS Architecture), an architect, focuses his company on providing architecturally minded design solutions to raising homes, the Houston Chronicle reported. His company Arkitektura offers their clients a turnkey elevation solution – accounting for permits, material and labor.


Diane Woodend Jones (’80 BS Architecture), vice chair of the CAPPA advisory council and chairman of the board of Lea+Elliott, was honored by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Development Foundation’s Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award, Informed Infrastructure reported.


Steven Duong (’13 MCRP), a Dallas urban planner, was interviewed by The Dallas Morning News about the hyperloop, a futuristic mode of travel that would use levitating pods to shuttle people and goods across hundreds of miles in minutes. Duong said Texas is an ideal place for the hyperloop.


Eduardo Castañeda (’12 BS, Architecture and ’14 MArch) was highlighted in a D CEO Magazine article about the efforts of Dallas’ Latinos in Architecture group to mentor in the community. Castañeda joined the Latinos in Architecture group while a student at UTA.


Kenny Jefferson (’15 BS, Interior Design) was featured in The Shorthorn. Jefferson is a project coordinator in Facilities Management at UTA who served as the lead contact between campus operations and CAPPA while the CAPPA building was renovated in 2015. 

August 2017

Alfred Vidaurri Jr. (’79 BS, Architecture and ’82 MArch) has been elected secretary of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards' board of directors, Citybizlist.com reported. Vidaurri serves as vice president of Freese and Nichols Inc.


Richard Hebert (’93 MArch) recently passed his licensure exams and became a licensed architect, Biz New Orleans reported. He has been with Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects since 2006.

July 2017

Wayne Snell (’16 MPA) has been hired as director of neighborhood and inspection services for the City of Lewisville, the Lewisville Texan Journal reported.


James Ferrara’s (’96 MArch) work to build a classic villa, inspired by Italian architect Andrea Palladio, in Oak Cliff was profiled in Paper City Dallas. Ferrara studied Palladio while earning his master’s degree.


David Lee (’91 MArch) has been hired as senior project manager for Dallas architecture firm th+a, CityBizlist reported. The award-winning firm specializes in education and healthcare spaces.

April 2017

studioMET Architects was awarded the Decorative Center Houston Stars of Design Award for Architecture, the Houston Patch, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, and the Laredo Morning Times reported. Shawn Gottschalk (’06 MArch) is a partner at the award-winning firm.


Nick Nelson (’08 MLA) was honored by the Fort Worth Business Press as one of the 2017 40 Under 40 class. The award recognizes successful young professionals who are outstanding in their industries and communities. Nelson is associate principal at Pacheco Koch.

March 2017

William Gladbach (’97 BS, Architecture and ’85 BS, Civil Engineering) has been appointed managing director of the western region of Manhard Consulting, a civil engineering and surveying firm, several outlets, including KLKN ABC 8 in Lincoln, Neb., and WBND-LD ABC 57 in South Bend, Ind.,reported.


Porter Fuqua (’15 MArch) is relaunching historic Dallas-based Casci Plaster, PaperCity reported. Fuqua is an associate architect with J. Wilson Fuqua & Associates.


Kevin G. Sneed (’86 BS, Architecture) has been named Fellow of The American Institute of Architects. Sneed is partner and senior director of architecture with OTJ Architects in Washington, DC.

February 2017

Elizabeth Bigler ('13 BS, Architecture) was recently awarded The Construction Industry Association’s 2016 Magnolia award, Citybizlist reported. The Magnolia Award annually recognizes outstanding women in construction who demonstrate excellence in job performance, commitment to education, and demonstrate leadership in promoting a positive image for the construction industry.


Wendle Medford, who holds a master’s in public administration from UTA, has been appointed assistant city manager of the city of Forney, the Forney Messenger reported.

January 2017

Willow Park has chosen Carrie West as its new police chief, the Star-Telegram reported. West graduated from UTA with a master of public administration in 2007.

(UPDATE: Chief West was sworn in on February 1, according to the Star-Telegram.)


The new Texas Rangers ballpark in Arlington set to open in 2020 will be designed by Dallas-based HKS, the same company that designed AT&T Stadium, the American Airlines Center, and UTA's College Park Center, WFAA 8, The Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Business Journal reported. A Star-Telegram editorial endorsed the announcement. Ralph Hawkins, a UTA Distinguished Alum, is chairman emertius of HKS, Inc.

December 2016

Eli Ochoa, president and CEO of ERO Architects and a UTA School of Architecture alumnus, recently completed work on the McAllen Performing Arts Center, Progress Times reported. 


Malcolm Oliver, a planner, was featured in a Public Now article about how he has influenced cities and even countries about municipal planning and its ability to affect social change. Oliver earned his doctorate in public and urban administration from UTA.

November 2016

Gov. Greg Abbott appointed John ‘Skip’ Ogle of Tyler to a seat on the Neches River Authority Board of Directors, PublicNow reported. Ogle received his master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from UTA.


