Class Acts: Former student news

The College of Architecture encourages former students to submit news items for the Class Acts section of the arch|one e-newsletter. This section highlights professional achievements, as well as news briefs about marriages, births, retirements, bucket list accomplishments or whatever else former students care to share with the college community and their former classmates. News and photos may be e-mailed directly to the editor.



Residential designs from 1960-2012 by Frank Welch BARCH ’51, are featured in the 2015 book “Thirty Houses by Frank Welch.” Among the well-known designs by Welch, an outstanding alumnus of the College of Architecture, are the Sarofim Residence in Houston, Los Patios in San Antonio and the Shamoon Residence in Dallas.



Edward J. Burkhead BARCH ’58  has retired as an architect with Anderson Design Group in Louisville, Ky. “Architecture was a fun profession,” said Burkhead, a registered architect in California, Oregon and Kentucky. “I enjoyed it.” 


CLASSES OF ’66 and ’69

Jim Singleton IV ARCH ’66 and Jack Pyburn ’69 are shown in a photo of Aggie football players. Both of them — Singleton, second from the top and Pyburn, second from the bottom — have since had stellar design careers and are members of the prestigious American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows, one of the AIA’s highest honors. They are also both Outstanding Alumni of the College of Architecture. Pyburn recently found this image in his files and added the years the former students were honored as AIA Fellows. 


CLASSES OF ’73 and ’92

Tom Owens BDCR ’73 and Jonathan Brinsden BED, BDCR ’92, MSLD ’92 were host committee co-chairmen of the Urban Land Institute’s May 13-14, 2014 Spring Meeting in Houston.

The meeting, which featured project tours, networking events and panel discussions of real estate trends, drew more than 3,200 real estate leaders from around the world in every sector of the real estate industry.

Owens, an outstanding alumnus of the College of Architecture, is senior managing director and chief risk officer of investments at Hines, a global real estate firm. Brinsden is chief executive officer at Midway, a Houston-based investment and development firm.



David Fleming BDCR ’75 has been elected to the American Institute of Constructors’ College of Fellows, the AIC’s highest honor. Fleming, a vice president with Sundt, a construction company and general contractor and an Outstanding Alumnus of Texas A&M’s College of Architecture, provides nine divisions of Sundt with contract oversight and strategic support.

“We are proud of Dave and what he has done to promote integrity and professionalism in the industry,” said Ron Stuff, Sundt general counsel. “Throughout his years with Sundt, Dave has been a key leader in developing and sharing best practices. He has also taken a leadership position in regards to ethics and compliance at the national and through individual mentoring at the project level.”



Charles Greco BSCS ‘78, chairman of Linbeck Group LLC, a leading Houston-based builder, was installed as president of the Associated General Contractors of America during the group’s March 2015 convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Some of the major projects completed under his direction include Space Center Houston, the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, the Texas Heart Institute’s Denton A. Cooley Building, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.



Roger T. Carrillo BED ’78 has been a staff architect with the city of San Antonio since 2004. He has extensive experience in facility design, management, construction, facility management and maintenance. 



Anthony “Scott” Williams BLA ’79 is executive vice president of development and construction at the Valencia Group, where he is leading an effort to develop a new hotel category that would update the “motor court” concept into a 4-star hotel product with unique features and amenities. Williams has more than 25 years of construction, project management and real estate development experience and has managed projects ranging from $1 million to more than $300 million for The Walt Disney Company, Castle & Cooke and Texas A&M University.



Jim Snyder BDCR ’79, vice-president of White Construction Company, will oversee the company’s new Houston office. He previously worked from the Austin office managing several projects in a senior position.

His recent projects include a Whole Foods Market in Jackson, Miss. and a new Ergon laboratory and office building in Vicksburg, Miss.



Cathleen Hart BED ’82, is the founding principal of CHAI Architects, which relocated into a new office on Basse Road in San Antonio, in January 2015.  CHAI Architects is a full-service architectural and interior design firm focusing on corporate interiors, industrial architecture, historical renovation and retail.



John Patterson BED ’85 is the co-founder of Influence Ecology, a rigorous, 6-month private curriculum that helps people reach for money and career goals. He cites his Bachelor of Environmental Design degree as a foundational influence. “The program was my first foray into the human-environment relationship, and I thrived in it,” he said.

His studies at Texas A&M, he added, exposed him to an awareness of the interplay between people, what they build and why, and forged the intellectual pathway he needed to develop Influence Ecology’s foundational philosophy.

“I often pay homage to my professors, Gerald Maffei, Rodney Hill, and Paulo Barucchieri, who taught me a great deal about the potency of environment and place,” says Patterson. “As with any great teacher, their lessons were not just about architecture, they were about life.”

Maffei is a retired architecture faculty member but teaches an occasional class, Hill remains on the faculty, and Barucchieri, the much beloved, longtime director of Texas A&M’s study abroad program in Italy, died in 2012.



