Moving Forward Together

Although the pandemic is not over, folks are returning to restaurants, movie theaters, churches, and ballgames as Covid restrictions have loosened.  We are transitioning to something different, still to be defined.  Are we returning to a sense of normalcy that we are used to, the “way things were”, or moving toward something new?  I think too much has changed to return to the way things were.  

Sean Reilly, AIA

If we are moving forward, what are we moving forward towards?   Moving towards something new is unique and personal. Consider the return to the office.  Some of us are ready to return to the office and in-person meetings without any restrictions, others want to return only with certain restrictions, some aren’t ready to return and prefer to continue to work at home, while still others prefer a hybrid model that combines working at home with working at the office.

From the crisis, we have changed, for better, or worse.  We can slide backward, or we can create something new.  AIA Virginia is creating something new with Board Governance changes that will propel our organization forward to a more impactful future. 

  • Through numerous outreach efforts with our local components, it was evident that there was clear support for Phase 1 of the Secretary Advisory Committee’s recommendations for creating a new, more efficient and inclusive Board Governance structure. A special meeting of the membership was held on June 3, 2021 and those recommendations were overwhelmingly approved with a 69-5 vote. 
  • The key component of Phase 1 is the separation of the four Advisory Councils (Advocacy, Education, Outreach and Members Services) from the Board of Directors.
  • Advisory Councils will be populated by members who are passionate about that area of work through a self-nomination process, thus providing new opportunities for leadership.
  • Each Council will consist of up to nine members and select its own Chair.
  • Refer to the Call for Council Nominations article included in this Newsletter for more information. 

It is very exciting to consider the potential impact the four Councils will have in shaping the future of our profession in Virginia.  There are no limits to what we can accomplish through working together in the Councils that will begin work in January.

This period of transition out of the crisis to a better future is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a new beginning.  Individually, each of us can choose to move forward and create something new in our lives and careers. It is a journey that requires our imagination and persistence, one day at a time.

What we need is the opportunity to learn what takes us forward to create a positive impact on our families, friends, firms, and the communities we live in.   Let’s move forward together with the courage to create a better-built environment and a healthier, more just world for all people.

Sean E. Reilly, AIA
AIA Virginia 2021 President

Why Invest?

Why did so many people believe in Martin Luther King and support the Civil Rights Movement? Why did so many people resonate with Pope John Paul II’s words about the dignity of each person to forge solidarity and spark the fall of Communism? King’s speech that day in 1963 at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial was not a 10 point plan on how the Civil Rights Movement would work. John Paul II’s 32 sermons in nine days on his 1979 trip to Communist Poland did not focus on what needed to change. MLK and JP II inspired people to believe in their hearts why they should take action to pursue human rights by talking about what they believed in. MLK and JP II helped people see the incredible strength in numbers. Millions came to believe in why they did what they did and joined their causes.

The AIA Virginia Political Action Committee (PAC) is the primary tool Virginia Architects have to ensure our profession remains relevant and impactful for years to come. Why invest in the PAC? We all need an answer to that fundamental question before we open up our wallets. We believe:

  • Architects speak with a unified voice to support candidates who understand our profession, regardless of party affiliation, through the AIA Virginia PAC. When these candidates win, they bring that understanding to the General Assembly and into debates on new legislation.
  • Our PAC investments provide face-to-face opportunities to educate lawmakers about what we do. The General Assembly is comprised of members of varying backgrounds, professions, experiences, and cultures. Yet, they are called upon every day to make decisions that impact our profession and the built environment including procurement, liability, funding, zoning, transportation, preservation, taxation, licensing.
  • State lawmakers are caretakers of the built environment. They come from diverse backgrounds and careers. One might be a farmer, another an attorney, another a dentist.
  • Lawmakers need and want our advice. Architects are perfectly positioned to be the authoritative voice on all matters related to the quality of the built environment. If our voice is not at the table, lawmakers will get advice from others, who may, or may not support what is important to us.
  • The PAC supports all Virginia firms because it has established a solid legal framework for practicing architecture and is essential to preserving this framework so that it continues to benefit our profession in Virginia as a whole.
  • The PAC enables us to build relationships with other key influencers to elevate our profession. One such example, our relationship with the Governor’s Director of Appointments continues to facilitate the selection of Virginia Architects for Gubernatorial Appointments.

