Volume 11, No. 12 - January 5, 2018
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

2017: Year in Review

As we celebrate the end of another great year, we reflect on major events and new initiatives from 2017. This year saw our Chapter successfully host a major national event, the Women's Leadership Summit (WLS). AIA National and the WLS selection committee accepted our Women in Architecture Committee's host bid several years ago, and five of our dedicated members stepped up to plan, organize, and fundraise for this tremendous event over the last two years. Our Chapter hosted 400 leaders from across the country for a three-day conference, public lecture series, and host reception. This event drew many talented and nationally known speakers to our area, and allowed local women to present their work to peers on a national stage.

Membership FiguresAt the board level, we continued our outreach to firms in the area by conducting traveling board meetings. An ongoing tradition, we expanded the number of firm visits this year. Before each meeting, our chapter officers met with members of the host firm to see how we might improve member experience, and provided an introduction of what the AIA offers to those not already involved. We plan to continue and grow this outreach in 2018, and further expand on the relationships made with hosting firms.

To better communicate at all levels, we initiated a communications plan with special focus on social media, and welcomed a much-needed Communications Committee chair to spearhead these efforts. In the same vain, we met with committee chairs several times over the course of the year to share ideas on how to improve programing, increase member involvement, and coordinate efforts more effectively.

Of course, none of these initiatives would have been possible without the generous support and commitment by our volunteers. They make it possible for us to provide programs and events each year, from continuing education to mentoring and community engagement. Our Chapter succeeds because of your participation.

I have really enjoyed and appreciated my time serving as your Chapter president, and I thank all my fellow board members for their collaboration and encouragement this year. I would also be remiss if I didn't thank our wonderful staff. Lorin Boswell and Matt Shuba truly give us their best, and there are not enough words to express my deep gratitude to Debbie Burns for all of her leadership. Here's to 2018, and our Chapter's continued success!

    -- Karen M. Conkey, AIA, 2017 Chapter President


Building upon the open letter to our members, 2017 began with an affirmation of the long-standing values of our profession and a call to our members to be engaged in our Chapter and local communities. We noted: The AIA continues to be a non-partisan organization, with a commitment to defend and promote equity, diversity, inclusion, sustainability and resiliency, and the advancement of the built environment.

Our Chapter representatives on the AIA Virginia Board, especially Sean Reilly, AIA, who also chairs our Chapter's Legislative/Government Affairs Committee, and AIA Virginia President Bill Brown, AIA, actively championed for state and federal legislative issues facing our industry, including environmental responsibilities, state procurement policies, and regulation and licensing. Efforts to preserve qualifications based procurement selection for design services were fruitful, defeating a bill to allow simultaneous fee negotiations between offerors. Protecting the future of the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit and ensuring tax reform does not include a tax on A&E services, are other key issues addressed this year.

Continuing EducationIn support of AIA's efforts to speak up for the profession to be sure the tax reform legislation was better for architects and the country, the Chapter regularly shared updates and encouraged members to share their thoughts and opinions with their elected representatives.

AIA Northern Virginia executed an agreement with the Virginia Foundation for Architecture, allowing the Chapter to benefit from 501c (3) charitable contributions to help fund Chapter programs. The primary focus of the agreement targets support of educational and outreach programs which could be attractive to individuals, charitable organizations or other groups wishing to support the Chapter's charitable activities.

The Chapter participated in the 2017 AIA Grassroots Leadership Conference held here in Washington, DC, exchanging ideas to promote AIA in the federal agenda with our Representatives on the Hill. And while the legislative efforts will remain based here in Washington, we look forward to the 2018 Grassroots Leadership Conference which will be held in San Diego, CA.

Locally, the Chapter continues to support Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun County's design award programs, announcing call for entries, providing jurors and publishing winning projects. Architecture Week expanded our public outreach in the Northern Virginia area with exhibits, events, lectures and tours, raising awareness and elevating our profession at a local level. In the coming year, AIA Northern Virginia will continue efforts to position our profession's relevancy, engage the public, and become an effective voice in the region for our Chapter members.

