DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD WINNERS
Ron Fisher, Architecture, ‘79
Throughout his 42-year tenure with Schmidt Associates, Ron Fisher has made a significant impact on countless individuals, communities, and the Midwest. As a people leader and strategic executive, Ron has led the architects, engineers, interior designers, construction professionals, and support staff of Schmidt Associates in becoming one of the region’s best-known and most-respected design teams. As an architect and the Principal-in-Charge, Ron provided leadership on numerous projects across Indiana, making significant contributions to the state’s-built environment. Ron and Schmidt Associates have been long-time supporters of Ball State University and the College of Architecture and Planning. He has served on numerous CAP planning and advisory committees and collaborated as a professional resource for design studios, professional practice classes, and systems classes. He helped initiate the Schmidt Associates Scholarship for CAP architectural students and has supported over 130 CAP student interns at the firm. Several of these interns have returned as permanent staff members.
Brian Kidd, Architecture, ’85
Brian’s early interest in architecture was expressed in designing and building treehouses in the foothills of San Jose, California. This interest led to a career as a draft person and designer at Muncie Urban Design Studio in Muncie, Indiana. He later relocated to San Jose, California serving as an architectural intern at McClellan & Copenhagen before beginning a professional career at K+CZL Associates as an architectural technician on restoration and renovation projects. Later moving to Chicago where he spent the bulk of his career at Pappageorge Haymes Partners, Brian worked his way up to a partner until recently founding his own firm, KiddArchitects, LLC. in 2021. The common thread running throughout his career and life has been a love of drawing and the power of using this tool to communicate and explore ideas, whether in a digital format, pencil or pen. Brian is thankful for his experiences and the education that he received as well as many of life-long friendships that were started at CAP and Ball State.
OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD WINNERS
Brad Beaubien, Urban Planning, ‘00
Brad’s career as an urban planner has had three distinct phases. The first began as a student, where he became heavily involved with the Community Based Projects program. There, Brad developed a keen interest in community engagement, public education, and applied research. Upon graduation, through a series of interim steps, he came to work as the first full-time staff member of the new CAP Indianapolis Center. Brad grew to become the first full-time Director of the Center, where he added the interdisciplinary Master of Urban Design program. Their work with MUD students focused on supporting a growing momentum for reintroducing rapid transit to our city, supporting community groups seeking to understand potential impact of such a system on the places and people they held closest. Brad’s education at Ball State has taken him beyond his wildest dreams, but more importantly, he believes that it has gaven him the tools to unlock the dreams of the people of our world, our society, our community, and even our profession that have been held back for too long.
Matthew De Geeter, Interior Design, ‘07
At Ball State University, Matthew took the course “Introduction to Interior Design” with Janet Fick and found a professional career. In addition to program work, he took on a position as student assistant & learned to volunteer for leadership opportunities beginning with the student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and eventually ASID Indiana Chapter. The value of Matthew’s undergraduate education was exponentially amplified through leadership roles and a professional network. Upon graduation, Matthew was able to leverage his network to connect to firms across the country. His professional career began in healthcare interiors at Perkins & Will. With projects scaling from medical campuses to neighborhood clinics, he experienced how design impacted patients, families, care providers, and staff but also had the potential to influence the community. While at Perkins & Will, Matthew continued to volunteer for ASID moving from chapter to national leadership including chair of the first Emerging Professionals Advisory Council followed by Director-at-Large on the Board of Directors and landed as Vice President of Education and Engagement for the ASID Indiana Chapter. Throughout his career, Matthew has relied on the design education that he received at Ball State University.
Jeffrey Johnson, Architecture, ‘92
After working on critically acclaimed projects for leading international offices, such as Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Asymptote and Michael Sorkin Studio, Jeffrey founded SLAB architecture, PLLC in 2003 in New York City with Jill Leckner, RA, LEED AP. SLAB won several awards, and has been exhibited and published internationally in professional and academic publications. They have been awarded four American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards, three in New York City and one in Kentucky. Jeffrey received the American Institute of Architects Presidential Citation Award in 2012 for his work on the 9/11 Memorial and Museum while a Senior Associate Architect at Davis, Brody and Bond Architects. SLAB has been invited to compete in a number of prestigious juried international design competitions and were fortunate to have been selected as a prize winner on four occasions. Their practice prides itself in delivering innovative design solutions to a wide range of projects and clients. Jeffrey has also been interviewed and broadcast by multiple media outlets including CNN, NPR, Monocle Radio, and The Economist Magazine.
Adriann Rhoades, Construction Management, ’07
Throughout her career, Adriann has served in a variety of roles, starting at Turner Construction in 2007 as an estimating engineer, superintendent, and project engineer before returning to Ball State in 2013 to serve as a graduate assistant to Dr. James Jones. Returning to the industry, Adriann served as the lead preconstruction manager for FA Wilhelm on a number of large projects. She then took on one preconstruction assignment that led her to her current role as Director of Planning, Design and Construction at Wabash College. Adriann continues to support and accredit Ball State’s Construction Management program for providing her with a strong foundation that challenged her ways of thinking and expanded her ability to listen, defer judgement and guide groups through situations that involved critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Adam Thies, Urban Planning, ‘00
A city planner, project developer, consulting firm founder and appointed public official, Adam has spent his entire career designing and growing cities, towns, campuses, and villages, working to create places that are beautiful, fun and financially viable. Adam has played a major leadership role, as Director of Metropolitan Development, in many projects for the city of Indianapolis. He has been the planning, development, and architectural review leader for numerous projects at Indiana University. At home in Bloomington, Indiana, Adam and his wife Anne are parents to four children. A sense of humor, a serious commitment to making projects better and a love of thoughtful and beautiful design are all noteworthy aspects of his personal style.
