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Starting an Architectural Practice - Speaker Bios

Gaby Aviad


Lesson 5A: Project Management: Proposals and Fees
Gaby Aviad combines her dual expertise in both architecture and marketing as the Director of Marketing at DTAH. She holds a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Toronto, and over a decade of experience in proposal writing, architectural presentations, award-submissions and publications. She has worked at some of Canada’s most prominent architectural firms, such as Moriyama & Teshima and Teeple Architects.  

Gaby is ultimately responsible for bringing new work to the firm, generating, strategizing and coordinating proposals and marketing deliverables. Her successful pursuits include buildings, landscapes and planning projects of all scales, across multiple sectors, both nationally and internationally, with a particular focus on community, cultural and academic facilities. 

She has developed an expertise in various procurement methods, in private and publicly-tendered projects ranging from traditional RFPs for Design-Bid-Build contracts to complex, multi-phased Public-Private Partnership (P3) pursuits. 

Over the years, she has successfully curated numerous awards submissions, including Governor General's, Holcim, OAA, Canadian Architect, CSLA, OALA and TUDA Awards and spearheaded national and international publications. 

Her architectural background coupled with her marketing and business development expertise allows her to effectively advocate and promote the firm with both design insight and market understanding.   A storyteller at heart, Gaby takes pleasure in transforming any architectural fact - even the most technical or mundane - into an interesting and thought-provoking narrative. 

Roberto Chiotti


Lesson 5C - Project Management: Project Planning

Roberto has been a licensed member of the Ontario Association of Architects since 1981. After interning with firms such as Arthur Erickson Architects and Lett Smith Architects, he joined Larkin Architect limited in 1986 as Senior Associate and became principal in 1994. Since then, Roberto has been responsible for marketing and business development in addition to his design and management duties.  His firm’s widely published St. Gabriel’s Church is the first worship space in Canada to achieve LEED® Gold Certification and is the recipient of several awards including an international AIA/IFRAA Merit Award and the 2007 City of Toronto Green Design Award.
Roberto has mentored interns in both the RAIC Syllabus Programme and the Internship in Architecture Programme.  He has also taught Core studios and Professional Practice courses for Environmental Design Students at OCAD University.

Raymond Chung



Lesson 1 - Architectural Practice in a Contemporary Context

Raymond  is a registered Architect in Ontario, Professional Project Manager (PMP) , Professional Facility Manager (FMP)and Sustainable Facility Professional (SFP). He specializes in construction project management and with over 30 years experience in the design, supervision and project management of various industrial, commercial, municipal and post-secondary institutional projects.
His completed projects includes a $60 million, 260,000 square feet, new Cambridge campus School of Engineering and Informational Technology complex, $15 million, 70,000 sq ft Health Science Building at Doon Campus, $2 million HRAC Building and $3 million Roofing Centre at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario. Raymond worked on various consulting engagements for some of the Canadian most respected architectural, engineering, design-build, real estate and telecommunication organizations.
Raymond is currently Professor of APFM at Conestoga College, Instructor and Subject Mater Expert at Ryerson University Chang School and Project Advisor at Conestoga College.

His current research interest includes the application of Agile Project Management Methodology in design and construction.

Devon Gracey



Lesson 4B  - Practice Management: Human Resources

Upon joining DIALOG in 2012, Devon managed the day-to-day National Learning and Development Program. In 2015 Devon moved into the Human Resources role for the growing the studio from 115 to 180 people in two years, was on the implementation team for DIALOG’s revised Performance Development Program and managed Human Resources functions for the Toronto studio.

Devon has experience in Recruiting, Labour Relations, Employee Relations, Learning & Development and Benefit Administration.

She also completed her certification in Adult Learning and Development at the University of Toronto’s OISE, her certification in Human Resources Management from Niagara College, and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Northeastern University.

John Hackett


Lesson 2B - Regulatory Requirements: Pro-Demnity Insurancey 
As the Vice President of Practice Risk Management at Pro-Demnity Insurance, John Hackett counsels Ontario architects on questions about insurance and liability concerns. He serves as moderator for many Pro-Demnity Loss Prevention Events.  Prior to assuming his position with Pro-Demnity in 2004, he practised for 35 years with an Ontario architectural practice that focused on publicly funded institutional projects.  From 2005 to 2015, he served as a member of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC), the organization responsible for oversight of the National Building Code. John is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and a licenced architect in Ontario; at various times, he was licensed to practice architecture in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.