    -- Theresa del Ninno, AIA, 2018 Chapter President

Activities and Events

Our Chapter is dedicated to advancing knowledge of architecture and practice among our members, allied professionals and the public at large. On-going and special activities and events throughout the year are organized by committees within the Chapter and in some cases together with local partner organizations. Events are designed to engage people with diverse backgrounds and levels of professional experience while reaching out to a broad geographic area. Highlights from this year's full schedule of program offerings include:
  • ARE Prep Series – Organized by the Young Architect’s Forum (YAF) this award-winning series provided educational and practice sessions for emerging professionals on their path to licensure.
  • 360 Mentoring – The annual program continued with opportunities to connect, teach and learn for architects at all levels of their careers.
  • YAF Afternoon at the Ballpark – Jointly organized with AIA|DC's Emerging Architects Committee and the Structural Engineering Association's Young Members Group.
  • Architecture Lab Committee – Outreach to area schools continued through a variety of program offerings including, Architecture in the Schools, school visits and career day presentations and a scavenger hunt during Architecture Week.
  • Architecture Week – A wide range of offerings to engage and inform the public about the practice and profession of architecture. Activities included: lectures, exhibition of design award winning projects, and tours.
  • Women in Architecture (WIA) – Organized a Dress for Success clothing drive, a three-part lecture series, and a STEMtastic event for students.
  • Women's Leadership Summit – Our WIA took the lead in organizing this national AIA Summit, helping to organize the conference and opening reception for women leaders from across the country.
  • Annual Meeting – This annual event, held at Clyde's Willow Creek Farm in Broadlands, honors outstanding achievements by our members and serves as our annual meeting where we hold our elections.
  • Design Awards – Honors and celebrates our members' commitment to design excellence. This year it took place at the recently completed headquarters of Alexandria Renew, designed by local firm Rust Orling Architects.
  • Canstruction – Organized to support the Arlington Food Assistance Center, our 14th annual competition was again held at Reagan National Airport and raised money and food for the local food bank through creative sculptures made from canned goods.
  • Interschool Design Competition – A tradition for over two decades this day-long design competition is organized by the three metro area chapters of the AIA, six local schools of architecture, and the National Building Museum.
  • Open House – 2017 was the first in our new chapter house and included time for fellowship, networking and recognition of our newly licensed members.
  • Golf Tournament – Held at the newly refurbished golf course at the Mount Vernon Country Club, the tournament, organized with United Community Ministries, supports Chapter scholarships for local architecture students and ARE candidates.
All of these events rely on the continued dedication and efforts of our Chapter committees and always supportive staff. Thanks to all for a successful year.

    -- Joseph McCoy, AIA, 2017 Secretary

Financial Outlook

In a year when there are so many non-profits vying for the attention of so many supporters, our Chapter is very fortunate to, yet again, have had a strong year financially. Our 2017 budget will continue to finish in the black – a feat our Chapter has achieved almost every year for more than a decade. The Chapter's emergency fund remains untouched again this year, maintaining a balance of more than 65% of our annual budget.

All of this is a testament to the will and commitment of those who volunteer their own time to our organization. Our Chapter's more than 1,100 members, as well as the Northern Virginia public at large, continue to benefit from the programs and services our Chapter provides through those volunteers.

Looking ahead, our Chapter's sixteen committees are dedicated to being more fiscally responsible and taking on the extra burden of generating more income than they spend in 2018. This is no small task considering every committee is made up of volunteers, many of whom have little to no experience fundraising or event planning. They do this while still staying focused on our mission to advance the knowledge of architecture and practice among professionals and promote awareness and appreciation of architecture among the public. Our committees continue to excel and impress and the outlook for 2018 is an exciting one.

