Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, executive director of the Virginia Center for Architecture, was inaugurated as the 90th president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) during ceremonies held on Dec. 12 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. She succeeds Mickey Jacob, FAIA, in representing nearly 83,000 AIA members.
“During my term as president, I want to look towards the future of our profession and society in general. We need to stimulate research to benefit the design and construction industry, emphasize a culture in firms that nurtures emerging professionals and promotes diversity and inclusiveness for under-represented groups, and advance the profession in the eyes of the public,” says Dreiling. “Ultimately, our efforts will be focused on bringing a shift to our own professional culture – the way we think, act and behave to transform the way that our culture regards architects and architecture.”
During more than 18 years of national AIA service, Dreiling has held numerous leadership positions including AIA secretary (2011-12), national vice president (2000), and national board membership (1997-98 and 2000). She is a past member of the board of trustees of the American Architectural Foundation and a past president of both the Virginia Society, AIA and AIA Blue Ridge. From 2000-2009 Dreiling held several positions at AIA National, including managing director of component relations, vice president of strategic initiatives and relationships, and team vice president, AIA Community.
Dreiling’s private practice architectural career includes work with The Plum Studio, and The Dreiling Partnership Architects, both Roanoke, Va.,-based firms that she headed. She received her bachelor of architecture degree from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.