UTA alumna Allison J.H. Thompson, director of economic development and tourism for the city of Cedar Hill, is participating in a webinar organized by the International Economic Development Council, Planetizen reported. Thompson holds a master’s degree in urban affairs from UTA.

September 2016

Boback Firoozbakht ('08 BS), creative director at the Dallas-based firm BDDM, was recognized by Builder Magazine with a 2016 Design Award for the Deloache Residence project. Todd Hamilton, professor of architecture, served the project as the architect of record.


In its seventh year celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AIA Dallas Latinos in Architecture Network presents ENLACES, a juried exhibition showcasing Latino architects and design professionals in Dallas.

A number of CAPPA faculty and alumni are among the selected exhibitors that will be honored at ENLACES and have their work exhibited at the Dallas Center for Architecture:

  • Carlos Bautista (MArch student, ‘15 BS), Olsen Studios
  • Dennis Chiessa (‘07 BS, ‘09 MArch), CAPPA (Lecturer of Architecture)
  • Alma Espinoza, Assoc. AIA (’11 BS, ’15 MArch), WDG Architecture
  • Wendy Hurtado (MArch student, ‘16 BS), Far + Dang
  • Ricardo Leon, Assoc. AIA (’07 BS), CAPPA (Lecturer of Architecture) and Far + Dang
  • Miguel Mendez, (MArch student, ’16 BS)
  • Ricardo Munoz, AIA (’07 BS), CAPPA (Lecturer of Architecture) and Page

Exhibition Opening

Wednesday, September 28th

6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Latino Cultural Center

FREE event; please register to attend


Greg Hudson ('11 MPA) was named city manager of the City of Gilmer, the Tyler Morning Telegraph reported. Hudson was previously city manager of the City of Sansom Park in Tarrant County from October 2013 until August 31, 2016.

August 2016

Steve Polasek ('93 MPA) has been named city manager of the City of Cleburne, the Cleburne Times Review reported. Polasek returns to Texas after serving as city manager for the City of Roswell, NM. Previously, Polasek was city manager for the City of Keller until 2012.


The City of Amarillo has appointed alumnus AJ Fawver as the city’s new planning director, KFDA CBS 10 reported. Fawver earned a master’s degree in public administration from UTA.


Norma Lehman ('00 BS), director of sustainability for The Beck Group, has earned the WELL Accredited Professional credential through the International WELL Building Institute. The accreditation places her among a group of leading professionals who are dedicated to supporting human health and well-being in the buildings that make up our communities.


James Stephenson NCARB, LEED® AP ('78 BS) has been named principal at VLK Architects. Stephenson will be responsible for the Fort Worth-based firm’s automobile dealership sector.

July 2016

Vinsen Faris ('93 MPA) has been named Bexar County-based Christian Senior Services’ new chief executive officer, Texas Non Profits reported. He is the former executive director of Johnson and Ellis counties Meals on Wheels.

June 2016

Ann Foss ('16 PhD) has joined the City of Arlington as Principal Planner where her duties include oversight of the Arlington Urban Design Center, a partnership between CAPPA and the City of Arlington.


Douglas Prude ('12 MCRP) has joined Downtown Dallas, Inc (DDI) as economic development and planning analyst. Prude has over 15 years of professional experience, spending the past four years in commercial real estate as the Director of Research for the Henry S. Miller family of companies.

May 2016

Michael Bennett ('83 MArch) was named Top Private CEO of the Year by Fort Worth Business. Bennett is principal of the architecture firm Bennett Benner Partners, a company that has shaped downtown Fort Worth. Bennett also serves on CAPPA's advisory council.


Enrique Mendez ('77 BArch) has joined HNTB Corp. as aviation project director–architecture and associate vice president, Aviation Pros reported. 

April 2016

The PECH Chandelier designed by Juan Rivera ('14 BS) with the Dallas firm martin&martindesign was featured in the May/June Issue of Luxe Magazine.

March 2016

Bryan Fenstermaker ('07 MPA,MCRP) has been named the new executive director for Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation, a non-profit real estate development/management company and a public space maintenance and enhancement organization in Philadelphia.


Dee Leggett ('14 MPA) has been appointed regional vice president of First Transit, Mass Transit reported.


Tommy Stewart, AIA (’74 BS, ’77 MArch) is featured in the March/April 2016 issue of Texas Architect for his work with Architecture for Humanity to build a school for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.


Zaida Basora, FAIA ('84 MArch) is the assistant director of public works for the City of Dallas and the 2016 president of AIA Dallas. This month AIA Dallas interviewed Zaida as part of the organization's leadership profile series.


The design team of Alex Worden (’07 BS) and Audrey Worden (’07 BS), collaborating as studioTJOA, were one of six winning entries for the “Reimagine a New York City Icon” competition, the 2016 Design Challenge sponsored by Metals in Construction magazine and the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York for the Most Innovative and Energy-Efficient Redesign of the Façade of 200 Park Avenue. Architects, engineers, students, designers, and others from all over the world were invited to submit their vision for recladding 200 Park Avenue (formerly the Pan Am Building, now the MetLife Building), which was built a half-century ago as the world’s largest corporate structure.