    -- T.J. Meehan, AIA, 2017 Treasurer

Our Volunteers

Washington GasThe volunteers who serve on AIA Northern Virginia’s committees are the heart and soul of the Chapter. They plan, organize, collaborate and work hard to provide fantastic programs and activities for our members. These generous and energetic folks are vital to the Chapter’s most important work as they have the most direct engagement with the members and other constituencies such as the public, students and emerging professionals. We want to thank those who graciously gave of their time having completed years of service to the Chapter and also welcome our new committee chairs and thank them for generously offering to step up. The following changes have taken place over 2017:
  • Communications: Anh Tran, Associate AIA takes over as Chair of this important committee which serves to better connect and communicate with our membership and broader community. Her leadership has resulted in a greater but more coordinated presence for the Chapter on social media.
  • Continuing Education: This committee is without a leader and needs a new Chair. If you are interested, please call the Chapter House.
  • Environment: Jin Park, AIA, is stepping down as COTE Chair. We thank him for organizing a series of creative and interesting events. We are in need of a new Chair, so please consider volunteering.
  • Golf Tournament: Bill Conkey, AIA will take over as Chair, as Baird Smith, FAIA is stepping down. We thank him for reinvigorating this committee after a hiatus and leading the Chapter in a successful event.
  • Honors and Nominations: Immediate Past President, Karen Conkey, AIA takes over for Meagan Jancy, AIA. Karen will also be serving as an AIA Virginia Director.
  • Women in Architecture: Rebecca Mezny, AIA takes over as Chair for April Drake, AIA who is stepping down and will be taking on the role as a Director on the Board.
  • Young Architects Forum (YAF): Simone Saidel, Associate AIA takes over as Chair, Toni Lem, Associate AIA steps in as Vice Chair, and Braden Field, AIA serves as Past Chair. Anna Barbour, AIA, the committee’s chair for many years, will continue to help coordinate the ARE Prep Series.
We are most grateful for the dedication and service of the retiring committee chairs and welcome the new committee chairs. We hope everyone will lend their support and show their appreciation for those taking on new and important roles with the Chapter.

We also want to thank those who are continuing in their committee leadership. Please know that these dedicated folks stepped up to lead their committee, but they need your help to accomplish what needs to be done in enhancing our members’ experience. The coming year provides an opportunity to engage and become active in a committee you find interesting.
  • Architecture Lab (formerly Architecture in the Schools): Elma Hajric Willcoxon, Associate AIA
  • Architecture Week: Joe McCoy, AIA
  • Community Service / Canstruction: Lisa Lettieri, AIA and Jay Scruggs, AIA
  • CRAN: Francisca Alonso, Assoc. AIA
  • Design Awards: Manoj V. Dalaya, AIA
  • Fellows: Kathryn Prigmore, FAIA
  • Historic Resources: John Burns, FAIA
  • Legislative/Government Affairs: Sean Reilly, AIA
  • Schools Connections: Sonia Jarboe, AIA
  • Small Firms: David Chan, AIA and Stephen Kulinski, AIA
Most AIA Northern Virginia members engage with the Chapter through the great programs and activities offered by these committees. The question is "how are we doing?" Is there a program or an activity that we should be doing that we are not doing now? Is there a program, or activity that could be strengthened, or improved in some way? We want to hear from you. Tell us your ideas. Tell us what you would like to see in 2018 and we’ll do our best to make it happen. Contact our Executive Director Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA at debbie@aianova.org, or our 2018 Chapter President Theresa del Ninno, AIA at tdelninno@mdnarch.com.

At our 2017 Annual Meeting in October we elected an enthusiastic and dedicated Board of Directors for AIA Northern Virginia and our Chapter’s representatives on the AIA Virginia Board.

2018 AIA Northern Virginia Board

Executive Committee:
  • President – Theresa P. del Ninno, AIA
  • President Elect / 1st VP – T.J. Meehan, AIA
  • Treasurer – Joseph B. McCoy, AIA
  • Secretary – Manoj V. Dalaya, AIA
  • Past President – Karen M. Conkey, AIA
Director/2nd VP: Christopher S. Kehde, AIA; Kathryn T. Prigmore, FAIA and Spencer E. Lepler, AIA.

