Iowa Architect William M. Dikis Receives NCARB's President's Medal for Distringuished Service

Washington, DC—National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ 2009 President Gordon E. Mills, FAIA, recently awarded the President's Medal for Distinguished Service to William M. Dikis, FAIA, NCARB, in recognition of his service to the Council and its mission, and his career-long commitment to advance the profession of architecture.

Dikis first became involved in NCARB in 1983 when then-Governor Terry Branstad appointed him to the Iowa Architectural Examining Board. He served on the Iowa Board for nine years, including three years as president. During this time, he was a member of several NCARB committees where much of his work involved efforts to move the paper-based Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) to a computer platform.

In 2007, Dikis returned to NCARB to serve on the Building Information Modeling (BIM) Task Force. This past year, he chaired the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) Task Force, where his insight and meticulous attention to detail was invaluable to the Council’s efforts to refine the definition of “responsible control.” He has also served on the Procedures and Documents Committee for the past two years.

An active member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Dikis served as secretary of AIA Iowa in 1978 and president in 1982. He was also was editor of Iowa Architect from 1969-1975. He was involved with the AIA on the national level as a member of the Committee on Historic Resources, and a member and chair of the Steering Committee. In 1992 he was advanced to the AIA College of Fellows—the highest honor the AIA bestows on its architect members—in recognition of his longstanding professional contributions. In 1994, he received the AIA Iowa Medal of Honor for service to the profession.

Dikis first aspired to become an architect after doing a report on architecture in junior high school. An aptitude test in high school confirmed that it was a good career choice. After high school, he studied pre-engineering at Drake University before transferring to Iowa State University where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture in 1964 and a Master of Architecture in 1967. The same year he became one of the first in Iowa to pass the ARE—which at that time was a four-day written examination—on the first try. At age 26, he was one of the youngest to earn a license to practice architecture in Iowa. Dikis holds the NCARB Certificate for national reciprocity and is registered to practice in Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois.

In 1970, he became a partner in Wilkins Bussard Dikis. During his 37-year tenure with the firm—which later became RDG Planning & Design—it grew from a staff of three in one office, to approximately 200 in seven offices. In 2007, Dikis semi-retired and formed Architectural Strategies, a consulting service that provides architectural design, master planning, feasibility studies, expert witness assistance, and conducts investigations for the Iowa Architectural Examining Board.

During his more than 40-year career as an architect, Dikis has designed hundreds of projects. His portfolio includes elementary school design, architectural restoration, public projects, interior design, and commercial/retail projects. From 1981 until his retirement in 2007, he was the architect of record for the restoration of Iowa State Capitol, an on-going project that has cost approximately $90 million to date. Other career highlights include developing the North Dakota State Capitol Master Plan and designing the Des Moines International Airport.

“I was surprised and honored to receive the President’s Medal,” said Dikis. “It has been a great privilege to once again become involved in NCARB committee work and an exciting challenge to investigate, research, and analyze new trends in architectural tools and processes to assure regulation of architects remains current, clear, and comprehensive.”

Beyond his professional contributions, Dikis is a leader within his community and has served on numerous boards and commission. He currently serves on the City of Clive Planning and Zoning Commission and the City of Clive Public Arts Advisory Commission. 

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