Archive | Membership News

Firm Benchmarking Tool & Foresight Report

AIA has announced two exciting new resources.

First, the Firm Benchmarking Tool ( offers an interactive portal for members to compare themselves against the profession at large, and by firms of comparable size and specialization. This is just the initial release of the tool, which will eventually be a place for firms to compare themselves against other firms across a number of dimensions, starting with data from the Firm Survey.

Second, The Foresight Report is an environmental scan of trends that could disrupt or affect the future of architecture as a discipline and a profession. There are two tools that complement the report this year: a powerpoint with data excerpts and a workbook to help firms incorporate foresight into their strategic planning. We hope these additions make the report even more actionable, especially for smaller firms. Visit for more information.

While both efforts are aimed at supporting the business of architecture and firm leaders, The Foresight Report also offers a look at trends that could affect all of us regardless of position or profession.

Posted in Membership News

CALL for NOMINATIONS: AIA Virginia’s Honors Program

The honors program recognizes the best efforts of Virginians who, by profession or avocation, have made creating, preserving, and enhancing Virginia’s communities an important life commitment.

Submit your nominations online. The deadline is 5 p.m., July 14, 2017.

Nominations must be submitted electronically. Nominations should be submitted as one PDF document up to 20 pages (not including letters of support) and no larger than 30 MB.

Eligibility criteria and submission requirements vary by award. Click on the awards listed below for additional details and to review past recipients.

Nominations for all AIA Virginia honors may be made by individual members, by chapter honors committees, by Society committees, or by the Board of Directors itself. Current AIA Virginia Board members and Honors Committee members are not eligible for any award. No member of the Honors Committee may be used as a reference or advisor or be solicited by the candidate or the candidate’s advisor.  See the 2017 Honors Committee members.

Award Categories

The William C. Noland Medal, as the highest award bestowed on a member architect, is intended to honor a distinguished body of accomplishments, sustained over time, that spans a broad spectrum of the profession and that transcends the scope of normal professional activities. Only one medal may be bestowed each year.

The Architecture Medal for Virginia Service is AIA Virginia’s most prestigious public award, honoring an individual or organization that has made an unusually significant contribution to Virginia’s built environment or to the public’s understanding and awareness of the built environment. Only one medal may be bestowed each year but may be given simultaneously to more than one person.

The T. David Fitz-Gibbon Virginia Architecture Firm Award, as the highest honor bestowed by AIA Virginia to a Virginia-based architecture firm, recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least ten years.

The Virginia Emerging Professional Award is intended to recognize the accomplishments of emerging leaders in Virginia for their contributions to the profession in one or more of the following categories: design, research, education, or discourse; service to the profession; mentorship; or service to the community.

The Award for Distinguished Achievement signals distinguished achievement by an architect in any one of the following categories: design, practice, education, service as “citizen architect”, and service to the profession; and thus may serve as an accolade for the work of an entire career or recognize the current accomplishments of a younger leader. Up to three awards may be bestowed each year.

Honorary Membership is bestowed upon a person of esteemed character who is not eligible for membership in the AIA Virginia but who has rendered distinguished and exemplary service, over a sustained period of time, to architecture and the built environment within the domain of AIA Virginia.

AIA Virginia Honors may be bestowed on non-member individuals or organizations that have inspired, influenced, or complemented the architecture profession in Virginia through practice of an allied profession, research, education, planning, legislation, architectural writing, the arts, or crafts. An individual who has previously been elected an Honorary Member of AIA Virginia is ineligible to receive AIA Virginia Honors.

The Test of Time Award recognizes architectural design of enduring significance. The structure should be in Virginia and must be no less than 25 years old. Building use may change over time if the overall design is cherished as a significant contribution to the community and the built environment.

Posted in Featured, Membership News

CALL for ENTRIES: 2017 Design Awards

The AIA Virginia’s Awards for Excellence in Architecture recognize outstanding design, built and unbuilt, from the past eight years. Also known as the Design Awards, the program is juried by a team of esteemed practitioners. No specific number of awards is set, and the program is open to all categories of building as well as interiors projects. The location of projects is not restricted, but any built works submitted for consideration must have been completed after January 1, 2010.

