APLA Alumna Set to Become AIA Alabama President in 2025

Andrea Simpson, a 2005 Auburn graduate, will become AIA Alabama’s first black president in 2025.

After growing up an Army brat, Andrea Simpson ’05 learned to thrive in many different situations and environments.

And that is just what she has done since graduating from Auburn’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (APLA) with a bachelor’s degree in architecture.

Simpson began her career as an architect with Giattina Aycock Studio in Birmingham, Alabama, before joining the Gensler practice in Atlanta, Georgia. She later worked with HEERY International and THW Design in Atlanta before deciding to transition to the commercial furniture industry in 2015, eventually joining turnerboone in Huntsville, Alabama, as Director of Market Development.

The company specializes in conceptualizing, procuring, installing and maintaining furniture and modular building products for commercial, healthcare and educational interiors. At turnerboone, Simpson says she is able to leverage her past experience to better collaborate with both architects and designers.

She credits her APLA education as having made the transition from one profession to another easier. “Auburn’s program was very thorough, combining creativity with technical skills,” she recalled. “This helped me understand both design and practical building aspects. The projects and faculty at Auburn taught me critical thinking, problem-solving and team collaboration. That made it easy for me to move from architecture to commercial furniture industry.”

She has served in multiple executive leadership positions with a number of professional organizations, including the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Along with fellow Auburn alumna Sarah Beth Wilcox ’04, a graduate of CADC’s McWhorter School of Building Science, Simpson was also a founding member of the North Alabama Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC).

Currently the vice president of the Alabama Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Simpson will become AIA Alabama’s first black president in 2025. She is also part of the leadership group for the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community (IAKC) for AIA National. With such a strong organizational background, Simpson has a number of goals for her upcoming presidency.

“I’d like to provide regular updates to keep members informed and engaged, as well as leverage technology such as using digital platforms for meetings and collaborations,” she said, outlining some of her initial plans. “I would also like to explore new feedback mechanisms, so as to create channels for members to provide feedback and suggestions to ensure their needs and ideas are addressed.

“In addition,” she continued, “I want to work with local components to organize impactful ‘pop-up’ events such as public lectures or workshops that require minimal time but have significant community impact. And finally, legislative advocacy is also important. As president, I want to advocate for policies and regulations that support the architectural profession.”