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01.25.19

Katie Harms takes on Associate role at OPN

OPN Architects is pleased to announce the promotion of Katie Harms, AIA, to Associate. A registered architect for more than a decade, Katie joined OPN’s Cedar Rapids studio after graduating from Iowa State University in 2003.

In her tenure at the firm, Katie has promoted the industry through advocacy and involvement with the local and regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects as well as by example on key projects that have shaped the Cedar Rapids community.

Her approach to architecture — one that creates not just physical buildings, but also relationships with her colleagues, clients, and peers — is imbued in her professional achievements.

Harms began her service with AIA on a state and local level as an associate member on the board, from there she was promoted to a regional position serving the AIA Central States as an associate director.

“At that time they were really pushing the development of emerging professionals and I was able to co-found Central State Emerging Leadership program,” Katie says. “It was such a grassroots effort and you’re constantly asking yourself, what should I focus on, what strategy do we implement, how do we develop this program.”

She went on to eventually join the AIA National Associates Committee where she had a heavy focus on young architects and their development in the industry.

“My involvement in AIA really prepared me for leadership by just the amount of listening and observing of leaders I did over the years,” she says.

That leadership role has benefited many projects at OPN, including  the Cedar Rapids Convention Center Complex, a 434,000 square foot and $120 million project, and the Federal Court House in Cedar Rapids.

“My goals … have to start with my why,” Katie says. “And for me, my why goes back to really wanting to make a positive impact on persons, places, and things. When I’ve had young people come up to me and tell me that they’ve learned something from me from a project we worked on together — that’s my bread and butter, I love that.  Or when clients reach out and say that they love being in their space and that it functions well.”

Her promotion is one of two announced in Chicago during OPN’s annual staff retreat. Kristin Lewis has been promoted to Associate Principal.