EP Friendly Firms – North Central States Region

by Katie Kangas

The AIA North Central States Region proudly announced the first round of EP Friendly Firms during the 4th Annual EP Summit on October 5th, 2019. This award recognizes businesses that employ and support emerging professional architects (EPs) through four qualities:

  1. Providing Fair Compensation and Benefits
  2. Supporting Licensure
  3. Investing in Professional Development
  4. Actively Creating Opportunities for EPs

When entering the profession, architecture students face the challenge of negotiating terms of employment without knowing the reputation of an office. This award highlights offices committed to fairly compensating and supporting the professional development of EPs. The application process remains open in the hopes of recognizing exceptional companies committed to their EPs.

Awardees of the 2019-2020 EP Friendly Firm Award:

Cuningham Group
JLG Architects
Kahler Slater
Kodet Architectural Group
OPN Architects
Peterssen/Keller Architecture
Ryan Companies
Snow Kreilich Architects
Stone Group Architects

Several firms commented that the award process provided good metrics to discuss internally. Many firms identified this award as an opportunity to differentiate themselves and attract talented EPs. Most applicants already did these things without recognition. Some firms used this list to begin initiatives that benefit EPs, like an ARE resource library or updated their office manual. Representatives of one large firm said this award was good to raise the bar for larger firms to invest in the profession.

If you are an EP preparing for an interview, I recommend taking a quick look at the EP Friendly Firm Award questions. Highlight questions that influence your decision to work with a certain company. Find out what kind of support is available for licensure and continuing education. Ask about benefits beyond your base salary (professional dues, health care, and parental leave). These qualities will impact your life working in that office. Or save yourself the trouble and just start your interview process at firms already recognized by this award!


The list of EP Friendly Firms continues to grow. If you would like your firm recognized you can still apply at www.aiancsr.com/ep-friendly-firm-award.  The committee is accepting applications on a rolling basis through the end of 2019. Applicants simply need to have an office in the region, and have an AIA member firm principal and an AIA member emerging professional fill out and sign the form together. The application is free!

Open to member firms in the following regional state components: 

Link to the live listing at NCSR’s website: https://www.aiancsr.com/ep-friendly-firms

Article written by Katie Kangas, MN Architect, AIA NCSR Young Architects Regional Director (YARD). Katie works at RSP Architects in Minneapolis, MN. As the North Central States Region YARD, she connects emerging professionals with resources to position them for success.

Special thanks to Kyle Palzer, Assoc. AIA, 2018-2019 AIA Regional Associate Director (RAD) for spearheading the EP Friendly Firm Award. He took an initiative and made it local to our four states. His efforts empower EPs and evaluate firms through a new lens that advances architectural practice.

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