AIA Virginia Newsletter: March 2021

Speaking Up with a Unified Voice
AIA Virginia has never been more resolved to strengthen the culture of advocacy within our organization.
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2021 Architects Speak Up!
There is an old proverb in politics; if you are not seated at the dinner table then there is a good chance, you’re on the menu.
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Leading with Efficiency and Inclusivity
If you missed the February presentation, please plan to join us on March 24th to hear the recommendations from the recent study of our governance. You will be asked to vote on these changes later this year.
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Key Retirement Planning Strategies for Architects and Firm Owners
Confused by retirement planning? Join us at noon on April 21 for this free webinar designed to specifically address the needs of architects and firm owners.
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An Update on the AIA Virginia J.E.D.I. Committee
Since its inception in September 2020, the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee has been dedicated to creating a more equitable architecture profession throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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General Assembly Wrap-Up
It was a different General Assembly session this year from its virtual format to lobbying by text messaging, calls, and videoconferences.
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Associated Thoughts: Springing Ahead
Despite the seeming sameness of a work-from-home, socially distanced life, we have all had lots of transitions this past year.
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The Heights Building Panel Discussion Recording Now Available
Speakers from Bjarke Ingels Group, Leo A Daly, APS, Silman, and Gilbane shared insights into the design and construction of this structural masterpiece.
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The Governor’s Office is Looking to Appoint Architects
This year, AIA Virginia will be providing the Governor’s Office a slate of candidates for consideration for appointment to two of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Boards and Commissions.
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Call for Content: The Energy Issue
Do you have a case study, research, or best practices to share for the April Energy issue of Inform? Submit your content suggestions to the editor.

Roundtables Wrap Up
The Meeting of the Roundtables [Small Firm, Mid-Size Firm, Large Firm, and Emerging Professionals] occurred on Thursday, February 25. Click to read the highlights of each conversation.
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2021 Honors Committee Appointed
On Feb. 26, the AIA Virginia Board of Directors appointed the 2021 Honors Committee. Jim Clark, FAIA will serve as chair.
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Newly Licensed
Congratulations to the following members for passing their exams and gaining licensure.
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2021 AIA Virginia Prize Jury Announced; Special Event Scheduled for April 16
AIA Virginia announces the jury for the 2021 AIA Virginia Prize, chaired by Rob Reis, AIA. In a new initiative this year, AIA Virginia is convening a post-competition conversation with the students from the 4 schools, the jurors, and designers from the region on April 16.
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2021 Membership Dues
Do you need assistance paying your 2021 membership dues or need to update your license status or contact info?
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Welcome These New Members
Please help us welcome these new members to the AIA as architects and associate members and AIA Virginia Allied Members.
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Firm Directory
Is your firm listed in the Virginia Firm Directory?
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Meet the Fellows
Which AIA Virginia fellow recommends the Old Fashion at the newly renovated Cavalier in Virginia Beach?
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At the Last Board Meeting
Read about the decisions made and items discussed at the last meeting of the AIA Virginia Board of Directors.
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PAC
If you want to opt-out of giving to the AIA Virginia PAC from your 2021 dues payment, please click here.
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AIA Virginia General Assembly Wrap Up

On February 8th, the 2021 General Assembly session adjourned sine die. Nearly immediately thereafter, the General Assembly convened a Special Session on February 10th which adjourned sine die on March 1st.  The General Assembly considered 1,476 pieces of legislation, which is well short of the 2,000-3,000 bills typically considered. This decrease was due to the bill limits set by each body, 7 bills for each House member, and 12 bills for each Senate member.

This General Assembly session was unique in other ways as well. For example, the House of Delegates adopted an entirely virtual format, which had members participating remotely from their home districts. The Senate of Virginia opted for a hybrid model and conducted in-person floor sessions and committee meetings at the Science Museum of Virginia. For both bodies, public participation in committee and subcommittee meetings was limited to virtual testimony. This means that lobbying consisted solely of communication through text messaging, calls, and videoconferences.

Week after week, you saw the bills that we were actively engaging and monitoring. As such, this article will focus on the three main legislative victories for our organization this session.

Defeat of HB 2259 – Governor; issuance of licenses to persons denied by regulatory board

This bill provides that the Governor may issue a license of the kind granted by a regulatory board under the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation or the Department of Health Professions to any person whose application for such license to such board has been denied. AIA Virginia believes that the process in place for regulating architecture should not be circumvented. It has successfully served in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the general public as it takes into consideration the education, experience, and examination required for licensure. We actively opposed this legislation and it was successfully defeated.