To ensure our voice remains strong, particularly in this election year, we need members like you to believe in the value of the PAC and support the cause. For only 10 cents a day, you can make a positive influence on the future of our profession. Please consider making an investment of $36.50 today. Visit to learn more and make your investment. Participation at any level is the key, not the actual amount because there is considerable strength in numbers. Investing in the PAC is a relatively small individual step that collectively has a significant impact on our profession and the quality of the built environment.

Sean E. Reilly, AIA
AIA Virginia 2021 President
AIA Virginia PAC Board of Trustees Member

Further Together

It’s been said that the darkest part of the night comes just before dawn.  The new year holds a promise with vaccines starting to roll out, renewed focus on social justice and movement on climate action. We move forward with hope.

Looking Back

Sean Reilly, AIA

We’ve all been warmed by fires we did not build.  I am so grateful for the hard work of all our past AIA Virginia executive vice-presidents, staff members, presidents and boards.  On behalf of our profession, I want to thank my predecessor, 2020 President Beth Reader, FAIA for her effective and grace-filled leadership through an unprecedented, yet highly productive year.  We move forward with a solid foundation and momentum.   

Looking Ahead

In a few days, we celebrate Martin Luther King Day and in February, Black History Month when we as a nation celebrate the achievements of and pay tribute to generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in America.  I am inspired by the life story of Congressman John Lewis whose mission was creating a future without racism.

“We must use our time and our space on this little planet that we call Earth to make a lasting contribution, to leave it a little better than we found it” 

Rep. John Lewis

John struggled to overcome obstacles his entire life starting right at the beginning, growing up the son of sharecroppers near Troy, Alabama.  As a child, he enjoyed feeding and caring for the family chickens.  One day, there was a terrible storm with high gusty winds.  John joined hands with his aunt, siblings and cousins, over a dozen of them as they moved their small bodies around trying to keep the swaying, creeking little wooden house on its foundations.  Young John Lewis learned about working with others toward a common goal that day.  As a human rights protector and congressman, Lewis was able to go far toward achieving his life’s mission by working with others.

The 2021 AIA Virginia team is dedicated to going far to achieve its mission of serving our members, advancing their value, and improving the quality of the built environment. The AIA Virginia Board consists of 27 individuals from around the state with members from each Chapter, the accredited schools of architecture, an Associate Director and Executive Vice-President (EVP).  The Board is supported by an outstanding staff of four led by our EVP, Corey Clayborne.    

AIA Virginia’s Board is grouped into four Councils that develop and implement the 2020 – 2022 Strategic Plan including Advocacy, Education, Member Services and Outreach. Six goals that guide the Councils’ efforts include:

  • Develop our future leaders
  • Celebrate design excellence that reflects who want to be as a profession
  • Advance initiatives that support Justice, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity
  • Broaden our tent through strategic partnerships
  • Help you get the most out of your membership
  • Be a financially strong and growing organization

Implementation of these goals is creating a vibrant and engaged membership, inspired to make a positive impact on people’s lives and their communities.   

There is an African proverb:  “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”  The AIA provides each of us the opportunity to go further together toward achieving our professional mission and goals. You are an important part of this work and we are here to support you.  We believe you will find the connections, resources and services AIA Virginia provides to be valuable to your careers and firms.  

If you have already renewed your membership – Thank You!  If not, you can renew here If you are not sure about renewing, I would welcome a personal call or email from you.  We need your input to continue to provide the level of service members expect and be the voice of the architecture profession in the Commonwealth.

I am grateful for the privilege and opportunity to serve as your AIA Virginia 2021 President.  I hope 2021 is a more just, peace-filled and healthy year for all of us.

Sean Reilly, AIA
AIA Virginia President
Direct: 703-592-9135

From the President

Do you know what the late Sam Mockbee, James Cutler, Tod Williams, David Salmela, Glenn Murcutt, and Brian MacKay- Lyons all have in common, other than being incredibly talented and influential architects? They have all been speakers at our biennial Virginia Design Forum, held every other spring. The Design Forum is my favorite AIA Virginia event.

Beth Reader, FAIA

The first Design Forum was held in the spring of 1994. Jim Ritter, AIA was one of the founders. Jim thought our AIA Virginia members should have an event that clearly and specifically focused on design. Jim knew that employee issues, business, and office technology were all important, but he felt like design was the core of being a great architect. He wanted AIA Virginia to have an event that acknowledged that premise.

