Meet Alexa McDowell

AKAY Consulting was founded in 2001 by travel agent-turned-architectural historian, Alexa McDowell. Perhaps that sounds like a curious transition, but it can easily be understood if you accept that it simply takes some folks longer than others to figure out what they want to be when they grow up.

As a “mature” student, McDowell graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Design and a Master’s Degree in Preservation Studies. Her insatiable thirst for knowledge led to additional post-graduate work in American History and, as a result, McDowell satisfies the requirements of the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards in both History and Architectural History.

Over the course of its decade-long history, AKAY Consulting has been involved in many types of cultural resource projects focusing on the identification and evaluation of historical properties. That work includes a dozen-plus National Register of Historic Places nominations, including the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, determined significant at the national level in association with the performance legacy of Buddy Holly; 20 or so intensive level surveys of properties ranging from municipal resources like dams and power plants to farmsteads to hockey arenas; property studies/recordation projects for a number Iowa and Minnesota resources slated for demolition; nearly 200 reconnaissance level surveys across Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin; 30+ Iowa State Historic Tax Credit applications; a number of Federal Historic Tax Credit applications; and multiple Planning for Preservation projects.

And, as if that’s not enough, if pressed, she could probably still put together a dogsledding adventure vacation to Norway.


Alexa McDowell - AKAY Consulting