Community and professional engagement is a critical component of daily life at Dattner Architects. Our collaborative team approach nurtures learning and professional growth through exposure not only to new project opportunities, but also to professional industry organizations and local community groups. We believe that active engagement in professional organizations empowers our staff to have agency over decisions that affect both their personal and professional lives, and leads to a more robust, well-rounded, and meaningful career.
Here are some highlights from the past quarter:
Keith Engel, Senior Associate & Studio Director
Keith Engel was appointed by the Queens Borough President to a Board member position on Queens Community Board 6, which encompasses the Forest Hills and Rego Park neighborhoods of Queens. His term began on April 1st and will run for two years. The Community Board is the official municipal body whose primary mission is to advise elected officials and government agencies on matters affecting the social welfare of their district, which include broad matters such as land use, housing, education, and transportation.
“As someone who has dedicated my career to practicing socially responsible design, I’ve worked extensively with various non-profits to develop affordable, supportive, and homeless housing for those New Yorkers who need it the most. Such endeavors often involve presentations to Community Board’s across the five boroughs, and it was during these conversations with Community Boards that I became concerned that – as an Architect – my ability to directly affect positive change within a community is limited. I am excited to begin my term as a Community Board member so I can be an active participant in the conversation, and to offer my professional expertise to the dialogue about the important issues affecting the community—of affordable housing, of homelessness, of climate change, and of social justice.”
— Keith Engel
Aimee Hultquist, Project Architect
Aimee Hultquist is participating in the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF)’s Emerging Leaders Program, which is a selective professional development opportunity for women 5-10 years out of school. In small group format, participants engage with significant senior women in architecture, engineering, construction, real estate, law, and financial services to advance their own career goals.
“The fellowship theme this year is Perseverance, Politics, and Power – it’s a great opportunity to interface with significant senior women in architecture about these topics and to share our experiences as young women building our careers in the A/E industry. The group is a mix of architects and engineers bringing their perspectives to discussions, which is different and exciting—I’m looking forward to being a part of it!”
— Aimee Hultquist
Ruth Ro, Associate Principal
Ruth Ro was selected as a Build Out Alliance board member. Build Out Alliance’s mission is to promote and advocate for the LGBTQ community within the building design and construction industry—where members can serve openly and with pride across all roles and sectors of the industry.
“When I am out and visible in the workplace, I’m able to open minds, break down preconceptions, and create a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ colleagues. I have benefitted from brave trailblazers ahead of me and I have a responsibility to leave a wider path behind me. Through Build Out, we can continue to find strength in numbers, be more visible, and create a more inclusive industry.”
— Ruth Ro
Brandon Wang, Project Architect
Brandon Wang is an Architectural League mentor. The Architectural League’s mentorship program fosters student-mentor relationships between practicing architects and designers in New York and architecture students from City Tech, CCNY, and Kean University. The program also aims to increase awareness of professional opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds and give mentoring architects a chance to share expertise and realistic career expectations. Through virtual check-ins, the relationships become a space for guidance and learning for students entering the practice.
“Though we have only met virtually, my mentee and I have discussed resumes, what an internship is like, his school studio work, and many other things in between. I am grateful I can share my own experience and help shape his successful entry into his architecture career.”
— Brandon Wang
Kirsten Sibilia, Managing Principal
Kirsten Sibilia is serving the Nominating Committee for the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter. The committee is elected each year to select candidates for the AIA New York Board and the Fellows, Finance, Honors, Oculus, and Design Awards Committees.
“It has been enriching collaborating with my fellow committee members to help create a diverse, thoughtful, and talented slate of leaders for the Chapter, professionals that share our commitment to the AIA, our belief in New York City, and our support of equitable practice models.”
— Kirsten Sibilia