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2016 IAct Awards Recognize Innovation, Leadership, and Service at IA

The design firm’s international, peer-driven awards program honors architects, designers, and technicians.
Image © IA Interior Architects.
Image © IA Interior Architects.

As our clients seek ways to reinforce positive culture through new workplace projects, IA has proudly paralleled impactful contributions with its internal firm-wide award program IA | Act (IAct). In a new twist from years past, (see the 2015 winners), the 2016 awards program is driven by peer-nominated recognition across three distinct categories: Service, Leadership, and Innovation.

Each category highlights IA’s priorities for professional development and success. “Service is important not only to our clients, but to ourselves—it’s about the service we provide to each other,” explains Brenda Plechaty, director of human resources and managing principal at IA. Leadership and innovation speak to more than being “first” or ahead of trends; these areas represent ground-level recognition of how outstanding professionals support each other, and make IA a better design firm.

“Our people are making a tremendous impact on our company, our profession, and our world,” says Jennifer Hatton, global director of client services and managing principal for IA. “We are immeasurably proud of this year’s award recipients and all of the 2016 nominees.”

2016 Leadership Award goes to Design Director, Principal John Hopkins

leadership-award“John exemplifies the unpretentious Design Leader.  He is confident enough in his design talent that he can let younger designers take the lead—always helping to guide them along the way. The key to IA’s design excellence relies on experienced designers nurturing the emerging designers, and John leads the pack in positioning IA design talent to navigate the shifting design landscape that now makes up our practice.

“I remember sitting in a meeting with John when the client was having a hard time with what was being presented.” We had a great presentation and a strong concept, but we could all read the frustration on the client’s face. Instead of getting frustrated himself, John addressed the client directly and asked “What is bothering you about this?” One roll of tracing paper and 20 minutes later; all was good. Listening, nurturing, and prioritizing a client focus; we can all learn something from John.”

—Tom Powers, AIA, Executive Director, Managing Principal


2016 Innovation Awards goes to Senior Job Captain, Senior Associate Michelle HoffmanN

innovation-awardThe IAct Award program celebrates the contribution of individuals who make IA a better firm, acknowledging that one person can make a difference and that those efforts contribute to our culture and success—and Michelle is always looking for ways to improve things.

Michelle has long been a leader in the use of IA’s design tools and has made significant contributions across the firm by providing knowledge, training and troubleshooting assistance. More importantly, she has an impressive grasp of how to apply those skills to a design practice.  She is constantly expanding her knowledge of workflows and creative approaches to project implementation, especially related to large scale projects such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Her pioneering efforts in the use of 3D modeling for real-time, construction administration with general contractors and subcontractors demonstrate the benefit of BIM tools in our practice, and help define IA as a leader in innovation.

Mick McCullough, AIA, Chief Operating Officer, Managing Principal


2016 Service Award goes to Senior System Administrator, Associate Clinton Johnston

service-awardFor those of us outside the IT world, using technology at work is akin to when you’re turning on a car engine—you expect it to run even though you don’t know much about the engine. Clinton is a great underpinning for the firm, and has helped bring us to the place of excellence in which we currently operate. He’s been an integral member of the DC office for the last 11 years and, as we ask him to take on greater responsibilities, he’s influenced not only the region but the firm at large. As an individual, he personifies professionalism, a great attitude. We’re so happy he won this award.

 —David Bourke, Executive Director, Managing Principal


The winners in all three categories will each receive a custom fabricated award, inspired in design by an award presented to David Mourning from IA leadership in 2010. The original award commemorates IA’s founder for shaping not only the firm but also the profession of interior architecture. The 2016 IAct awards acknowledge that spirit in the individuals who were both honored and nominated by their colleagues.

“Ultimately, IA recognizes that our people are truly what make us special—a world-class design firm who cares deeply about our clients, about our profession and about one another,” Hatton explains. “The secret sauce of IA? Our people.”


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