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K-State Today

September 18, 2023

K-State announces 2023 10-Year APDesign Alumni Honorees

Submitted by Thom Jackson

10-year honorees

The College of Architecture, Planning & Design, or APDesign, at Kansas State University announces the distinguished recipients of the 2023 10-Year APDesign Alumni Honorees. This prestigious accolade recognizes four outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to their fields and exemplify the spirit of excellence instilled by the college. 

This year's honorees include Felicia Balestrere, senior associate and interior designer at Populous in Kansas City; Derek Hoetmer, principal at MCLV in Kansas City, Missouri; Stephanie Kisler, planning manager for the city of Lenexa; and Will Leonard, lead motion designer at Brazen Animation, Dallas, Texas. 

Balestrere, a distinguished alumna of APDesign from the interior architecture & industrial design department, is being recognized for her exceptional achievements in interior design. As a National Council for Interior Design Qualification certified professional, Balestrere has consistently demonstrated her dedication to creating functional, aesthetic and sustainable interior spaces. Her work has enriched the lives of countless individuals and communities. She designs large-scale interior spaces and experiences. She is a key member of the firm's product development team, developing concepts and designs for new furniture products to advance clients' goals. Specifically, she designed the Contollo Collection for Martin Brattrud, as well as Lutta tables with Adam Stover, also of Populous.

Hoetmer, a prominent alumnus of APDesign's landscape architecture and regional & community planning department, is honored for his remarkable contributions to landscape architecture. With his expertise as a professional landscape architect and his affiliation with the American Society of Landscape Architects, Hoetmer has played a pivotal role in shaping environmentally conscious and aesthetically pleasing landscapes. His commitment to sustainability, as demonstrated through his LEED AP BD+C accreditation, sets a commendable example for aspiring professionals. He enjoys serving his community as vice chair for the KCMO Downtown Council Infrastructure Committee, as chair-elect for the KSU LARCP Professional Advisory Board, and on the KCMO Downtown Neighborhood Association Planning & Development Committee.

Kisler, a distinguished alumna of APDesign's landscape architecture and regional & community planning department, is recognized for her outstanding achievements in the field of urban and regional planning. As a certified member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Kisler has been instrumental in the development of sustainable and equitable urban environments. Her dedication to shaping resilient communities and improving quality of life is a testament to the values upheld by APDesign. Kisler provides direct supervision for all activities in the Planning Division of the Community Development Department, including supporting a team of five full-time employees and one intern. She oversees the development review process for current planning, long-range planning and special projects. Critical to the profession, she interacts with design professionals, property owners and members of the public.

Leonard, an exceptional alumnus of APDesign's architecture department, is honored for his outstanding contributions to the design field and spotlights how a Master of Architecture from APDesign can take many paths. His innovative and visionary approach to design challenges, specifically in animation, has garnered him acclaim in the industry. Leonard's creative spirit and commitment to pushing the boundaries of design exemplify the ethos of APDesign.

The 10-Year APDesign Alumni Honorees will be celebrated at a special event hosted by the College of Architecture, Planning & Design. This event will provide an opportunity for students, faculty, alumni and the broader community to engage with and learn from these accomplished professionals. In addition, an exhibit of their current work is on display in the Cassias Gallery at Regnier Hall until Oct. 13.

Michael McClure, dean and professor of APDesign, expressed his excitement about this year's honorees. 

"We are incredibly proud of Felicia Balestrere, Derek Hoetmer, Stephanie Kisler and Will Leonard for their remarkable achievements," he said. "They embody the values of APDesign and inspire our current and future students to reach new heights in their careers. Their work serves as a testament to the impact that our alumni have on the world of architecture, planning and design."

The College of Architecture, Planning & Design is committed to fostering creativity, critical thinking and innovation in the fields of architecture, interior architecture & product design, landscape architecture, and regional & community planning. With a rich history of producing visionary leaders in the design and planning industries, APDesign continues to make significant contributions to shaping our built environment.

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