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!
This will be my first Architecture Exchange East as your Executive Vice President and Servant-In-Chief. As a practitioner and firm leader, I attended this conference roughly a dozen times.
As I write this article, I ask myself, “Why did I attend?”
Was it the continuing education? The keynote speaker? The networking and fellowship?
For me, the conference served as an architectural family reunion. I was provided the opportunity to see my closest friends and colleagues from around the Commonwealth and our universities at this designated time of year. I’ve sat at Penny Lane howling in laughter until my eyes welled up with tears. We joked about local AIA events that we had planned before where attendance woefully missed our expectations. It wasn’t funny when it happened but it sure is comical now. Anyone who has served in the AIA has likely experienced this phenomenon. Or we imitated, in good fun, those unique personalities that may have crossed our paths in the profession. Including clients. Heck, we even used ourselves as ammunition for jokes. And then someone would inquire, “You all want one more round?!” Knowing you signed up for a 7:00 seminar early the next morning, you should probably take your hind-parts to bed, but you would stay out a little longer and succumb to the peer pressure.
I get it. Your answer may be different than mine. But we all have our reasons for attending. The goal of the AIA Virginia Board of Directors and staff is to continue to strive for greater excellence each year with this production.
So, let me take a moment to share what we are doing special this year.
First, we have invested significantly into our future generation and emerging professionals this year. For the first time ever, AIA Virginia has partnered with AIAS National to produce a one-day continuing education track specifically crafted for students. A number of AIA Virginia highly-regarded firm principals and leaders will volunteer their expertise to share today’s best practices on portfolio preparation, getting hired, successfully integrating into a firm upon graduation, and so forth in an effort to better prepare the candidates you will be hiring. Also for the first time, AIA Virginia has offered registration promotions to members that include complimentary registrations for Associate members. And let’s not forget the prosecco toast planned for our newly licensed architects.
Secondly, we have diversified the continuing education experience to capture unique opportunities not available online or at lunch and learns. Historically, AIA Virginia only had a Large-Firm Roundtable (LFRT) that facilitated dialogue amongst firm leaders on issues faced in practice such as equity and diversity, leadership development, and firm culture. These roundtable discussions have now been extended to include Small-Firms (SFRT) and Mid-Size Firms (MFRT) and will be held at The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design. Our tours this year will include Stone Brewing and VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art designed by Steven Holl Architects. We have nearly 70 vendors that are ready to show you the latest products in the market. The keynote speaker and CEO of Architizer, Marc Kushner, AIA is one of the highest rated TED speakers in the world and his talk is going to blow you away.
Lastly, we will continue to provide opportunities to let your hair down and enjoy your time in fellowship with your peers. This year at CONNECTIONS, we will be joined by our conference partners, American Society of Landscape Architects. Representatives from Preservation Virginia and Associated General Contractors (AGC) are also expected to be in attendance. This will afford you the chance to build relationships with non-architect partners that have a role in shaping the built environment. Virginia Tech will host its annual alumni party which is always a joyous time and groups like the Emerging Leaders in Architecture and Women in Design continue to host their annual dinners.
The conference is capped with our Visions for Architecture gala that celebrates our Honors and Awards winners at the Hotel John Marshall. We will get cleaned up, maybe shave, eat great food, and dance like no one is watching as the DJ spins classic jams that take us to “back-in-the-day” memories. We will be joined at the gala by our 2017 AIA National President, Thomas Vonier, FAIA. A tremendous honor indeed.
So, in closing, the question is “Why do you attend Architecture Exchange East?” Email me at email@example.com and let me know. If you were not planning to attend, I am hopeful you will consider giving it a try. At least for one day. You’ve worked hard all year. Invest in yourself for the sake of personal and career growth while escaping the four walls of your office for just a moment. Believe me, your clients want that too.
RICHMOND, VA May 1, 2017— AIA Virginia is pleased to welcome R. Corey Clayborne, AIA, in his new role as AIA Virginia Executive Vice President/CEO starting Thursday, June 1. He will work in conjunction with departing AIA Virginia Executive Vice President/CEO Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, whose last day in the position is Friday, June 30.
“Clayborne comes to us with a unique set of qualifications,” says AIA Virginia Immediate Past President and Search Committee Chairperson Nicholas E. Vlattas, AIA. “He is an architect known for his leadership skills and his active participation in the American Institute of Architects on local, state and national levels. We look forward to working with him to mentor the next generation of architects and strengthen architecture and design professions at all levels.”
Currently project manager and senior architect with Wiley |Wilson, his responsibilities include financial health, quality control, operational management and project management for a wide variety of local, state and federal projects. Clayborne is particularly known for his mentorship of the next generation of architects, focusing on their entry into the AIA, licensure and professional and personal group. He has been active in AIA Richmond and AIA Virginia, serving on both boards of directors. He has won numerous awards including the AIA 2017 Young Architects Award and the AIA Virginia 2016 Award for Distinguished Achievement. His service to the community includes the Charlottesville Planning Commission, Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects and the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia Mentoring program.
Clayborne lives in Charlottesville. He graduated from his hometown high school, Gloucester High before going to Virginia Tech where he earned his degree in architecture. He will be AIA Virginia’s sixth Executive Vice President/CEO since the position was created in 1970. Clayborne was one of 70 candidates who applied for his new position.
Dreiling is planning to focus on her own consulting firm. Through her company The Plum Studio, Ltd. she will provide specialized creative and consulting services to non-profits and design firms. Her offerings will be based on her leadership and management experience and will include cultural transformation, leadership development, corporate governance, change management, professional coaching, organizational resilience and strategic visioning
About AIA Virginia
AIA Virginia is a society of the American Institute of Architects and represents nearly 2,500 architects throughout Virginia. Founded by five architects in 1914, AIA Virginia is the voice of the architecture profession in the Commonwealth, dedicated to serving its members, advancing their value, and improving the quality of the built environment. For more information, contact AIA Virginia at (804) 644-3041 or visit www.aiava.org.