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Sue Knapp (MS Civil Engineering ‘76, BA ‘74) is the founding president of transportation planning firm KFH Group, whose mission is to “improve mobility for people and build strong, vibrant communities,” according to Knapp. The firm marked its 20th anniversary this year. With three offices across the United States, KFH Group works across the spectrum of transportation services, from large urban bus systems to transit programs in low-density suburban areas. Knapp’s 40 years of experience in the field includes fixed-route transit service planning, paratransit design, accessibility, human service transportation coordination, development of state program management and policy, performance evaluation, funding and fare policy, and transit security. She also has a background in transit research and has led a number of projects for the Transportation Cooperative Research Program, National Cooperative Highway Research Program and Federal Transit Administration.

Knapp says her education at the School of Architecture and Planning (then the School of Architecture and Environmental Design) “provided a strong basis in urban and regional planning. Perhaps more importantly though, the curriculum went beyond the technical skills to stress real world problem-solving, skills that I still rely on and practice today – how to deal with local elected officials, conduct public outreach, and organize and sift through mounds of data.”

Peter Flynn (MArch ‘73), of Flynn Battaglia Architects in Buffalo, was recognized along with fellow partner Ron Battaglia with AIA Buffalo/WNY’s Robert and Louise Bethune Award, the highest honor awarded by the chapter. An expert in historic architecture, Flynn is active in the region’s preservation community and is former co-chair of Preservation Buffalo Niagara. Founded in 1989 by Flynn and Battaglia, the firm is known today as a premier firm for historic preservation, with notable projects including the ongoing adaptive reuse of Buffalo’s Richardson Olmsted Complex, the restoration of Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building and a master plan and multiple projects at the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora.

Mike Shea (BA ‘75) is a principal in Soderstrom Architects in Portland, Ore., a 30-year-old firm with expertise in health care, K-12 and higher education, and projects across the western United States and in Alaska and Nigeria. With previous experience in semiconductor labs for Intel, Hewlitt Packard and others, Shea now concentrates on design for university science and engineering labs. Also with Soderstrom Architects is project architect Andrew Bradford (Architecture BS ‘08). 


Gustavo Lima (MArch ‘88) is principal and director of construction administration at CannonDesign. He is also project director for the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), currently under construction in Montreal, Quebec. The $1.8 billion complex will be one of the largest academic medical centers in North America, with 2.5 million square feet over three city blocks and more than 12,000 rooms. 

Barry Yanku (MArch ‘80, BA ‘75) is a senior architect at the Pfeiffer Partners firm in New York City. The notion of choreographed design through 3D modeling – and the synergy of dance and design – is the central theme of his work. Many of these ideas of synergy were developed during his dance studies and the advent of inexpensive personal computers. His experience ranges from large-scale, mixed-use towers to intricate contemporary residences, with notable projects including the restoration of Carnegie Hall and the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jill Weber (MArch ‘80), who developed her career as an artist late in life, recently saw her work exhibited at the Bromfield Art Gallery in Boston and Buffalo’s Nina Freudenheim Gallery. A graduate of Cornell University’s undergraduate housing and design program, Weber cultivated her interest in art and architecture after moving to Buffalo, where she earned her Master of Architecture degree, served as an Albright-Knox Art Gallery docent and took art classes on the side. In 2000, Weber graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The influence of architecture on Weber’s art is readily apparent in process and outcome. Weber takes photographs or found print images of physical architectural spaces and, using tape and pencil, turns them into abstract sketches. From these studies, she carefully delineates her paintings on prepared wooden panels. In 2004, she received the prestigious Maud Prize from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, which mounted a solo show on Weber and purchased a painting from her collection.


Carlos Macias (BPS ‘97) is the founding principal at METHOD Architects PLLC in New York City, a certified minority-owned architecture firm specializing in retail, commercial, residential and interior architecture.

James P. Hartford (MArch ‘95) is co-partner with wife Juhee Lee-Hartford of River Architects, a full-service firm specializing in Passive House and net-zero performance design. Based in Cold Spring, NY, the firm is active throughout the Hudson Valley and New York City metropolitan region.

Hartford is a leading advocate of Passive House design – the world’s leading standard in energy-efficient construction – with Hartford’s work in this area ranging from single-family retrofits to multi-unit row houses to an organic hard-cider mill in the Catskills. 

As founder and acting president of the Hudson Valley chapter of Passive House Alliance U.S., Hartford has brought first-of-their-kind programs in Passive House training to upstate New York. He recently presented his research on retrofitting the nation’s housing stock at the North American Passive House Conference in Chicago.


Marc Rodriguez (MArch ‘05, Architecture BS ‘03) is a project manager at Clark Patterson Lee as well as a partner and co-founder at Stargrove Collective, a website developer. Rodriguez was recently featured in a Rochester Democrat & Chronicle article, “Hot Jobs: Architects are Designers with Constraints.”

Casey William Milbrand (Architecture BS ‘03), along with his partner Jason Lloyd Clement, recently opened The Pop In gallery in Buffalo. Inspired by the city, the 400-square-foot space features a “Buffalove” mural; a 14-foot wheat paste of the Richardson Olmsted Complex; and “CityHEART,” an interactive sculpture made of 25 interconnected bicycle wheels, designed and built by Milbrand. The community-activated storefront serves as an incubator space for local artists and community groups to exhibit and network. Milbrand and his partner, who met in 2011 during the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference in Buffalo, will be featured on HGTV’s “House Hunters” for their work on Pop In as well as the renovation of their historic Victorian home.

Sylvia Feng (Architecture BS ‘05) obtained her MArch from Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2009 and is currently a designer at Pelli Clarke Pelli in New York City.

