-The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) today announced the appointment of Nancy C. Somerville as the Society's new executive vice president, effective August 21, 2000.
"We're very fortunate to have someone of Nancy's caliber joining us to help build on our recent successes, especially in the public affairs arena. From the Centennial on, we've been working hard to leverage our efforts for even greater success," said ASLA President Janice Cervelli Schach, FASLA. "And the fact that she's the first woman to serve as the Society's executive vice president is just further proof of how far we've come as a profession."
Somerville comes to ASLA after an 18 years with American Institute of Architects (AIA) where she has served as managing director and vice president of many program areas including membership, state and local government affairs, chapter relations, and continuing education.
Somerville's contributions there include creating a highly successful State Government Network and leading the Institute's chapter assistance program. Most recently, she directed the selection and implementation of a web-enabled membership database, audience management, and communications platform for the organization and its 300 chapters.
Somerville served as the Institute's lead policy expert on licensing issues for 10 years and wrote the entry on "Registration of Professionals in Construction" for the 1989 edition of John Wiley's Encyclopedia of Architecture, Design, Engineering, and Construction. She is also the author of the 1985 landmark AIA study of qualifications-based selection and competitive bidding, Selecting Architects and Engineers for Public Building Projects: An Analysis and Comparison of the Maryland and Florida Systems.
"Nancy has had a wide range of experience with AIA and she's definitely ready to put together all the pieces for ASLA - from licensure to our move towards enhancing our electronic communications. Of all the candidates, Nancy seems to be the best person for the position, given where ASLA is and where ASLA wants to go. She has just the right experience, vision and personality that should be a perfect fit for our Society," said ASLA President-elect Leonard J. Hopper, FASLA.
Somerville received the AIA's Citation for Exceptional Service in 1990, was honored in 1991 by the Illinois Council of the AIA for her contributions to the profession, and received honorary membership in the AIA in 1993.
Early in her career, Somerville served in the U.S. Department of Energy, providing program analysis and evaluation support. Her duties there included writing reports to Congress and responding to White House inquiries. She began her professional life as a writer/editor with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Somerville holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. from Stanford University.
Somerville's appointment follows a thorough selection process that saw the Society's search committee, comprised of two trustees, a chapter president, two members-at-large, and a Landscape Architecture Foundation representative, review hundreds of nominations and applications. The ASLA Executive Committee conducted the final round of interviews and made the final decision.
"Transitions are always difficult, and we owe a real debt to Jim Tolliver, who served as our management team leader, helping to shepherd us through this interim period, as well hearty thanks to our other dedicated staff. We couldn't have done it without them," said Schach.
Tolliver's service has been recognized with his also newly announced promotion to serve as ASLA's deputy executive vice president.
The American Society of Landscape Architects, founded in 1899, represents more than 13,000 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation. Typical projects include site design and planning, town and urban planning, regional planning, preparation of environmental impact plans, garden design, historic preservation, and parks/recreation design and planning. Landscape architects hold undergraduate or graduate degrees. They are licensed to practice in 47 states and are required to pass a rigorous national three-day examination.