Volume 8, No. 12 - December 31, 2014
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

2014: Year in Review

What's New

We are very happy to remain in our Chapter House, where we have been for more than 25 years, and are excited about the office space for architecture firms on the upper floors. We appreciate the opportunity to remain on Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria Architecture Center campus in this collaborative environment and offer our sincerest thanks to Jaan Holt and Henry Hollander from WAAC for their partnership and leadership in making this a reality.

 Earlier this year, we rearranged the Chapter House space, moving the board room to the front, furnishing it with a large conference table donated by Jacobs and new chairs donated by Knoll. The second room is now a reception area which has come in handy for the many events we host. And the office space is now where the conference room used to be. This arrangement certainly worked well for our always popular, and crowded, Open House.

Our Chapter was honored this year to be selected as the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s Community Partner of the Year for our continuous support of AFAC through our Canstruction® Competition. Over the past 10 years, our competition has donated tens of thousands of cans annually, becoming one of the largest food drives for AFAC. For the second year we held our Canstruction build-out in Terminals B and C at Reagan Washington National Airport. This very public location affords us much greater exposure and furthers our goal of greater visibility and understanding of architects and architecture by the public.

After a hiatus of several years, we once again published a Chapter directory in 2014, a joint effort with the Potomac Valley Chapter. We are very happy with the publication and we are using the firm information to populate a new referral page on our website. Developed by Matt Shuba, Associate AIA, we now have an effective way for potential clients to search for our firms and an easy way for staff to update listings for firms.

    -- Scott S. Matties, AIA, 2014 Chapter President

Advocacy and AIA Repositioning

Board members went to the Hill to lead the Chapter’s advocacy efforts to help shape a regulatory environment that supports our members, the profession and good design. As part of the AIA National Grassroots Conference in March, board members Bill Brown, AIA, Raedun de Alba, AIA and Sean Reilly, AIA visited with staff at the offices of congressmen Jim Moran and Gerald Connolly and dropped off materials at Frank Wolf’s office. Staff members for each Congressman were receptive to our agenda items which included a reinstatement of a tax incentive to encourage energy efficient design (179D), reformation of the federal design-build process to make the short lists “shorter” (HR 2750) and assist architecture graduates with student loan debt in return for design services assistance in communities (HR 4205).

In November, Bill Brown accepted a new position as Vice President of Government Advocacy at the Virginia Society AIA. He will continue to track and advise on legislative issues in Richmond that support our profession and Chapter members. Bill will also focus on three new advocacy initiatives in 2015: the Virginia Accord, Advocacy and PAC and Citizen Architects. Bill welcomes any Chapter members willing to participate in the process.

Connect, engage, lead, innovate – these are the four priorities of the AIA’s Repositioning Initiative. Scott Matties, AIA, Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA and Sean Reilly, AIA participated in Repositioning discussions at the AIA National Grassroots Leadership Conference, the AIA National Convention and the AIA Big Sibs Conference. The primary goal of repositioning is to enable our profession to become more relevant and valued by the society it serves. The question now becomes: What does Repositioning mean for AIA Northern Virginia? How can the Chapter engage the public and elevate their understanding of what we do? How can the Chapter elevate the conversation and become a more effective voice in the region?

Repositioning is a long term endeavor that provides an opportunity to create a new era for the Chapter and its members. There is a sense of urgency that the time is now to move the needle forward. At the recent Annual Retreat, board members considered the first phase of the Chapter’s Repositioning Plan and are discussing a proposed governance change that will allow the Chapter to be more nimble and strategic in serving its members and engaging the public. This change would streamline governance and facilitate regular strategic actions to address issues of primary importance to our members and the public. Repositioning calls on each of us to become regular ambassadors for our profession and the tremendous good it can bring to all people through architecture.

    -- Sean E. Reilly, AIA, Incoming 2015 President

Activities and Events

2014 presented many successful Chapter events. We enjoyed Mardi Gras at our annual Open House featuring Cajun food and our always popular Hurricanes. On a perfect day in May, we joined colleagues from related disciplines for a round of golf during our annual Golf Tournament. We celebrated 18 Design Award winners on the 32nd floor of 1812 North Moore Street in Arlington with sweeping views of the Potomac River and surrounding area. At our Annual Meeting at Columbia Firehouse in Old Town Alexandria we presented our Chapter awards and recognized our Executive Director, Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA, on her 15 years with the Chapter. Our 11th annual Canstruction competition entertained thousands at the airport, raising over $32,000 and donating 18,640 pounds of food to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Many of our Chapter activities are organized by our wonderful committees, and often by a collaboration of several committees, like our 360 Mentoring Program and the continuing education tour of the LEED® Gold certified North Gate Winery, and yes, continuing education credits were given for the winery tour.
  • The Architecture in the Schools Program placed volunteers in 10 Virginia schools.
  • The Continuing Education Committee planned informative seminars from acoustic design to radiant heating.
  • CRAN (Custom Residential Architects Network), a partnership with the other metro area chapters, planned numerous events this year, including a sold out tour of the Hollin Hills neighborhood.
  • COTE (Committee on the Environment) offered a very informative seminar on zero net energy buildings.
  • The Schools Connections Committee organized career panels and portfolio reviews for local architecture students, took the lead in organizing the Interschool Design Competition at the National Building Museum and awarded 3 scholarships to local students.
  • Women in Architecture highlights include a lecture series, clothing drive for Dress for Success, spa night benefiting the National Breast Center, a tour of apartments built from surplus sea containers and their always popular monthly happy hours.
  • The Young Architects Forum once again organized our outstanding ARE Prep series, hosted happy hours and a party for our newly licensed members, and co-sponsored an evening at Nat's Park with the Structural Engineers Association.
    -- Karen M. Conkey, AIA, 2014 Secretary