John Sepples (MArch ‘08) was recently honored with AIA Connecticut’s 2015 Emerging Architect award, which recognizes emerging, graduate architects who have made outstanding contributions to their profession or have rendered distinguished service in the public realm. Sepples is currently an intern architect at TLB Architecture.

Charles L. Davis II (MArch ‘02, BPS ‘99), assistant professor of architectural history in the School of Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a founding member of the School of Architecture and Planning Dean’s Council, has been awarded a publication grant from the Graham Foundation for his manuscript, Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style (University of Pittsburgh Press). This forthcoming monograph traces the historical integrations of race and style theory in “architectural organicism,” or historical movements that modeled design on the principles of nature. Davis argues that figures such as Viollet-le-Duc, Gottfried Semper, Louis Sullivan and William Lescaze considered buildings to be more than inert assemblies of functional materials, but as organic matter inherently capable of possessing character. His research identifies the racial content of architectural styles by relating the iconography of surface ornamentations to the ethnographic associations of spatial and structural building typologies.


Seyed Saeid Saadatmand (MUP ‘14) works out of the North Carolina office of the Renaissance Planning Group, a planning, design, and policy analysis consulting firm dedicated to creating cities that work. He applies GIS and accessibility models to prioritize transportation projects for the state of Virginia and is also involved in web app development to help people understand cities better and faster.

Jessica Hall (MUP ‘13) is a strategy analyst for Harris Health System, the public health care provider for low-income and uninsured residents in Harris County, Texas. Here, Hall focuses on Texas’s 1115 Medicaid Waiver, which ties funding requests by health care providers to expanded access to care and improved quality in such metrics as health outcomes and health care costs. In this role, she facilitates collaboration among large, competing health care systems and works with internal teams to assess and advance quality measures and public health outcomes. As an MUP student and research assistant in the school’s Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, Hall studied linkages between urban planning and public health.

Emily Warren (MArch ‘14, Architecture BS ‘12) is currently working as an architect for the National Park Service, at the Historic American Building Survey. This summer, she helped lead the documentation of the Baggage and Dormitory building on Ellis Island, an effort involving 3D laser scanning, field documentation, point cloud manipulation and the creation of two-dimensional drawings. The drawings will become a part of the Library of Congress collection, with a 500-year lifespan, to maintain knowledge of these important buildings long after they are gone.

Maryam Khojasteh (MUP ‘14) is starting her PhD studies in City and Regional Planning at University of Pennsylvania to pursue her research interest in the contribution of immigrants to the U.S. food system. Khojasteh previously worked with the Buffalo School’s Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, where she was involved with community-based research at the intersection of public health and planning. 

Joseph Swerdlin (Architecture BS ‘13) works for New York City-based Richard Meier and Partners in the model shop. He also serves as community director at The Morpholio Project and teaches at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. Finding his way as a young architectural designer, he pursues a constant critical inquiry and exploration into the discipline. After finishing his studies in architecture and German at UB, Swerdlin worked at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, CLOG, Ants of the Prairie under Joyce Hwang, and OFFICE Kersten Geers and David Van Severen.

Recent appointments and promotions at Young + Wright Architectural in Buffalo include: 

Steve Shchurowksy (MArch ‘12, Architecture BS ‘10), who joined the firm in 2009 as an intern and recently completed all the requirements to become a licensed architect in New York State; William Battaglia (MArch ‘11), who has just joined the firm’s architectural staff; and Carl Reeves (Architecture BS ‘15), who got his start as an intern and was recently promoted to a full-time designer.

Jonathan Bleuer (MUP ‘12, BAED ‘10) is a junior planner for the Town of Clarence in Western New York. He also serves as a member of the town’s Main Street Corridor Development Committee and a liaison for Age Friendly Erie County. With both undergraduate and graduate degrees in planning from the School of Architecture and Planning, Bleuer says he went “all in” for planning, UB and Western New York. Bleuer remains connected to the School of Architecture and Planning, coordinating its partnership with the town on the One Region Forward sustainable development plan and Clarence’s trails and greenways master plan. 

Danielle Leisten (MUP ‘14) with specializations in GIS and environment and land use, recently finished a fellowship with the Clean Energy Leadership Institute, forging professional contacts and diversifying her clean energy knowledge. This fellowship led to her current position working as an analyst at ICF International. This summer, Leisten and the Energy Efficiency team have begun implementing new energy efficiency rebates in the state of Maryland. 

Edward Wilczynski (MArch ‘11, Architecture BS ‘08) is living in the District of Columbia and just obtained his architect’s license in Maryland. He works for Studio Z Design Concepts, an architecture firm that focuses on high-end residential projects in the DC metro area.

Kimberley LaVare (nee Moore) (MUP ‘10) moved to Albany to work with the State University Construction Fund, got married and had an adorable baby boy. In February, she moved back to Buffalo to raise her family. She is currently working as a consultant for Blue Sky Design Supply working on construction, planning and procurement projects. 

Saira Siddiqui (BAED ‘13), is establishing herself as an emerging leader in downtown revitalization for communities in Oregon. For the past two years she has served as a RARE Americorps Fellow with the La Grande Main Street program in La Grande, Ore., and will now move on to direct a similar program for Hillsboro, a community outside Portland, Ore.

Siddiqui’s work in La Grande centered on the Main Street Four Point Approach, a preservation-based economic development strategy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Here, Siddiqui assisted with streetscape improvements, public art and pocket park projects, as well as small business development workshops and year-round downtown events. “We accomplish everything through volunteerism and community buy-in.”

Siddiqui recently moved across the state to the Portland area, where she now serves as executive director of the Historic Hillsboro Downtown Partnership, a newly formed 501(c)3 dedicated to the economic and cultural revival of the city’s historic core.

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