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2020 Advisors

Frank Ball, Assoc. AIA, Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects

Frank Ball is a graduate of the Pratt School of Architecture and currently works as an architectural designer pursuing licensure. At Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects, Ball is working on the construction of supportive and affordable housing, an extensive public school addition/renovation, and the conversion of a boutique hotel into a homeless shelter for women. Ball also regularly volunteers with children’s workshops like nycoba|NOMA’s Project Pipeline/Architecture Day. Before pursuing architecture, Frank explored careers in EMS, aviation, and fine arts, but ultimately found inspiration in designers like David Adjaye, Charles Moore, and Buckminster Fuller. Outside of his architectural interests, you may find him tinkering with junk or stringing together lines of code.

Casie Kowalski, Assoc. AIA, Andrea Steele Architecture

Casie Kowalski is a civic-minded designer, an emerging professional pursuing licensure, and a proactive community member. She is currently a Project Manager at Andrea Steele Architecture (ASA), working on projects ranging from an artists’ residency to a three-tower mixed-use project in East Harlem. She is a mentor in her office and strives to expand the firm’s presence in the local community through volunteering and events. Since moving to New York in 2014, Kowalski has volunteered for organizations focusing on the arts, gender, and social equity. She is currently serving her second year as a Portfolio Mentor for Free Arts NYC and also serves on the Junior Board of the organization. In addition, Kowalski just completed her first Grant Advisory Committee session for the New York Women’s Foundation. She also serves on a newly created Emerging Leaders Network for the Women’s Foundation, which highlights grantee partners, local activists and organizers, and those seeking to empower women, girls, and gender non-conforming individuals.

Richard May, AIA, HNTB Corporation

Richard May’s early years were spent in Ringwood in Northern New Jersey. His character and worldview are largely influenced by an amalgamation of the tenants of Unitarian Universalism, the Boy Scouts of America, and the architectural pedagogy of Carnegie Mellon University. These are summarized by the belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, the importance of rigor in pursuing our passions, and the responsibility of enlightening those around us through mentoring. After graduating in 2015 with a B. Arch, he interned at NASA before returning to New York City. Here, he began his career at the infrastructure firm HNTB, where he designs and manages projects in the transportation sector. At HNTB, May has developed his architectural, collaborative, mentorship, and planning skills. In 2018, May received his architectural license. Having reached this milestone, he seeks to continue to learn so that he can one day contribute to solving society’s most pressing challenges. May has a passion for the environment, both enjoying it and preserving it; he is an avid cyclist, camper and vegan.

Becky Yurek, AIA, NYC Department of Design and Construction

Becky Yurek works at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urban design, giving voice to design quality in the public realm. A registered architect with 15 years of professional experience, she believes in the power of design to shape daily experience and its ability to address the most complex of urban challenges. Serving as Design Liaison on the Design and Construction Excellence team at NYC DDC, Yurek helps ensure the quality and viability of design throughout the life of a project. She leads design procurements and engages with projects from predesign through construction, working with design consultants, City partners, and agency technical teams to ensure that capital projects align with key City priorities of equity, sustainability, resiliency, and wellbeing. In addition, she serves as DDC’s liaison to the NYC Public Design Commission. Prior to joining DDC, Yurek served as Project Architect at Leroy Street Studio and designer at Marpillero Pollak Architects, Hargreaves Associates, and Hester Street Collaborative. Yurek holds a BA from Brown University and an M. Arch from the University of Virginia.

Leanne Zick, AIA, Perkins Eastman

Leanne Zick was born and raised in Baldwin, New York. She is passionate about accessibility, equity, and fairness in the sustainable built environment. Zick received a B. Arch. From the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY City College. During her undergraduate studies, her neighborhood and home flooded in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. As a result, she volunteered in rebuilding efforts in Long Island City and other affected tri-state areas. Informed by this experience, Zick’s thesis project explored a design for a climate change museum sited as part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project’s berm. While in college, Zick also participated in study abroad programs in Barcelona, Spain, and Istanbul, Turkey. She is currently an architecture designer at Perkins Eastman, focusing on governmental and institutional projects, in particular the Manhattan Courts Master Plan and the borough-based NYC Jails Master Plan. She is a LEED Green Associate. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, exploring NYC waterfronts, and playing intramural volleyball.

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