April Westcott, Landscape Architecture, ‘95
April graduated from Ball State University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. She worked in design build for six years before working with Irrigation Design Source from 2001-2019. She has also worked on the design teams for the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Citizens Bank Park-Phillies Field, Eskinazi Health Campus as well as master-planning for more than a dozen colleges and universities and more than 30 Indiana high schools. April joined Mark M. Holeman in March 2019 and is currently working with MG Landscape and Irrigation as a Senior Project Manager. As Past-President of the Indiana Chapter of ASLA, April currently serves as the National ASLA Member Services Committee Chair. She received the National ASLA Outstanding Service Award for 2019 given only to two members out of 14,000. In 2020, she received the Claire Bennett Legacy Award for her dedication to her service to the Indiana Chapter. April continues to support CAP by serving on the Executive Advisory Board for Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning.
GRADUATES OF THE LAST DECADE AWARD WINNERS (G.O.L.D.)
Maya Bird-Murphy, Architecture, ‘14
Maya Bird-Murphy is an architectural designer, educator, and maker from Oak Park, Illinois. While working full-time and completing her master’s, she founded Chicago Mobile Makers, a nonprofit organization bringing design-focused skill-building workshops to underrepresented communities. Maya believes that architecture should not be a privilege and must expand to accommodate more people through teaching and community engagement. She loves Chicago and hopes to make her mark by making it a more equitable place to live. In her free time, Maya can be found outside enjoying nature with her two dogs.
Ellen Forthofer, Urban Planning, ‘15
Ellen is an Associate City Planner with the City and County of Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI). On the Transportation and Mobility Planning team, her efforts focus on multimodal neighborhood planning efforts, bike infrastructure design and installation, and transit-supportive infrastructure. She is currently project manager for the South Central Community Transportation Network, an ambitious effort to plan, design, and install 45+ lane miles of bikeway in a section of Denver within 2 years. Previously, she worked at Indianapolis’ transit agency (IndyGo), where she led community partnerships and programs. Ellen has also held a national leadership position in the American Planning Association (APA) from 2014 – 2020, serving as a Regional Representative, Chair, and Past Chair of the Student Representatives Council. During this time, she also served as an APA Board Director a contributor to several APA task forces and committees, and an advisor on the development and launch of two nationwide programs that benefitted student and new planner members of APA.
Yasha Ogg, Interior Design, ‘15
In 2017, shortly after passing the WELL accreditation exam, Yasha was scouted to start a new role within an Architecture firm called emersion DESIGN, focused on Sustainability and Health. As the Sustainability and Healthy Building Designer at emersion DESIGN, he supports and leads project teams through a plethora of sustainability focused rating systems. Yasha also works closely with the company’s executive team to redefine the company’s long-term sustainability goals and commitments. Projects that he has worked on include Enriching Spaces, the first WELL Platinum Office Building in the Midwest, and Bethany School, the first Net Zero Energy School in the Midwest. Yasha feels that it was an honor to guide the project teams through the certification processes for these buildings. Since graduating from Ball State in 2015, he has strived to stay a lifelong learner. Since 2015, Yasha has achieved six health and sustainability related credentials, and he plans to pursue more. He is grateful for his start at Ball State University. Yasha truly believe that the foundation of knowledge he was able to grow at Ball State has led him to where he is today.
Bithia Ratnasamy, Urban Planning, ‘12
Bithia recently stepped into a new role on January 4, serving as the Atlanta Housing Authority’s first Director of Housing within the Executive Offices. While no longer in the Mayor’s Office, her focus largely remains on the implementation of the One Atlanta: Housing Affordability Action Plan and a greater goal of building a culture of collaboration between the city and its housing agencies. Bithia’s work has also expanded to include providing leadership and technical assistance on special initiatives that the Real Estate Development, Policy, and Governmental Affairs teams are undertaking. As Bithia defines this role, she is committed to being a leader who is centered in empathy, vulnerability, and kindness.
Adrian Russell, Construction Management, ‘11
Currently, Adrian serves as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion / Procurement for Shiel Sexton. This was the first full – time position of its kind within the Central Indiana construction market, an appointment which he is incredibly honored that he has been afforded the unique opportunity to continue in such important work and spearheading both internal and external progress so critical to the future of the industry. Adrian has accumulated just shy of ten years of experience in construction operations. He has had a diversified professional background, as he has worked for multiple general contractors of various sizes, as well as subcontractor and minority contractor. Adrian is a proud graduate of Ball State University and humbled by his professional achievements.
Melissa Williams, Architecture, ‘11
Ten years have passed since CAP ushered Melissa into the world of architectural practice, but the foundation that Ball State built was a pivotal first step in her own design approach.
Shortly after receiving her master’s degree in Architecture, Melissa’s career focused on an avenue of architecture where community emphasis is abundant: healthcare. Meeting with stakeholders and navigating the design complexities of healthcare projects quickly led her to focus her efforts on maximizing a project’s human impact. Advocating for good design on behalf of patients and caregivers has been a natural extension of Melissa’s architectural education. It is this same drive that was instilled in Melissa during her years at CAP that led her to open her own architectural practice, Incline Architects. At Incline, the values imparted to her – the inherent service in design, the emphasis on the human aspect of architecture, and the importance of a strong design process – are constantly present because of her attendance at the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University.
Curious to see who the 2020 Alumni winners were? Well look no further.