Ashley Rybarczyk was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, and lived there until she was four. She then moved with her mother, stepdad, and baby brother to Oxford, Wisconsin, a small rural town of 500 people. She spent summers in the heat and bright lights of Vegas with her dad and returned to Wisconsin’s seasons for the school year.
Her path toward architecture began in second grade. She received her first set of Legos and was instantly hooked. She saved her allowance and money from birthday gifts and began building her own cities and castles. According to her mom, she started drawing layouts of their house and family member’s houses and apartments when she was a little girl. Her choice of architecture as a career was cemented when she took Architectural History at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and fell in love. It appealed to both her creative and practical sides.
Ashley has been practicing architecture for 11 years. She found herself jumping from one firm to another after her undergraduate and, during the recession, decided to return to the school and get a Master of Architecture degree while also working other jobs. At one point, after interviewing at companies, she decided she would give up architecture and join the military as an officer. Two weeks before joining, she was offered a job at a firm in Alameda, CA. After working there for a year and a half, she found her way to KTGY Architecture + Planning, where she has practiced residential architecture for almost nine years.
She joined the AIA shortly after receiving her license in 2014 but wasn’t active in the AIA East Bay community for the first couple of years. However, that quickly changed when her supervisor brought her to the Annual Meeting & Member Appreciation Party in 2018. Mark Steppan, the chapter President at the time, told the members that the chapter needed additional leadership to enhance the vision of the AIA.
She didn’t know anything about non-profits or if she could even help at all. But, when the time came for them to nominate new board members from the floor, she didn’t hesitate to raise her hand, and before she knew it, she had volunteered to become a changemaker at the AIA.
The AIA East Bay and chapter board of directors have taken great strides over the last few years with a new mission statement, vision and values, bylaws, election processes, new student programs, new and ambitious board members, and most importantly, new members. In 2021, Ashley fulfilled her term as Chapter President.
Now in 2022, She is honored to serve on the Board of Directors for AIA California representing AIA East Bay, and she looks forward to the next adventure. She is happy she raised her hand and would gladly do it again.