Gaines Group Architects

From joining the Gaines Group Architects in 2018 as a student intern to the present day as an Architectural Designer, Caitlin has found her voice in architecture as an advocate for emerging professionals in architecture. Having graduated from college during a global pandemic, Caitlin recognizes the challenges that emerging professionals face as they navigate an ever-evolving industry impacted by economic and climate crises.

As a native Virginian with a passion for design, Caitlin graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architectural Design from James Madison University. While at JMU, Caitlin was awarded the J. Binford Walford Scholarship in academic excellence and was a member of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). Upon graduating, she became a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). As a member of CSI, Caitlin found a supportive network of professionals from across the country who inspired her to pursue her Construction Documents Technologist (CDT) certification, which she earned in 2020. Today, she serves as the Associate Director on the AIA Virginia Board of Directors and as the Communications Chair and Membership Chair on the CSI Central Virginia Board of Directors.

Caitlin has shared her insights as an emerging professional in architecture on numerous panels across the nation, including speaking for JMU AIAS, AIA Central Virginia, CSI Portland, and CSI Certifications. In 2021, she co-presented at the AIAS Grassroots Conference about the role of mentorship in architecture, and in 2022, hosted a workshop for the Young Architect Conference about new goal-setting methods, titled “Goal-Setting for the Busy Professional (in 3 Simple Steps!).”

Since graduating, Caitlin has utilized every opportunity to network with fellow emerging professionals across architecture, engineering, and construction. What started as a pandemic/quarantine passion project has blossomed into Emerge AEC, a virtual resource for professionals across every experience level in AEC. As the co-founder of Emerge AEC, Caitlin and the EAEC team organizes monthly virtual meetings with presenters on professional development topics ranging from professional organizations to workplace dynamics. Emerge AEC’s blog interviews and social media posts strive to further their mission to “improve communication between emerging professionals in architecture, engineering, and construction by building community, supporting career growth, and elevating the industry as a whole.” Caitlin has won multiple awards and recognitions, both outside the AEC community and within. Most recently, she was honored as the first recipient of CSI’s inaugural 2022 Outstanding Emerging Professional award for her exceptional leadership and significant contributions to furthering the mission of CSI. Additionally, Caitlin was honored by her hometown of Harrisonburg, Virginia as a 2021 “10 Under 40” business leader within her community. As a part of her passion for design and supporting emerging professionals, Caitlin has been invited to return to JMU’s Architectural Design program as a review panelist and as a mentor to current architectural design students.

When Caitlin isn’t behind the computer or out in the field, she’s spending time with her family in the Shenandoah Valley or volunteering at Virginia Quilt Museum to indulge her love of history. Someday soon, she’ll make it back to Europe to rediscover the architecture that inspired her career.