Yew-Thong Leong

 B.Tech.(Arch.), B.Arch., OAA, FRAIC

Lesson 4C - Practice Management: IT

Yew-Thong attended Ryerson University and the Pratt Institute, New York, where he studied architecture and urban design with New York Grey theorist Raimund Abraham and US Main Streets guru Norman Mintz.
In practice since 1986, he has designed and managed over 150 projects personally, spanning North America to Asia and Central/South America. His past Canadian projects include the award-winning projects Sharp Center, OCAD; the Schulich School of Business, York University; the Aviva National Tennis Centre, the Life Sciences Building at York University, and is completing a multi-phased expansion to a historically designated building.

A full-time professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, and the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University, Yew-Thong has been concurrently teaching since 1987.
Currently a Managing Director of SSG Architecture Inc. and SSG Beijing, Yew-Thong has also served on numerous boards and awards juries, including the Architizer A+ Awards 2016 + 2017 (New York), the 2017 WAN Awards (London), and the International Hi-Rise Awards 2014 (Germany). He is a professional member of the Ontario Association of Architects, a Scientific Member of the IAC (Belgium), a Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada and IIAS (Germany), and was the millennium Chair of the Toronto Society of Architects.


Domenic A. Meffe

B. Arch., OAA, RAIC, Assoc. AIA, and OPPI

Lesson 3:  Developing a Business model for your practice

Domenic brings a broad range of experience in the areas of commercial, industrial, non-profit housing, institutional, and academic design. His extensive experience: from design concepts to construction and detailing that provides in-depth real world knowledge. This experience includes planning and development work on numerous non-profit projects, perhaps as many as 100 commercial developments, and institutional projects throughout the province, including a provincial design award in 1995.

Michael Miller


Lesson 5B:  Project Management: Client Agreements

Michael graduated from the University of British Columbia and started his career with Arthur Erickson, working in offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. He subsequently joined Ron Thom Architects, and was a partner there for five years. He established his own practice in Toronto, and shortly thereafter opened a second office in Dallas, Texas.
His practice has focused on large housing projects, commercial projects, single family residences, renovation work and exhibition design, including the entire exhibit program for the Ontario Pavilion at EXPO 86 in Vancouver, B.C.
He was author of The Canadian Guide to Home Renovation and subsequently re-wrote the book for publication in the United States. His architectural work has been published and has won several design awards, and he has been a member of the selection jury for a number of significant buildings in Ontario. As well as maintaining his architectural practice, he was Chair of The Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University for ten years and has been continually involved with teaching as a part-time lecturer and studio critic at universities and colleges in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Christie Mills

B.Arch, B.Comm, CSC, OAA

Lesson 2A: OAA Regulatory Requirements: Ontario Architectural Practice

Christie Mills is an Ontario architect and was recently appointed to serve as the Deputy Registrar at the OAA.  She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture.  She practised for 15 years and was a Principal with Moriyama & Teshima Architects (MTA) before commencing work with the OAA in 2017.   Her current work with the Office of the Registrar allows her to explore the relationship of the OAA’s regulatory framework with the practice of architecture and how it influences the future of the profession in Ontario.

Elaine Pantel

Principal, Assurance and Business Advisory, ShiMMERMAN PENN

Lesson 2C - Regulatory Requirements: Business Structures in Ontario and Canada

Elaine provides business advisory, assurance and accounting services to a broad range of owner-managed businesses and not-for-profit organizations. She advises clients in areas including succession planning, ownership agreements, business financing, cash flow management, bench-marking and managing business operations and compensation strategies for employees and owners.

Elaine is responsible for the firm’s Marketing and Business Development programs and co-leads the firm’s industry specialty groups for Architecture, Engineering and Design (AED) and Investment Management Firms. Elaine is the firm’s expert for not-for-profit organizations. She has written widely and spoken regularly at the firm's industry seminars and workshops. Shimmerman Penn is a long-time supporter of the design community and has presented at events and conferences for the OAA, IIDEX, SDA Canada and the OALA.

Elaine is the Vice-Chair of the North American Board of Directors of PrimeGlobal, and is also a member of the World Board of Directors, which is focused on supporting the regions, governance, strategy, communications, member interaction and business development. Over the years Elaine has represented the firm at many PrimeGlobal conferences.

Basima Roshan


Lesson 4A: Practice Management: Operational Systems – Finance 

Basima leads Innovia Partners’ change and transformation practice. She joined Innovia after leading complex internal projects for a Fortune-500 company that delivered enhanced capabilities and increased effectiveness and profit. Basima guides Innovia’s clients through the changes in structure, processes, and people they need to meet business and market challenges.
Currently, Basima advises several leading architectural firms and creative businesses. She also serves as Interim Director of Finance of a large Canadian architectural practice, providing focused counsel and leadership with the goal of optimizing operational and financial performance.
Basima has a Queen’s MBA, holds a Bachelors of Commerce (Finance), and is a Chartered Public Accountant (CPA).