Lawrence Tech’s Award Winning
Student Design Competition Entry
Interior view of Self + Tucker Architect’s Design Excellence Citation award winning project Teach For America Memphis. Jimmie Tucker, NOMA, AIA & Juan Self, NOMA, AIA Architect of Record

Dear NOMA Family

Montage of events where the NOMA president has participated

I would like to thank you for your membership and support of NOMA in 2019, the first half of my presidency. A year of tremendous growth and significant change for our organization, 2019 was one for the books.

While we have made great progress, there is much more to do in 2020. NOMA’s success hinges on the involvement and contributions of our members, sponsors, advocates and friends. If you are reading this message, I trust that you can be included in this esteemed group, and for that I am deeply grateful. Your care and concern for NOMA makes the work that we do worth all of the time and effort that it takes to run a vibrant and expanding organization.

I would like to thank all of our volunteer leaders for their efforts as well as our newly formed team of paid consultants who support our work. Together, our team looks forward to providing the level of service that our members deserve as you all continue to work hard to shape the future of the built environment.

To be an architect is an honor and a privilege that so few people have the opportunity to experience or truly understand. In 2020, I would like to challenge all of our members to change the perception of architecture by focusing on a simple directive:

NOMA 2020: Be visible and inspire the next generation of architects.

It is so important for people to be inspired and motivated to bring their best work to a world that needs all of our talents to come together for the greater good. One person who I am inspired by is Marian Wright Edelman, a fierce advocate for children’s rights and disadvantaged Americans. She is the president emerita and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.

One of her most famous quotes is often used in my discussions about the importance of NOMA Project Pipeline. I regularly share Marian Wright Edelman’s wise notion that, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” I remember Michelle Obama referencing this quote during her remarks at a recent AIA conference and I think that this sentiment is especially applicable to the building industry.

For a myriad of reasons, there is not much natural exposure to the architectural field in general, but particularly in minority communities. My specific charge to NOMA professionals and students in 2020 is to be more visible to the youth and support one another in the path towards success in the profession.

Each of our professional chapters should have a plan to meaningfully reach at least 100 K-12 students by the end of the year, which would equate to 3,000 youth impressions of architecture throughout NOMA’s 30 professional chapters.

For our student chapters, I would ask that you each place a special focus on supporting first-year students through their studies, which is a time when many people who are drawn to architecture make the decision to switch majors.

In general, I encourage everyone to be more visible and prepared to help one another achieve success in our field and expand opportunities for a more diverse group of people to design our collective future. Representation matters and so does diversity of thought and perspective. A hallmark of the NOMA experience since 1971 has been to foster an environment that encourages our members to pursue their dreams, fight inequality and build a better world.

Let us keep this legacy alive and strong. Let us continue to be ALL in for NOMA as we strive to be more visible in a profession that needs to see more of us. There is a lot to accomplish in 2020 and I can’t wait to see what we can do together.

ALL the best,

Kimberly Dowdell
2019-2020 NOMA National President
Access | Leadership | Legacy