Sam Smead Photocreative

Jeff Potter, FAIA, has won the 2023 Edward C. Kemper Award. Named in honor of the AIA’s first executive director, the award "is given annually to an architect who has contributed significantly to the profession through service to the AIA," according to an AIA press release.

"His entire career has been a witness to his commitment to design,” former AIA executive vice president and chief executive officer Robert A. Ivy, FAIA, wrote in one of the nominating letters for the award.

After earning a Bachelor of Environmental Design and a M.Arch. from Texas A&M University, the Shreveport, La., native founded Potter Architects with his wife, Shelley Potter, in Longview, Texas, in 1983, specializing in the strategic planning and design of educational facilities.

Pine Tree Middle School in Longview, Texas, by Potter Architects
Sam Smead Pine Tree Middle School in Longview, Texas, by Potter Architects

Potter’s service to AIA began when he was elected president of the AIA Northeast Texas Chapter (now part of AIA Dallas) in 1998. He was also president of the Texas Society of Architects in 2004 and served as AIA's 88th president in 2012.

His most enduring legacy to AIA may well be his advocacy for better strategic communications. Potter, a past writer for AIA ARCHITECT and a longtime contributor to Texas Architect magazine, helped reimagine AIA’s national brand, an effort that began at the 2011 Communication Summit in Kansas City. He advocated for AIA to retain noted marketing and design firms LaPlaca Cohen and Pentagram to envision more effective communications that represented AIA through good design. As AIA president in 2012, Potter also helmed efforts to better express the importance and societal benefits of architecture. These initiatives included the I Look Up video series and a focus on showcasing the work of individual AIA members.

A 2012 AIA president's "Perspective" column published in ARCHITECT
AIA | Hanley Wood A 2012 AIA president's "Perspective" column published in ARCHITECT

Potter also served two terms as president of the Architects Foundation where he worked to increase support from corporate and private donors for opportunity scholarships. His initiatives ultimately expanded the Foundation's reachfrom three to 25 students.

Potter's inaugural address as 88th AIA president in 2012
courtesy AIA Potter's inaugural address as 88th AIA president in 2012

The winner of the 2023 Kemper Award was selected by the AIA Board of Directors and the AIA Strategic Council from three finalists who were identified by an advisory jury consisting of chair Nathaniel Hudson, AIA, FormGrey Studio in Reno, Nev.; Joseph Benjamin, AIA, Lake | Flato, San Antonio; Arathi P. Gowda, AIA, ZGF Architects in Washington, D.C.; Anne Hicks Harney, FAIA, Long Green Specs in Manasquan, N.J.; Jaime Torres Carmona, AIA, Canopy/architecture + design in Chicago; Andrew Tyley, RIAI, RSHP formerly Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in London; and Melodie Yashar, ICON in Austin, Texas.