In addition to Jim, some of the other original Design Forum committee members included Greg Hunt (the Chair), Mark Orling, Bob Steele, Joanne Goldfarb, Carlton Abbott, David King, Judith Kinnard, Ed Pease, and Vernon Mays (the former editor of Inform).  

The theme for the initial 1994 symposium, “Architecture + Innovation” was selected to “provide a loose structure around which speakers and practitioners can explore ways in which the architecture profession has advanced in days past and hopes to advance in the future.” The first venue was The Homestead, in Hot Springs, Virginia. The first Design Forum committee thought that “in a retreat setting, architects can escape the distractions of daily practice and immerse themselves in discussions that will push the boundaries of professional discourse.” In the program, attendees were “strongly encouraged to react to what they heard, and to offer personal views and pose difficult questions.”

When we come together on March 27th and 28th in Richmond for the 14th biennial Virginia Design Forum: In Praise of Shadows, I urge you to retreat into the world of design, as the first Design Forum committee intended. Temporarily forget your day-to-day office operations and imagine yourself back in your college design studio. Let the impressive roster of speakers inspire and challenge you.

Special thanks to our current Design Forum committee members: Jack Davis (Chair), Ed Ford, Allison Ewing, Anca Lipan, Mark Orling, Matthew Pearson, Ed Pease, Andrea Quilici, Rob Reis, Michael Spory, and Roberto Ventura.

To all of the Design Forum committee members past and present, and to all of the architects who have attended the Design Forums over the past two and a half decades—thanks for creating and sustaining this signature event. And for any of you who have not yet signed up—please register online today!

Beth Reader, FAIA
2020 President

A Positive Start

As I consider the new year I’m brimming with optimism. While recognizing that architects and designers are by nature optimists – since the act of creating and building is at its essence one of optimism – none the less, we have much to be optimistic about as we enter 2019. Our industry is strong, promising opportunities abound, and in many ways, the understanding of how design – and architects in particular – can positively influence the built and natural environment is broader now than ever before.

I’m convinced the optimism that I feel – both as a practicing architect and as president of AIA Virginia – is shared across the AIA Virginia Board. The hard work, thoughtful decisions, and focused leadership of past boards have positioned AIA Virginia in a strong place financially, better able to serve members with purposeful advocacy, relevant programming, opportunities for peer and allied industry engagement, and recognition of member achievements and contributions. So, in 2019 the AIA Virginia Board will have the relative luxury of focusing on a variety of initiatives that advance the interests of our membership while raising public awareness and understanding in our communities.

Capitalizing on the spirit of collaboration and innovation that is bringing us to new heights in design excellence, we have much to learn and even more to gain by embracing our emerging leaders – a far more capable and engaged younger generation of architects that as a matter of practice are inclusive. I’m humbled by the younger generation that I work with. While undeniably talented, they share openly and expect collaboration. And, we have abundantly more ‘emerging leaders’ than those formally advancing through the ELA program, evident by the work they’re producing daily in our midst and by the steps they’re taking to grow professionally.  We have an opportunity to embrace and engage this generation as we seek their input and involvement and support their interests, such as the fledgling Young Architects Forum. AIA Virginia can assist with bringing the vibrancy of the YAF program to ALL parts of the state, to ALL emerging leaders. I believe we want these future leaders to feel welcome, included, and most importantly, valued.

Regarding practice, there are always ways to improve the project process, and in the same spirit of inclusiveness described above, I’d like to explore building stronger bridges between Virginia architects and the administrative and review agencies that we work with. Recognizing the shared objective of design excellence, I hope to celebrate what’s working in this regard and then identify strategies to improve relationships and make the process more predictable. Would high participation of these agencies at ArchEx, The Art of Practice, Design Forum and other events improve the probability of more effective – even collaborative – working relationships? ‘The Art of Practice’ this spring may provide a forum to explore these topics.

Virginia architects have always led. In building a rich tradition of both exemplary architecture and innovative thinking – whether regarding design process or outcomes – Virginia is well-suited to advance the AIA 2030 Challenge and lead in a way that may shape both design and the industry. We will lead by doing. Demystifying the 2030 Challenge and better equipping firms across the Commonwealth with the tools to ‘sign on’ and implement the program is a worthy goal and a good start.

