Dean's Advisory Board
RICHARD BLYTHE, Dean, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Blacksburg, VA
Richard Blythe is an award-winning architect and educator with over 25 years in higher education and architectural practice. He became dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies in October 2017. He previously served as professor and dean of RMIT University School of Architecture and Design in Melbourne, Australia, and lectured for 14 years at the University of Tasmania. He was a founding director of the architecture firm TERROIR, where he practiced for over 10 years. Blythe holds a Ph.D. in design/practice-based research from RMIT University; a master of architecture from the University of Melbourne; and bachelor’s degrees in architecture and environment design from the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology.
JOYCE BARR, Professor of Practice in Government and International Affairs, Virginia Tech, Washington, D.C.
A former Ambassador and Assistant Secretary with more than 37 years of service, Barr attained the personal rank of Career Minister before retiring from the Department of State in January, 2017. From 2011 until 2017 she served as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Administration. In 2010, she was appointed as the first civilian Interim Chancellor of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (now the Eisenhower School) after serving as Deputy Commandant and International Affairs Advisor since 2009. From 2007 until 2009 she was the Executive Director of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau. Barr holds a MS in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at National Defense University; a master of Business Administration from Harvard; and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Pacific Lutheran University. She also received an honorary doctorate from Pacific Lutheran University.
ARCHIE LEE COATES IV, co-founder & partner, PLAYLAB, INC.; co-founder and executive director, + POOL; co-founder, CLOG; New York, NY
Archie Lee Coates co-founded PLAYLAB, INC., a New York-based creative studio, with VTCAUS classmate Jeff Franklin in 2008. At PLAYLAB, they explore themes using art, architecture, and graphic design. Past projects include 30-foot inflatable flowers for Midtown Manhattan and giant worm tents for the New Museum of Contemporary Art and Storefront for Art & Architecture. Coates is co-founder and executive director of + POOL, an initiative to build the world’s first water-filtering floating pool in New York, and co-founder of the quarterly architecture publication CLOG. He serves as thesis faculty at School of Visual Arts’ Design for Social Innovation program. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a BFA in Graphic Design in 2006.
JONATHAN B. EISEN, managing principal, The Eisen Group, Washington, D.C.
An architect and urban planner, Jon Eisen works with private developers, universities, and municipal officials to create special and successful places. He has contributed to more than 60 mixed-use projects across the U.S. and currently leads the planning, architecture, and strategy for developments in 12 states. National Harbor, Crown Farm, Crystal City Revitalization, Reston Town Center Phase II, Bethesda Row, Park Potomac, Crocker Park and The Village of Valley Forge all bear his handiwork. Earlier in his career, Eisen worked on such large-scale projects as the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Colorado Center in Denver, and Channelside in Tampa. Eisen sits on a National Council with the Urban Land Institute and is a board member for the College of Architecture and Real Estate at the University of Maryland. He holds a Master of Science in Construction Management and Planning and a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech.
MICHAEL FOSTER, Principal and Owner, MTFA Architecture, Arlington, VA
For over 30 years, Michael Foster has produced award-winning projects recognized for design excellence and innovation in mixed-use planning. An architect and urban planner, his work spans architecture, interiors, and planning. His projects include green building design, historic preservation, adaptive reuse and contextual modernism for government facilities, schools, churches, country clubs, museums, multifamily housing, and commercial offices. His work has been published in Progressive Architecture, Learning by Design, American School and University, the Wall Street Journal, American Planning Association Journal, and many other trade and professional journals. Active in civic service, he’s a member of the Arlington Economic Development Commission, Community Havens Board, John Marshall Bank Board of Directors, and Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and past chair of the Arlington Planning Commission. A member of the AIA College of Fellows, Foster holds degrees in Architecture and Urban Affairs from Virginia Tech, and graduate studies at SCI-ARC in Lugano, Switzerland.
JEFFREY FRANKLIN, partner and co-founder of PLAYLAB, INC.; co-founder, partner, designer, + POOL; co-founder CLOG;
New York, NY
Jeff Franklin is a partner at the New York-based multi-disciplinary creative practice, PLAYLAB, INC., which he co-founded in 2008 with Archie Lee Coates IV. At PLAYLAB, the duo explores ideas that interest them using design, architecture, graphic design and more to develop, produce, and install projects. The past has included: giant worms for the New Museum of Contemporary Art, a re-brand of America for SFMOMA, and most recently, WALKING PHOENIX, a compilation of every time Joaquin Phoenix can be seen walking in films. In 2011, Franklin co-founded the quarterly architecture publication CLOG. In 2010, he co-founded + POOL with Family New York, launching an initiative to build the world’s first water-filtering floating pool in New York, of which he is Director of Community & Education. He is also faculty at SOVA’s graduate program Design for Social Innovation program. Franklin earned his B.Arch from Virginia Tech in 2007.
