Session 5 Speakers

GV_BWGina Volpicelli, LEED AP BD+C | 

For the past five years, Ms. Volpicelli has participated on the Washington Architectural Foundation’s (WAF) Youth and Family Programs Committee. Through programs developed by the WAF, Ms. Volpicelli has led various sessions on structural concepts with the Boys and Girls Club of DC and the Tools of the Trade Certificate Series Saturday Workshops at the District Architecture Center. By volunteering in the Architecture in the Schools (AIS) program, she has exercised students’ analytical and creative skills by using the architectural design process and has applied what is learned in the classroom to the built environment. The various themes of her AIS sessions have incorporated green building methods in a program called The Sky’s the Limit: Building a Sustainable City in Outer Space to the students exploring various building types that are found Around the World. This past semester at Chesterbrook Elementary, the students applied concepts that they were learning about in their geometry class of two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes, to link together concepts of gravity, force and speed in their weekly activities involving drawing, Sketchup models, and physical models in order to create a final project of a Marble Machine.

Ms. Volpicelli has had various roles on architectural projects that include retail and commercial buildings and interior design. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University with a concentration in Architectural Science and Technology. She is a LEED Accredited Professional BD+C. She is also on the Board of Directors for Commercial Real Estate for Women (CREW) Northern Virginia, where the chapter’s Mentoring Program developed a Legacy Project that taught girls in elementary school about careers in the building industry.


Chefe_headshot_bwJose Benitez, LEED AP | 
Jose joined DCBIA’s Community Improvement Day design committee in 2009.   He became a team captain that year and has been managing the design and construction of portions of each year’s project since.  Along with the design committee, Jose works closely with DPR in the site selection process every year and interacts with neighbors from the community to formulate a program based on the particular needs of the chosen area.  Jose and the rest of the committee engage other members of the industry and collaborate meticulously to translate these wish lists into creative designs that get built in one day.

Jose has a Master of Architecture from The Catholic University of America.  After graduating from CUA, he worked at Travis Price Architects where he had the opportunity of co-teaching a design/build course at CUA, ‘Spirit of Place/Spirit of Design,’ where students get to design and detail a structure during the Spring semester and build it in 2 weeks during Summer at a remote site abroad.  Currently at RTKL, he works on sustainable focused projects for both residential and corporate office developments.


Vuoung_LamLam Vuong, AIA, LEED AP | 
Lam Vuong was born in Nha Trang Vietnam and immigrated to the United States with his family on July 4th 1983. Since that time he has studied architecture at Virginia Tech, travelled abroad to study Architecture in Europe and the martial arts in Japan, and completed design and construction of numerous buildings in the DC metro area and nationally. In his professional career, Lam is a licensed architect in Washington DC, and is currently a LEED Accredited Professional. Among his community activities, Lam has been involved in the Masonry Institute’s ‘It Makes a Village’ Masonry Competition, and participated in CANstruction annually since 2007, winning Best Use of Labels in 2009.

His most rewarding professional experience has been working with the Washington Architecture Foundation’s Architecture in the Schools program (AIS). Since 2005, he has been involved with the AIA/DC and Washington Architectural Foundation’s enrichment programs. Specific programs which he has developed and taught include architectural drawings, modeling making, and a cross cultural French/English model making seminar. Most recently, Lam has worked with both the WAF and Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington to develop and implement an architecture summer camp for student’s age 10-14, inaugural season in 2013. With the success from previous years, both the WAF and B&G Club are expanding their programs, including integration of Architecture modules into the Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) initiative and designing a stage set for their annual Arts Summer Camp to be performed at the Kennedy Center.

Headshot_Brugger,-LindsayLindsay Brugger, Assoc. AIA, SEED | Lindsay Brugger brings together humanitarian action and architectural design to address issues of shelter and settlement, disaster risk reduction, and resilient communities. Lindsay is the founding director of Architecture for Humanity DC’s Resilience by Design program and is an active partner in bringing resilience planning to the DC area. Lindsay’s work has been featured at Harvard’s Design for Urban Disaster Conference, AIA Baltimore’s Resilient Cities Lecture Series, and Architecture For Humanity’s Design Like You Give a Damn Conference.

rayyaRayya Newman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C | Rayya Newman is a Director of Project Development for the Washington DC Chapter of Architecture for Humanity, a charitable organization that works to solve social justice issues through sustainable architecture where she works as a volunteer. She is an Architect with 11 years of experience on a variety of project types, and works at ZGF Architects in Washington DC. She is an AIA member, LEED-accredited, and SEED-certified professional. Rayya believes in the triple bottom line approach to sustainability including social and economic as well as environmental issues. Her blog publicinterestdesign-dc.org highlights public interest design projects, events, and people in the DC area. Rayya received her Bachelor of Architecture from The Catholic University of America and her Master of Architecture from Virginia Tech.

Erin Simmons, AIA Communities by Design | Erin Simmons is the Director of Design Assistance at the Center for Communities by Design at the American Institute of Architects in Washington, DC. Her primary role at the AIA is to provide process expertise, facilitation and support for the Center’s Sustainable Design Assistance Team (SDAT ) and Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT ) programs. In this capacity, she works with AIA components, members, partner organizations and community members to provide technical design assistance to communities across the country. Through its design assistance programs, the AIA has worked in 200 communities across 47 states. In 2010, the Center was named Organization of the Year by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) for its impact on communities and contributions to the field.Erin is a leading practitioner of the design assistance process. Her portfolio includes work in over 60 communities across the United States. A frequent lecturer on the subject of creating livable communities and sustainability, Erin contributed to the recent publication “Assessing Sustainability: A guide for Local Governments”. Prior to joining the AIA, Erin worked as historic preservationist and architectural historian for an environmental and engineering firm in Georgia, where she practiced preservation planning, created historic district design guidelines and zoning ordinances, conducted historic resource surveys, and wrote property nominations for the National Register of Historic Places. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia.

J-MillsJoel Mills, AIA Communities by Design | Joel Mills is Director of the American Institute for Architects’ Center for Communities by Design. The Center is a leading provider of pro bono technical assistance and participatory planning for community sustainability. Its processes have been modeled successfully in the United States and across Europe. The Center has been the recipient of a numerous awards recognizing its impact. In 2010, the Center was named Organization of the Year by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) for its impact on communities and contributions to the field. In 2013, the Center received a Power of A Award from the Center for Association Leadership, and a Facilitation Impact Award, given by the International Association of Facilitators.

Joel’s 20-year career has been focused on strengthening civic capacity and civic institutions around the world. This work has helped millions of people participate in democratic processes, visioning efforts, and community planning initiatives. In the United States, Joel has worked with over 100 communities, leading participatory initiatives and collaborative processes that have facilitated community-generated strategies on a host of issues. During the past five years, this work has catalyzed over $1 billion in new investment. His past work has been featured in over 1,000 media stories, including ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, CNN, The Next American City, Smart City Radio, The National Civic Review, Ecostructure Magazine, The Washington Post, and dozens of other sources. He has served on numerous expert working groups, boards, juries, and panels focused on civic discourse and participation, sustainability, and design. He has also spoken at dozens of national and international conferences and events, including the World Eco-City Summit, the Global Democracy Conference, the National Conference on Citizenship, and many others.

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