Volume 12, No. 12 - January 2, 2019
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

2018: Year in Review

Our chapter is closing the books on its 44th year. With the energy and conviction of all of our volunteer committees and board, and our very dedicated chapter house staff, we have accomplished quite a bit. Our newly formed communications committee, headed by Anh Tran, Associate AIA, has streamlined resources for our internal organization and developed a robust internet presence, reaching out to the distant edges of our chapter, providing outlets for us to communicate (www.twitter.com/aianova). She has been instrumental to our success this year.

Year in Review

Our newly formed strategic plan will guide our work at the chapter. We are also informed by our member survey. Through continuing education programs, we provided resources to enhance our professional development, enabling us to deliver the skilled services required to face our changing natural and social environments.

Membership FiguresPromoting our profession through advocacy and public awareness is crucial to defining our leadership role in the built environment. As the complexity of designing and building increases, architects continue to grow as a valued asset to navigate the construction process. Our state PAC continues to strengthen Virginia's qualifications-based procurement requirements for local governments.

Our committees form the foundation of our chapter. They developed programs and events rich in relevant content. The committees are tasked with mainstreaming environmental issues and public outreach opportunities. For noted highlights of this year's events, please see our last newsletter, in case you missed it.

I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity of serving as president this year, for being able to share in the enthusiasm of our profession with all of the creative and focused people surrounding AIA Northern Virginia. I am so looking forward to next year’s upcoming board and committees – they are an extremely empowered and talented group.

    -- Theresa del Ninno, AIA, 2018 Chapter President


Since our chapter's inception in 1975, our mission has always been to serve our members and advocate for the profession. This year we again celebrate successful public outreach endeavors as well as collaboration with public officials to affect change in policies and legislation that further the profession and benefit the public.

PELLA / KC CompanyThis year, AIA Northern Virginia organized several successful public outreach events. Architecture Week, which took place in April and is always available to the public, included dozens of events such as walking tours, demonstrations, exhibits, yoga sessions, and more. Canstruction was held at Dulles Airport in October, on display for everyone to see how architects give back to the local community. And of course, 2018 continued our effort of holding numerous social events, seminars, and tours, many of which were open to the public. By being one of the largest chapters in AIA as well as our proximity to the federal government and AIA's national headquarters, we are fortunate, as a chapter, to be very involved with legislation that benefits our profession at the local, state, and federal levels. In August, members of our Legislative/Government Affairs Committee met with three Virginia state senators to discuss and make them aware of the following issues important to architects in our area:
  • The state's Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) loophole, whereby some local jurisdictions are taking advantage of an exception to be able to select design consultants purely based on price
  • The many ways that architects in Virginia are participating in the state's Safety Assessment Program (SAP), so they are certified to evaluate the safety of structures damaged in natural disasters
  • The knowledge Virginia architects have on school safety design.
Our Legislative/Government Affairs Committee is now scheduling similar meetings with local legislators to continue to educate them on how valuable of a resource architects are to them. In addition, several members of our chapter serve on the statewide advocacy committee, which is involved with legislation that affects several issues, including:
  • The public procurement of design services through QBS
  • Small, woman, and minority (SWaM) businesses
  • Building codes
  • Resiliency
  • Historic preservation
  • Tax reform
ABILastly, our advocacy efforts over the years have resulted in many beneficial partnerships with other local jurisdictions. Our chapter partners with the City of Alexandria on many initiatives, including annual public walking tours and joint code seminars. This year we partnered with the city for the Alexandria Contemporary Architecture Symposium to promote public discussion about contemporary design and development in a historic city. Our partnership with Fairfax County has been going on for more than 20 years and allows us to easily share participants and judges for each of our annual design awards celebrations. Looking ahead to 2019, we are excited for the opportunity to grow our partnerships and legislative engagements as well as to continue to advocate our profession to the public.

    -- T.J. Meehan, AIA, Incoming 2019 President

Activities and Events

Our chapter is stronger this year with greater participation and diversity. The chapter's primary goals are to serve its members, advocate for the profession and improve the quality of the built environment in our communities.

The on-going and special activities in our chapter are powered by various committees. We evolved a more robust platform to connect the committees to each other and to the Board of Directors this year.