An active stakeholder on HB 5002Establish Small Business & Women-owned & Minority-Owned Business Procurement Enhancement Programs.

Governor Ralph Northam announced the results of the Commonwealth’s disparity study, which demonstrate the need for the narrowly tailored race – and gender-conscious measures to increase equitable opportunities for women – and minority-owned businesses in state contracting. The outcomes of the study will guide the Northam Administration’s ongoing work with General Assembly leaders to increase supplier diversity and equity in the state procurement process. Read the executive summary of the 2020 disparity study here.

AIA Virginia supported this legislation, however it did not pass in its current form. Due to our support, the Administration has committed to giving AIA Virginia a seat at the table during the discussions to retool the legislation for reintroduction.

That’s right.

We will be at the table on this very important piece of the equity discussion.

Tax Conformity via HB 1935 and SB 1146

Each year the General Assembly decides which federal tax provisions the Commonwealth will conform to so Virginians know which provisions apply when filing their state income tax returns. Because of the pandemic, Congress passed numerous federal tax changes in the CARES Act and Consolidated Appropriations Act to provide immediate relief to struggling employers.

Specifically, two tax provisions were provided to PPP loan recipients 1) forgiven loans would not be taxable and 2) business expenses paid with those loan proceeds could be deducted.

Both bills included the income exclusion provision. There was a question regarding what to include regarding deductibility [$25,000 in one bill vs. $100,000 in the other bill]. AIA Virginia was part of a 43-Member Coalition that successfully advocated for the $100,000 deduction cap. This provides full deductibility to almost 80% of Virginia businesses who received a PPP loan.

These three victories are quite substantial in any legislative environment, notwithstanding a virtual General Assembly. Please continue to support our efforts by investing in our PAC at www.aiavapac.org.

Every investment matters!

If you have any questions, please reach out to Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, FAIA at cclayborne@aiava.org

The Governor’s Office is Looking to Appoint Architects to Boards and Commissions

This year, AIA Virginia will be providing the Governor’s Office a slate of candidates for consideration for appointment to two of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Boards and Commissions. Our organization advocates for the Architect’s voice on these bodies to help shape policies and strengthen our communities. If interested in being considered for the slate, please click here to see the submission requirements

Submissions are due to AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, FAIA (cclayborne@aiava.org) by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 30, 2021. Please identify on the documentation which Board or Commission you are seeking our support for.

We will be submitting a slate of nominees for the following Boards and Commissions:


Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA)

Purpose: The Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA Board) examines, licenses, and regulates approximately 35,000 individuals and related business entities in Virginia.

Meeting Frequency: Estimated at 4 times per year*

Website: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/APELS/


Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation

Purpose: The nine-member Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation is responsible for: monitoring the policies and activities of the Department; evaluating the need for regulation, if any, of unregulated professions or occupations; advising the Governor and Department Director on matters relating to professional regulation; recommending regulatory frameworks to the General Assembly, when professional regulation is necessary to protect the public interest; and providing citizen access to the Department and promoting education of the public about professional regulation.

Meeting Frequency: Estimated at 4 times per year* 

Website: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/BPOR/


*This is an estimate of meeting frequency. The Board may have a need to meet more frequently depending on the amount of business that needs to be addressed.

At the Last Board Meeting

MEETING RECAP

AIA Virginia | 2021 Board of Directors
February 26, 2021
Zoom Virtual Meeting
Motions Made and Approved:

The Board of Directors of AIA Virginia voted as follows:

  • Acceptance of the Mid-Career Professionals Task Force Recommendations
  • Acceptance of 2021 Signature Events Recommendations
  • Appointments to the 2021 Honors Committee
  • Appointments to the 2021 PAC Board of Trustees
  • Approval of the 2020 Financial Audit
  • Appointments to the 2021 Secretary’s Advisory Committee
  • Appointments to the 2021 Nominating Committee

Motions Made and Approved in Closed Session:

The Board of Directors of AIA Virginia voted as follows:

  • Approval of IRS Form 990 for Fiscal Year 2019-2020
  • Adoption of Unanimous Consent of Directors Resolution for PPP Forgivable Loan

Written reports were provided for the following consent agenda items:

  • General Assembly Update
  • Lobby Month Update
  • Membership Update
  • Amber Book Program Update
  • Virginia NOMA Update                                              
  • Emerging Leaders in Architecture Update                            
  • AEC Virtual Symposium
  • Economic Outlook from February 5, 2021                                                    

Members may request a copy of these written reports by emailing AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, FAIA at cclayborne@aiava.org.

