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Creating Community ...with Ardis Clinton, AIA Article by Constance Adams, AIA Photography by Nicole Mlaker It was another hot Texas July — many in the Perkins+Will Houston office were at their desks seeking shelter from the scorching day. As they studiously focused on their work, the office was almost silent. Suddenly their thoughts were interrupted by the clanging bell of … wait, was that the sound of an ice cream truck? Down the studio floor came an ice cream cooler on a dolly. It was filled with traditional frozen treats like Drumsticks and Eskimo Pies, and an old-fashioned ice cream jingle played over a phone. Ardis Clinton, AIA, had decided that things were too stale in the office and took it upon herself to lighten things up. “I like doing things that help boost the sense of community around me,” says Ardis. Now approaching her tenth anniversary at Perkins+Will, Ardis started there as an intern shortly after earning her B.Arch. from the University of Houston. She worked her way up to project manager and associate by impressing her superiors with her diligence, dedication, and almost uncanny ability to deliver even in the face of considerable challenges. Dave Mueller, managing director of the office, has been among her most encouraging mentors at the firm. “Whatever I ask Ardis to do, she does it in a big way,” he says. When tasked by the networking group WISER (Women In Sales Executive Roles) last year to find a dynamic speaker to address work/ life balance issues, Ardis delivered Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Having cut her teeth at work on projects that were complex both technically and in terms of customer/shareholder diplomacy, like the Galveston National Laboratory biodefense facility and a new private aviation terminal at Houston Hobby Airport, Ardis is adept at both solving tectonic and formal problems and addressing the human management component that often accompanies them. is not limited to client interactions and networking. Taking a lead in coordinating Learning and Development activities for Perkins+Will, she has also found herself drawn to supporting the growth of new architecture professionals. “Both inside and out of the office,” says Ardis, “I work with architectural interns in assisting with acquiring their licensure.” From her involvement with the AIA Young Architects Forum and Intern Association Network to mentoring student design competitions and organizing intra-office charity contributions, Ardis is recognized for having contributed significantly to the life of the firm. According to Dave, she creates meaningful educational opportunities for interns and veteran colleagues who struggle to accumulate and mainArdis’ focus on social intelligence 3/4 2013 Texas Architect 67

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