2023 Honor Awardees

2023 Honor Awards Jury:

  • Greg Skinner, AIA | SSOE Group
  • Heather Potts Lang, AIA |Potts Lang Architecture
  • Tariq Abdullah, AIA  | Architects
  •  Danita Brown, AIA | U.S. General Services

2023 Rothschild Jury

  • William “Bill” Clark, AIA | SSOE Group
  • Kevin Cantley, AIA  | Cooper Carey
  • Mack Scogin, AIA  | Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
  • Merrill Elam, AIA  | Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects

2023 Winners

Julie Kim, AIA

Educator of the Year

As a respected and beloved teacher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Julie Kim has always encouraged her students to bring the skills and mindset of design thinking to solving bigger problems, including those of disadvantaged urban communities.  The Flourishing Communities Collaborative seeks to bring together students, faculty, practitioners, and the communities the program serves to find meaningful, systems-based solutions built on an architect’s approach to problem solving.  Her mentoring vision has led to a circular model for an interdisciplinary approach, giving students perspectives from other educators.   Finally, her service to the Architecture Foundation of Georgia has ensured financial scholarship assistance to a generation of students at all three architecture colleges in Georgia.   AIA recognizes her dedication to educating and inspiring the next generation of architects with the AIA Georgia Educator of the Year Award.

Ian Hunter, AIA
Emerging Professional Award

Before coming to Atlanta, Ian was an accomplished leader in the profession in two other states – seeming to transcend his limited years as an architect through impressive early accomplishments.   After success in the multi-family sector at multiple firms, Ian is now leading the Atlanta office of Dwell Design Studio as its Regional Director.   His leadership in practice management means that he has led numerous major multi-family projects across the Southeast, already having a clear influence on the built environment.   He served as AIA Atlanta President in 2022, as Secretary from 2019-20, and Development Director from 2015-2018.   His strong commitment to the issues of equity, diversity and inclusion as President has resulted in a new strategic plan based on these values, and one of the most diverse AIA boards of directors in the country.   His wide-ranging impact and influence is reflected in the diverse range of recommendation letters his nomination received, from Past AIA Presidents to NOMA Board Members to the AIA Minnesota Executive Director.   For his outsized influence on the profession at such an early point in his career, he is recognized and celebrated with the 2023 AIA Emerging Professional Award.

Sarah Nelson-Woynicz, AIA
Emerging Professional Award

Sarah Nelson-Woynicz has been an amazing force for positive change in Georgia since joining HKS in 2017.   At one point she was the youngest licensed architect in the state, she has served the profession as Emerging Professionals Director on the AIA Atlanta Board and as an appointed Community Director on the AIA National Young Architects Forum – giving Georgia a strong national voice on a range of issues and topics.  She has been an internal champion of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives at her firm, and has been a strong leader in equity issues at AIA and in her community.   She is the founder of the digitally-based blog, Pride by Design, focused on bringing amplification and visibility to LGBTQIA+ designers and architecture professionals.  As a graduate of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program, she has built a powerful and career-long peer community for addressing these issues.  For her contributions to the profession, she is recognized and celebrated with the 2023 AIA Georgia Emerging Professional Award.

Dwell Design Studio
Architecture Firm of the Year

Since 2009, Dwell Design Studio has called Atlanta home, growing to a firm of more than 250 employees in a half dozen cities. Dwell has created a human-centered culture that elevates the power of great design, vibrant leadership, consistency, quality, communication and excellence.   The firm received a recognition in five different years from the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a Best Place to Work.  Its commitment to great architecture has resulted in numerous design awards in Georgia and communities across the country.   This award also recognizes the firm’s core value to help develop, teach and mentor younger team members, giving them the opportunity to become great professionals with a voice in their profession and their communities.  Senior leaders at the firm have served as Presidents, Secretaries, and Treasurers of AIA Georgia, AIA Atlanta, and the Architecture Foundation of Georgia.  For these and many other reasons, Dwell Design is recognized as the 2023 AIA Georgia Firm of the Year.

Deirdre “Dee” Leclair, AIA & Ryan Taylor, AIA
Bronze Medal

Deirdre Leclair has committed a career improving and helping designers navigate the state’s fire and building codes – first inside the Department of Community Affairs and now in private practice.   AIA Georgia notes her leadership at the state level, influencing countless codes, amendments, and legislative bills concerned with the built environment.  Furthermore, her role on the AIA National Codes and Standards Committee provides a national leadership voice for the great work being done in Georgia.   For these and other reasons, Deirdre Leclair is recognized with the 2023 AIA Georgia Bronze Medal Award.
Ryan Taylor has wielded an outsized influence in Georgia and across the country ensuring that all facets of building and fire codes continue to raise the bar for designers, engineers, homebuilders and others, improving the built environment for communities across the country.   In Georgia, Ryan’s long running service on the State Codes Advisory Committee has provided leadership for a group of diverse building professionals, pushing all of them to embrace a better set of codes for commercial, institutional and residential buildings.  His commitment to using political advocacy, coalition building and other tools to improve and defend the codes process in unparalleled, and has resulted in Georgia’s reputation as one of the very best states in the country for building codes management, implementation and continuous improvement.  For these and other reasons, Ryan Taylor is recognized with the AIA Georgia Bronze Medal Award.

Nicole Seekely, AIA
Carmen Stan: Elevation of the Profession

AIA Georgia recognizes Nicole Seekely for her strong impact on design excellence, service to the profession, and a commitment to improving access and equity in the AEC industry.  She chaired the AIA Georgia Design and Honor Awards for 5 years, overseeing a 150% increase in attendance and firm participation, served on design awards juries in multiple cities and as Jury Chair for AIA Maryland, and has been a contributor to award-winning projects at multiple employers.   She served on the AIA Georgia Board for five years, demonstrating a strong commitment to political advocacy, adaptive reuse and sustainability.  She is also a founder and longtime leader of Equity in Architecture, a group commited to fostering equity, opportunity and personal growth in the Georgia AEC industries.  Through these impressive accomplishments, AIA Georgia believes that she fully represents the spirit and values of the Carmen Stan Elevation of the Profession Award, and is a deserving inaugural recipient of this important distinction.

Cheryl McAfee, FAIA
Bernard B. Rothschild Award

Cheryl McAfee’s long career at her family firm of McAfee3 Associates has afforded her a platform for unprecedented positive influence and impact on the profession – particularly with her service to the profession and civic leadership.   She has served as Georgia’s representative to the AIA Strategic Council, NOMA National President, Chair of the 2009 AIA Conference on Architecture, an AIA Georgia Board Director and more.  As a civic leader she has led the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, pushed for equity considerations for AEC contracts at all levels of government, and served as a close advisor to dozens of political leaders.   Her critical role in the passage of AIA Resolution 18.3 will impact a generation of minority female architects, preparing them for national leadership roles.  Finally, the list of impressive leaders she has mentored is long and impactful.    Her wide and deep impact has cemented her legacy in the profession.