  • Our chapter hosted a successful Mardi Gras-themed Open House in February.
  • Ed Schmidt, FAIA was elevated to AIA’s prestigious College of Fellows.
  • Architecture Week in April offered an unprecedented fifteen events that included exhibits, book displays, tours, lectures, and even Yoga! This is a must-see program in 2019.
  • The heavily attended Design Awards Gala in June put the focus on the award winning work of our chapter members. The design jury from Phoenix applauded the level of design and architecture in our chapter. Awards were celebrated at Helmut Jahn’s distinctive office building in Reston.
  • In September, the Young Architects Forum, AIA|DC's Emerging Architects Committee, and the Structural Engineering Association's Young Members Group met at Nationals Ballpark for a Saturday afternoon game against the rival Mets.
  • The Interschool Design Competition, a tradition for over two decades, is a day-long design charrette for local architecture students organized by the three metro area AIA chapters, six local schools of architecture, and the National Building Museum.
  • Our 15th annual Canstruction competition, which benefits our neighbors in need, was held in October. It showcased the design talent in area firms. The event was even more visible this year at Dulles International Airport and generated over 20,000 cans of food and over $40,000, all donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
  • The Autumn Social, previously the Annual Meeting, was held at Chadwick’s in Alexandria, which provided a perfect setting to honor the outstanding achievements of our members and colleagues. The event’s casual format was a great success and attendance exceeded previous years.
  • In November, chapter members were recognized with AIA Virginia awards. The T. David Fitz-Gibbon Virginia Architecture Firm Award was given to MTFA Architecture and the Award for Distinguished Achievement was given to Manoj Dalaya, AIA.
  • Outreach to area schools continued through a variety of program offerings organized by the Architecture Lab Committee including, Architecture in the Schools, career day presentations, shadow an architect opportunities, and an after-school architecture club.
  • The Young Architects Forum successfully transitioned to supporting ARE 5.0. The dedication of this committee was exemplified by its leaders who actually took the exam to understand how to approach the new format.
  • 360 Mentoring continued with opportunities to connect, teach and learn for participants at all levels of their careers.
  • Our WIA Committee provided a year full of diverse events including lectures, a book club, pop-up lunches, happy hours, building tours, and charitable events.
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.

    -- Manoj Dalaya, AIA, 2018 Secretary

Financial Outlook

The chapter is very fortunate to, yet again, have a strong year financially. Our 2018 budget will finish with a projected profit continuing a trend we have achieved almost every year for the last decade. The chapter's reserve fund remains untouched again this year, maintaining a balance of more than 65% of our annual budget. This consistent performance is significant for a chapter where just over half of the annual budget is covered by membership dues. The balance of financial resources comes from dedicated sponsors and income generated through chapter programs. The financial strength of the chapter is a direct result of the creativity and commitment of our staff and the many volunteers who develop and realize valuable programming while carefully balancing available financial resources.

This year we initiated a Community Outreach Fund managed through a fiscal agreement with the Virginia Foundation for Architecture. This 501c(3) fund is dedicated for educational and public outreach programs by the chapter and allows tax deductible charitable contributions to be made by individuals wishing to support these key chapter missions.

Looking ahead to 2019, our chapter's sixteen committees are dedicated to continuing the trend of fiscal responsibility. They will do this while still staying focused on our core mission goals of advancing the practice of architecture among our community of professionals and promoting awareness and appreciation of architecture among the public. 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 and the effort of both our staff and volunteers.

    -- Joseph McCoy, AIA, 2018 Treasurer

Our Volunteers

The volunteers who serve on AIA Northern Virginia’s committees represent the life blood of our chapter. They coordinate, collaborate and execute excellent programing and activities for our members, and provide a vital connection between our chapter and other constituencies such as the public, students and allied professionals. We want to thank those who graciously give of their time each year and welcome our newest volunteers, thanking them for generously offering to serve. We hope that everyone will show their appreciation for those taking on new roles within the chapter, and please consider lending your support to a specific activity or committee in 2019.

The following signify changes for next year:
  • Honors and Nominations: Immediate Past President, Theresa del Ninno, AIA takes over for Karen Conkey, AIA.
  • Schools Connections: Maury Saunders, AIA takes over as Chair from Sonia Jarboe, AIA. Sonia will serve as Past Chair as well as Chapter Secretary. Joshua McKenrick, AIA will be Vice Chair.
  • Small Firms: David Chan, AIA steps down as Co-Chair. Steve Kulinski, AIA remains as Chair.
  • Women in Architecture: Rebecca Mezny, AIA will be Co-Chair with Katie Selis, AIA. April Drake, AIA will be Past Chair.
  • Young Architects Forum: Toni Lem, AIA takes over as Chair for 2019, Simone Saidel, AIA and Braden Field, AIA serve as Past Chairs.
  • Continuing Education and our Committee on the Environment are both in need of new chairs. If you are interested, please contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org.
We are grateful for the commitment of those retiring from service, and we also want to thank those who are continuing in their leadership roles. These dedicated folks stepped up to lead their committee, but need your help to accomplish all the great works planned for 2019. The coming year provides an opportunity to participate and become active in a committee that you find interesting.
  • Architecture Lab (formerly Architecture in the Schools): Elma Hajric Willcoxon, Associate AIA
  • Architecture Week: Joe McCoy, AIA
  • Communications: Anh Tran, Associate AIA
  • Community Service / Canstruction: Lisa Lettieri, AIA and Jay Scruggs, AIA
  • CRAN: Francisca Alonso, Associate AIA
  • Design Awards: Manoj Dalaya, AIA and J. Paul Lewis, AIA
  • Fellows: Kathryn Prigmore, FAIA
  • Golf Tournament: Bill Conkey, AIA
  • Historic Resources: John Burns, FAIA
  • Legislative/Government Affairs: Sean Reilly, AIA
We hope as a member that you will continue to connect with the chapter through our fabulous programs and activities offered by these committees, but we continue to ask, "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. Please tell us your ideas and what you would like to see in 2019, and we will do our best to make it happen. Contact our Executive Director Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA at debbie@aianova.org, or our 2019 Chapter President T.J, Meehan, AIA at tj.meehan@caddmircosystems.com.