Finally, relocation of AIA Virginia operations to new space in the Bookbindery Building on Broad Street in Richmond is well underway. While the move will provide the AIA Virginia staff with space better suited to interaction and teamwork, AIA Virginia remains committed to our strategic alignment with and support of the Branch in pursuit of their mission.

As we move through 2019 please bring your insights, ideas, and concerns forward. Your thoughts are always welcome, and we will work to do all that we can to help our members be ever more successful.

It’s exciting to begin this journey with all of you. Thank you for this honor.

Rob V Reis, AIA, LEED AP
AIA Virginia

Year in Review

As 2018 comes to a close, I look back on this year as President of AIA Virginia with a great deal of satisfaction and a measured amount of collective pride in what the leadership team was ready and able to accomplish. First and foremost, I’d like to thank the dedicated AIA Virginia staff. They are committed to the organization, the profession and the membership, and they are a joy to do work with. Corey and I “cut our teeth” together as leaders of the organization, and we were in lock-step throughout the year. I’ve come to know Corey as a trusted colleague and a true leader, gifted with vision, organization, and a commitment to excellence, but more importantly, I’ve gained a new friend. AIA Virginia is in good hands!

Eric Keplinger, AIA. Photo by Jay Paul

I’d also like to thank the dedicated volunteer Board of Directors for their time, energy and leadership. Our councils have been hard at work setting the goals and aspirations of the organization, all in an effort to better the membership experience and protect and enhance the profession. Our Board brings to the table a diverse set of perspectives from across the Commonwealth, along with skill sets that range all aspects of the professional life. No matter the issue, we have board members with the knowledge and passion necessary to handle it effectively.

A number of important initiatives have been put into motion this year. 2018 saw AIAVA expand its reach and influence, holding two of Board of Director meetings at component locations outside of Richmond.  In collaboration with the associated architecture schools, we held BoD meetings this year hosted by Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and by the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Further efforts of collaboration resulted in this year’s formation of the ACE programs, bringing together the architecture, construction and engineering professions for a series of well-attended events held across the state. Look for both of these outreach efforts to continue strong into future years. And the relocation of AIA Virginia’s offices will take place in early 2019 as well. Plans are complete, renovations are set to commence, and the staff is extremely excited to occupy the highly functional and collaborative space.

Architecture Exchange East 2018 was another successful event, bringing together nearly 800 attendees from throughout Virginia and beyond. Attendance continued its upward trend and the event featured a variety of uplifting and motivational speakers, educational programs and tours, business meetings and a hall full of vendors dedicated to the design and construction industry.  Opportunities to socialize with colleagues and associates are an increasingly important part of the planning, with events dedicated to all aspects of the profession. The Hippodrome Theater proved to be an excellent location for a number of parties, and I look forward to returning to ArchEx 2019.

And lastly, I’d like to welcome Rob Reis, AIA, as our incoming President for 2019.  I’ve had the privilege of serving with Rob for years and I’m confident he will provide solid guidance in the coming year, leading AIA Virginia toward new goals and aspirations. Rob is an accomplished professional and talented designer and I look forward to continuing my service alongside him.

Eric Keplinger, AIA
AIA Virginia

Building Upon Our Success

It is truly an honor to serve the AIA Virginia membership as president for 2018. Working for the past few years with the generous volunteer members and the dedicated professional staff, I’ve witnessed a complete transformation of the organization. This transformative process was put in place by a member-centric strategic plan that is still guiding us today. The planning process was led by then president-elect Bill Brown in early 2016, under the leadership of president Nick Vlattas and EVP Helene Combs Dreiling, and the resulting document has been at the forefront of all that we do, from committee meetings to board meetings to member correspondence and program planning. Check it out on our website here.

Eric Keplinger, AIA. Photo by Dan Currier

Most significantly, AIA Virginia welcomed Corey Clayborne, AIA as our new leader in 2017. Corey comes on board as Executive Vice President after a thorough vetting of dozens of applicants. Corey hit the ground running and has continued to move forward on the progress made in previous years. Of note, Corey has made it a priority to reach out to each component across the commonwealth as well as many of the member firms within the various regions, gathering critical insight and information about the goals and desires of the membership. With Corey at the helm, AIA Virginia is poised to reach new levels of excellence in service to the architectural community throughout Virginia.

