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AIA Iowa Leaders Receive Multiple Awards

Tuesday, September 30, 2014   (0 Comments)

AIA Iowa Leaders Receive Multiple Awards

Medal of Honor, Educator, and two Honorary Membership Awards were presented

Des Moines, Iowa (September 26, 2014) – The American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter (AIA Iowa) awarded four leaders for their contributions to the Chapter. The 2014 AIA Iowa Medal of Honor to Rod Kruse, FAIA, Principal with BNIM Architecture; the 2014 AIA Iowa Educator Award to Rob Whitehead, AIA, Professor at Iowa State University; and the 2014 AIA Iowa Honorary Membership Awards to Jessica Reinert, CAE, IOM, Executive Director of AIA Iowa; and Julie Severson, Creative Director at Substance Architecture.

These awards were announced during the AIA Iowa Awards Celebration held Thursday, September 25 at the Des Moines Central Library. The three awards detailed below recognize four individuals with exceptional contributions to the profession of architecture in Iowa. Additional awards handed out that evening included the 2014 AIA Iowa Excellence in Design and Sustainable Design Awards.

Rod Kruse, 2014 AIA Iowa Medal of Honor Recipient
Rod Kruse, FAIA has exemplified architectural excellence throughout his 36-year career by advancing the profession and building a reputation as one of the strongest design talents in the Midwest. Kruse works to elevate the quality of design and advocate for the architect’s role in creating a beautiful and sustainable built environment. His work has been recognized with nearly 80 Honor and Merit design awards at the state, regional and national levels. His portfolio includes three National AIA Honor Award winners and 11 other awards including a 2011 AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Green Award and the 2014 AIA COTE Plus Award for extraordinary performance for the new, high performance IUB-OCA building on the Iowa Capitol Complex.

In addition to his design work, Kruse is also a mentor, an educator, a leader, an advocate and generous volunteer. He has served on numerous committees including the AIA Jury of Fellow for the College of Fellows for three years. He served as Chair of the 2012 AIA Institute Honor Awards Jury and a member of the 2013 Jury selecting the AIA’s COTE Top Ten awards. He has also served on the Iowa Architect Editorial Board. Kruse’s work has been included in traveling exhibitions, including the 14th International Biennial of Architecture Buenos Aires in 2013. He has lectured extensively, recently for the 2012 CoreNET Global Summit. For his service to the local community, Kruse received a Distinguished Service Award from Downtown Des Moines, Inc.

Kruse has been a principal with BNIM Architects in Des Moines for nine years. Prior to BNIM, he was a founding principal of HLKB (Herbert Lewis Kruse and Blunck) Architecture and began his career in architecture as a project architect designer at RDG Bussard Dikis. He is a graduate of Architecture at Iowa State University and of the Graduate Program Study in Architecture at Iowa State University.

Rob Whitehead, 2014 AIA Iowa Educator Award Recipient
Rob Whitehead, AIA, received the 2014 AIA Iowa Educator Award for his contributions to architectural education in Iowa. Whitehead is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Iowa State University Department of Architecture and he has been with Iowa State University since 2007. His teaching experience includes undergraduate structural design courses, graduate building technology seminars, graduate design-build studios, and a broad range of architectural design studios. Along with his impressive technical background and innate design ability, Whitehead has the ability to explain and coax his deep knowledge into student work presenting complex material to students in ways that are engaging, convincing, and understandable.

Whitehead has been honored with several teaching awards and recognitions including the Association for Collegiate Schools of Architecture Creative Achievement Award, “Think, Make, Break, + Evaluate” in 2013; New Faculty Scholar from Iowa State University in 2012; Building Technology Educators Society Teaching Award Recipient in 2011 as well as numerous others. Whitehead has had several papers peer-reviewed and published, has seen several of his student’s work honored and recognized, and he has been a member of several professional and academic organizations throughout the years.

Prior to his position at Iowa State, Whitehead’s professional experience includes time at his sole practitioner firm, Whitehead Design Workshop, as well as time at BNIM Architects in Des Moines as a project designer, and with Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture in Des Moines as a senior architect from 1998-2007. He completed his Bachelor of Architecture at Iowa State University with his Master of Architecture degree at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jessica Reinert, 2014 AIA Iowa Honorary Membership Award Recipient
Jessica Reinert, CAE, IOM, Hon. AIA Iowa received a 2014 AIA Iowa Honorary Membership for her distinguished service to the profession of architecture in Iowa. Reinert is the Executive Director of AIA Iowa which is headquartered in Des Moines. Reinert started with the organization in 2003 as the Director of Communications. Throughout her eleven year tenure with AIA Iowa, she has consistently communicated the value of architects and energized membership, establishing AIA Iowa as a leading component among AIA chapters nationwide.

Reinert has been honored with several awards and recognitions related to the architectural profession as well as association management. Reinert recently received the first-ever 2014 AIA Emerging Executive Award, in 2013 she was name the AIA Component Ambassador and became a Certified Association Executive with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Among other recognitions, she has also received a Certificate of Excellence from the AIA Iowa Chapter.

Reinert has held three additional positions with the Iowa Chapter of the American Institute of Architects since 2003. She completed her Bachelor of Liberal Studies at Iowa State University in 2000 with emphasis in Communications, Journalism, Marketing, and holds a minor in Sociology.

Julie Severson, 2014 AIA Iowa Honorary Membership Award Recipient
Julie Severson, Hon. AIA Iowa received a 2014 AIA Iowa Honorary Membership for her distinguished service to the profession of architecture in Iowa. Severson is the Creative Director at Substance Architecture in Des Moines. Severson has dedicated much of her 27 year career working with architects and their firms. Severson has worked to advance the profession and increase the public’s awareness of the value of design.

Severson was an integral part in the success of the firms she has lent her services to, including Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck and Substance Architecture both located in Des Moines. She has also served as a volunteer for both AIA Iowa and the Iowa Architectural Foundation from 2006 to the present.

The 2014 AIA Iowa Awards Celebration also includes AIA Iowa Excellence in Design Awards, AIA Iowa Sustainable Design Awards, and AIA Iowa Educator Award and AIA Iowa Honorary Membership Awards. The Awards Celebration was held in conjunction with the AIA Iowa Annual Fall Convention on Thursday and Friday in Des Moines. The 2014 Convention, "Clarity," focused on the importance of collaboration with clients, builders, and the community for the development of a stronger basis of mutual understanding and better solutions for a quality built environment.

About AIA Iowa
Since 1857, the American Institute of Architects has represented the professional interests of America’s architects. AIA Iowa, headquartered in Des Moines, is a statewide affiliate of national AIA with nearly 1,000 members. AIA Iowa members are committed to excellence in design and are proactive in the design of livable communities. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that assures the client, the public and colleagues of an AIA member architect’s dedication to the highest standards of professional practice.


For interviews with the award winner, please contact Marisol Molstre at (515) 282-7145 or e-mail her at

AIA Iowa Firm Members