The next meeting of the 2021 AIA Virginia Board of Directors will occur virtually on April 23, 2021.

Roundtables Wrap Up

The Meeting of the Roundtables [Small Firm, Mid-Size Firm, Large Firm, and Emerging Professionals] occurred on Thursday, February 25. The below captures the highlights of each conversation. Please plan to join us for the next session on May 27.

Large Firm Roundtable         

Topic 1: Remote Work and Transitioning Back to the Office

  • Employees have the choice on when to return to the office in person
  • Some firms have purchased PPE for employees and performed deep cleaning for the office
  • Many firms have requirements for masking when in common areas and moving throughout the office
  • In general, firms have not imposed a requirement for employees to vaccinate
  • It was noted that there are varying requirements for re-opening in different states, thus posing challenges for firms with multiple offices in the U.S.
  • One firm leader shared how vaccinations are not embraced by everyone which will influence office policy development
  • Some firms shared that productivity (measured as revenue per employee) has been high during this period of remote work
  • Some firms classified 2020 as a “so-so” year in terms of financial performance

Topic 2: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • The 21 Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge by the American Bar Association was shared as a resource: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_contract_law/leadership/21-challenge/
  • Firm leaders thought they should let the next generation take the lead on JEDI issues
  • Some firm leaders are mentoring more than ever during the pandemic
  • There was consensus that firm leaders need to understand our future generation as individuals, particularly minorities
  • Some firms have established a J.E.D.I. Committee
  • Firm leaders were encouraged to use Virginia NOMA as a resource.

Topic 3: Cultivating Emerging Professionals

  • One firm leader indicated that emerging professionals were obtaining knowledge and advancing it on their own
  • Firm leaders reported that it seemed emerging professionals in their firm missed the camaraderie of the office environment and desire to come back; however, are accomplishing a great deal from home
  • It seems that conversations on EDI have flourished amongst this demographic
  • There is a concern by some firm leaders if the development of some emerging professions is “falling through the cracks” in the remote work environment
  • Some emerging professionals have risen as key players in contributing to firm vision and strategy during this time
  • The question of how to grow the firm without growing the firm’s real estate was discussed
  • It seems the vast majority of emerging professionals desire flexibility to work from home and the office
  • Some firm leaders believe that the pandemic will change the culture of the profession; the office will likely become a destination for specific tasks opposed to pre-COVID times where the office was a place that you “go just to go”

Mid-Size Firm Roundtable

Topic 1: Remote Work and Transitioning Back to the Office

  • There is a blend of approaches: some are working remotely, bringing in staff in shifts, and some are back in the office.
  • Once teams are vaccinated, many envision returning to the office
  • There seems to be adequate information about safe space planning.
  • Some firms are offering incentives to encourage vaccination, paying for vaccinations, or providing time off. None were mandating vaccination as a requirement to return to work.
  • Site meetings and construction administration have been flowing fairly normally. Some are hosting hybrid meetings or in-person meetings with 6-feet social distance and movement every 15 minutes. Many try to schedule meetings early or late in the day when fewer people will be onsite.

Topic 2: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • One firm formed a diversity and inclusion council that is charged with reviewing all policies. They began with evaluating recruitment and legal and have been working for 6 months.
  • Some have not adopted any J.E.D.I. initiatives
  • Hiring/recruitment has been challenging
  • One firm just hired several new team members. Another hired several new people in June right out of school and developed new virtual training/orientation methods to support them.
  • One firm went through the JUST process which is posted on their website. They used the information like a report card and have implemented several new policies and practices as part of their continuous improvement efforts.

Topic 3: Cultivating Emerging Professionals

  • Several firms are seeking to hire emerging professionals at this time.
  • Shortly before the pandemic, one firm hired a student part-time. He has now graduated and is full time. Because the firm is not planning on hiring anyone else, he is advancing very quickly out of necessity.
  • One firm hired several new graduates and has implemented regular virtual check-in meetings and virtual check-sets to help support them.
  • There are a lot of people participating in ARE support sessions which is helping them to be well prepared for the test. One office just had a staff member pass the ARE.
  • There was some discussion about mentorship programs in Seattle and New York. The group talked about the differences between mentorship and training as well as challenges of mentoring in a smaller firm.
  • One firm is considering a more structured mentorship program and evaluating their existing methods. They have had some success with summer interns who are “attached at the hip” with a firm principal. This firm is back in person, so it is easier – to do this.
  • Because of the virtual environment, one firm in creating more structure to their mentorship programming out of necessity.
  • The group discussed the various challenges of having multiple partners with different styles.
  • One firm matches each new hire with an in-house “mentor” who helps them on the job.

