"Architecture has been such a great fit for me," says Russ, who originally planned to study engineering. His career began at what he calls "a time of tremendous change in the profession." Virtual Building—now Building Information Modeling, or BIM—was just taking off, and Russ became an early adopter. He hadn’t even been practicing for a decade when he won the AIA’s first national BIM award. "I like to push new tools and technologies to advance collaboration," he notes. Russ grew up in Montauk, New York, and came to the Phoenix area to attend Arizona State University. He’s been a desert dweller ever since. Yet his LinkedIn profile, with its banner photo of a rocky Atlantic beach, hints that there still might be some saltwater running through his veins. "I'd like to get back to New York," Russ remarks. "I love the beach, the city and the diversity."