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Power Up Your Practice: AIA Chicago Practice Management Kickoff with Industry Insights and Expert Panel


We are back! Join us for a kickoff event with the Practice Management Knowledge Group as we reengage with AIA Chicago. In collaboration with the Small Firm Exchange Affinity Group (SFx), this event will jump right into the shared wisdom of our professional network and colleagues. The event will be in two parts; first, industry experts Melissa Robert and Eric Singer, Affil. AIA Chicago will present “Working for Yourself” that focuses on the legal and insurance aspects of starting and managing a small firm.  The second part will be a panel discussion with local small firm leaders to get real-time insight into managing a successful business in the design industry.  Questions and audience participation is encouraged.

About PMKC:
PMKC offers a forum to those interested in better understanding the multiple facets of our profession and business environment. Whether in the initial stages of your career, transitioning, or well-established, we provide a variety of resources and perspectives to those interested in the practice of architecture.


Scott Steffes, AIA
PMKC Co-chair; Principal at Wight & Company

Scott Steffes is a Principal at Wight & Company and leads their Chicago Architecture group, overseeing projects and fostering a collaborative and dynamic work environment. With over 25 years of experience in award-winning regional and international projects, Scott has honed his skills at renowned firms such as Skidmore Owings & Merrill in Chicago and Kohn Pedersen Fox in New York. His commitment to the architectural community is evident through his continuous mentoring in the AIA Chicago Diversity Scholarship program and his active involvement in the architecture programs at IIT, UIUC, and Iowa State University.

Headshot of Sheri Andrews, AIA

Sheri Andrews, AIA
PMKC Co-chair; Principal at Valerio Dewalt Train

As a Principal at Valerio Dewalt Train, Sheri brings 25 years of experience to her projects. She prioritizes client collaboration to create architectural solutions that meet today’s needs while offering solutions with flexibility for future evolution. A recent recipient of the AIA Illinois R. Buckminster Fuller Award for Social Good, Sheri is a dedicated mentor and champion for positive change through her involvement with CREW Chicago, Chicago Women in Architecture, and AIA Chicago. For the Shedd Aquarium Experience Evolution project, she leads the design team, stewarding the building’s historic architecture and creating inclusive experiences for all guests.


Eric Singer, Affil. AIA Chicago
Partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Eric Singer is a construction lawyer and litigation partner with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Chicago.  Eric concentrates his practice on contracts, insurance, counseling and disputes relating to construction, design and real estate. Eric represents architects, engineers, contractors, owners, lenders, title and liability insurers and others involved in improvement and use of real estate and the built environment.  Eric received his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Illinois in 1985 and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1988. Eric is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and the DuPage County Bar Association, the ABA Forum on Construction Law, the Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, an Allied Member of the American Institute of Architects and a Professional Affiliate Member of both AIA Chicago and AIA Northeast Illinois.  Eric is also a Professional Affiliate Director on AIA Chicago’s Board of Directors.

Melissa Roberts
Executive Vice President at USI Insurance Services

Melissa helps design firms avoid claims, manage their risks and purchase Professional Liability and other business insurance. She is a past President of a/e ProNet – a national organization of Architects and Engineers insurance brokers, the American Institute of Architects Northeast Illinois Chapter awarded her their service Award for Outstanding Affiliate Member, and her articles, The Big Switch – Look Before You Leap When Changing Insurance Companies and Reporting Claims and Potential Claims Under Professional Liability Insurance were published by AIArchitect. Melissa currently serves on the ACEC IL Risk Management Committee and is a past Northeast IL Chapter AIA board member. Melissa presents risk management seminars and workshops on behalf of clients, professional associations and educational institutions.


Chyanne Husar, AIA, Moderator
Principal at HUS Architecture

Chyanne Husar founded HUSarchitecture in 2010 with a passion to change the world through architecture. The Small Firm Exchange was such a huge influence in her start, that she has dedicated her time to fostering a support network for small firms. She has served on the auxiliary board of the AIA Chicago SFx since 2012 and has previously chaired AIA National SFx and AIA National Small Project Design KC. Today, HUSarchitecture is growing into a mid-size firm focused on developing actionable solutions that improve the sustainability of the built environment.

Danielle Beaulieu, AIA
Founder at Principal at ~ Lieu

Danielle Beaulieu AIA, LEED AP BD+C is a Chicago-based architect and founder of – lieu. – lieu is an architecture & design studio driven by the desire to create unique places rooted in empathy, curiosity and thoughtfulness. The studio is committed to doing impactful work across all building types, scales, and communities. – lieu is a certified women-owned business (WBE). Her work has been featured in Dwell, Grand Designs, and AIA CRAN Symposium. Prior to starting her own practice, she spent seven years at John Ronan Architects working on AIA award-winning projects such as the IIT Innovation Center and Independence Library & Apartments.

Tom Lee, AIA
Founder at Tom Lee Studio

Tom Lee is an award-winning architect and the founding principal of Tom Lee Studio. He endeavors to create architecture that is pragmatic, poetic, and enduring. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before establishing his independent practice, he gained experience working with leading design firms on a wide range of project types, including residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, health care, and science. Recently, he served as the co-chair of the AIA Chicago Third Thursday series and is currently the president of the Chicago Architectural Club. 

Josh Mings, AIAJosh Mings, AIA
Founder and Principal at Aggregate Studio

Josh Mings, AIA, Founder and Principal of Aggregate Studio, is committed to providing dignified architecture for everyone. Bringing 14 years of experience with residential and community-based projects, he allows teams to create the best possible projects through knowledge, tenacity, consensus-building, and optimism. He and Aggregate Studio strive to positively impact cities, housing, and residents with dignified design, giving back to the community on projects that span Chicagoland and the Midwest. 

Hosted By


Tuesday | 06.18.2024


5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


AIA Members: Free
Non-AIA Members: $20
AIA Chicago Students: Free


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