Our advocacy efforts at the State and National levels continue to be a focus of effort for AIA Virginia. A dedicated group of knowledgeable constituents, comprised of volunteers, staff, and lobbyists, monitor pending legislation year-round and identify issues both beneficial and detrimental to our professional practice. 2017 was a banner year for PAC contributions and I would encourage each of you to consider a donation, visit for more information and to donate.

Outreach is a core value to our organization and our profession, and I’d like to see continued and renewed focus on a variety of outreach efforts in 2018. A more visible presence for AIA Virginia across all our component regions helps build relationships that will strengthen our organization, and in this regard, AIA Virginia is planning to bring two board meetings annually to our Virginia universities with schools of architecture. The board looks forward to visiting these universities and welcomes the opportunity provided to interact with the membership across our geographical footprint. Outreach is critical across professional boundaries as well, and I believe that architects are uniquely qualified to bring together multiple professions for meaningful discourse. I also firmly believe that synergies and opportunities develop when disparate groups collaborate instead of competing and can provide benefits that far exceed the sum of the parts. Many of the professional organizations within the design and construction industry present similar programming and events, and I look forward to exploring opportunities for collaboration.

Again, thank you sincerely for your trust and I look forward to building upon recent successes. This organization belongs to the membership, advocates and works on behalf of the membership, and is dependent on vital contributions of time and energy from the membership. I encourage each of you to get involved at the local level and help to lead our organization forward in 2018 and the years to come.

Eric Keplinger, AIA
2018 AIA Virginia President

Road Map For 2017

“We are more fulfilled when we are involved in something bigger than ourselves.” John Glenn

2017 AIA President Bill Brown, AIA

I am honored to have served as president-elect in 2016 as staff and the board collaboratively imagined what AIA Virginia could look like in 2020. I was taken by the collective energy in the room and the passion for our profession and our organization. I truly am humbled and honored to serve now as your 2017 President and my road map for 2017 is to guide the implementation of the Strategic Plan through my term.

My introduction to the AIA was through Edgar C. Beery Jr. FAIA in 1984 and I continue to find it to be such a wonderful community of people and resource for professional practice. Through this, I have come to ask myself the question of “How do I make a difference?” Whether it is making a difference in the community, at work or on a personal level the approach is not too different.

Recognize your beliefs and passions, be sincere, and be involved. Serve the community by first; educating yourself, second; contributing to the body of work and knowledge and consequently; volunteering your time to better our profession. I am committed to guiding the association’s continuing momentum to be member focused and reinvented as an effective and efficient organization. I pledge to “speak up” and advocate for our profession, and the communities we are part of, guided by the principles of the Virginia Accord. I truly believe that only through being personally engaged in the AIA can we accomplish great things as the AIA.

My passions are;
Advocating for the profession,
Leadership development and mentorship of those aspiring to rise, and
Enhancing the membership experience

There is much work to do to make our organization what we imagine it to be. There will be change, some easy and some difficult. I see myself as facilitator, advocate, and champion of the organization

In 2016 significant transformation in our organization was led by our President, Nick Vlattas, AIA and our Executive Vice President/CEO Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA with support from an exceptional Board of Directors and a deeply committed and dedicated staff.  There was significant collaboration with leadership from our five local components and with AIA National as the institute repositions itself for the fast-changing practice of architecture.

It is my hope to build upon the firm foundation of this last year with five goals:

  • Elevate public awareness by positioning architects as vital contributors to our built environment.
  • Advance the knowledge and expertise of members.
  • Advocate for the profession.
  • Implement a communication program that informs and facilitates connections.
  • Become a model of a strong nonprofit and vibrant membership organization.

Highlights for next year include;

The inaugural Art of Practice will be a one day conference presented by AIA Virginia designed to build skills required by the practice of our profession. Topics for discussion will include firm culture, marketing, new technology trends, and how to grow your practice. With relevant content for both small and large firms, no matter what stage in your career, we are sure there will be something for everyone. See you March 31, 2017, for this exciting conference!