Small Firm Roundtable

Topic 1: Remote Work and Transitioning Back to the Office

  • Some firm leaders shared that it is difficult to manage projects remotely as a small firm
  • One firm has employees working in the office but seated 12’ apart with masks optional at one’s desk
  • One firm requires clients to make an appointment before visiting the office; “walk-ins” are prohibited
  • A firm leader stated that the company was so busy that they are turning down clients

Topic 2: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • One firm made Martin Luther King Jr. day a paid holiday for staff. This day will eventually be made a day of service for the firm
  • A firm leader shared that the company is being more intentional about casting a “wider net” in search of interns
  • J.E.D.I. conversations take on a much different context in small firms; for example, firms with 3 to 4 people
  • Several firms believed they could make a stronger impact with J.E.D.I. by serving the community (example projects mentioned: converting a church to a community center pro bono for a disadvantaged neighborhood, making oneself available to the Government as a contract vehicle, “Architects Anonymous” pro-bono services program]

Topic 3: Cultivating Emerging Professionals

  • The group discussed AIA Virginia’s Amber Book ARE prep scholarships being sponsored by the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design
  • The Chair of The Branch voiced opportunities for engagement with the 501c3

Emerging Professional’s Roundtable

Topic 1: Remote Work and Transitioning Back to the Office

  • Overall, most firms have been supportive of the remote working arrangements
  • Some reported that their teams have become more dynamic and flexible in their scheduling. The group appreciated that flexibility and most hoped that it would continue.
  • Document review and redlines/mark ups have been challenging.
  • The group discussed the various advantages and challenges with Blue Beam, Miro, and Mural
  • Some discussed the challenges of remote work during the early career stage
  • Most are still working remotely, though some are in the office.

Topic 2: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • Some firms’ J.E.D.I. efforts have been disappointing or have seemed performative (rather than substantive and sustainable)
  • The group discussed the challenges of bringing J.E.D.I. issues to firm leaders
  • One firm is trying to identify information to see if there is unconscious bias in the review process
  • The size of the firm seems to impact diversity; larger firms are (in general) while smaller firms seem less diverse
  • There seems to be some level of “tokenism” in some firms
  • AIA should reward/recognize/celebrate firms for genuineJ.E.D.I. efforts
  • Michael Marshall – who has suggested a hiring diversity/staffing rating system like LEED was discussed.
  • The group wondered how many firms are willing to sponsor visas for international applicants.

Topic 3: Cultivating Emerging Professionals

  • It can be difficult to get the information/support that one would normally get when in the office
  • It is difficult to build professional relationships within firms in a remote setting
  • Some have felt like there is a lack of connection and communication in the virtual space.
  • Despite good intentions by firm leaders, some are not feeling supported and don’t know how to ask for it.
  • It is very hard to learn when personal or mentorship relationships are absent.
  • Some were uncomfortable asking for things/support/help because they feel like firm leaders are doing them a favor by keeping them or offering more flexibility in scheduling
  • “It feels like you should know what you’re doing, but you don’t — and you don’t know who to ask?”
  • Being paired with a firm “mentor” (who you aren’t afraid to ask questions/ whose “job” it is to help you) has been a successful approach
  • Some didn’t find out until several years into their architecture program that a Masters program was necessary to be licensed and that expensive testing was necessary (following a long internship/training process).

2021 Architects Speak Up!

There is an old proverb in politics; if you are not seated at the dinner table then there is a good chance, you’re on the menu.

During the development of the current strategic plan, there was an overwhelming agreement that there should be a concerted effort made to invest and develop future generations of leaders for service for the AIA and the community. As such, the plan sought to launch a Virginia event that provides advocacy training and connects members with state legislators. Advocacy means taking the steps to make a difference. Good advocates organize themselves to take steps to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. As architects, we engage in advocacy regularly during our practice, sometimes we do not even know when we are doing it.

Therefore, we want your participation in AIA Virginia’s first ever ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! event.

Architecture practice exists at the crossroads of Policy and the Built Environment. Architects regularly advance solutions that directly address our social, environmental, and economic challenges of today and tomorrow. Architects do not see empty lots as just places to build rather we see them as places of dreams and hopes.

ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! will consist of virtual meetings for AIA Virginia members to acquaint themselves with their in-district legislator(s) and effectively articulate the importance of architects and architecture in the community. The anticipated result is a structured and coordinated outreach event that can occur simultaneously within each of the five local components. We want you to advocate and introduce yourself and AIA Virginia as a resource for industry issues in a relaxed virtual environment.  AIA Virginia is looking for your participation in these scheduled meetings this May.

