Updates from ASLA

ASLA 2021 Professional Residential Design Honor Award. Ghost Wash. Paradise Valley, AZ. COLWELL SHELOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE >

Four Awarded for Outstanding Service to the Society

Congratulations to Magdalena Aravena, ASLA, Galen Drake, ASLA, Charles Kene Okigbo, ASLA, and Glenn LaRue Smith, ASLA, for exemplary service on ASLA's behalf. The four were chosen by jury from several nominations to receive Outstanding Service Awards. ASLA Outstanding Service Awards are given annually to recognize volunteers who make notable contributions to or on behalf of the Society at the national level.  

Magdalena Aravena, ASLA, Illinois Chapter, has shown an exemplary leadership and commitment to ASLA since joining as a student. She served as one of the first associate representatives to the Board of Trustees. During her tenure on the Board, she built a framework for communication and began a social media outreach campaign to emerging professionals to engage and promote them in the Society. Maggie is beyond outstanding in her commitment and service to ASLA. She has taken on progressively more demanding roles and rises to every occasion -- from representing young women on a Women in Leadership panel at the ASLA Conference in Los Angeles to serving as chapter president for Illinois, and then serving this year as a member of ASLA’s CEO Search Committee.  Her work on the Search Committee was part of a diverse and hard working group that led to the most important decision the Society will make for years to come – our new leader.  

Galen Drake, ASLA, Arizona Chapter, receives this award for his leadership, perseverance, and giving spirit that has enabled ASLA to continue to meet its strategic priority of promoting and defending licensure. Galen has held multiple leadership roles in the Arizona Chapter, served as past Chairman of the ASLA Licensure and State Advocacy Committee, and continues to serve as a Licensure Committee member. The anti-occupational licensing forces are strong, with various organizations pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into policy “think tanks” and political and advocacy campaigns designed to weaken licensure laws and deregulate professions and occupations. Amid this turmoil, the valiant efforts of Galen Drake are why landscape architects continue to be licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Charles Kene Okigbo, ASLA, Nebraska-Dakotas Chapter, was nominated for his leadership in advocacy on behalf of the Society. Kene serves on the Government Affairs Advisory Committee (GAAC) and has championed encouraging students and emerging professionals to become more involved in our advocacy efforts and in ASLA committees and events. His commitment to making sure new, young, and diverse voices are part of the conversation is second to none. As an active participant, he helped streamline and simplify the 2021-2022 Federal Priorities Survey. In addition, he has been part of a small group within the GAAC that is working on ways to better educate ASLA members on government and what it can do for you. While serving as the associate representative to the Board of Trustees, he volunteered to help lead the Climate Action Committee’s first student forum at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego. Kene’s commitment to feeding and growing the pipeline of students and emerging professionals into ASLA and the profession is commendable and greatly deserving of this award.
Glenn LaRue Smith, ASLA, Potomac Chapter, was nominated for his tireless efforts to create the Black Landscape Architects Network (BlackLAN), a member community and organization dedicated solely to the service, advancement, and elevation of Black landscape architects and those of African heritage. As an advocate for all landscape architects, Smith has been an active leader in community building among Black landscape architects, while remaining a committed member of the profession and to ASLA. Glenn has challenged the design community and ASLA on its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and, in the process, built a bridge to rectify the impacts of minimal engagement and service to Black student and professional members.

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