As we structure our programs and services in 2017, I also believe that we can build upon the principles of the VIRGINIA ACCORD. Shortly after the Centennial Celebration, under the leadership of then AIA Virginia President and Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, Jack Davis FAIA, the VIRGINIA ACCORD brought together planning, design, construction, and real estate disciplines to examine key themes critical to our future in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The VIRGINIA ACCORD recognized the excellent contributions of the past century and offered our promise for the future with five guiding principles:

  1. Commitment to contributing to job creation and a growing and thriving economy
  2. Commitment to constructing environmentally sustainable buildings
  3. Commitment to public health
  4. Commitment to systems of mass transit
  5. Commitment to responsible land development and urban infill

We will continue to work to create a healthy business environment for the architects in the Commonwealth. Raise the awareness of Citizen Architects and encourage members to be involved in their communities. We must create a more robust AIA VA PAC that is in line with other organizations to support those legislators that have a proven track record working with us in alignment with our priorities.

Continue the support and encouragement of emerging leaders. Strategically engage with ELA alumnae in order to encourage networking, engagement, and the future growth of the citizen architect program. The voice of emerging leaders must be heard.

In summary, I am proud to be a part of this group of thought leaders and staff members that are diligently working collaboratively in your best interest to make these ideas actionable to the benefit of our members. It is with that frame of mind and with that spirit in my heart, working with my colleagues that I embark on the year ahead as a servant leader to the members of AIA Virginia.

Thank you.

Bill Brown, AIA
President 2017
AIA Virginia

President’s Report to the Membership

Greetings Colleagues,

I am pleased to report to the membership on the activities of AIA Virginia as we begin the final quarter of 2016.

On September 17, AIA Virginia marked 102 years since its founding in 1914 when William C. Noland, Clarence A. Neff, Philip N. Stern, Frank C. Baldwin, and Benjamin F. Mitchell met at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. It is fitting that we honor and congratulate Robert J. Dunay, FAIA as this year’s recipient of the William C. Noland Medal, our highest award given to a member architect. Mr. Dunay is the Virginia Tech Center for Design Research Director, ACSA Distinguished Professor and T.A. Carter Professor of Architecture at Virginia Tech.

I hope you will join me and your fellow colleagues at the Visions for Architecture gala on Friday evening, November 4, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts when we honor Mr. Dunay and other honor awards recipients including:

  • Virginia Tech Patrick and Nancy Lathrop Professor of Architecture Jaan Holt will be recognized with the Architecture Medal for Virginia Service our most prestigious public award
  • Central Virginia architect R. Corey Clayborne, AIA, project manager and senior architect at Wiley | Wilson will receive the Award for Distinguished Achievement
  • Richmond architect Rachel Shelton, AIA, project manager and project architect with Glavé & Holmes and Northern
  • Virginia architect Katherine Williams, AIA, assistant project manager at Marion Construction are each to be honored with the Virginia Emerging Professional Award
  • Colonial Williamsburg Curator of Architecture William Graham and metal conservator Andrew Baxter will receive AIA Virginia Honors
  • AIA Virginia Managing Director Rhea George will receive Honorary Membership in AIA Virginia

Thank you to Chair William E. Evans, AIA, and the Honors Committee which included Michel C. Ashe, FAIA, James R. Boyd, AIA, James P. Clark, FAIA, Lori Garrett, AIA, Al Hansen, FAIA, Paula J. Loomis, FAIA, Mark McConnel, AIA, James W. Ritter FAIA, Robert E. Comet, AIA, Gwyn C. Gilliam, AIA, Burchell F. Pinnock, AIA, and Donna M. Phaneuf, AIA.

Nick Vlattas, AIA
Nick Vlattas, AIA
2016 President, AIA Virginia

The first weekend in November is always a special time for the architects of Virginia when we come together for our annual convention with a focus on elevating our profession, networking with our colleagues, and learning and sharing innovative ideas about design, materials, and products. This is our 29th year and our staff and volunteers led by Vice President of the Advisory Council on Professional Excellence, Ms. Elizabeth Reader, FAIA, and AIA Virginia Education Director Marshall Dreiling have been busy preparing for the event which will feature as keynote speakers Ms. Rosa Sheng AIA of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and founding Chairperson of The Missing 32% Project, and 2013 AIA President Mr. Mickey Jacob FAIA who is a 2018 candidate for Mayor of Tampa, FL. I look forward to seeing you in Richmond on November 2-4. Online registration is open through Oct. 26.

