“Design can ELEVATE ordinary experiences to extraordinary levels.”

             ~ Russell E. Davidson, FAIA | 2016 AIA President

ELEVATE your career!  You won’t want to miss Architecture Exchange East 2016 …

As I contemplated possible topics for this month’s newsletter article, I decided that concentrating on our largest gathering of architects was well worthy of the space and attention!  Last year, for Architecture Exchange East 2015, our focus was on enriching the experience for our attendees.  We enlivened our signature member event in a way that had everyone departing with their ‘batteries fully recharged.’  Dozens of aspects of the conference were energized, in alignment with our desire to make it more aspirational – and inspirational – for everyone.

Folks definitely noticed the CHANGE in last year’s Architecture Exchange East.  89% of attendees rated the event good or excellent, and 93% indicated that they plan to attend this year.  Their favorite things included the new layout of the ballroom for general sessions, the opening and closing keynote speakers, the convention ‘app,’ and shorter, higher-quality educational seminars.  Votes for the least-favorite things included lunch seating, cost and availability of parking, and low exhibitor numbers.

There were a number of excellent suggestions for improving the quality of the experience, and we’ve taken many of those to heart in planning for ArchEx 2016: better registration system, enhanced seminar descriptions, collaboration with allied professional groups, and even more ‘meet and greet’ time.

ArchEx 2016 will elevate the profession with its renewed emphasis on networking, innovative learning methods, and dynamic new materials and products.  You should have already received the mega-card in the mail, and registration opened August 30.  Additional promotional materials will arrive shortly that will further stimulate your interest in participating.  And for those of you who are focused on obtaining credits, a total of 19 hours will be available, 14.5 of which are HSW.  Schedule highlights include:

  • New ‘eye-opener’ educational seminars both mornings;
  • Thursday morning opening keynote speaker Rosa T. Sheng, AIA, an authority in the AIA on all issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusiveness. Rosa will share why equity in practice matters, and on elevating architecture’s impact;
  • AIA Virginia Annual Membership Meeting Thursday, November 3, 12:45 p.m., room E11a.
  • Meet and greet events all of Thursday, with a Welcome Coffee in the morning, the exhibit hall Connections Party late in the afternoon, and Networking parties in the evening;
  • Seminar tracks on business, design, building science, sustainability, and materials/products;
  • Tours of the Metl-Span Factory, the Branch House + Broad Street Station (now the Science Museum of Virginia), the State Capitol, and streetscapes of downtown Richmond;
  • Friday afternoon closing keynote speaker Mickey Jacob, FAIA, the AIA’s favorite Citizen Architect, 2013 AIA President, and 2018 Tampa Mayoral candidate. Mickey’s message will elevate your career and your engagement as a vital contributor to the built environment;
  • Visions for Architecture, AIA Virginia’s honors and design awards ceremony/celebration at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Friday evening.

I look forward to sharing an elevating experience with you at the Greater Richmond Convention Center during Architecture Exchange East 2016, November 2-4!

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Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA | Executive Vice President/CEO

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