Update from the Small Firm Exchange (SFx)

I am thrilled to share my recent involvement with the Small Firm Exchange (SFx) in this edition of our member newsletter. The SFx’s primary mission is to foster connections among local, state, and national members, creating a stronger network of support and collaboration. As part of this initiative, we actively engage in monthly calls with state representatives, discussing pressing issues and sharing insights. Additionally, we organize bi-monthly “all calls,” where we delve deep into specific topics that I would like to highlight. The first brought together the Small Firm Exchange (SFx) and the Young Architects Forum (YAF), reinforcing our commitment to inclusivity and intergenerational collaboration. The second “all call” revolved around sustainability, with a particular focus on the AIA’s 2030 challenge and how small firms like ours can play a pivotal role in driving this vital initiative forward.

It has been fantastic connecting with fellow architects through the SFx, amplifying our collective voice and expanding our professional horizons. The monthly calls with state representatives have provided an invaluable platform to address pertinent issues, exchange best practices, and advocate for positive change within our industry. Our bi-monthly “all calls” have proven equally enriching, offering us an opportunity to explore key subjects in greater depth. The first “all call” was with leaders of the Young Architects Forum (YAF), fostering meaningful relationships and nurturing collaboration between emerging and seasoned professionals. The work of the YAF is inspiring, and during our discussion, we laid the groundwork for future joint initiatives.

In our second “all call,” sustainability took center stage. Recognizing the urgent need to address climate change, we focused on the AIA’s 2030 challenge and explored how small firms can actively participate in and champion this transformative initiative. With a shared commitment to reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable design, we engaged in thought-provoking discussions, shared success stories, and identified practical steps that our firms can take to make a positive impact. By harnessing the power of our collective knowledge and experience, we aim to be at the forefront of driving change and creating a sustainable future for our profession.

I am grateful for the opportunity to represent Virginia on the Small Firm Exchange. It has provided me a way to connect, learn, and contribute. I am committed to representing you and your issues at the national level and encourage any member or chapter to reach out to me directly with issues or concerns. Together, we can make a difference and create a stronger, more resilient community of architects.

Daniel Zimmerman, Registered Architect, AIA

Read the recent SFx Newsletter>>

Interested in representing AIA Virginia in the AIA Small Firm Exchange (SFx)?

The AIA Small Firm Exchange (SFx) seeks to advance the mutual interests of architects practicing in small firms. The group advocates for them within the AIA and outside organizations, promotes leadership development, and supports chapter roundtables and other small firm networks. Approximately 75% of all firms within the AIA are small firms (10 employees or less), which equates to 14,288 small firms represented within the organization.

The objectives of the AIA SFx are three-fold:

  • Advocate the value of small firms, the national SFx, and local SFx groups, both within the AIA and to the public.
  • Curate and disseminate the most pertinent resources and information from the AIA and elsewhere that benefit small firms.
  • Inform the AIA of current issues facing small firms and areas in which current resources/information are lacking.

AIA Virginia is looking for an enthusiastic member to represent our state in the SFx. This position is a one-year commitment renewable for up to five years total. Every month, this position will require four to six hours of your time and participation in up to two 1-hour calls. If you would like further insight into the service experience, you can connect with our current representative Colin Arnold, AIA at carnold@arnolddesignstudio.com.

Applying is made easy via: AIA SFx – State Representative Application (google.com)

Small Firm Roundtable Meeting

(Small Firm Roundtable for 1 to 9 employees)

The “Meeting of the Roundtables” serves as an educational opportunity to bring AIA members together from firms of various sizes to discuss pertinent practice topics in a structured and facilitated format.

Engage in a dialogue regarding how the AIA can best position you to be successful in creating positive change in the built environment and the profession.

Earn 1.0 AIA LU

Register online.

Learning Objective 1:
Describe risk management techniques and best practices

Learning Objective 2:
Discuss human resource management and understand how to implement best practices

Learning Objective 3:
Discuss best practices for firm transitions and describe how to support emerging leaders

Learning Objective 4:
Share your experiences navigating firm management during an economic downturn. Discuss collaboration, business development, and project management during COVID-19 and hear the experiences of other firm leaders and designers.

Earn 1.0 AIA LU

Register online.