Year in Review

At our 2018 Autumn Social in October we elected an enthusiastic and committed Board of Directors for AIA Northern Virginia and our chapter’s representatives on the AIA Virginia Board.

2019 AIA Northern Virginia Board

Executive Committee:
  • President – T.J. Meehan, AIA
  • President Elect / 1st VP – Joseph McCoy, AIA
  • Treasurer – Manoj Dalaya, AIA
  • Secretary –Sonia Jarboe, AIA
  • Past President – Theresa del Ninno, AIA
Directors: Kathryn Prigmore, FAIA (Director/2nd VP); James Barker, AIA; Anh Tran, Associate AIA; April Drake, AIA; Braden Field, AIA; Stephen Kulinski, AIA; Simone Saidel, AIA; Jay Scruggs, AIA; Charles Todd, AIA and Edward Weaver, AIA.

2019 AIA Virginia Directors: John Burns, FAIA; Spencer Lepler, AIA; Steve Wakeman, AIA; Maury Saunders, AIA; Eliza Engle, AIA; and Karen Conkey, AIA.

A very special thank you for the years of service of our out-going board members: Karen Conkey, AIA; Morgan Danner, Associate AIA; Christopher Kehde, AIA; Randall Mars, AIA and Kevin Sneed, FAIA.

    -- Karen Conkey, AIA, 2017 Chapter President & 2018 Nominations Chair

Looking Forward to 2019

Our chapter is already busy planning events for 2019, beginning with our ARE Prep Series Kick-Off on January 16. Organized by our Young Architects Forum (YAF), this introductory session with NCARB staff, offers the opportunity for candidates to learn about the ARE testing process and have all their questions answered as they move towards licensure in 2019.

Continuing EducationOther committees have already planned events for January, including Women in Architecture's (WIA) committee meeting on January 7; the WIA Co-Mentoring Book Club on January 22, discussing Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges; and a Capital Area Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) seminar, Integrating Acoustics into Architecture, on January 23.

We are excited to welcome AIA Virginia’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) to our area as they work on a local project this year. In addition, AIA Virginia’s Art of Practice conference is coming to Northern Virginia this spring, as is the annual Fellows Fete, celebrating our region’s new fellows from both Virginia and West Virginia. For those interested in pursuing AIA fellowship, consider joining us on February 19 for Beyond State and Local Honors Programs, to learn more about applying for fellowship as well as other national-level awards.

Save the date! Celebrate Mardi Gras at our annual Chapter Open House on Tuesday March 5. And continue to socialize with colleagues at regular happy hours organized throughout the year by both WIA and YAF.

Spring also means Design Awards! All members are encouraged to submit to our Design Awards program in 2019. Watch for the Call for Entries in March, with submissions due in late April, and the awards celebration in June. We engage two separate juries, each judging different categories, allowing us to select appropriate jurors for each submittal category. We had 25 winners last year! See the winning projects showcased in our awards gallery, 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, and in BLAST. 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!

Architecture Week is April 21-28! 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.

Watch for information as we continuing to plan for 2019...
  • Continuing education programs
  • AIA's Safety Assessment Program (SAP) Training
  • WIA Lecture Series
  • Canstruction Competition at Dulles International Airport
  • Golf Tournament supporting both our ARE and student scholarship programs
  • Autumn Social – back by popular demand!
  • Chapter Honor Awards
  • 360 Mentoring
It's easy to keep up with chapter activities. Just check the front page of our website for our current calendar, check and sync our Google calendar, and look for the calendar in each issue of BLAST.

    -- Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA, Executive Director

Now It's Your Turn

Take full advantage of your AIA membership and become an active member in 2019! 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 2019 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.