Contact: Shannon Calder    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Assoc. Director of Communications

(916) 642-1718

Dedicated Professionals Recognized for Grand Achievements Early in Their Career

Sacramento, Calif.—Not only have the best and the brightest minds been recognized, but those who support architects in the early stages of their career. The 6th Annual AIACC Academy of Emerging Professionals Awards Program jury met earlier this month to deliberate and discuss the submittals from all the extraordinary candidates. And, while there were many worthy candidates, there was created a consensus among the theme of how the small can sometimes be so mighty.

For example, although it was not an easy decision, and was narrowed to two: a large chapter, Orange County, hosting amazing events and using their breadth and large membership, or a smaller chapter who does not have all the resources or participation as compared to a larger. In the end, the jury decided to award both as the comment was made that it is “akin to comparing apples to oranges.” AIA Golden Empire works completely on a volunteer basis. “They are doing so much with so little,” one juror commented. The jury also noted how important it is to reach out to the K – 12 education system, which Golden Empire is doing successfully.

And AIA Orange County is truly utilizing all necessary resources–from funding to volunteer efforts to community outreach within a more urban area–to promote and bolster the careers of those on the path to licensure, or those who are early in their careers.

The Educator Award recipient is also a member of the Golden Empire Chapter. Chris Ennis, AIA is faculty at a community college and experience difficulties and road blocks different than his peers in the four-year university arena. The jury applauded his efforts to ignite passion and interest in those students who may not otherwise be exposed before they transfer.

Melanie Freeland, AIA, Associate at Gensler, Los Angeles, received the Young Architect Award. Her involvement with events, particularly emphasizing the presence of women in the profession was inspiring to the jury. Her passion to be involved to suggest ways and paths to navigate towards change, but then to follow-through and stay an active participant are both commendable attributes she has portrayed.

Megan Dougherty, AIA, received this year’s Associates Award. The jury was unanimously impressed with the breadth and scope of her portfolio. They were particularly impressed with her level of AIA involvement and how, at such a young age, she’s could participate at the local, state and national level. To rise through those tiers of influence is quite a feat and she has accomplished flawlessly, making connections, friends, colleagues and mentors along the way.

REM Architects received the Firm Mentorship Award. The jury was impressed from the many different voices and perspectives that this firm showed on their submittal and how they are using their diversity to not only welcome, but mentor first-hand many new to the profession.

All recipients will be recognized Nov. 16 at the Leadership Institute in Pasadena.


For more information, please contact Shannon Calder 916-642-1718.


The AIACC represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in California.  Founded in 1944, The AIACC’s mission supports architects in their endeavors to improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more livable communities, sustainable designs and quality work environments. Today, The AIACC is the largest component of the national AIA organization. For more information, visit

Skip to content