Zakiya Wiggins and Ryan Oldach Selected for AIA Virginia’s Emerging Leaders Program

Zakiya Toney and Ryan OldachAssociate AIA Virginia members Zakiya Wiggins (néeToney) and Ryan Oldach have been selected for AIA Virginia’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture program. Conceived of and led by a passionate steering committee of successful architects, the ELA program is now in its eleventh year. It is designed to accelerate the growth of emerging architects by providing the tools and experiences needed for career advancement. The program also focuses on networking opportunities and positions participants to serve society as leaders in the profession.

Zakiya Wiggins is a designer at Clark Nexsen in the firm’s Roanoke, Virginia office who has been focused on federal and local public safety and training facilities design. She received numerous awards and recognition during both her undergraduate and graduate studies. Prior to graduating with a Master of Architecture from Morgan State University in 2017, faculty selected Zakiya as the graduating senior to receive the prestigious Alpha Rho Chi Medal. While at NC State University earning her Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture, she received both a Toni Thorpe Ebony Harlem Award of Excellence and an NC State Traditions Keeper Medal in 2015.

Zakiya is passionate about both understanding the current state of the industry and coming up with solutions for the next steps. She states, “I believe when architecture functions well, it is not part of a campus or block, but rather an ecosystem; where it lives and dies by way of its connection to the community.”

Ryan Oldach is a designer who joined Clark Nexsen in 2015 in Macon, Georgia and then transferred to the firm’s Virginia Beach office in 2017. His project experience has ranged from an award-winning corporate interior upfit to the design of the first micro-brewery in Central Georgia. Ryan earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Pennsylvania State University in 2015. Coincidentally, while at Penn State, Ryan’s group chose a brewpub as their site-specific open design project during his fourth year group studio class. Currently, Ryan is currently working on a 500,000 square foot retirement highrise in Norfolk, Virginia. He is also serving on the AIA Hampton Roads Outreach Committee.

“The ELA program is a great opportunity to develop a better understanding of leadership and business in architecture,” Ryan said. “I am looking forward to exploring the ethics and responsibilities of the profession. I see the role of the architect as going beyond the reach of a physical building.”

Read AIA Virginia’s press release on the ELA Class of 2019.