For 2017 there are five categories in the Awards for Excellence:

  • Architecture
  • Historic Preservation
  • Interiors
  • Contextual Design; and
  • Residential Design.

Please see complete descriptions of the awards categories, and review the regulations, eligibility requirements, and frequently asked questions for more information.

Entries are due by 5 p.m. on June 15, 2017. Note: You should be prepared to submit your concealed ID and project submission upon entry.

Awards certificates are presented each November at Architecture Exchange East (ArchEx). Designers and projects are also honored during the Visions for Architecture gala and serve as the subject of an annual exhibition at ArchEx and The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design.

Thank you to Keith Fabry Reprographic Solutions for sponsoring the 2017 Awards for Excellence in Architecture.

Want to take advantage of the member discount? Become and unassigned member of AIA Virginia. Contact Cathy Guske, Member Services Director at or (804) 237-1763.

Posted in Featured, Membership News

New Members

We are always excited to welcome new members to Virginia. The following members recently joined the ranks of AIA Virginia.

New Architect Members

Mrs. Nicole L. de Jong, AIA
Mrs. Julie Dixon, AIA
Mr. Todd H. Friedlander, AIA
Mrs. Rose A. Guard, AIA
Nicholas Monday, AIA
Mrs. Kelle L. Swanson, AIA

New Associate Members

Ms. Tamiko Acuna, Assoc. AIA
Mr. Matthew A. Duncan, Assoc. AIA
Mr. Justin A. Manongdo, Assoc. AIA
Miss Sarah L. Spanski, Assoc. AIA
Mr. Ernest Lee Sparkman, Assoc. AIA
Ms. Karolee Towe, Assoc. AIA
Ms. Suzanne Wharton-Lake, Assoc. AIA
Ms. Zoya Zinger, Assoc. AIA

Transferred In

Mr. Mark A. Nicasio, AIA from AIA North Carolina

New/Renewed Allied Members

Daniel Aiken, Architectural Sales Manager

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

Posted in Membership News

Seeking Approval of Revised Bylaws

In mid-2015, then AIA Virginia President Valerie Hassett, FAIA appointed a task group dedicated to a comprehensive review and revision of the bylaws of “The Virginia Society AIA.”  Over the course of several years and in consultation with the AIA’s General Counsel and AIA Virginia’s legislative counsel, the task group developed a revised and refined set of bylaws, which it recommended substituting for the existing version.  The board considered these bylaws at both the February 17 and April 21, 2017, meetings and voted to sponsor them for adoption by the membership.

The members of AIA Virginia are now being asked to consider the revised document, for a vote of adoption during the June 16, 2017, virtual Meeting of the Membership, being conducted via webinar at 11:30 a.m. Register for the annual meeting>>

Review the existing bylaws>> and the proposed bylaws>>

In advance of that vote, a webinar will be provided to members on Thursday, May 25, 2017, at 4:00 p.m.  During that session, Bylaws Task Group Chair Eric Keplinger, AIA and EVP Helene Dreiling, FAIA will offer an overview of the amendments, including thorough explanation of certain aspects of the recommended changes.  Register for the bylaws webinar>>

What started as a comprehensive overview turned into a truly ‘deep dive’ – amending the older document to incorporate current best governance practices and editing as necessary to enhance clarity.  More specifically, the intent of the work of the Bylaws Task Group was to:

  • Clean up any grammatical or punctuation items, of which there were very few;
  • Amend the name, throughout, to mirror the new name of AIA Virginia;
  • Update text to recognize new communication/outreach methodologies and technologies; and
  • Make other non-substantive changes to reflect new business or programmatic approaches.

While the bylaws were amended dramatically, most modifications to content were not substantial and could be considered ‘clean-up.’  The document was highly simplified and prescriptive references were either removed or relocated to the board’s companion document.  Related to this, what was formerly the “Rules of the Board” was substantially altered as well and became the “Rules of the Organization.”  This companion piece now incorporates articles removed from the bylaws; it has been approved by the Board of Directors on April 21, 2017, to take effect upon approval of the bylaws by the membership.

