Austin, TX—Seven individuals have been awarded the National Council of Architectural Registration Board’s (NCARB) highest honor, the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service. The honorees were recognized by 2021-2022 President Alfred Vidaurri Jr., NCARB, NOMA, FAIA, at the organization’s 2022 Annual Business Meeting. President Vidaurri commended each of this year’s recipients for their commitment to architectural regulation and NCARB’s mission to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare.
Jennifer R. Arbuckle, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, of North Ferrisburgh, Vermont, is recognized for her outstanding service to the Council, as well as her leadership of the Vermont Board of Architects and NCARB’s Region 1 and her role in helping launch NCARB’s Diversity Collaborative. Arbuckle was first appointed to the Vermont Board in 2009, serving as the board’s chair from 2014-2018. She was elected as the vice chair of Region 1 in 2018, and became the Region’s chair in 2020. A dedicated volunteer, Arbuckle has been a valuable member of several NCARB committees, including the Education, Policy Advisory, and Regional Leadership committees. Additionally, she was instrumental in founding NCARB’s Diversity Collaborative, which seeks to explore opportunities to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in NCARB’s national leadership and volunteer community. Arbuckle served as the collaborative’s first chair in 2020, after its initial creation as a grassroots effort from NCARB’s regional leadership.
Jorge Calderón López, AIA, Esq., of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is recognized for his outstanding service to the Council and his leadership of the Puerto Rico Board of Examiners of Architects and Landscape Architects. Calderón joined the Puerto Rico Board in 2018 and became the board’s chair in 2020. He began his service to NCARB in 2014 as a member of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) 5.0 Item Development Subcommittee, helping create questions for the latest version of the national licensing exam. Calderón went on to serve on several other exam-related subcommittees before being appointed as the chair of NCARB’s Ethics Work Group in 2021. As the work group’s chair, Calderón led efforts to research professional ethics requirements and recommend best practices for NCARB’s adoption.
Tian A. Feng, FAIA, FCSI, of Walnut Creek, California, is recognized for his outstanding service to the Council, as well as his leadership of the California Architects Board and NCARB’s Region 6. Feng was first appointed to the California Board in 2014, going on to serve as the board’s secretary and vice president before being elected the board’s president in 2020-2022. He has also served on the Executive Committee of Region 6 since 2021, where he initiated the region’s Continuing Education Program. Feng began volunteering for NCARB in 2015 as a member of the Broadly Experienced Architect (BEA) and Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect (BEFA) committees, later serving as a member of NCARB’s Certification Alternative Review Team; in these groups, he worked to evaluate architects looking to substitute additional work experience in lieu of a degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) for NCARB certification. Since 2016, Feng has represented the Council in conducting NAAB visitations to architectural schools across the country and overseas. He has also dedicated his time and expertise to NCARB’s Education Committee and Futures Collaborative, among other committees.
Brett P. Foley, Ph.D., of Denton, Nebraska, is recognized for his outstanding service to the Council and his leadership of the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects. As a senior psychometrician at Alpine Testing Solutions, Foley has offered his insight into the development of professional examinations to NCARB’s Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) related committees for over a decade. His subject matter expertise has enabled NCARB to continue delivering a national licensing exam that follows industry best practices and pioneers new exam technology. Foley was appointed to the Nebraska Board in 2018 as a public member, later serving as the board’s chair. In addition to his work as a psychometrician, Foley has also served as a dedicated member of NCARB’s Incidental Practice Task Force and Policy Advisory Committee.
Leon Walker Lewis, of Washington, DC, is recognized for his outstanding service to the Council and the District of Columbia Board of Architecture and Interior Design. A dedicated public servant, Lewis began his work with the District of Columbia’s licensing boards in 1987. He became the Executive Director of the District of Columbia Board of Architecture and Interior Design in 2005, helping facilitate the licensure of qualified applicants within the jurisdiction. Lewis has been an active participant in Council activities, ensuring that the voice of the Member Board Executive is represented within NCARB. In addition, he has offered his time and expertise as a member of NCARB’s Member Board Executives Committee and partnered with NCARB staff to conduct outreach to students, licensure candidates, and architects within the District of Columbia.
Wendy Ornelas, FAIA, of Manhattan, Kansas, is recognized for her outstanding service to architectural education and the Council, as well as her leadership of the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions. A dedicated educator, Ornelas has helped shape the next generation of architects as a professor at Kansas State University for more than three decades. She has also offered her time and expertise to several architecture organizations, serving as the NAAB president in 2009-2010, as well as a regional director for both the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). Ornelas was first appointed to the Kansas Board in 2006, later becoming the board’s chair in 2021. She has served on several NCARB volunteer initiatives, including as a jury member for the NCARB Award, which provided funding to help architecture programs implement classes, seminars, and studios that would have a long-term impact on students. Ornelas was designated an NCARB Scholar in Professional Practice and served on NCARB’s Credentials Committee and as chair of the Incidental Practice Task Force, which explored areas of overlap between the practices of architecture and related professions like engineering, landscape architecture, and interior design.
Robin Kelley, of Washington, DC, is recognized for her outstanding service to the Council and commitment to NCARB’s financial health. A dedicated member of NCARB’s Administration department for over three decades, Kelley joined the Council in 1989 as a transmittal assistant, helping evaluate and transmit NCARB Records in support of initial and reciprocal licensure applications. She then transitioned to the Administration Department as a bookkeeper, before taking on her current role as an accountant. In her role, she works directly with NCARB’s volunteer community, serving as a welcoming resource to ensure volunteers understand the Council’s financial policies and ensuring expense reports, as well as hotel and credit card expenses, are processed accurately and promptly. Kelley has also been a valuable staff presence at many Annual Business Meetings, providing on-site support for NCARB’s membership. During her tenure, Kelley has exemplified NCARB’s culture of going further for NCARB’s volunteers, members, and staff.
View past recipients of the President's Medal for Distinguished Service.