The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), AIA Pennsylvania, has named three legislators recipients of the annual Government Award – Senator Tim Kearney, AIA, Representative Milou Mackenzie, and Senator Carolyn Comitta.
The Government Award is given in recognition of significant contributions to, or particular support of, the profession and business of Architecture and/or the built environment in Pennsylvania. Anyone working in state or local government such as legislators, department secretaries, township officials, etc. is eligible for the award as an individual or specified group.
Representatives from AIA Pennsylvania presented all three Government Awards ahead of the midterm elections and the reveal of the remaining eight (8) categories of the Architectural Excellence Special Awards, debuting with the 2022 Architectural Excellence Awards Broadcast and Viewing Parties on November 17.
The following Government Award recipients were put forward to the AIA Pennsylvania Board by the AIA Pennsylvania Government Affairs Committee chaired by Adam Trott, AIA, for final approval.
Senator Timothy Kearney, AIA
Senator Tim Kearney is an architect, professor, and now a first-term Senator representing parts of Delaware and Chester Counties. From leading projects at Venturi Scott Brown to teaching students at Drexel University and starting Cueto Kearney Design with his wife, Claudia, he has over three decades of experience in the field.
As a Pennsylvania state Senator, Tim Kearney, AIA, views his work in elected office as a natural extension of his work as an architect. In doing so, he epitomizes the qualities of a “citizen architect.” Kearney has built houses, college dorms, scientific lab facilities, offices, and more, which pushed him into public service in his borough’s planning commission. As a longtime community leader in southeastern Delco, Kearney served as mayor of Swarthmore for five years before joining the Senate.
As a legislator, Senator Kearney is focused on protecting reproductive rights, and expanding/protecting access to affordable and equitable healthcare. Most recently, he led the Delaware County legislative Delegation to introduce bills to reform abusive for-profit hospital deals. He also supports greater investments in public schools and championed capital funding for school buildings.
Representative Milou Mackenzie
State Representative Milou Mackenzie, a lifelong resident of the Lehigh Valley, was elected to the State House in 2020 as representative of the 131st Legislative District, which encompasses parts of Lehigh, Northampton, and Montgomery counties. Prior to her election, she taught school and was the owner/operator of V.M. Mackenzie Interior Design, LLC, her small business of more than 30 years. During her first term, Representative Mackenzie focused on the support of small business owners. In doing so, she has been an ally of AIA Pennsylvania in the state house. Milou considers herself blessed to have had a long and varied career working to advance three areas that are close to her heart: good education, good interior design, and now good government.
Senator Carolyn Comitta
This year, in collaboration with the AIA Pennsylvania Government Affairs Committee, the AIA Pennsylvania Committee on the Environment (COTE), chaired by Brian Smiley, AIA, instituted the COTE Government Award. The inaugural COTE Government Award is given in recognition of significant contributions to, or support of, the AIA Pennsylvania Committee on the Environment or COTE mission to advocate for a healthy, safe, efficient, resilient, and beautiful built environment for the common good.
A leader in championing safe, healthy, and sustainable communities, state Senator Carolyn Comitta is dedicated to ensuring a cleaner and brighter future for the next generation of Pennsylvanians and beyond. As a mayor, she promoted smart growth, walkable town centers, and green buildings in West Chester. In the state legislature, she is working to cut our carbon emissions, invest in renewables, uplift environmental justice communities, and support climate resilience.