Uncertainty. Fear. Anxiety. Stir-crazy.

There is a strong possibility that any of those words might describe how you are feeling as you navigate through this global pandemic. Six weeks ago, we were taking meetings in the local coffee shop and perhaps looking forward to dining outdoors at an eclectic restaurant with the people you love. The world has come to nearly a halt in what seems to have been overnight.

R. Corey Clayborne, FAIA

In our personal lives, a large portion of our freedom has been exchanged for protecting the health of our neighbor. Food and supplies are being rationed in the neighborhood grocery store. 401k’s have been admitted to the financial Intensive Care Unit and I might advise that you not visit them.

Professionally, many projects are being put on hold or experiencing adverse impacts. What was once a six-month backlog could be reduced to two-months with a snap of a finger. Some of our peers are making very difficult staffing decisions. The ones, that as a leader, turn your normal 10-minute shower into a 35-minute deluge because you dread the upcoming conversation with your employee.

Here is what I have to say about it all: Don’t stop believing in yourself and your decision-making.

You may say, “Corey, you don’t know what I am going through.” And you are right. I don’t.

But let me tell you one thing.

If you knew me or anything about me, you would know that I am no stranger to adversity. I’ve been blessed and overcome a lot. But I have also lost a few times when facing it. But I always got up. Always.

I remember getting free and reduced lunch in grade school. I was the first in my household to go to college. Barely got over a 1,000 SAT score yet got admitted into one of the top architecture schools in the country – Virginia Tech. Never got an “A” in design studio in my five years there. Not once. And now hold a chief executive role in an organization and profession that I love.

How was this done?

Great people around me. Amazing family. Strong mentors. Unselfish peers. Picking me up along the way.

And that’s what I want AIA Virginia to be for you.

We have been putting forth an abundance of resources and opportunities to help you through these unprecedented times. And we will not stop. For example, we just held an interactive webinar on concisely navigating the CARES Act to give you the foundational knowledge about applying for federal funding. Those who attended gave it very high marks. The week prior, we brought together the Associated General Contractors and American Council of Engineering Companies for an interactive panel discussion on uniting our industries in construction administration during COVID-19. In this newsletter, you will see additional resources and opportunities the organization is putting forth.

One of the major keys to success in getting through this is having each other.

Be encouraged,

R. Corey Clayborne, FAIA
Executive Vice President