One Architect's Story:
The Broadly Experienced Architect Program

Darlene Rutkowski-Hanks, NCARB, AIA, DBIA, LEED APBD+C

Managing Principal, Korte Design, St. Louis, MO

Darlene Rutkowski-Hanks, NCARB, AIA, DBIA, LEED AP BD+C

Rutkowski-Hanks completed the Broadly Experienced Architect (BEA) Program in early 2012 in order to get NCARB certified and advance her career. “I was promoted to managing principal of a national design-build firm and needed to obtain licensing around the nation,” she explained. Since earning her NCARB Certificate 18 months ago, Rutkowski-Hanks, who is based in Missouri, has gained reciprocal licensure in 15 additional jurisdictions.

Path to Architect
Rutkowski-Hanks knew early on that she wanted to be an architect. “My father was a residential contractor and I grew up watching him draw house plans on Saturday mornings and build what he had drawn.” The profession holds many appeals for her. “As an architect, I love being able to take a concept, place it on paper, see it physically built, and then watch people enjoying it.”

She completed the Intern Development Program (IDP) in 1995, after earning a B.S. in Architecture at Southern Illinois University.

Earning NCARB Certification Through the BEA Program
Because her degree program was not accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), Rutkowski-Hanks’ options for gaining reciprocal licensure were limited, since a NAAB-accredited professional degree is a requirement for NCARB certification. “I needed the flexibility to become licensed in other states and my options were: go back to school for my master’s or complete the BEA Program. Although the BEA Program was time consuming, it was a much better choice than trying to find the time and local university to earn an accredited master’s degree,” she said.

Rutkowski-Hanks started the process in 9/2010 but experienced a delay while the program transitioned from paper to electronic Dossier filing. “I completed the e-Dossier filing in December 2011, had an audit interview in January 2012, and received final approval in February 2012.”

Her advice to others who are thinking of applying to the BEA Program? “Don’t procrastinate! It’s your job to keep the process moving. Follow-up within two weeks of every submission to ensure it has been received and there are no missing pieces. Stay on top of the process and don’t get overwhelmed!”

As managing principal at Korte Design, Darlene Rutkowski-Hanks oversees all design and management aspects of the three offices located in St. Louis, MO; Highland, IL; and Las Vegas, NV. Her primary focus is business development, contract negotiation, schematic design, and team management.


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Value of an NCARB Certificate
An NCARB Certificate means you have met the highest professional standards established by the registration boards responsible for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.