RENA M. KLEIN, FAIA
Rena M. Klein is frequently cited as one of the few experts in the nation on entrepreneurial and small design firm practice. With 20 years’ experience as the owner of a small architecture firm and over 10 years as a consultant and educator, Rena brings a special understanding of design firms managed by entrepreneurial architects, engineers and designers.
Rena is the author of The Architect’s Guide to Small Firm Management (Wiley, 2010) and was executive editor of AIA’s The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, 15th edition (Wiley 2013), widely considered the authoritative guide for practitioners. Rena served as the 2014 Chair of the Advisory Group for AIA Practice Management Knowledge Community and as President of AIA Seattle, one of the country’s most innovative and vibrant chapters.
Known for her extensive knowledge of practice issues and her ability to craft solutions that respond to each small firm’s unique situation, Rena's positive and collaborative approach rejuvenates firm owners and engages staff as they improve the quality of work life and profitability. Rena specializes in consulting on financial management, operations, organizational design and strategic planning in small design firms. Through her leadership in AIA and her experience as a curator of knowledge about practice, she has a broad understanding of industry trends and best practices.
DRIVEN BY A DESIRE TO IMPROVE FIRM MANAGEMENT
Rena has been a licensed architect in Washington State since 1989. After founding her firm in Seattle, Rena returned to graduate school to learn how to improve her practice, reduce daily stress and make more money. In 1996, Rena earned a Masters of Science in Management. Determined to share her knowledge with small firm colleagues, Rena began presenting seminars and workshops on professional practice at AIA national Conventions and to AIA Knowledge Communities around the country.
Rena’s professional practice teaching includes over 15 years to graduate architecture students at the University of Washington and Washington State University, where she focused on ethics, design and building codes in an interdisciplinary environment. She continues her work as an educator to small firm practitioners through in-person AIA events and on-line through aecKnowledge as its Editorial Director and as a presenter in their continuing education offerings.
A THOUGHT LEADER ON SMALL FIRM PRACTICE
Through working with firms around the nation, Rena has studied how small firms operate and which practices lead to widespread success. Her articles on best practices and industry trends, which have appeared in AIArchitect, Architect Magazine, and Licensed Architect, have become a valued resource to leaders of small- and mid-sized firms. Rena was awarded a special honorary citation from the AIA Board Knowledge Committee for her work in creating knowledge-sharing events.
While serving as an Advisory Group member of AIA’s Practice Management Knowledge Community, Rena developed numerous events, conferences, and webinars geared towards emerging professionals and small firm practitioners. Most recently, she was instrumental in designing a program called GROW, a one-day symposium on practice, in collaboration with the AIA New York City Practice Committee.
In recognition of her significant contributions to knowledge creation and sharing, and for her advocacy of small firm practice, Rena was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2006.