How do cities plan to accommodate for growth while balancing future needs of a community and respecting the past? Leading architects share their vision for human-centric residential, commercial, and mixed-use design.
Creating the New Urban Landscape
Gopinath Akalkotkar, COA, AIA, LEED AP (Gopi) is an architect with over three decades of global experience in architecture and urban design.
He has been in leadership roles at global A&E firms where his responsibilities included design, project management, administration and business development. While working at these firms, he has delivered large and complex urban design, master planning and architecture projects.
Gopi is actively engaged in the San Antonio community for many years. He was part of the Leadership San Antonio class of 33 and a steering committee member of the class of 34. He has also served as a Technical Advisory Committee member for the Planning Commission. He was an active member of the Urban Affairs committee of AIA San Antonio and has participated in several neighborhood planning charrettes. He has spoken at various seminars, conferences and academic venues regarding a variety of architectural and planning subject matters.
He has a M. Arch from UT Austin and is an avid traveler.
President and Chief Executive Officer Leo Gomez is responsible for the leading the Brooks Development Authority and Brooks Gives Back Foundation by working with the Board of Directors and staff to establish long-range strategic plans and policies to implement the redevelopment of Brooks. He leads the organizations efforts to attract marquee employers by working closely with public officials and economic development partners.
Leo became Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for Spurs Sports & Entertainment in 1996. He left Spurs Sports & Entertainment for two years to serve as General Manager of Administration with Toyota Manufacturing, Texas before returning to Spurs Sports & Entertainment in 2005. His distinguished career also includes serving as President of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Leo began his professional career as an intern with the U.S. General Accounting Office in Washington, D.C. He also worked with the Research and Planning Division with the Texas Department of Commerce before being named the Assistant Director for the Tomas Rivera Center at Trinity University.
Leo is very active in the San Antonio community serving on the Board of Directors of numerous organizations including the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Hot Wells Conservancy. He also graduated from the FBI San Antonio Citizens Academy.
In May 2019, Leo was selected as one of San Antonio Business Journal’s 2019 Commercial Real Estate Influencer. He was the recipient of the San Antonio Business Journal’s C-Suite Award in September 2018 and in November of 2017, Leo was named a South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce “Legend”, an honor given to those leaving a lasting impact on the south side of San Antonio.
As a founding principal of Alamo Architects, Irby Hightower’s commitment to the urban ideal informs the firm’s approach to everyday urban design problems and yields innovative solutions that fit within contemporary development constraints. His experience with the firm’s award-winning retail, multi-family, and planning projects along with his community service helps him create great places.
Hightower received the Texas Society of Architects Honor Award for community service and was made a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects for his work shepherding the 15-mile-long San Antonio River Improvements Project through community outreach, planning, design, and construction as the Co-chair of the River Oversight Committee. He was the 2013 Downtowner of the Year.
Irby was the urban design consultant for San Antonio’s Center City Strategic Framework Plan and Midtown-Brackenridge TIRZ Master Plan. Currently, he is working with Hemisfair Park Redevelopment Corporation and Weston Urban on urban design issues.
Anita has been working for the community of San Antonio as the Executive Director of Build San Antonio Green for 14 years, where she has worked to build San Antonio’s nationally recognized affordable green building program and is a champion for the equitable distribution of solar for all people.