“December, being the last month of the year, cannot help but make us think of what is to come.” ― Fennel Hudson, A Meaningful Life

My sentiment exactly as I write my final letter as AIA Virginia 2019 president, reflecting on what has been a full but satisfying year, and looking forward to 2020 with confidence and optimism.

Rob Reis, AIA

Change seemed to be a recurring theme in 2019 as AIA Virginia moved from the Branch House to renovated space in the Bookbindery Building, worked with the Branch to mutually transition each organization to independence, and orchestrated the final step of eliminating supplemental dues. Amazingly, while in a sea of change AIA Virginia staff maintained their positive, helpful, and collegial spirit, along with a laser focus and a remarkably high level of productivity. I thank them for their dedication, support, and seemingly endless energy, which I’m convinced trickles down from the top through the passion and vision that EVP Corey Clayborne brings.  I’m fortunate to have benefitted this past year from Corey’s keen insight, advice, timely sense of humor, and friendship.

I’m also fortunate to have served with a dedicated and exceptionally effective Board of Directors, bringing a wide range of perspectives and expertise. I thank each Director for the knowledge, energy, and flexibility they brought to our common objectives and to advancing their particular passion.

2019 was shaped by a series of successful programs and initiatives, growing AIA Virginia’s presence and influence while connecting members, students, and the allied industries. In collaboration with the associated architecture schools, AIA Virginia BoD meetings were held at Hampton University and the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, providing the Board opportunities to engage with students. The ACE programs – collaborative events initiated in 2018, bringing together the architecture, construction and engineering professions – continued successfully across the state in 2019, and the second bi-annual Art of Practice held at the Winery at Bull Run was distinguished by both program and setting.

Architecture Exchange East, deftly organized, brimming with activity, and pulsating with the energy of connections and interaction, proved to truly be our great annual architecture get-together. The theme of re:culture resonated through an array of compelling keynotes, curated learning zones, and seminars, but was perhaps most tangibly evident in our emerging professionals – YAF, the 2019 ELA class, and budding leaders like Pascale Sablan, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP and her SAT IT LOUD initiative – and their exponentially growing influence and promise.

I enthusiastically welcome our incoming 2020 AIA Virginia President, Beth Reader, FAIA. Beth brings a wonderful blend of thoughtfulness, curiosity, and creativity, and I look forward to continuing my service to AIA Virginia alongside her.

And a final thought… fifteen years ago when my wife Lily and I arrived in Virginia I could hardly have imagined serving as AIA Virginia president, much less someday having many, many AIA friends and colleagues across the state – humbled and appreciative, I offer my heartfelt thanks to all of you!

Best in 2020!

Rob V Reis, AIA, LEED AP
AIA Virginia