For Michigan Architectural Foundation Trustee Katherine (Kathy) Banicki, Hon. Aff. AIAMI, FESD, her passion for supporting architectural education programs for young people drives her tireless, long-standing commitment to MAF. “It is very gratifying to be able to reward deserving students with scholarships that recognize their academic achievements and help make getting an education more affordable, and to play a role in supporting programs that encourage children’s interest in architecture and the world around them,” said Kathy.
MAF is pleased to announce that Kathy is the recipient of MAF’s 2023 Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership achievement and contribution to MAF. The award is made annually at the AIA Michigan Honor Awards Program; this is the ninth year of the recognition.
“Kathy is a very quiet but powerful member of our Foundation board,” said Doug Kueffner, AIA, 2022-2023 MAF President. “Along with my fellow Board members, I am humbled by her generosity. Kathy, along with her late husband John, have financially supported MAF more than any other non-architect contributor, and are among our top all-time overall contributors. Through their generosity and dedication, they have helped to make degree programs more affordable for many architecture students, and strengthened MAF educational programs that support our mission to advance awareness of how architecture enriches life.”
Kathy and John founded Michigan-based consulting engineering firm Testing Engineers & Consultants (TEC). Nearly five decades ago, Kathy and John started attending the annual AIA/AGC Summer Conference on Mackinac Island as professional peers. “Our involvement with Michigan architecture and MAF became a labor of love for John and me. Along the way, we formed friendships that have lasted a lifetime, and became devoted to supporting MAF’s educational initiatives.”
In 2015, Kathy and her husband established the MAF Katherine and John Banicki Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a Michigan college or university graduate architecture student based on academic and community involvement achievements. The scholarship is self-funded by MAF’s annual Backus Bash, a social event that also supports other MAF educational programming. Kathy also serves on the MAF Scholarship Jury, helping to review and evaluate the submitted scholarship applications.
Kathy’s dedication to supporting young people in their eventual careers extends to scholarship programs for engineering students at Wayne State University, and through ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies) Michigan. Each year, Kathy also donates one-week stays at her personal condominium in Florida as an auction item to help raise funds for the scholarship programs for MAF, ACEC, and CORENET (Corporate Real Estate Network).
Kathy is an active MAF board member and also serves on MAF’s K12 Educational Committee. She values the friendships she has developed with other MAF board and committee members over the years, and greatly appreciates the dedication of MAF and the board to supporting educational programming. “This is a board that is continuously developing new ways to support students in need and programs that help people of all ages realize the value of architecture in their lives,” Kathy said. “The board even invites its architecture scholarship recipients to its annual Donor Event. It is heartwarming to see the students have their potential as the future of architecture be recognized by industry professionals.”
In addition to her involvement with MAF, Kathy and TEC also support the Engineering Society of Detroit’s (ESD) acclaimed Michigan Regional Future City Competition, in which middle school students imagine, design, and build virtual cities. She is also an ESD board member and actively involved in CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Detroit), and serves on the ACEC Michigan Scholarship Committee. Kathy also is a scholarship judge for Oakland Schools, which offers academic-based scholarships for both college and trade school-bound students.
Kathy continues, “You feel like you have really accomplished something when you are raising money to help support deserving students, and are part of programming that helps young children develop their STEM skill set, and expand their imaginations and their future potential.”
(Photos, top to bottom: Kathy; Kathy and her late husband, John Banicki; Kathy and Craig Wolanin,Frank Rewold and Son Inc.; Kathy is among the Class of 2011 Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) College of Fellows)