Through the course of the work, two areas emerged with the potential for substantive amendment:

  • Addition of a Fourth Vice President: This proposes to add a fourth Vice President focused on “Member Services” and provides for all Vice Presidents to have two-year staggered terms. There is a great necessity for AIA Virginia to concentrate more heavily on membership issues, and a standing volunteer leader, as well as a council, should be dedicated to this crucial need.  The addition of a fourth Vice President for Member Services and creation of a Member Services Council is a logical and appropriate step in aligning the governance structure to meet the service needs of the organization.  Additionally, this approach directly responds to specific objectives in the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan under Goal 5, to “Become a model of a strong nonprofit and vibrant membership organization.”  Similar to the current Councils, the Vice President for Member Services would serve on the Board of Directors as well as the Executive Committee.  The VP position and the Member Services Council will focus on membership (recruitment, retention, and reinstatement) as well as member services (support for and benefits to members).  The change would take effect with the coming election cycle, and the staggered terms of the four serving individuals will be set prior to the election in November 2017.
  • Addition of a Public Director on the Board: Many associations and professional societies are now adding a public member to their Boards of Directors. These individuals provide a valuable perspective representing the public that architects serve, and their opinions are often highly beneficial to board discourse.  In fact, the Board of Directors, prior to the repositioning, had at least one public member for more than 40 years, and two in more recent years.  At least sixteen of the 50 statewide components of the AIA have a public director on their boards.  This inclusion would place AIA Virginia at the leading edge of governance best practices and would bring an important voice – and special expertise – to the board table.

On behalf of 2015 President Valerie Hassett, FAIA, 2016 President Nick Vlattas, AIA, and 2017 President Bill Brown, AIA, we request your careful attention to and consideration of support for these amended bylaws. 

AIA Virginia gratefully acknowledges the participants of the Bylaws Task Group:

  • 2016 Secretary: Eric Keplinger, AIA (Bylaws Task Group Chair)
  • 2015 President: Valerie Hassett, FAIA
  • 2017 Secretary: Jeanne LeFever, AIA
  • Board Member: John Burns, FAIA
  • Board Member: Mitch Rowland, AIA
  • Member-at-large: Pamela Sams, AIA
  • Staff Liaisons: Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, and Rebecca Lonadier

Questions in advance of the webinar or the membership meeting should be directed to Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA at or Rebecca Lonadier at

Posted in Membership News, Uncategorized

Inspiration from A’17

I was honored to attend the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 last month in Orlando to represent you and AIA Virginia. I thought I’d use my column this month to share a few of my takeaways and inspirations.

The conference was highlighted by inspiring keynotes on what impact architecture has on society and our responsibility to be aware of this influence.  Learning sessions offered something for everyone and I attended ones on design, net-zero, building sciences, codes, and virtual and augmented reality. If you take a tour you are bound to miss something but I couldn’t miss experiencing Celebration, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Florida Southern College and Santiago Calatrava’s Florida Polytechnic University. The Expo offered learning sessions on the floor, new product roll outs, and informative conversations with exhibitors. Bylaw changes and resolutions were considered at the annual meeting and officers were elected during voting. Bill Bates, FAIA, was asked and stated what three key values drive him, he identified integrity, honesty, and forthrightness; to elevate what he does and leave it better through positive change and; to have fun and enjoy the value of design. During the convention, five Virginians were elevated to Fellowship.

The Region of the Virginias reception offered a venue to see old friends and meet new ones and gave us the opportunity to recognize Helene Dreiling, FAIA and celebrate her tireless work for all our members as she transitions to a new direction in her career. We also were very pleased to publicly announce and introduce our new Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, AIA and shared his strong commitment and dedication to serving AIA Virginia in the years to come.

In her first public appearance since leaving the White House, Michelle Obama choose to join the architects attending A’17 to discuss issues of closing the gender gap and building a diverse profession. She praised the efforts of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects on the design efforts for the Obama Presidential Library. The audience made some noise when AIA President Tom Vonier, FAIA reminded everyone that former President Barack Obama once wanted to be an architect.

Of the keynotes, one statement that made an impression on my reflection of architect’s impact was from Michael Murphy of MASS Design Group.

“As architects, we have tremendous power in the choices we make. Whether or not we intend them, the consequences of our decisions cannot be divorced from the social and political impacts they have on the public. The question is not whether we have a social impact, but whether we make humane decisions that empower the communities we work for.”

