Letter from the President
Kathy Denise Dixon
AIA, NOMA, LEED AP BD+C
It is with great honor and humility that I assume the role of president of the National Organization of Minority Architects. For those who know me and my relationship with NOMA, this role has been a long time in the making. The first NOMA conference that I attended was held in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1998. I have not missed a conference since. Ironically at that conference there was a luncheon honoring the hundred or so licensed African-American women architects. It was a great thrill for me to be in the same room and be honored along with many women I may have only heard of, but greatly respected. Who knew that 14 years later I would become president of the organization?
At that time, I started helping the national board behind the scenes by assisting with the website. For twelve years I acted as the NOMA webmaster trying to communicate as much information as possible across the country to our many chapters and members.
Over the years, I've taken on a number of NOMA positions at the local and national levels; chapter secretary, webmaster, regional vice-president, and now here I find myself accepting the presidency. I've seen our organization grow in a number of aspects including a much needed, high quality publication in NOMA magazine, a well-attended and educational conference in major cities across the country, collaborations with AIA, GSA, EPA, and now USGBC, a highly anticipated student design competition, new chapters in New Jersey, Dallas, Boston, and So. Florida, and national recognition in the form of the AIA's Whitney Young Jr award.
Although we've made these great strides, there is much work yet to be done. We enjoyed ourselves at our historic annual conference reminiscing, fellowshipping, and celebrating our past 40 years. But what happens now? Where do we go from here? Most importantly, are we still relevant in our fourth decade?
I believe we Are still relevant. When in 2013 African-American still only make up less than 2% of the country's licensed architects, we are still relevant. When nearly 30% of architects have lost their jobs in a recession, we are still relevant. When young architecture school graduates cannot find work, we are still relevant. When buildings consume over 30% of the nation's energy and the industry is shifting its reliance away from traditional energy sources, we are still relevant. When there are still only 288 licensed black women architects in the country, WE ARE STILL RELEVANT.
So how do we remain relevant and ensure another 40 years of service? I believe a strong Executive Director role for the organization is needed. We must also promote our programs like Project Pipeline nationally with the dual purpose of promoting the architectural profession and increasing the numbers of minority architects. These are just a few ideas that I believe will strengthen our future. I have a vision for NOMA, but also want to hear your vision as well. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your thoughts..