Directors: James L. Barker II, AIA; Morgan B. Danner, Associate AIA; April C. Drake, AIA; Braden L. Field, AIA; Sonia R. Jarboe, AIA; Stephen W. Kulinski, AIA; Simone Saidel, Associate AIA; Jay Scruggs, AIA; and Edward D. Weaver, AIA.

2017 AIA Virginia Directors: John A. Burns, FAIA; Spencer E. Lepler, AIA; Randall A. Mars, AIA; Kevin G. Sneed, FAIA; Eliza B. Engle, AIA; and Karen M Conkey, AIA.

A very special thank you for the years of service of our out-going board members: Meagan W. Jancy, AIA; Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, AIA; Jody Gibson, AIA; and Jin Soo Park, AIA.

    -- Meagan W. Jancy, AIA, 2017 Past President & Nominations Chair

Looking Forward to 2018

An array of events are already beginning to populate our 2018 calendar (https://aianova.org/), beginning with our ARE Prep Series (https://aianova.org/are.php) in January. Our Young Architects Forum is developing an entirely new series of classes focusing on ARE 5.0, which launches on January 17 with an introductory session featuring NCARB staff outlining the testing process and answering questions so candidates can move towards licensure in 2018.

Save the date – Mardi Gras is early this year and so is our annual Chapter Open House (http://www.aianova.org/openhouse.php), Tuesday February 13, featuring Cajun food from Southside 815. This isn’t your only opportunity to socialize with colleagues. Regular happy hours are organized by both our Women in Architecture Committee and our Young Architects Forum.

Architectural Billings IndexAll members are encouraged to submit to our Design Awards program in 2018. Watch for the Call for Entries in March, with submissions due in late April, and the awards celebration in early June. We engage two separate juries, each judging different categories, allowing us to select appropriate jurors for each submittal category, which increases your chance to win. We had 27 winners last year. See the winning projects showcased in our awards gallery (https://aianova.org/DA17/), which features videos of jury members commenting on each project.

Another way to showcase your work is to publish your projects in the Chapter newsletter, AIA Northern Virginia News (https://aianova.org/newsletter.php), and in BLAST (https://aianova.org/blast.php). Each publication features members’ work – recently completed projects, conceptual projects, work on the boards and sketches. Guidelines for submitting are available using these links. Please share your projects!

Virginia Architecture Week (https://aianova.org/architectureweek.php) is April 8-14! This is our chance to celebrate and promote architecture and its impact on everyone’s lives. Our goal is to organize fun and educational events for the public throughout our Chapter area. We are looking for members to host events like building tours, lectures and children’s activities. Please volunteer to organize an event in your community.

Not just resting on their laurels from a very successful Women’s Leadership Summit in 2017, our Women in Architecture Committee (https://wia.aianova.org) is planning a mix of fun, educational and outreach activities in 2018. The very successful Lecture Series returns in March, happy hours are being planned, and Dress for Success will again help support local women as they interview for job opportunities.

We are planning a fall golf tournament (https://aianova.org/golf.php), which gives you plenty of time to practice your swing and brush up on your putting skills. This tournament helps to fund both our student and ARE scholarships.

Please mark your calendar now for our Annual Chapter Meeting (https://aianova.org/annualmeeting.php) on October 16, where we will vote on our new Strategic Plan. We will also elect our 2019 leaders and present our Chapter Honor Awards.

As always, we will offer a wide range of continuing education sessions, making it easy for you to earn all your CE requirements.

It’s easy to keep up with chapter activities. Just check the front page of our website for our current calendar, look for the calendar in each issue of BLAST and sync to our Google calendar (https://www.aianova.org/calendar.php).

    -- Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA, Executive Director

Now It's Your Turn

Take full advantage of your AIA membership and become an active member in 2017! The chapter offers you the opportunity to make a significant difference for yourself, your community and the profession. We need your participation! Learn more on our website. Let us know what we can do for you and where you would like to help. Contact us at (703) 549-9747 or aianova@aianova.org.

Membership Renewal Information

 Your 2018 AIA dues can be paid online, by phone, by mail or by a dues installment plan. Specific instructions are included with your invoice and additional information is available on the AIA website.