We invite you, your voice and your vote to the Annual Meeting of the Membership! The meeting will be held at Architecture Exchange East at the Greater Richmond Convention Center following the first keynote on Thursday, November 3, from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. The officers of AIA Virginia look forward to providing a report to the membership on the activities and accomplishments during 2016 as well as goals for 2017. We will elect officers for 2017 and vote on a very important issue to eliminate supplemental dues. Our plan is to implement a four-year approach in which supplemental dues for AIA members are eliminated in 2017, followed by Associate members in the second year, non-member architects in the third year and finally technical employees in the final year of 2020. As savings in dues expenses are recognized by our members and their firms, we are hopeful that you will consider supporting AIA Virginia in other ways such as sponsoring programs which are of importance to your firms.

AIA Virginia’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture is accepting applications for the 2017 class. I hope you will consider supporting and encouraging candidates to apply to the program. ELA is an Honors Academy of AIA Virginia which develops future leaders in architecture firms, in communities and in the profession. The goal is to accelerate the growth of emerging architects and provide the tools and experiences needed to advance their careers and serve society as leaders in their community. The program requires a commitment of attending sessions the first Friday of every month from January-November and additional time for work on the class project.

Representing AIA Virginia, Vice President of Government Advocacy Tim Colley, AIA, AIA Virginia Managing Director Rhea George, member Kathleen Frazier, AIA, and I attended in Richmond the August 29 meeting of the Joint Subcommittee to Evaluate Tax Preferences to urge legislators to reject a repeal, sunset or cap to Virginia’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HRTC). My testimony to the committee can be found here. We were joined by representatives from dozens of other businesses, homeowners, non-profits, associations, churches, and communities who came from all over the Commonwealth to speak in support of the credit.

A survey about the HRTC was sent to our 2,116 members on August 4, 2016. 97% of the 244 members who responded were in support of Virginia’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. 73% believed that their businesses would be harmed if the credit were eliminated or capped and 70% reported that they’ve worked on historic tax credit projects.

This legislation will continue to be under scrutiny over the next several months. Please consider contacting your representative if you support the overwhelmingly positive impact HRTC has had on many communities in our Commonwealth. There is a sample letter on our website which can be used as a guide as you reach out to your representative.

I urge you to please consider giving to the AIA Virginia Political Action Committee, even if it is a small amount to support legislation which is of importance to our members. Many voices will help us be heard by our legislators.

AIA Virginia fiscal year 2017 began on July 1, 2016, and we are pleased to report for first two months ending August 31, 2016, we have assets of $158,542 and liabilities of $58,363 for a net fund balance of $100,179. The end of summer represents a very slow time for revenue which will pick up in the final months of the year as we begin receiving Architectural Exchange East registrations and member dues. For the first two months, our revenues were $161,363 and expenses were $183,191 for an excess of expenses over revenue of ($21,828). Our full year total for membership in 2016 stands at 1,616 Architects, 494 Associates, 11 Emeritus, and 29 Allied members.

AIA Virginia continues to work hard to bring significant value to our members, provide programs and services which are relevant to our fast-changing profession and to celebrate the prosperity of our members. Our mission is to be the voice of the architecture profession in the Commonwealth, dedicated to serving our members and through a culture of innovation, AIA Virginia empowers its members, advances their value, and inspires the creation of a better-built environment.

Thank you for being a member of AIA Virginia and for your contributions to our profession and practice of architecture in the Commonwealth! Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or suggestions for AIA Virginia.

Nick Vlattas AIA
AIA Virginia President 2016

President’s Report to the Membership

Greetings Colleagues,

I hope the Summer months find our membership doing well and that you have been able to take some time off for travel and relaxation from your busy practices. I am pleased to provide you with a report on the activities of AIA Virginia for the second quarter as well as July 2016.

The Board of Directors and staff of AIA Virginia have been busy working on matters of interest on behalf of our members. At its meeting held on June 17, the board adopted the tri-annual update to our 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, adopted the FY2017 budget, and also approved a phasing out of supplemental dues over a four-year period. We were pleased to report these actions to our members during the virtual meeting of the membership which was also held on June 17.


The board was committed to a deep dive into the strategic planning process this year as the first update to the strategic plan following the Centennial celebration of AIA Virginia in 2014. The five primary goals of our strategic plan are:

  • Elevate public awareness by positioning architects as vital contributors to our built environment.
  • Advance the knowledge and expertise of members.
  • Advocate for the profession.
  • Implement a communication program that informs and facilitates connections.
  • Become a model of a strong nonprofit and vibrant membership organization.

