OPN Senior Project Architect Robert Wheat serves AIA Wisconsin as President
Rob Wheat’s service to AIA Wisconsin began with on the editorial advisor committee of the state magazine two decades ago. In a few months, he will wrap up his tenure as the organization’s president.
As AIA Wisconsin President, Rob contributes to the long-range strategic plan as well as short-term goals, prioritizing tasks for implementation. He is particularly passionate about providing continuing education opportunities for architects. He does this through offering CEU and networking opportunities at the annual conferences and local programs.
His position also lends to being a voice for the profession, where he has done much lobbying on behalf of his fellow AIA members. He has made many trips to Washington D.C. to speak in front of senators and representatives. One of Rob’s initiatives as President was to hold the annual AIA Wisconsin conference somewhere besides the capitol to increase accessibility and attendance diversity. This year, he lead the conference in Green Bay. He also launched a study on the AIA Wisconsin headquarters, the Stoner House, to investigate the possibility of relocation. A more prominent location could provide the headquarters with the potential to be a hub for outreach, resources, and connection – a center for architecture, not just administration. They will be issuing a recommendation to the foundation later this year.
Rob has also been promoting other means of connection in the industry through meetings with colleagues in allied professions. As collaboration with engineers, general contractors, consultants, and other professional groups are inevitable in every project, finding more opportunities to network in the field benefits all parties in the end. By making connections, gathering contacts, and increasing communication, the design process is accelerated as each person is already well acquainted and informed. Rob has also been pushing the AMP, or architect mentor program, that educates architects in their early or mid-career outside of their employer. The courses cover industry business and other expertise for their own professional development.
Rob has been a senior project manager with OPN for nine years. For 12 years, he was a founding partner and principal of his own firm. He has worked on many award-winning public projects throughout his career, including transformative renovations of Springs Window Fashions and the Bakke Center The Living Kitchen at Sub-Zero.
Rob is a Badgers season ticket holder, father and husband, and a gardener, as he enjoys growing a variety of hot peppers. Once his term as president is over in December 2023, he plans to continue to stay involved in AIA at state and local levels. In his 20 years with the organization, he has also served on the annual convention committee as a member and chair, was an officer of the Southwest AIA chapter, and has been a director on the state level.