We Walked Through Fire – But We Don’t Smell Like Smoke

AIA Virginia 2020 Year in Review

There is no question that we are starting to see light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. Those who are choosing to get vaccinated can now find access to several vaccine options. The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) in February showed that architecture firms are reporting an uptick in billings for the first time since the start of the pandemic over a year ago. Most believe that the worse of the pandemic crisis is over if we continue to exercise caution and follow the instructions of our public health experts.

As such, I am hopeful that each one of you has taken a moment to simply pause.

Pause for a second.

Reflect on the Year 2020 and what it meant to your personal life and your firm. Count your blessings.

We walked through the fire – but don’t smell like smoke!

Yes, we were inconvenienced. Greatly.

But most of us never had to wait in a four-mile-long line to get a free bag of groceries. You may have experienced a temporary pay cut or frozen salary, but the lights in your home stayed on. Somebody out here needs to hear this.

It is with a similar lens that I look back on the work of AIA Virginia in 2020 and cannot help but to smile from ear to ear. Our President at the time, Beth Reader, FAIA led with a steady tempo making sure our organization could fill the necessary gaps our members faced. For example, she played an instrumental role in our Operation: Reach, Retain, and Develop program with the national component of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). This offering was cobbled together and deployed faster than you could turn your head (Similar to how fast – in legislative terms – Congress passed the PPP bill).

This meant it was not perfect, but it was effective. It would not have been possible if it were not for the approximate 50 members who stepped up in a mentor capacity. I am forever grateful for you. You impacted lives and kept these recent graduates in the profession. Do not take my word for it – read the testimonials and talk to these young men and women yourself.

So, it is an honor and privilege to present to you the AIA Virginia 2020 Year in Review.

I hope you thumb through this document and at some point, say, Wow.

I hope you look at it and say, How can I be a part of this?

I hope you walk away being a proud member of this organization.

R. Corey Clayborne, FAIA, NOMA, MBA
Executive Vice President