AIA Akron

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) was founded in 1857; AIA Akron a chapter of the AIA began in 1968. The Akron chapter is one of seven chapter territories that make up AIA Ohio. Through education, government advocacy, community redevelopment and public outreach activities, the AIA and its more 80,000 members work to achieve a more human-built environment and a higher standard of professionalism for architects.

AIA Akron Leadership

AIA Akron is comprised of architects, architectural associates working toward licensure, students, industry professionals and community members from the surrounding area. The board is headed by a president, president-elect, and past president who assist in organizing chapter events and committee activities.

Current Board of Directors

Benjamin Riha, AIA
CESO Inc.   
“I joined the AIA to be part of the professional design community.  In change, the AIA community helps everyone gain knowledge, awareness and relationships. We are all stronger as a body rather than an individual.” – Benjamin Riha


Past President 
Eric Pros, AIA
DS Architecture   




Peter Marks, AIA
Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design   



Brandilyn Fry, AIA, CSI, CDT
tab Architects




Three Year Director
Russell Gayheart, AIA
GPD Group  
“AIA Akron provides a platform to engage with industry professionals. I’m also able to work to promote community engagement within the chapter, with the goal to educate communities on the value of Architecture.” -Russell Gayheart


Three Year Director
Randy Parsons, AIA
Mann Parsons Gray Architects  


Three Year Director
Brian Lapolla, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Planning, Design & Construction Akron Children’s Hospital   


Susan Allen, AIA, ASID, LEED AP BD+C
TC Architects   



One Year Director 
Chris Gaone, AIA, LEED AP
ConnectingSpaces LLC  
“I have worked on projects in over 11 states, Japan and Ghana.  I serve as Faculty Advisor to the KSUBarkitecture Club, improving the built environment for our pets. The reasons I joined AIA Akron is to serve, learn, advance the profession, and improve quality of life through architectural endeavors.” -Chris Gaone



One Year Director
Emily Steiner Little, AIA, LEED, AP BD+C
The thing I like most about the AIA is it provides an incredible network of talented people who share many of the same goals but with different insight and opinions.”



One Year Director
Julie Whyte, AIA
SoL Harris Day Architects, Inc.
Being involved with AIA is a great way to connect with the broader design community and to advocate for positive change in the profession.”- Julie Whyte


One Year Director
Melinda Scalfaro, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
SoL Harris Day Architects, Inc.  
I love that AIA offers members a voice in today’s political landscape and events regarding my passion-environmental stewardship.” -Melinda Scalfaro


Associate Director
Zachary Forney
Better Block Foundation 
“I joined AIA because I got tired of people complaining and not working to make a change. I see AIA as the driving force in Architecture, so if I want to make a change in the profession, I can start by making a change in AIA.” -Zachary Forney


AIA Ohio Director 
Robert C. Chordar, AIA
TC Architects: 430 Grant Street Akron, OH 44311   


AIA Ohio Director Alternate 
Don Rife, AIA, LEED AP
The Ruhlin Company  
“I have been involved with the AIA for 18 years. I enjoy the camaraderie of working alongside fellow architects who have the vision for advancing our careers. My favorite genre of architecture is Research and Development. You meet some pretty interesting people working with this project type, and AIA provides a safe meeting space for us to share our ideas” -Don Rife


KSU CAED Liaison 
William T. Willoughby, AIA
Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design



Past Presidents