The plan provides greater detail on each goal with implementation plans which the board and staff will be working on in the months ahead. I would like to thank Mr. Bill Brown, AIA, who chaired the strategic planning team as our President-Elect, Ms. Rhea George, AIA Virginia Managing Director who led efforts on behalf of our staff, Ms. Sarah Milston who was our lead consultant from The Spark Mill and all of the people who contributed to the strategic planning effort.


The elimination of supplemental dues has been called for by many of our members for many years. After much study, our leadership plans to implement a four-year approach in which supplemental dues for AIA members are eliminated in 2017, followed by Associate members in the second year, non-member architects in the third year and finally technical employees in the final year of 2020. This plan will be voted on by the membership at the Annual Meeting during Architecture Exchange East on November 3, 2016. As savings in dues expenses are recognized by our members and their firms, we are hopeful that you will consider supporting AIA Virginia in other ways such as sponsoring programs which are of importance to your firms.


On June 14, with 24 people in attendance, we convened the third meeting of the AIA Virginia Large Firm Roundtable which is meeting on a semi-annual basis. In addition to updating those present on the activities of AIA Virginia and sharing ideas of mutual concern, we also heard a report from Patrick Cushing, Esq. of Williams Mullen on the legislative matters of interest to our members including procurement issues, SWAM definition of small business, and consideration of the future of historic tax credits in Virginia.


On legislative matters, Mr. Tim Colley, AIA, Vice President of the Advisory Council on Government Advocacy has been active in leading our efforts along with Ms. George. Mr. Colley attended the AIA SpeakUp! conference in Washington D.C. in July which provided training for developing legislative strategies for AIA components. Ms. George also attended SpeakUp! as well as the State Government Network meeting where she served on a panel discussing the work in Virginia being done relative to licensing in multiple jurisdictions. Our government advocacy is important for our profession. Please consider giving to AIA Virginia Political Action Committee (, even if it is a small amount, many voices will help us be heard by our legislators.


Vice President of the Advisory Council on Professional Excellence, Ms. Elizabeth Reader, FAIA, has been working with AIA Virginia Education Director Marshall Dreiling and other staff and council members on the planning of Architecture Exchange East in November which will feature as keynote speakers Ms. Rosa Sheng, AIA, of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and founding Chairperson of The Missing 32% Project, and 2013 AIA President Mr. Mickey Jacob FAIA who is a 2018 candidate for Mayor of Tampa, FL. Additional seminars have been added to the program and the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design will be responsible for architectural tours.

Ms. Maggie Shubert AIA is chairing the committee which is planning “The Art of Practice”, a one-day bi-annual conference scheduled for the Spring of 2017 in Northern Virginia presented by AIA Virginia designed to build skills required by our profession. Topics for discussion will include firm culture, marketing, new technology trends, and how to grow your practice. With relevant content for both small and large firms, no matter what stage in your career, we are sure there will be something for everyone.


The fiscal year for AIA Virginia ended on June 30, 2016, and we are pleased to report that we finished the year with an excess of $24,701. AIA Virginia Membership as of May 31 was reported at 1,553 AIA members and 417 AIA Associate members for a total of 1970 members. Our retention rate is at 93% which represents the highest number of members and retention rate over the last four years.


The five AIA components of Virginia and AIA Virginia continue to collaborate and communicate on its programs to improve the experience and value to our members. We held a conference call on July 26 with leadership from the six Virginia components and with our sister component from AIA West Virginia to discuss strategies to promote stronger working relationships among the components. I encourage you to get involved with the activities of your local component as well as AIA Virginia. There are many excellent activities and programs in the works.


Congratulations to The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design for their successful fund-raising effort of over $1,000,000 in order to receive a matching grant of $500,000 from the Cabell Foundation.


AIA Virginia continues to work hard to bring significant value to our members, provide programs and services which are relevant to our fast-changing profession and to celebrate the prosperity of our members. Our mission is to be the voice of the architecture profession in the Commonwealth, dedicated to serving our members and through a culture of innovation, AIA Virginia empowers its members, advances their value, and inspires the creation of a better-built environment.


Thank you to our Executive Vice President and CEO Helene Dreiling, FAIA, for her leadership and thank you to our AIA Virginia staff for their service to our membership.

Most important, thank you for being a member of AIA Virginia and for your contributions to our profession and practice of architecture in the Commonwealth! Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or suggestions for AIA Virginia.

Nick Vlattas, AIA
AIA Virginia President 2016