GRETA J. HARRIS, President & CEO, Better Housing Coalition, Richmond, VA
Greta Harris leads the region’s largest nonprofit community development corporation, creating high-quality affordable housing, programs, and tools for residents of modest means. She previously served as vice president for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit community and economic development corporation, and senior program director for Virginia LISC, which supported local organizations in developing more than $250 million in real estate in Central Virginia. Harris was appointed to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors in 2016 and also serves on the boards of ChamberRVA and the Richmond Jazz Society. She co-chairs Mayor Levar Stoney’s Housing Taskforce and has served on the boards of the City of Richmond’s Economic Development Authority, the Federal Reserve Bank’s Board of Governors’ Consumer Advisory Council, the Virginia Housing Coalition, the Richmond Community Development Alliance, and Seven Hills Boys Middle School. Harris earned her bachelor of architecture degree from Virginia Tech and a master of science in architecture and urban design from Columbia University.
MARK J. HOURIGAN, founder, president, and CEO, Hourigan, Richmond, VA
Mark Hourigan is founder and CEO of Hourigan, a fully integrated construction and development firm with offices in Virginia Beach and Richmond. He has over 35 years of experience leading commercial construction and real estate development projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic, including the Washington Redskins practice facility, Stone Brewing Company brewery, the Altria Center for Research & Technology, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center. Hourigan chairs the Myers-Lawson School of Construction’s Industry Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees for Collegiate School in Richmond, and serves on boards for the Medical College of Virginia Foundation, Faison School for Autism, and The First Tee. He is Past President of Associated General Contractors and Past President of the Builders and Contractors Exchange. Hourigan holds a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College and an MBA from the University of Richmond.
BRUCE PRICHARD, managing principal, HBA Architecture + Interior Design, Virginia Beach, VA
Bruce Prichard has spent more than 40 years as an architect, principal, and president of HBA, a leading architecture, planning and interior design firm serving the Mid-Atlantic region, with offices in Virginia Beach and Richmond. He heads the firm’s Commercial and Interior Design Studios and has concentrated his practice in serving the area’s most prestigious corporate, financial and legal clients. Recent projects include headquarters and major projects for Stihl USA, Norfolk Southern, TowneBank, Williams Mullen, Armada Hoffler, Harbor Group, and the Virginia Port Authority. Within the firm, Prichard is currently working on a transition to the third generation of principal leadership. He serves on the boards of Virginia Beach Vision and the Central Business District Association. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Virginia Tech in 1975.
NANCY B. PRICHARD, retired art teacher, Virginia Beach, VA
Nancy Prichard retired from full-time teaching after 30 years in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools, where she taught artistically gifted students and was involved in fine arts curriculum development. She is an emeritus member of Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc., and has been included in numerous publications. In addition, she served as an adjunct faculty member in the Virginia Commonwealth University Off-Campus Graduate Art Program and in the art department of Virginia Wesleyan College. Currently, she presents workshops for art teachers and students of all ages that emphasize mixed media and creative processes. Prichard is a 1974 graduate of Virginia Tech and has a master’s degree from Radford University.
AUTUMN VISCONTI, senior landscape architect, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), New York, NY
Autumn Visconti is a senior landscape architect and project manager at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), working with the East Side Coastal Resiliency design team. She has worked at firms in the U.S. and internationally, including James Corner Field Operations in New York and O2 Planning + Design in Alberta, Canada. She is devoted to building projects using a clear, concise methodology to better prepare cities and communities for climate adaptation, and has designed and developed climate-resilient strategies for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with the Rockefeller Foundation’s “10 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge” and the national Rebuild By Design and Mississippi Delta Changing Course competitions. Visconti has a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA II) Second Professional Degree with advanced standing from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BLA from Virginia Tech.
ROBERT WELLS, CEO and co-founder of VIRTEXCO Corporation (retired), Virginia Beach, VA
Bob Wells recently retired after over 40 years as CEO of VIRTEXCO, a leading general contractor and construction management company he co-founded in 1976. Wells helped grow VIRTEXCO into an employee-owned company with locations in the Richmond and Hampton Roads, and a range of projects throughout Eastern Virginia including condos, schools, medical facilities, government offices, historic remodeling, and LEED-certified and sustainable buildings. Wells is a founding member of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction’s Industry Advisory Board and also chaired the Building Construction’s Industry Advisory Board for seventeen years. Each year, Bob and his wife, Janice, are proud to sponsor spring break service-learning trips that allow Virginia Tech students to work on construction projects that benefit underprivileged communities. Wells earned his bachelor’s degree in construction from Virginia Tech in 1973.
PRESTON M. WHITE, CEO and founder of Century Concrete, Virginia Beach, VA
Preston White founded Century Concrete in 1966 and has grown the company into a turn-key concrete contractor with more than 400 employees and annual revenues of over $70 million. The company specializes in structural concrete for high-rise buildings and infrastructure, concrete paving for airfields and industrial applications, sound barrier walls, concrete for steel frame buildings, and various concrete foundation systems. White serves on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, Virginia Business Higher Education Council, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-HR Leadership Council, New E3 School Board of Trustees in Norfolk, and on the executive council of Virginia Tech’s Myers Lawson School of Construction. From 2010-2017, he sat on the Christopher Newport University Board of Visitors, serving as its rector from 2014-2016. In 2008, White and his wife, Catharine, established an endowment in support of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction to support the Preston and Catharine White Faculty Fellowship Program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in construction from Virginia Tech.