I trust this message finds you well into the New Year making excellent and exciting contributions to the practice of architecture in the Commonwealth. At AIA Virginia, we are off to a fast start and I want to first thank all the members who have renewed membership in AIA. I also want to thank the firm practitioners who support participation by their employees in AIA activities. Last year AIA Virginia ended with 2,397 members and we expect that number to grow in 2016. Membership in AIA is at an all-time high and AIA Virginia is working hard to bring significant value to its members, provide programs and services which are relevant to our fast-changing profession and to celebrate the prosperity of our members.
The 2016 Board of Directors held its first meeting in December and is engaged with AIA Virginia staff under the direction of Executive Vice President / CEO Helene Dreiling, FAIA in advancing programs and services through our three Advisory Councils for Communications and Outreach led by Rob Reis, AIA, Government Advocacy led by Tim Colley, AIA, and Professional Excellence led by Beth Reader, FAIA.
DESIGN FORUM XII: Our first major event for Professional Excellence this year is Design Forum XII which will take place on Friday and Saturday, April 1-2, at the recently completed Slover Library in Norfolk Virginia. The overarching topic is TRANSFORMATION: THE CHANGING POINT. The forum will explore how design itself is transformed in the wake of a changing climate and how meaningful changes are enacted by design. Led by our dynamic moderator, Z Smith of Eskew Dumez Ripple, presentations from OMA, Playlab, and Kieran Timberlake, among others, will explore the intersection of design and transformation. If you haven’t seen the Slover Library, I know you will be inspired by the building designed by the partnership of Newman Architects and Tymoff and Moss Architects, I hope that you will put the Design Forum on your calendar and attend. Register>>
LEGISLATIVE SESSION: The General Assembly began its 60-day legislative session on the second Wednesday of January. AIA Virginia engages legislators to tell them what we think about legislation affecting limitations of liability, open-space planning, historic renovation tax credits, universal building codes, sustainability, statutes of repose, basically the entire spectrum of an architect’s practice. Thank you to our Government Advocacy Advisory Council led by Tim Colley, AIA and staff liaison Rhea George for monitoring current legislation of importance to architects in the Commonwealth. I hope that you will consider supporting your profession and your practice by contributing to the AIA Virginia Political Action Committee. Even the smallest amount will help send a message to our representatives on the importance of legislation that impacts our profession.
STRATEGIC PLANNING RETREAT: Every three years AIA Virginia revisits its strategic plan. The Board of Directors will participate in a strategic planning retreat in late February. Our mission is to be the voice of the architecture profession in the Commonwealth, dedicated to serving our members and through a culture of innovation, AIA Virginia empowers its members, advances their value, and inspires the creation of a better-built environment. I look forward to collaborating with our officers, directors and staff leadership as we refine our strategies and goals for the coming few years.
FINANCIAL OUTLOOK: One of our focused priorities for AIA Virginia is to be financially responsible so as to ensure operational sustainability and success. In 2015, we changed our fiscal year from a December 31, year-end to a June 30, year-end to correspond to the timing of our programs and member dues revenue. We are pleased to report that at the semi-annual period ending December 31, 2015, our revenues are ahead of forecast due to a strong showing at Architectural Exchange East and our expenses are on budget leading to an improved balance sheet as compared to the same period a year ago.
EMERGING LEADERS: Congratulations to the 53 architects who passed their ARE exam in Virginia in 2015. Additionally, AIA Virginia has selected the 16-member 2016 class of Emerging Leaders in Architecture which held its first session in Richmond in early January. We wish them well in the program which consists of seven, day-long seminars, several work sessions, culminating with a presentation at Architecture Exchange East. The future success of AIA hinges on our ability to engage the next generation of architects. I hope you will join me in encouraging participation by our emerging professionals in AIA programs at the local, state or national level.
AIA GRASSROOTS and AIA CONVENTION: Leadership from AIA Virginia will be attending AIA Grassroots 2016, February 23-25, in Detroit. Registration is now open for AIA Convention 2016, May 19-21, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. I hope you will consider attending.
Thank you again for your support of AIA Virginia. On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of AIA Virginia, we look forward to serving our members in 2016 bringing value to your practice.
Nick Vlattas, AIA
AIA Virginia President 2016