Attending the convention re-energizes my appreciation for what architects and architecture can be and to make a positive contribution to our communities and society. I think of courageous leadership, to be bold and brave, have no fear but be informed, be empathetic and be sincere. We need to respect and civilly discuss the perceived differences between us. Courageous leadership requires a strong ability/aptitude to work through adversarial differences through effective communication and find common ground. Don’t avoid the civil obligation to resolve or at least acknowledge difference and then find a path forward. Don’t shrink from what you can achieve.

Bill Brown, AIA
2017 President AIA Virginia

Posted in Membership News

Virtual Membership Meeting

Hear about the work happening within your professional society at a virtual Meeting of the Membership on Friday, June 16, 2017, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. An important vote will take place on the revised bylaws. To learn more about these proposed revisions, attend a free webinar on May 25, 2017, at 4 p.m. Register>> for the bylaws webinar.

To engage the broadest number of participants, members can join the June 16th meeting electronically.

Register>> for the membership meeting

Note: When motions are presented, the voting members of AIA Virginia are assigned Architect members, Associate members, Emeritus, and Fellows.

Review the following meeting documents:

  1. Agenda
  2. Minutes from Nov. 3, 2016, annual membership meeting
  3. Revised Bylaws
  4. Bylaws Motion

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Please take a moment to download and test the meeting software. It takes just a few minutes to activate your account and make sure everything is working.

Call (804) 237-1768


Posted in Membership News

Estate Plans and Life Insurance Review

In case you didn’t get a chance to review this information last month, here it is again. We want to help you too! This past month we revamped the healthcare and retirement benefits for a firm of 150 employees. Please give us a call.

Recently we were interviewed on Channel 12  in Richmond, see interview below:

As noted in the interview, we helped an “Average Joe” save hundreds of thousands of dollars. We did a complete estate plan and then reviewed an old life insurance policy and for the same amount of money, we DOUBLED his death benefit, but also allowed him to use this death benefit amount for Long Term Care, should he need it. Between the cost savings of the estate planning, life insurance, and long-term care, this was a WIN-WIN-WIN.

A great place to start with us …

As you know, we do all of the functions below, but a great place to start with us is estate plan and life insurance reviews. This is a complimentary service we give to AIA Virginia members.

  • Financial Planning Issues
  • Legal Advice
  • Health Insurance
  • Property and Casualty Insurance ( even auto and homeowners)
  • Life, Long Term Care, Annuities and Retirement Plans
  • Ancillary Benefits, like Dental, Vision, Tele-doc, Pharmacy, etc.

For more information on various topics, see our social media:


Please feel free to contact us for any reason.
View AIA Virginia Benefits Package

Rob Smith
Chartwell Capital Advisors
Robert C. Smith, PLC
The Branch House
2501 Monument Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23220

Posted in Membership News

New Architects

We understand the dedication and effort required to study for and pass the ARE. Congratulations to the following members 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!

Mr. Nathan Fay, AIA
Mr. Thomas D. Jardim, AIA
Mr. Charles Strang Selden, AIA

Have you recently passed the ARE? Please send an email to your Member Services Director at to upgrade your membership and be featured in the next newsletter.


Posted in Membership News, Uncategorized

New Members

We are always excited to welcome new members to Virginia. The following members recently joined the ranks of AIA Virginia.

New Associate Members

Ms. Aspen C. Brown, Assoc. AIA
Ms. Joy Noel Cunningham, Assoc. AIA
Mr. Pejman Ebrahimi, Assoc. AIA
Mr. Phillip Moo, Assoc. AIA
Mr. Thomas G. Powers, Assoc. AIA

Transferred In

Mr. Charles F. Wysor, Assoc. AIA from AIA South Carolina
Mr. Adrian King, AIA from AIA Maryland

New/Renewed Allied Members

Patrick Dyer
Gulf Seaboard General Contractors, Inc.

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

Posted in Membership News


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Virginia Accord

  • The Virginia Accord

    Bringing together the planning and design disciplines to examine two key themes critical to the future — job creation and environmental sustainability — on Sept. 19-20, 2014 at the Virginia Accord.