This message was shared with all AIA Virginia members via email on Nov. 1, 2016.


DATE:         November 1, 2016
TO:              AIA Virginia Members
FROM:        Nicholas E. Vlattas, AIA, President
RE:              Executive Vice President/Chief Executive Officer Transition

During performance evaluation meetings with current EVP/CEO Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA held in June, the AIA Virginia Management Committee discussed with Helene her interest in extending her three-year employment agreement. Helene spoke very highly of serving the members of AIA Virginia, but indicated her desire to remain true to her initial commitment of what she considered an interim position – to successfully transition our organization from one long-time executive to another long-time executive.

I think many of us had hoped Helene would ‘change her mind’ and decide that she wanted to stay well beyond her original time frame and actually be that long-term exec. However, because of her intentions and interests at this point, and particularly in light of the phased elimination of Supplemental Dues as adopted in the FY2017 budget (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017), she believes this timing is in the overall best interests of AIA Virginia. Thus, Helene’s tenure of service will conclude effective June 30, 2017.

This message has been conveyed to and discussed with the AIA Virginia Executive Committee and Board of Directors and now is being disseminated to our members, directly.

Our Bylaws call for the Board of Directors to be responsible for the selection of the EVP/CEO. In accordance with the prescribed process, I have appointed an EVP/CEO Search Committee for the purposes of identifying, interviewing, vetting, and recommending a new EVP/CEO for selection. I’m pleased that the following individuals have agreed to serve on the committee, which I’ll chair:

  • Valerie D. Hassett, FAIA, 2015 President (AIA Northern Virginia)
  • Eric Keplinger, AIA, 2018 President (standing for election, AIA Hampton Roads)
  • William T. Brown, AIA, 2017 President (AIA Northern Virginia)
  • Robert A. Steele, AIA, Director, Liaison to The Branch Board of Trustees (AIA Richmond)
  • Elisabeth Sloan, AIA, 2016 President, AIA Central Virginia
  • Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA (ex-officio without vote, AIA Blue Ridge)

A Position Description has been prepared and was reviewed and approved by the committee; it will be used for the search process. The committee will soon prepare evaluation criteria and potential questions to be utilized during interviews, in addition to other related tasks. They will commence the search process in November with interim reporting anticipated to the board in December and February and selection by April.

Should you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me, as I would welcome your input. I know you will also want to join me in expressing our gratitude to Helene for her incredible dedication and commitment, as well as the achievements during her term as our EVP/CEO. We wish her the very best in the next phase of her professional life.

Nick Vlattas




2016 President AIA Virginia
Nicholas E. Vlattas, AIA

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