President Obama today officially nominated Stephen T. Ayers, AIA, LEED AP, to be the next Architect of the Capitol. Mr. Ayers has served as Acting Architect, heading up the 2,600-person Office of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), since February 2007.
“This is a tremendous honor. It has been a privilege to lead the AOC organization and work with such a professional workforce dedicated to serving the Congress and the American people by maintaining and preserving the U.S. Capitol complex,” said Ayers. “I appreciate the trust the Congress and the Leadership has placed in me, and I thank President Obama for nominating me. I am extremely proud to be a part of the AOC team, and look forward to the work and the challenges ahead.”
Under Mr. Ayers’ leadership, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol provided vital support for the 56th Presidential Inaugural ceremony in January 2009, construction was completed on the 415,000 square foot National Audio Visual Conservation Center and Library of Congress Book Storage Modules 3 and 4 at Fort Meade; adding another 76,400 square feet to the AOC’s facilities inventory, and construction on the Capitol Visitor Center was completed and its doors were opened to the public on December 2, 2008.
He has implemented innovative tools and programs to make the AOC more effective in its ability to serve Congress and the American people, including strengthening its Strategic Plan. At a time when fiscal restraint is necessary, Mr. Ayers has worked with Congress to prioritize the deferred maintenance and capital renewal work needed to protect and preserve the Capitol and other historic buildings, and to ensure that the proper re-investment is made in our nation’s heritage assets.
In addition, Mr. Ayers signed into effect a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 626, and he has worked to secure a number of workforce flexibilities that are of great benefit to AOC employees, including implementing a Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules program Agency-wide. He also implemented a comprehensive workplace safety program which has consistently reduced injuries.
Under Mr. Ayers’ leadership, the work of AOC staff has been recognized with the receipt of numerous industry awards, including several awards from the Washington Building Congress, Associated Builders and Contractors, and the Construction Management Association of America.
Over the past three years the AOC has, through a variety of initiatives, reduced carbon emissions, improved energy efficiency, and implemented sustainable design practices throughout the Capitol complex. Due to these efforts, Congress reduced its energy consumption by 10.7 percent in FY 2008 over the FY 2003 baseline. Mr. Ayers is committed to supporting small businesses in order to help facilitate competition and to support local communities, and has implemented several programs to actively award contracts to companies that reflect the diversity of our country above and beyond the standard requirements of Federal regulations.
“I am extremely grateful to the Congress, to the Senate and House Leadership, and to the entire AOC team for their support and encouragement over the past three years while I served as Acting Architect,” said Mr. Ayers. “I look forward to leading the organization as we continue to build upon our successes over the past several years.”
The AOC is responsible for the facilities maintenance and operation of the historic Capitol Building, the care and improvement of more than 450 acres of Capitol grounds, and the operation and maintenance of 16.5 million square feet of buildings including: the House and Senate Congressional Office Buildings, the Capitol Visitor Center, the Library of Congress Buildings, the U.S. Supreme Court Building, the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, U.S. Botanic Garden, and other facilities.
The Architect of the Capitol is appointed for a 10-year term by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Upon confirmation by the Senate, the person serving as Architect becomes an official of the Legislative Branch as an officer of Congress. The Architect is eligible for reappointment to another 10-year term after the completion of his first term.