 Financial Outlook

The Chapter has finished 2014 with great financial strength. Thanks to the Chapter leadership, the budget was maintained and the year will close with a surplus. To add to our financial health, the Chapter has been able to maintain healthy reserves of more the 60% of our annual expenses. Below is a summary graph showing the income and expenses of the Chapter broken down by type - dues/expenses, fundraising events, professional development and public awareness.

Due to all the hard work of many and our fundraising events, such as design awards and the golf tournament, we have continued to close the gap between our membership dues income and our annual operating expenses. In 2015 we will be looking at ways to reduce the pressure on our larger events and further reduce the gap between our income and operating expenses.

    -- Meagan W. Jancy, AIA, 2014 Treasurer

Our Volunteers

 As our committees are the most direct interface that the Chapter has with the members and other constituencies (the public, students, emerging professionals, etc.), the committee chairs are key to some of the most important work we do. To say that they are the unsung heroes of the Chapter is really to acknowledge that it is high time we sing their praises. We want to thank those who have completed years of service to the Chapter, and welcome our new committee chairs and thank them for stepping up to serve. Over the year, the following changes have taken place:
  • Architecture in the Schools: Our dedicated, long-time leader Jean O'Toole, AIA is stepping down.
  • Community Service/Canstruction: Lisa Lettieri, AIA and Jay Scruggs, AIA will take the lead from Lala Matties, AIA.
  • CRAN: Thea Scott Fundling is coming on board as Co-Chair.
  • Design Awards: Stephen Wakeman, AIA has assumed the reins as Chair from Karen Conkey, AIA, and Manoj Dalaya, AIA will join returning J. Paul Lewis as Co-Chair.
  • Fellows: Kathryn Prigmore, FAIA is following in the sure footsteps of Al Cox, FAIA.
  • Golf Tournament: Baird Smith, FAIA is leading the charge after the relocation of Keith Whitener.
  • Historic Resources: John Burns, FAIA is now Chair, in place of Steve Smith, AIA.
  • Statewide Legislative Affairs: Bill Brown, AIA is picking up the baton from Valerie Hassett, FAIA.
  • School Connections: Jakki Devereaux, AIA and Monica Perez, Associate AIA are taking over as Co-Chairs following the relocation of David Prevette, AIA.
  • Small Firms: David Chan, AIA and Stephen Kulinski, AIA have taken up the banner from John Linam, AIA.
We are so very grateful for the dedication and service of those retiring committee chairs and hope that everyone will lend their support and appreciation for those taking on new and important roles with the Chapter. We also want to recognize and thank those who are continuing in their committee leadership:
  • Continuing Education Chair: Carter Jones, AIA
  • CRAN Chair: Randy Mars, AIA
  • Design Awards: Co-Chair J. Paul Lewis, AIA
  • COTE: Chair Jin Soo Park, AIA and Co-Chair David Shirey, AIA
  • Women in Architecture: Chair Jo Anne Murray, AIA
  • Young Architects Forum: Co-Chairs Anna Barbour, AIA and Spencer Lepler, AIA
    -- Ed Weaver, AIA, 2014 Past President and Honors & Nominations Chair

Looking Forward to 2015

Our January calendar is filling with events from the beginning of our ARE Prep Series on January 7 to a COTE lecture on Reducing Utility Costs Through Behavior on January 20. We are partnering with the Design for Aging KC to bring you a presentation on Universal Design on January 12 and our Small Firms Roundtable is planning a review of the new DC Energy Conservation Code with staff from the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Green Building Division. Details will be posted soon.

 Get together with your colleagues at our annual Open House on February 17 and join both WIA and YAF at their monthly happy hours.

If you are planning to take the AREs this year, please be sure to mark your calendars for Michael Ermann’s Building Systems review March 7-9 and David Thaddeus’ Structures review May 1-3. We will offer advance registration to our Chapter members. These workshops always sell out!

Watch for our Design Awards Call for Entries in late March, with submissions due in late April and the gala in early June. And we will celebrate Architecture Week from April 12-18.

Please refer to our Chapter calendar on the front of our website at www.aianova.org for our current events. You can also check our Chapter's Google Calendar for a longer view of what is coming in the next year.

    -- Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA, Executive Director

Now It's Your Turn

2015 is the year for you to take full advantage of your AIA membership and become an active member. The Chapter offers you the opportunity to make a significant difference for yourself, your community and the profession as a whole. We need our members’ participation to accomplish all we do.

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 2015 AIA invoice is due by January 15 and can be paid online, by phone, by mail, by fax or by a dues installment plan. Specific instructions are included with your invoice and additional information is available on the AIA website.
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