As architects and designers, our daily practice should revolve around collaboration. This act is necessary for allowing a project solution to reach its highest and fullest potential. It strengthens the outcomes of policy development in our communities. As an association, collaboration allows us – as a profession – to broaden our impact and crystalize our relevancy.

Collaboration is part of our currency.

Over the last few weeks, AIA Virginia has been spending significant amounts of this specific currency. For the first time, the organization held a design and construction conference in partnership with the state components of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and Associated General Contractors (AGC). Held at the Virginia Beach oceanfront, architects, engineers, and contractors convened for networking and business development while exchanging industry best practices. Our members’ clients were used to curate and present much of the conference content. In its inaugural year, this AEC (Architecture/Engineering/Construction) conference was most certainly a success. Make sure this event lands on your 2023 calendar when the “save the date” is released!

Two days after the AEC conference, we partnered with ACEC in sponsorship to support the Virginia Association of Governmental Purchasing (VAGP) conference. In this endeavor, we provided content on procurement best practices and risk management for the professionals who procure architectural and engineering services. This partnership with VAGP has grown significantly over the last three years providing significant advantages in our legislative work.

Lastly, it is an absolute honor to support AIA Blue Ridge as it serves the Town of Blacksburg through a grant from the Mayor’s Innovation Project and AIA National. The Town desires to transform an old vacant downtown building, formerly serving as a dry-cleaning facility, into a downtown business incubator. For the first charette, I watched local architects, Town staff, and community members come together harmoniously to create the programmatic requirements and bubble diagrams that bring the project vision to life.

As you move forward this month, reflect on what the role of the architect is in our communities. We are the creators of the built environment. This is a massive responsibility. A responsibility that is best executed when we use collaboration as part of our currency.

In service,

R. Corey Clayborne, FAIA, NOMA, MBA, CAE
Executive Vice President