Army Corps architect creates space for minority youth; wins black engineer of the year award | Item

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Allison Pride, chief architect of the USACE Seattle District’s design arm, who received the 2022 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) award in the Modern Technology Leader category. This category recognizes an individual’s commitment to the future of STEM by developing cutting-edge technology or conducting research for cutting-edge industries. (Photo courtesy of Kelvin Chan Photography)
(Photo credit: Nicole Célestine)

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SEATTLE – As a child, Allison W. Pride has always been fascinated by space. Not space in a galaxy far, far away, but in architecture and design.

It was this fascination that led Pride, chief architect of the Seattle District Design Branch, to receive the Black Engineer of the Year 2022 award in the Modern-Day Technology Leader category – a category that recognizes commitment to the future of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by developing cutting-edge technology or doing research for cutting-edge industries.

Founded in 1986, BEYA is a globally recognized event that celebrates the achievements of underrepresented people in STEM fields. The Pride and other 2022 laureates will be honored at BEYA’s annual awards ceremony in February 2022.

This particular award recognized Pride’s involvement with several organizations – the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle, Women in Design, Seattle Architectural Foundation, National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) and the AIA Diversity RoundTable – who support youth and community engagement in STEM or healthcare.

Volunteering began early in her career and continued overseas with the Japan Engineering District from 2014 to 2018. Upon returning to the United States, Pride took a hands-on approach, focusing on professional groups. and mentoring girls from minority demographic groups, to improve representation in the career field.

“Architecture has been such a white, male dominated field,” Pride explained. “I faced him at school and at the start of my career. I am encouraged by the number of more women in this field, but I know there is a lot of work to be done in terms of minority representation.

Hands-on volunteering has enabled Pride to organize family outreach programs to introduce young children and their parents to architecture and design; give parents resources to support their children interested in a career or a program; develop pipeline activities that link with colleges and local communities to ensure minority students receive support; meet students from the University of Washington College of the Built Environment and provide feedback on their presentations and designs, and organize minority women roundtables on diversity and inclusion with local architectural firms and designers and private practitioners.

Being nominated and receiving the award was doubly humiliating for Pride.

“I do my best to work hard every day serving the groups, agencies and communities we partner with… This award reminds me that the little things I do every day matter. The challenges will be there, but there is always an opportunity to be careful what I do, to be intentional and to have a positive impact.

Architect and colleague Gregory Gobat, a member of the Design Branch, said he was not surprised that Pride received the award.

“There’s no question in my mind that Allison deserved every accolade she’s ever had, this one included,” Gobat said. “She is a natural leader not only for the projects she is a part of, but also an emerging leader for our chapter, branch and district. Allison is adept at new technologies in the workplace as they aim to produce better quality, better efficiency and better overall service to our customers, and is receptive to ideas from anyone in any position.

A native of Bellevue, Washington, Pride has been a part of the district for three and a half years and attributes his trips to his interest in architecture and design.

“I felt the difference when I walked into a building with high volumes versus a building that seemed narrower and more closed,” Pride said. “I was sensitive to trying to understand why. I was able to travel to Europe when I was a teenager and the first building I entered was La Catedral de Barcelona. The moment I walked in I sensed its presence and the intricacy of its details was extraordinary. I really felt the experience that the built environment and architecture can bring to the people and communities around it. I loved the idea that I could somehow be a part of this.

A graduate of a School of Architecture (College of Fine and Applied Arts) at the University of Illinois, a graduate of Urbana-Champaign, Pride has worked on various projects such as the Veterans Program, a phased partnership program with the US Department of Veterans Affairs and its local medical centers. Pride said this project was particularly rewarding for her as she was able to bring together various areas of technical expertise to design and deliver the program.

She is currently responsible for the technical design of the Information Systems Facility project at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Tacoma, Washington, a project that aims to consolidate important operations under the Network Enterprise Center (NEC). The project is in the construction phase, the phase that he likes the most, admits Pride, because people can witness the creation of a structure from scratch.

Gobat said that Pride’s leadership skills allow others to bring their A-Game to the table while honing their specific areas of expertise.

“One thing I really appreciate as a member of the project development team under Allison’s leadership is that she initiates the conversations and then allows her colleagues to use their skills and expertise to fill the gaps. gaps. It’s a sign of real team spirit – she knows she has a team with her and doesn’t try to do everything on her own, ”said Gobat.

Refusing common misconceptions that architects are too serious and inflexible, Pride said, “I think we’re having a lot of fun. She explains, “It’s a profession where we work with many different people and get creative in designing buildings that promote and support spaces where people eat, interact, work, spend time with their families and their friends, where they receive care, enjoy hobbies, seek entertainment, etc.

It’s not all work and no play for Pride, who plays violin and piano, speaks fluent Spanish, is an avid ski enthusiast and is learning to snowboard. Beyond the architectural community, she supports the District Special Accent Groups (as the African American Special Accent Lead), the BEYA Conference and the upcoming Women of Color Conference, to provide additional support to minorities, strengthen professional and student engagement and advocate for more opportunities. for a diverse workforce in the district.

Outside of the award, Pride said she will continue to strive for excellence in the quality of her work, leadership abilities, customer service and collaborations with stakeholders and team members.

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