Washington, DC—National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ 2008-2009 President Gordon E. Mills, FAIA, recently awarded the President's Medal for Distinguished Service to James P. Cramer, Hon. AIA, in recognition of his service to the Council and its mission, and his career-long commitment to advance the profession of architecture.
Cramer is chairman and chief executive officer of the Greenway Group and founding president of the Design Futures Council, a Washington DC think tank studying the future of the design professions. He is also founding editor of DesignIntelligence. Cramer first became involved in NCARB in 2004 when the Board of Directors sought his expertise as they worked to update the 1998 Strategic Plan. His focus on the “big picture” of architectural practice and knowledge of industry trends was instrumental in helping NCARB create a new Strategic Plan that grows and evolves with the Council.
In 2007, Cramer returned to NCARB to serve on the Practice Analysis Task Force and as the facilitator for the Member Board Chairs Conference in Memphis. In 2009, he served as a member of the Interior Architecture Task Force. His knowledge of the complex issues linking architecture, the construction industry, and the public was vital to the work of the task forces.
Cramer has a diverse background that started in the field of education. He earned bachelor and master degrees in education, and did post-graduate work in higher education, before joining the faculty of the University of Minnesota. After several years teaching, he developed an interest in architecture. In 1978, he became the executive vice president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Minnesota. He joined AIA’s national staff in Washington, DC in 1982, and was named executive vice president/chief executive officer of the AIA in 1988.
In 1994, Cramer founded the Greenway Group, one of the country’s leading strategy consulting and business networking firms for the design and construction industry. He is the author of hundreds of articles and several books about the profession, including the critically acclaimed Design Plus Enterprise: Seeking a New Reality in Architecture. He is also co-wrote How Firms Succeed: A Field Guide to Management Solutions, and The Next Architect: A New Twist on the Future of Design. Currently, Cramer is working on a new book, Leapfrogging into a New Architecture Profession, due out early next year.
As an educator, futurist, and business adviser, Cramer often leads strategic retreats and facilitates sessions about “futures invention” and value migration changes in the design professions. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, is a Richard Upjohn Fellow of the AIA, and a Fellow of the International Leadership Forum in La Jolla, CA.