Howard Sims is the founder and chairman of SDG Associates, LLC, an architectural and planning firm founded in 1964. He graduated from Northwestern High School in Detroit, and earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in Architecture from the University of Michigan.
His architectural firm is noted for many distinguished and award winning buildings including The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and The Cobo Hall Convention and Exhibition Center. Clients of the firm are numerous and include The University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Wayne County Community College, General Motors Corporation, The City of Detroit and The City of Atlanta. He is currently licensed in Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Ohio, and throughout his career has also been licensed to practice architecture in Illinois, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Tennessee and Florida. Both he and his firm have been the recipients of numerous awards for outstanding architecture and excellence in the field.
A long serving member of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a current Emeritus Member, Howard was elevated in 1977 to the College of Fellows, the second highest honor that AIA can bestow upon one of its members. In 1988 they awarded him the Gold Medal of The Detroit Chapter, their highest honor for outstanding contributions to the profession. He has served on many national and local committees and has also held multiple officer positions at AIA. Additionally, he served as the first Chairman of The State of Michigan Construction Code Commission, was a member of the Board of Directors of The Engineering Society of Detroit, and is a founding member of The National Organization of Minority Architects.
With a longstanding role in community involvement, Howard has served in such capacities as the Trustee of The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Trustee and Chairman of The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Trustee and Chairman of Oakland University, and Board Member and Chairman of The Detroit Branch of The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He also co-chaired the Education Task Force of the Detroit Strategic Plan for the Detroit Renaissance. He is also a former Board Member of New Detroit, Inc, Metropolitan Detroit Youth Foundation, St. John’s Hospital, The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and The Inner City Business Improvement Form. In the business community, he has served as a member of the board of directors for Primark Corporation, Comerica, Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, MCN Corporation and DTE Energy.
Howard is a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a life member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He is currently an Emeritus Member of the Detroit Boule of the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity and has been instrumental in sponsoring educational programs for young people. Many years ago, Howard and his wife created a graduate fellowship for African American students in architecture at the University of Michigan. Later, they created additional annual student award programs open to students studying Social Work, Education and Architecture. Recently, he endowed a fellowship in Alternative Energy Applications and Sustainable Architecture at Lawrence Technological University.