Roy R. Pachecano BED ’88, president of Portico Real Estate Investments LLC, is featured as the third-generation leader of the company, which started as a family construction business more than 75 years ago, in a video about the company's history. Pachecano led Portico's transition into its latest incarnation, a commercial, hospitality and residential real estate company. A designer, developer and financier, Pachecano is also a lecturer at the Pratt Institute in New York City. 



Brian Kralyevich BED ’89, is vice president of user experience design for digital products at Amazon, overseeing design of Amazon's Kindle Fire Tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Fire Phone, Kindle Paperwhite and other strategic design initiatives.

He supervises design-led teams that collaborate with engineering and business partners to deliver integrated hardware, software and service solutions for customers.

Prior to joining Amazon, Kralyevich was executive creative director for XBOX, where he directed interdisciplinary design teams who delivered end-to-end consumer experiences for game consoles, Kinect, PC, mobile and web platforms.



Angela Hood ’BDCR ‘91 is the founder and CEO of ThisWay, a Cambridge, UK-based company that created an application that links job seekers with prospective employers with an algorithm called Match-ic.

“Although we had the help of Fortune 100 companies in developing the right platform, a huge part of our early success happened because I was able to get help from Aggies all over the world, including those living in nearby London,” said Hood. ThisWay also hosts webinars for job seekers and employers.



Andrew Vrana BED ’93, a principal partner at METALAB, a Houston-based design firm, spoke at TEDx Houston 2015 about digital fabrication, design and his firm’s work. Vrana, a visiting professor at the University of Houston, oversaw the 2013 installation of “Memory Cloud,” a kinetic installation at the Memorial Student Center. The firm's recent design projects include historic building renovations, several public art pieces, and the design of an off-grid hydroponic garden system.




Kathryn Busch BED ’94, is a senior project manager on a team honored with an Award of Merit for its design of the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center in Dallas by Environments for Aging, a publication that features senior environment design news.

The nine-acre facility, scheduled for completion in fall 2016, includes a 5.4-acre lake with gardens, courtyards, trails, outdoor living rooms, patios and an amphitheater. The center, Dallas’ first freestanding hospice, was designed to integrate operations that provide inpatient care, education and resources, spiritual care and counseling for adults and children.



Gin Kappler-Peeler BED ’94 was senior project manager at Perkins + Will for a 19,100 square-foot ambulatory surgery center project in Houston that earned a 2015 National Healthcare Design Award from the American Institute of Architects.

She is currently an associate and senior project manager at Gensler, working on two commercial interior projects totaling approximately 750,000 square feet.

Since earning her BED, she has led or delivered projects that have earned 18 awards and mentions in more than 30 publications and contributed to healthcare and commercial projects totaling more than 16 million square feet.

She enjoys traveling, photography, studio mentoring and participating in the AIA’s Young Architects Forum.


CLASSES OF ’01, ’03

Jason Puckett BED ‘01, and Scott Stickane, BED ‘03 are working at Sabre Corporation, a travel technology company, as a senior graphic designer and motion graphics designer and videographer, respectively. The two pursued separate opportunities after earning their undergraduate degrees, but through a series of coincidences, including a corporate marketing reorganization at Sabre, the two former students ended up on the same creative services team.

“We still talk about how Rodney Hill’s Intro to Creativity class has been the basis for all our success,” said Puckett.




Ben Johnston BED ’02 earned a runner-up award for his master bedroom design in the 2015 Houston PaperCity Design Awards contest. He and his fellow awardees were honored at an April 7, 2015 ceremony.

Johnston, co-founder and principal designer at Avondale Design Studio, is a design advice contributor to “Deals,” an ABC/Live Well Network program, the Houston Chronicle and several additional publications. He has also been named a rising star of design by the Decorative Center of Houston and one of the city’s most beautiful people by H magazine for his commitment to community service.



James Michael Tate BED ‘02, a Los-Angeles based architect, presented a speculative investigation of one of architecture’s most enduring forms in “Some Views of Triumphal Arches,” an August 28, 2015 lecture at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

In 2013, Tate co-organized “On the Road,” a collection of design experiments from emerging Los Angeles artists and design studios that was exhibited in inside U-Haul trucks at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.



Jake Donaldson BED ’03 is the founder, owner and principal of Three Square Design Group, a design and planning firm. Donaldson was recently recognized by The Association of Former Students in its 12 for 12 Spotlight, a list of former students with outstanding accomplishments in business, civic service and philanthropy who also represent Texas A&M’s core values. His firm, which was in the 2014 and 2015 Aggie 100, an annual list of the fastest-growing Aggie owned or led businesses, also performs pro bono services for Houston Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Houston Food Bank.

Donaldson also led the design of Ellen Lighting and Hardware, an upscale retail, office and distribution space, which earned an achievement award from the Tilt Up Concrete Association.

Donaldson’s firm, the Houston-based 3 Square Design Group designed the facility with a concrete tilt wall, which is formed horizontally then tilted to a vertical position with a crane and braced into position after the concrete has cured.

The completed wall includes a glass curtain, wood pattern panels and a dramatic two-story portal entry.



