As we bring 2017 to a close, I wanted to take a moment to say how great you have made my first six months as Executive Vice President. Thank you for embracing me and welcoming me to your local AIA chapter events. The outpouring of support from all categories of our membership has been heartfelt and deeply appreciated.
We accomplished quite a bit in a short amount of time.
You supported our annual conference, Architecture Exchange East, in a tremendous way. With 715 registrants, it was one of the highest attendance records we have had since the Great Recession and a 24% increase over last year’s number. Nearly 85% of you indicated that your overall conference experience was “Good” or “Excellent” and over 80% rated the quality of the provided education content the same way. Our partnership with AIAS and ASLA brought new colleagues to our conference which further enhanced the experience. In addition, the importance of architects was reinforced by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney during our General Session.
Over the last few months, AIA Virginia has constantly evaluated ways to better position you as vital contributors to our built environment. We recently saw a number of hurricanes pummel our brothers and sisters in other parts of the country. There is nothing that makes Virginia invincible from similar occurrences. As such, we have reinvigorated our relationship with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and are currently in the process of developing a Disaster Assistance Program in a joint partnership. Through this program, our members would have the opportunity to use their expertise and volunteer with post-disaster building assessments in the event that one should occur in our state. The Commonwealth of Virginia has Good Samaritan laws that protect these noble efforts. If you are interested in being a participant and receiving the complimentary training, please contact AIA Virginia.
On the advocacy front, we have continued to work with members of the General Assembly advocating for legislation that protects our value and challenging proposals that undermine our importance. With 15 seats in the House flipping Democratic in our recent election, we anticipate extensive time investments in educating the new legislators on the importance of Qualifications-Based Selection and the positive impact quality design can have on long-term cost and public health, safety, and welfare. We will need your help next year.
In closing, thank you to all of our Allied Members and partners who have sponsored our events at any level. We truly couldn’t do it without you! A special acknowledgment is deserved by our 2017 President, Bill Brown, AIA and the entire Board of Directors. Your selfless service and dedication of time and talent have made our entire state component better. Your local components are quite fortunate to have you on its respective leadership teams.
I look forward to 2018 being a successful and prosperous year on all fronts and am glad you will be a part of it by being a member of the AIA. In fact, I am inviting you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me one thing you would like to see the AIA do for you in 2018. The 18th person to email me will get a reward.
Until then, enjoy the Holiday season and I look forward to working with you next year!