April Professional Member of the Month


Phil Hodgin

RDG Planning and Design

Architect, Principal, Corporate CEO


1. Our line of work is built on the value of relationships and opportunities; what have you found is the best way to communicate in times of conflict?

I’m probably old fashioned in my belief there is no substitute for face to face conversation.
Small problems become big problems if you don’t deal with them quickly and openly. We
can identify and “own” issues quickly with the use of social media but I’ve found no better
way to resolve issues than face to face. If being together isn’t possible, a phone call is next
best. Email might be the worst (!) since messaging can be interpreted so widely.

2. Sometimes our careers can be demanding; how do you wind down in the evenings to
maintain a balanced lifestyle?

Balancing has changed for me as I’ve cycled through life-phases. Balance used to be focused
on work-kids- community. With all three kids now adults, I now add “personal enrichment”
to my balance with a little more time to read, exercise and enjoy a slow meal or a live
performance with my wife and friends once in a while.

3. In 2017 technology is at our fingertips - what is your favorite app and/or website?

Does my Starbuck’s app count? Anyone who knows me will laugh that I even have an
answer to this question. Beyond email and texting I enjoy Instagram and of course, overuse
my I-Phone for absolutely everything… news, weather, research, Find A Friend on
RAGBRAI, etc. I love Sky Map for those nights when you “think you know that is the big
dipper” but really don’t. DeZeen is my favorite design resource.

4. As professionals we are versed in community interaction and collaboration; what are you involved in outside of your profession?

I am not chairing any community boards this year, but I continue to contribute to the evolution and improvements in our community centered on the Arts, Leadership, Diversity and Civility. I enjoy Rotary DMAM, GDMLI, WDM Leadership Academy and the West Des Moines Community Enrichment Foundation. I am honored to be completing my first year on the First National Bank Board of Directors, a very well managed community institution who took a calculated risk adding a design professional for balance and perspective.

5. We are Iowa Women in Architecture; who were the female role models that inspired you?

There are many Iowa women I am inspired by and thank for their many contributions including first of mind… Connie Wimer, Ro Crosbie and Phyllis Staplin. I could type a long list but will pay specific tribute to my mother, A. Loraine Hodgin. Along with along list of admirable achievements, she was a great pianist who accompanied hundreds of music students through city and state competitions for over 40 years. She offered us all the same advice… her guaranteed recipe for success:
“walk in with your shoulders squared, own the room, hit the first and last notes with confidence then… look the judge in the eyes, shake their hand and smile”.