Sam De Jong Elected Director for AIA Kansas City 2022 Board of Directors
BNIM Associate Principal, Sam De Jong, AIA LEED AP, has been elected Three-Year Director of AIA Kansas City’s Board of Directors for 2022. In this role, he will be establishing and implementing the strategic plan for AIA KC and supporting the ongoing work of the committees. Sam's dedication to the Kansas City design community is shown through his deep level of care and rigor in his work, rooted in his passion of design for social impact. Below is Sam's statement on his new role and what he brings to the Kansas City design community.
What an honor to be nominated to serve in this role on the board for our chapter. Though not originally from Kansas City, my entire professional career has taken place here, and it is where my family and I call home. My experience in the design profession has been shaped by this place, and over the course of my career I have come to see my passion for architecture and design through the following lenses:
After graduating from Iowa State, my passion for design excellence was fed by Kansas City’s incredibly rich design culture, ultimately pulling me south to start my professional experience. As past co-chair of AIA Kansas City’s Design Awards program, I have seen firsthand the depth and breadth of our chapter’s design capacity — It’s incredible. As a board member, I look forward to continuing to advocate for good design throughout our built environment by supporting the work of our Advocacy Committee, and continuing to promote the great design work happening across our entire chapter.
On projects that I’ve had the opportunity to work on, both locally and globally, I have seen the ability of design to positively shape and impact our communities. From a church reinvesting in their community after a devastating fire, to cutting-edge medical schools training the next generation of doctors in both our urban and rural communities, to a completely off-the grid high school in rural western Kenya that is educating students from their community to eventually go on to college. Through my work as a member on the Kansas City Health Department’s Ad Hoc Housing Committee, I have experienced the direct correlation between good, stable, affordable housing and the health and well-being of our community. As an AIA Kansas City board member, I look forward to supporting the AIA’s renewed stance on combating the climate crisis through a more resilient and equitable built environment.
I didn’t realize architecture was an option for me until late into my high school education. It was not a profession I was ever exposed to in my small, rural Iowa town. The same can be said for students in both rural and urban contexts. If we don’t provide access, our profession will never fully reflect the communities in which we serve. As a board member, I look forward to supporting the incredible ongoing work of our Education Outreach and Equity in Architecture committees. After moving to Kansas City, my first experience of the AIA was the programming held by Young Architects Forum (YAF). Lectures, Monsters of Design, and happy hours provided a soft landing in a new community and a way into this great chapter. I look forward to supporting the renewed YAF efforts so that other young professionals can have the same great experience that I did.