California Architects

Newsletter Logo for California Architects

2021 Edition, Issue 2


A Publication of the California Architects Board ■ Public Protection Through Examination, Licensure, and Regulation

Octavius Morgan Distinguished Service Award

Named after the first president of the California Architects Board (Board), the Octavius Morgan Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have over the years significantly contributed to the Board’s mission through their volunteerism. The Board annually bestows the award on a recipient. Nominations are accepted from Board members, staff, and others.

The Board relies on volunteers, such as subject matter experts, committee and task force members, and others to assist in the fulfillment of its mandate to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

Two impressive architects were awarded the 2020 Octavius Morgan Distinguished Service Award during the February 26, 2021 Board meeting. Their passion for architecture was ignited in high school, and they persevered to become licensed architects. Their countless hours and contributions to the Board’s Examination and Licensing Unit has been invaluable.

Yvone Hobbs

Yvone Hobbs became a licensed architect in 1987. She first thought about becoming an architect while in high school when she witnessed urban unrest. She believed if she were an architect, she could have a positive impact on reducing turbulence by changing urban design, and thereby improving the human condition. Not only did she become an architect but continued her education after earning a bachelor’s of architecture and bachelor’s of environmental design from the University of Minnesota, to include a master’s of architecture from the University of California Berkeley, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

Yvone Hobbs
Yvone Hobbs

Hobbs became involved in assisting the Board with development of its oral examination in 2005 when a friend who was working with the Board recruited her. She agreed to participate so she could bring diversity and support to the profession. She was a commissioner for the oral format of the California Supplemental Examination (CSE). She continues to serve as a subject matter expert (SME) and brings diverse experience and knowledge to exam development.

Hobbs’ career began in San Francisco working for Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz as a junior designer and quickly expanded to take her all over the world. The project in which she is most proud is the San Leandro Medical Center. The eight-year project saw a former Albertson’s warehouse become a medical center. Her participation began with land procurement to opening the hospital.

Her favorite job involved working internationally for a fast-growing high-technology company. Hobbs said that she learned the most from the organization and had an outstanding team and leadership. She described the experience as a “Vulcan mind meld” because work processes were ideal and the relationships that were developed have continued throughout the years. Additionally, the company was an ethical, value-centered organization.

When asked about significant changes in the profession, she remembers that when she began her career, hand drawing was the only technique used, and 3D design using computers has replaced it. Another change she has noticed is various project delivery systems have shifted risk from architects to other parties. Hobbs is concerned that with that shift, the architect’s perceived expertise in the marketplace becomes eroded. She is hopeful that new efficiencies gained from innovation will allow the profession to remain at the center of the building industry.

Hobbs currently works for Bureau Veritas which provides independent third-party reviews and construction monitoring inspections for developers and lending institutions interested in ensuring that the work is consistent with the original pro forma which garnered the loan.

David Higginson, AIA

David Higginson entered a home design competition in high school, which dovetailed into his love for art and photography. He won the competition and his passion for architecture began.

He became a licensed California architect in 1988, and also holds active licenses in six other states. He attended Cal Poly Pomona College of the extended University and obtained his Bachelor’s of Science in business and management from the University of Redlands and a master’s in theology from Liberty University.

David Higginson
David Higginson

His first job in the architectural field, was working for Ruhnau Evans Ruhnau Associates in Riverside under the supervision of Gary McGavin, AIA. He benefited from the invaluable mentorship he received during these early stages of his career. In 1986, Higginson established PCH Architects with two good friends and they built a practice focused on client service and quality design. His current firm, Higginson Architects, is located in Redlands. Throughout his career, Higginson has primarily been involved with educational and commercial facilities and estimates completing more than 2,000 projects from small remodels to complete school campuses. He has worked with the Division of the State Architect (DSA) for three decades and is versed in the complex and changing DSA approval process.

Higginson is involved with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services’ Safety Assessment Program and mobilized during the Calexico and Napa earthquakes to provide rapid assessment of the damage. He also went to Mississippi for two weeks when the AIA in Mississippi put out the call for professionals to assess damage after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

Higginson has been active with the AIA Inland California Chapter, and was elected president in 2016. He also encourages students in local schools and colleges to pursue a career in architecture. He mentors those interested in becoming architects and said, “the creation of a physical space that considers both the human and natural elements is extremely rewarding.”

During the past 15 years, Higginson has volunteered for the Board by conducting oral licensing exams, assisting with development of the CSE, participated in numerous workshops, including the Occupational Analysis, and assisting with developing graphic exhibits during the testing process. He still assists the Board as a SME.

Higginson is still passionate about his chosen career and plans on practicing as long as he is able. He hopes the depth and breadth of knowledge and skills he attained during a long and successful career can continue to be leveraged to benefit the next generation of architects and the community at large.

Congratulations to Yvone and David as they continue to advocate for sustainable design and mentor others to pursue careers in architecture.