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About The President

Derek W. Howard, AIA LEED AP
2601 Bransford Ave.
Nashville, TN 37204

Phone: 615-259-8526
Fax: 615-214-8890

Click here to contact DHArchitects, Inc.



DHA Joins Heery International, Inc.

(September 2016) DHArchitects, Inc. has decided to close its Fairfield, Ohio office in wake of DHA President Derek Howard joining the Heery International, Inc. architectural firm, as project manager for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.

"After 27 years of business I am still very excited about seeking excellence in my profession and helping to mentor younger architects," DHA President Derek Howard said. "Having worked on so many educational projects during my career, this is a very smooth transition and unique opportunity to help a school district and help designers and engineers with the services they provide to the district."

DHA President Published In The Huffington Post

(October 2013) A blog post that DHArchitects, Inc. President Derek Howard wrote as part of his participation in the Rotary Club of Fairfield, Ohio was published in The Huffington Post.

"I wrote the blog because I'm on our ethics committee," Howard explained. In the blog, he chronicles the emotional experiences he faced during a medical mission trip to one of the poorest countries in the world: Haiti.

"I thought that the things that I saw and experienced were quite compelling as it relates to ethics," Howard said, "and it was like a living example of testing one's ethics and implementing what you learned."

Read Howard's blog here: huffingtonpost.com/derek-howard

Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields: Opening Day -

Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields: Opening Day

(July 2012) A dream came true in Fairfield, Ohio on July 28, 2012, which was the official grand opening of the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields at Hatton Park. More than three years ago DHArchitects, Inc. President Derek Howard was asked by high school friend Kim Nuxhall (son of Joe Nuxhall) to assist with building a baseball field for disabled or special needs children and adults.

Without question and with deep respect for the Nuxhall family, Mr. Howard volunteered to be part of the team. DHA donated the field and concession building design for marketing and permits.

The two baseball fields are soft surface fields for ease of accessibility. A large accessible family restroom (including a shower) was part of the design to assist families with special needs children. The dugouts even spray water mist to help keep players cool. Mr. Howard also helped as part of the construction team to assist with drawings needed for field changes due to additional donated materials and labor.

Overall, this project truly shows the potential of a community dedicated to helping others. And, more than $2.5 million dollars of contributions made the opening day possible—which included a game ball pitched to youth league players from Fairfield and Springboro, Ohio by former Cincinnati Reds player Sean Casey.

The national anthem was sung after parachutists brought in the American Flag from out of the sky above. All of the volunteer "buddies" who assisted children in playing the opening day ball game were joined by the Mr. Red & Mr. Redlegs (Cincinnati Reds mascots) on the field. The Kentucky Speedway provided a racecar for exhibit. Other local celebrities and the Miami University Red Hawks mascot participated as well. Fireworks ended the evening of celebration.

In conclusion, this project showed how miracles become reality when people work together for a common good. Please visit "nuxhallmiracleleague.org" for more information on the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields.

DHA President’s Art Featured in Mad Potter - DHA President Derek Howard's drawing (on left) and finished product (on right), created at Mad Potter in Madeira. The pottery creation is titled
DHA President Derek Howard's drawing (on left) and finished product (on right), created at Mad Potter in Madeira. The pottery creation is titled "Susan's Tea Cup."

DHA President’s Art Featured in Mad Potter

(March 2012) DHArchitects, Inc. President Derek Howard’s original artwork was displayed Friday on the Mad Potter company’s Facebook page.

Since he was a child, Howard has always been fascinated by the arts and often created his own pieces—from pottery to portrait painting to woodwork.

Now a mug he created at Mad Potter in Cincinnati for his wife’s birthday has garnered attention.

To create the mug, Howard said he mimicked the design process he uses in his professional work. He visualized his design and drafted it on paper as a blueprint for the finished product. Whether creating a masterpiece for leisure or business, Howard encourages this practice of visualization for others.

"That is the difference," he said. "Helping people visualize and then delivering a reality."

DHA Showcases Business - DHA President Derek Howard (pictured on right) attending the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase.
DHA President Derek Howard (pictured on right) attending the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase.

DHA Showcases Business

(October 2011) Joining other local companies, DHArchitects, Inc. participated in the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase on Oct. 5.

Businesses at the event displayed their products and services in individual booths. The DHA section stood out with photographs of building designs and balloons.

DHA President Derek Howard said that a major highlight of the event was interacting with fellow vendors and building camaraderie within the local business community.

