Grassroots 2023 is quickly approaching and we are so excited to see all of you this July in Washington, D.C. We have some excellent programming for those attending the conference, and we are delighted to now announce this year’s keynote speakers!
Tamarah Begay, AIA, NCARB, AICAE, CDT, LEED AP BD+C
Tamarah is the founder of Indigenous Design Studio + Architecture (IDS+A), a 100% Native American Woman-Owned architectural and planning firm. As a member of the Navajo Nation, Ms. Begay is the first Navajo woman registered architect and has accumulated over 15 years of experience working in Native American tribes with connecting culture, language, and tradition through design. Another focus of Tamarah’s is educating clients on the importance of embracing Indigenous values of design and planning. She is committed to supporting minorities, in particular Native Americans, in architecture & planning and other related fields, through business opportunities and professional development. As the current President of the American Indian Council of Architects + Engineers (AICAE), Tamarah plans to continue striving to create architecture that upholds and celebrates her community values for past, present, and future generations.
We are thrilled to hear all about Tamarah and her work in promoting Indigenous values in architecture and planning, as well as her commitment to supporting Native Americans and other minorities through education and professional development!
Jacob R. (Jake) Day
Jake is the current Secretary of Housing and Community Development for the State of Maryland, a position he was officially confirmed to in March 2023, after two months serving as Acting Secretary. Prior to his appointment to Governor Wes Moore’s cabinet, Jake served as the mayor of his hometown of Salisbury, MD, for two terms, from 2015-2023.
Among the AIAS family, Jake is better known as the 48th National President of AIAS, serving in 2004-2005. (Jake’s partner in the Opening Keynote Session, Trinity Simons Wagner, was the 48th National Vice President of AIAS!) Jake graduated with a B.S. in architecture from the University of Maryland, College Park, and subsequently received both an M.A. in urban design and environmental policy from Carnegie Mellon University, and an M.S. with distinction in nature, society, and environmental policy from Oxford University. He also served in the U.S. Army.
Within the Maryland state government, Jake is currently a member of the Governor’s Executive Council, the Commerce Subcabinet, the Governor’s Subcabinet on Infrastructure, and the Smart Growth Subcabinet.
Trinity Simons Wagner
Trinity has served as the executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) since 2012. In this role, she works with mayors across the country on the nation’s most pressing urban planning and design challenges. She speaks about the intersection of design and politics at universities, events, and symposia across the country. During MICD sessions and throughout the year, Trinity adds to her deep understanding of mayors’ challenges and needs, forming long-standing relationships with local leaders around the country. She elevates the profile of the Institute and maintains a deep bench of design professionals eager to serve as Resource Team members, connecting mayors to critical issues of urban development.
Trinity was the 48th National Vice President of AIAS, serving as an officer with Jake Day in 2004-2005. She has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arkansas and a Master of City Planning with a focus on city design and real estate development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Trinity led the Institute’s transition to serving mayors in a virtual environment, including the creation of new program offerings, such as Mayors’ Virtual Seminars, MICD Alumni Technical Assistance, and the MICD Just City Mayoral Fellowship (in partnership with the Just City Lab at the Harvard GSD). Under her leadership, in 2021, MICD was awarded the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Founders’ Award, its highest honor for organizations. Trinity previously directed the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship, a prestigious fellowship program for emerging architects to achieve design excellence in affordable housing through work with community development corporations.
We look forward to Jake and Trinity reminiscing about their AIAS days as well as their path toward a career in public service, while still keeping an architecture-adjacent focus!