AAA announces new leadership award in honour of Tom Sutherland

AAA announces new leadership award in honour of Tom Sutherland

The Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) created an award in the late Tom Sutherland‘s honour called the Tom Sutherland Award of Merit. His family accepted the inaugural award on his behalf at their Annual General Meeting held on May 9.

Every year, the award will honour and recognize a member of the AAA who exemplifies exceptional leadership qualities within the architectural or interior design sector in Alberta, advances the profession, and demonstrates extraordinary service to the community. These are the qualities personified by the late Tom Sutherland.

AAA approached us with the idea and award criteria they developed. We were honoured to help them recognize his leadership and continue his legacy within the architecture community.


About Tom Sutherland

DIALOG architect and Firm Managing Principal, Tom Sutherland, died in a tragic ski accident on April 2, 2015. He had been vacationing in Fernie, B.C., with his wife, Sandi, and their four children.

Tom was born in Edmonton, Alberta. While studying architecture, he was awarded the gold medal for highest standing in an undergraduate faculty from both the Bachelor of Environmental Studies program at the University of Manitoba in 1982, and the Master of Architecture program at Harvard University in 1987. He practiced for ten years in Boston and Toronto before returning home where his reputation as a bright, young architect captured the attention of many, including DIALOG.

Tom made a huge impact on our profession, our community and on DIALOG:

  • He led the creation of the Prairie Design Awards, and was leading the Alberta Association of Architects Practice Entity Task Force to restructure the way architecture and interior design are practiced in Alberta.
  • Tom committed his time to support many community organizations including his terms as Board Member and Chair of Capital City Savings (now Servus Credit Union) and of the Global Design Alliance (a North American based alliance of engineering and design firms).
  • ​Tom became DIALOG’s Firm Managing Principal in 2008. His leadership was at the centre of the development of the firm, culture and values that DIALOG is today.

“Tom combined exceptional design talent with an ability to lead and manage people—and did so while building great relationships with all those he worked with, setting the bar high and challenging us to do better” says McConnell.

As an architect, Tom’s influence can be seen around Edmonton and Alberta. His portfolio of work led with a strong but collaborative design hand includes healthcare facilities such as Royal Alexandra Hospital’s Robbins Pavilion, the Kaye Edmonton Clinic, the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital and the recently opened Edson Healthcare Centre. Some of his post-secondary educational buildings include Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s HP and Spartan and Petro-Canada Centres plus NorQuest College’s Singhmar Centre for Learning. Tom was very proud of the role he played in developing Edmonton’s Capital City Downtown Plan; he relished the opportunity to help Edmonton become a great city.

Tom was a natural leader who exemplified the traits recognized by the AAA in the Tom Sutherland Award of Merit. He would be humbled and honoured by the recognition.


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