David Morris, BED ’05 and MSVIZ ’08 has begun a yearlong appointment as a Fellow with Texas Medical Center Biodesign, a fellowship program that recuits highly accomplished individuals from diverse backgrounds, including design, engineering, medicine, business, and computer science, to create digital health solutions and new devices for healthcare’s greatest needs.  Fellows will identify unmet clinical needs, prototype and iterate multiple design solutions, and create business strategies to implement use of the devices. 



Josh Ellison BED ‘05 has been the communications and marketing manager for Texas A&M’s Division of Student Affairs since April 2015. Before his current post, Ellison was alumni relations coordinator at Mays Business School’s Marketing Communications & Alumni Relations office.

“He has extensive experience in developing communication strategies, project management, graphic design, writing, and event planning,” said Cynthia L. Hernandez, assistant vice president for student affairs.



Patrick LeMieux BED ‘07 has accepted a tenure-track position at the University of California, Davis in the Department of Cinema and Digital Media, where he will be teaching game studies and critical game making. He will also partner with fellow UCD faculty member Stephanie Boluk to operate ALT CTRL, a media lab focusing on creating games, playing games online and developing games and controllers for people with disabilities.


Chris Wheeler BED ’07, MSVIZ ’09, is a co-founder of Emergent VR, a startup company developing a social platform to enable anyone with a mobile device to create, edit and share virtual reality experiences, which has raised $2.2 million from Accel Partners, Rothenberg Ventures and Google Ventures.  The goal is to make capturing VR-optimized video a more seamless user experience than “setting up 20 GoPro cameras,” he said.




Andrew Pogue BED ’07, a Seattle-based architectural photographer, has posted a gallery of his favorite healthcare facility images to his business website.

In addition to shooting still images of projects ranging from residential interiors to luxury hotels, Pogue creates architectural videos as part of Frazer Pogue Collective, a partnership with architectural and product photographer Lars Frazer.

Also, Pogue’s photos of Dallas’ new Parkland Memorial Hospital were featured in a June 2015 Architectural Record article heralding the opening of the 2-million square-foot facility.



Jacob Sadler BDCR ’13 is a project engineer with Whiting-Turner, a contracting company that is the prime contractor on the Fred Pirkle Engineering Technology Center project, a gateway building into Sam Houston State University's campus in Huntsville, Texas. The center will house SHSU’s Department of Agricultural and Industrial Sciences, providing wildlife research lab space, electronics/robotics lab spaces, woodworking and machine shops. The center is scheduled for completion in spring 2017. 



Lauren McCullough BSVIZ ’10 is a presentation specialist at Morgan Stanley, a multinational financial services company, creating presentations for sales and marketing. After earning her bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M, she earned a master’s degree in visual brand design at Domus Academy in Milan, Italy in 2013.

Before arriving at Morgan Stanley, McCullough was a freelance graphic designer producing advertisements, icons, logos and Internet graphics. Her clients included O, The Oprah Magazine and the U.S. Department of State.



Rachel Nhan BSVIZ ’11 designed clothing that was produced in a 3-D printer and worn by runway models in a fashion show at the Inside 3-D Printing Conference and Expo in New York City in April 2015.

 “Fashion has always been dependent on the newest technology of its time and this is our new frontier,” said Nhan, an assistant graphic designer of men’s apparel at Aeropostale in New York. Before arriving at Aeropostale, she completed several freelance gigs that included creating character concepts and helmets, masks, goggles, wigs and body paint for World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers.



Rahmawati Husein URSC ’11, led a team that delivered 47 tons of food and relief supplies to Katmandu, Nepal, where a massive earthquake struck on April 25, 2015.

Husein is an assistant professor of social and political sciences at Universitas Muhammadiyah in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where she teaches urban planning, natural resource management, research methods and disaster risk reduction. She is also the vice chairwoman of Yogyakarta’s Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Center, which focuses on hazard preparedness, response and mitigation. 



Kyle Kasper COSC ‘11 married Heather Ebner ’07 at St. Louis Catholic Church in Castroville, Texas. Kasper teaches math and is a football and baseball coach at Rudder High School in Bryan. He is the son of Barbara and Pat Kasper of College Station.

The bride, Heather Ebner, earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 2007. She is the daughter of Courtney and Gene Ebner of Castroville.





Brandon Earman COSC ’12 is marrying Linda Atkinson July 18, 2015. Earman is a project engineer with Manhattan Construction Company in Dallas. Atkinson, a 5th grade science teacher in Mount Pleasant ISD, earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies at Texas A&M in 2011.




Mengyan Xiao MSCOMG ’15 is a construction estimator at Shoreline Builders, a framing and concrete contractor in the San Francisco Bay area. The company specializes in building large, multiunit projects in California and Nevada.


Adam Rothstein MFAVIZ ’15, exhibited “Rare Model,” a science fiction short film based on an award-winning screenplay by Cody Pierce, at the third-annual Southeastern Conference Symposium in Atlanta. Rothstein demonstrated how creativity, in the form of art, design, craft, visualization, and technical skills, can invigorate regional economies.

posted January 17, 2016