DHA Celebrates 25 Years

(September 2011) DHArchitects, Inc. President Derek Howard in 1986 aimed to own an architectural firm that gave back to the community by building schools, churches and parks.

Now the firm celebrates reaching 25 years in business.

"I feel blessed and humbled to have been in business over the years," Howard said about the accomplishment.

DHA launched as a full-service architectural firm in September 1986.

DHA-designed School Opens - New Evanston Academy
New Evanston Academy

DHA-designed School Opens

(August 2011) Media, community members, and the school principal greeted students at New Evanston Academy on Aug. 18 as the school doors opened for the first time to faculty, students and staff.

More than 400 students showed up that day to use the school for the first time.

“Imagine the psychological impact of starting school with this type of support,” said DHArchitects President Derek Howard.

DHA’s school planning team had been preparing for about three years to build a safe learning environment for youth in the community.

As students explored their new academy, Howard greeted parents at the front door for the school building along with school district administrators and business partners. Coffee, juice and donuts were also available for parents to enjoy.

A plaque was installed at the school to acknowledge community volunteers who helped build a new landmark in town.

“It’s important to acknowledge community volunteer efforts,” Howard said.

DHA Earns A+ Grade

(July 2011) The Better Business Bureau has given DHArchitects, Inc. an A-plus rating, based on the company’s track record, standards, practices, service and integrity.

“I am humbled,” said DHA President Derek Howard about the rating. “As a small business owner for 25 years, I am simply grateful to survive during these challenging economic times. However, regardless of the economic climate, I think it is imperative for all business owners to hold onto the core values that provide the foundation for the purpose and meaning of one’s business. Architecture to me is an opportunity to serve.”

Other factors that contributed to DHA's rating, according to the bureau, are DHA’s length of time in business, its complaint-free record, and the bureau's background information on the business.

“But the real test for our success is how we address failure; we must hold onto faith knowing that we will be upheld if we seek obedience and righteousness in every aspect of our lives,” Howard said.

He added that clients could check and balance a business by applying the “Rotary Four Way” test (from the international Rotary Foundation.) The test (listed below) is a simple checklist for ethical behavior. So, of any business, ask the following questions:

a) Is it the truth?

b) Is it fair to all concerned?

c) Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

d) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

“I have found over time that applying this simple test seems to resolve almost any business problem. To summarize, I think it is more important to try to be a blessing to others each day of your life, regardless of how you may be ‘rated’ or viewed by others. Imagine what our lives would be like if we all tried this,” Howard said.

Construction Camaraderie - Evanston Academy Team Golf Outing
Evanston Academy Team Golf Outing

Construction Camaraderie

(June 2011) DHArchitects attempts to build strong working relationships within its construction teams, and has found that the more it encourages and empowers all members of a team, the overall project appears to benefit.

Each month DHA asks to honor an individual who has contributed to the success of a project for that month. Milestones or achievements by the construction team are also celebrated.

For example, in April, DHA held an "Evanston Academy Team Golf Outing" to prepare the entire group for the project closeout.

"The outing was done to re-energize team bonding, as some members will move onto other projects," said DHA President Derek Howard.

He added that the end result of team-building appears to be projects that meet the owner's schedule and within the owner's budget.

LEED Leaders - DHArchitects, Inc. Office
DHArchitects, Inc. Office

LEED Leaders

(May 2011) DHArchitects has not only been studying the latest environmentally friendly products, but also testing green building approaches on its office. The company's president, Derek Howard AIA, is a LEED accredited professional.

LEED is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green-building certification program. In an effort to model sustainable initiatives, DHA recently resealed its office parking lot with a sealer that provides a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of about 45.

Solar Reflectance is the fraction of the solar energy that is reflected by the surface in question, according to the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the U.S. Department of Energy.

“The intent of this new work is to reduce heat island effect around our office, and to minimize its impact on the microclimate and human and wildlife habitat,” Howard said. “Heat island effect occurs when warmer temperatures are experienced in urban landscapes compared to adjacent rural areas as a result of solar energy retention on constructed surfaces. Principal surfaces that contribute to the heat island effect include streets, sidewalks, parking lots and buildings.”

Paving the way for a “green” parking lot is one way to obtain LEED's Sustainable Site credit 7.1, which focuses on the heat island effect—this is done by providing more than 50 percent of a site's hardscape with a SRI of at least 29.

“We hope to demonstrate how we all can do our part—even if it is a small part—to minimize any negative impact on our microclimates. It is no surprise to me, to find that our parking lot area is comfortable to the human touch and is cooler even during the heat of the day,” Howard said.