Join us for ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! by registering here>>

PAC:
If you are not able to participate in ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! that is OK. There are other ways you can support AIA Virginia’s legislative objectives. We are embarking on building up our PAC for 2021 and we really could use your help and financial support in closing our fundraising gap for Q1. Can you invest today? www.aiavapac.org

Architects Speak Up!

During the development of the current strategic plan, there was an overwhelming agreement that there should be a concerted effort made to invest and develop future generations of leaders for service for the AIA and the community. As such, the plan sought to launch a Virginia event that provides advocacy training and connects members with state legislators. Advocacy means taking the steps to make a difference. Good advocates organize themselves to take steps to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. As architects, we engage in advocacy regularly during our practice, sometimes we do not even know when we are doing it.

Therefore, we want your participation in AIA Virginia’s first ever ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! event.

Registration will be open through Wednesday, April 21. Note that all participants will be required to watch the designated training videos prior to their legislative meeting.

REGISTER WITH YOUR AVAILABILITY BY COMPLETING THE FORM BELOW

Architects Speak Up 2021

  • Firm Info:

  • A legislative meeting will likely not exceed one hour.
  • Group leaders will be the designated point of contact for other constituent AIA Virginia members and AIA Virginia staff in order to facilitate legislator meetings.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get to Know Your Legislator
Visit https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/ to input your home or firm address to find and get to know your State Senator and State Delegate.

PAC:
If you are not able to participate in ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! that is OK. There are other ways you can support AIA Virginia’s legislative objectives. We are embarking on building up our PAC for 2021 and we really could use your help and financial support in closing our fundraising gap for Q1. Can you invest today? www.aiavapac.org

An Update on the AIA Virginia J.E.D.I. Committee

Since its inception in September 2020, the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee has been dedicated to creating a more equitable architecture profession throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our efforts acknowledge the grave disparities that marginalized identities face and aims to provide opportunities for education, programming, and advocacy. This work serves everyone. To date the committee has 4 main areas of focus:

Education: Education and training serve as the foundational for the work happening in firms and architectural schools across the country. It is important to have a shared language and a common understanding of the history and systems at play in American society. That being said, the committee will provide opportunities to learn about the value of diversity, the obstacles facing historically underrepresented populations, and ways to combat the many forms of bias, bigotry and exclusion in the discipline. Moreover, it is our hope that architecture firms take that knowledge and begin implementing equitable practices that respond to the systemic barriers to entry and retention in the profession.

Acknowledgment: Already underway, the committee has proposed ways to honor firms and individuals that champion equity through their exemplary civic engagement and/or their proven record of policies and procedures that expand inclusion and reallocate resources to underrepresented people.

Advocating: Inherent in the work of any committee focused on equity is a duty to advocate. Our planned advocacy can take place in many forms. It can manifest as a public statement of support for climate action and environmental justice or as a conversation with elected officials in support of specific legislation. As we continue to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, it is important for us to give voice to those who have not always had a seat at the table and this is where programming comes in.

Programming: In this initial year, the committee aims to create opportunities for dialogue between disparate groups with the hope of gaining more understanding and developing some shared values. In addition to original content, the committee plans to promote and circulate webinars, programs, and services offered by other components, organizations, and agencies.

As I said before, this work serves everyone. It extends far beyond the reach of the committee and the architecture discipline at large. In the words of the late John Lewis, I hope that you will join us in our efforts to get into some “good trouble” this year.

Kendall A. Nicholson, EdD, Assoc. AIA, NOMA
member of the AIA Virginia J.E.D.I. Committee

Virginia Firm Directory

The AIA Virginia Firm Directory helps connect clients with an architect or architecture firm that meets their needs. Clients can search by firm name, ZIP code, distance, and areas of practice.

View the Firm Directory

Listings are free to firms with an office in Virginia and an AIA Virginia member Principal. To have your firm listed in the directory, click on the “Create a Listing” button inside the directory. To correct any information in your listing, email cguske@aiava.org.

Newly Licensed

We understand the dedication and effort required to study for and pass the ARE. Congratulations to the following member for passing their exams and gaining licensure. This is great news that thrills all of us and we are so proud to call you architects!

Kamran Charmsaz, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Sean P. Haislip, AIA (Northern Virginia)
James P. Lawyer, AIA (Richmond)
Georgia M. Todd, AIA (Central Virginia)

Have you recently passed the ARE? Upgrade your membership to Architect using this AIA form. or send an email to your Member Services Director, Cathy Guske, cguske@aiava.org