Make Architects Relevant in Our Community

Register for ARCHITECTS Speak Up!

Do you want to help make architects and architecture relevant in our communities?

Take part in a 1-hour virtual roundtable with a state elected official from your local AIA component to discuss any of the following topics:

  • Energy Efficiency and Sustainability: Design to Combat Climate Change
  • Design of Healthy and Safe schools
  • Resiliency
  • The Preservation of Historic Structures
  • Design of Affordable Housing
  • The Voice of Architects in Policy   

Register at:

Registration will be open through Friday, April 30.

Note that all participants will be required to participate in two trainings prior to their legislative meeting. The trainings are offered twice with the hopes that one of the options works with your schedule.

Advocacy 101: Becoming an Advocate in Virginia (1 LU)
– April 19 from 12:00 – 1:00
– April 26 from 12:00 – 1:00

Message Book Training: Strategies for Communicating Effectively (1 LU)
– April 21 from 2:00 – 3:00
– April 28 from 12:00 – 1:00

Statewide Legislative Meeting Schedule at a Glance
– Del. Chris Hurst (AIA Blue Ridge): May 7 at 11:00
– Del. Sam Rasoul (AIA Blue Ridge): May 7 at 2:30
– Del. Sally Hudson (AIA Central Virginia): May 7 at 1:00
– Del. Jeff Bourne (AIA Richmond): May 12 at 11:00
– Del. Lamont Bagby (AIA Richmond): May 19 at 10:30
– Del. Glenn Davis (AIA Hampton Roads): May 20 at 11:00
– Sen. Mamie Locke (AIA Hampton Roads): scheduling in progress
– Sen. George Barker (AIA Northern Virginia): Mat 21 at 2:00
– Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (AIA Northern Virginia): scheduling in progress
– Sen. Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (AIA Northern Virginia): May 11 at 2:30

Speak Up

AIA SpeakUp | Denver, Colorado | July 19-21, 2017

The AIA’s second annual SpeakUp Event was held last month in Denver. SpeakUp is the AIA’s flagship advocacy training event. Influencing government policy is one of the AIA’s primary responsibilities, one of the primary reasons our AIA exists. Advocacy is about teamwork. Working together, AIA members carry a unique and respected voice to city halls, statehouses, and Congress. Working together at AIA Virginia we advocate for issues that are important to members. Working together we advocate for legislators to enact policies that stimulate the demand for architecture and invigorate members’ capacity to practice.

SpeakUp 2017 provided advocacy training for approximately 100 architects from around the country. The AIA Advocacy team put together a fantastic, well-organized and lively event consisting of compelling talks, roundtable discussions, breakout workshops and the highlight of the event, a “campaign exercise”. Attendees gained insights and skills to enhance advocacy efforts in their respective states.

Several interesting speakers provided useful perspective and insights on successful advocacy. We heard from seasoned veterans about the elements of a winning legislative advocacy program – from member engagement to coalition building. Just to highlight a few, Senator Chris Holbert (R-CO30) implored advocates to start with questions when engaging legislators: Are you familiar with (fill in the blank)? Have you taken a position with it? How will you vote? Veteran Colorado Lobbyist Jerry Johnson, Hon. AIA spoke to the value of having a strong lobbyist at the state capital who builds reliable, long-term relationships with legislators. Caitlin Reagan, AIA National gave a thought-provoking presentation on how architects can communicate more effectively. We heard from seasoned experts Sue Brown, Principal 4Front Strategies and Bev Razon, Vice-president Public Affairs, COPIC on PAC fundraising best practices.

SpeakUp attendees participated in a multi-phased group campaign strategy and team building exercise. Organized in teams of 20, participants were able to apply knowledge gained in the workshops to build a multi-faceted campaign plan that was presented to a jury of political and policy professionals on the final day. This intense, collaborative group work demonstrated that winning legislative and political victories requires a strong plan, teamwork and the ability to deal with the unexpected.

As a profession, we are a relatively small group that has the potential to bring tremendous value to people and their aspirations for a better, healthier life. Architects are not guaranteed a critical role in society. Advocacy allows us to strengthen our profession to the benefit of AIA members and society. The AIA gives us that voice. Through member engagement and coalition building the Government Advocacy team at AIA Virginia continues to build a culture of influence with an annual legislative agenda that fosters the design of healthy, vibrant communities, including: job creation and a growing economy; environmentally sustainable buildings that use resources wisely; public health; systems of mass transit; and responsible land development and urban infill. The Government Advocacy team at AIA Virginia continues to work hard to advance pro-architect policies before government decision-makers and help ensure that architects remain vital to society for generations to come.

Sean E. Reilly, AIA
AIA Virginia Director
Government Advocacy Advisory Council

Photos: Sean Reilly, AIA

Architects as Leaders

The AIA Virginia board issued a statement of our unwavering principles and values as we closed out 2016. Our beliefs and values are enduring guidance that shapes our actions and we, as architects, continue to be guided by these principals.

  • The value of non-partisan unity.
  • The responsibility to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • The urgency of sustainable design.
  • The necessity of livable communities.
  • The obligation for civil exchange.

2017 AIA President Bill Brown, AIA

Architects must “speak up” and be engaged in the public discourse that shapes our society, communities, and neighborhoods. “Citizen Architect” usually is imagined as an architect that serves in an elected position or volunteers on a public board but can also be imaged as being individually involved in the public dialogue that influences decision making.

AIA Virginia advocates on behalf of our members in the legislative process and needs to have a place at the table when legislation is discussed that affects our communities and practice of architecture in the Commonwealth. Through the efforts of our legislative advocacy, we have developed relationships with a wide range of legislators from both sides of the isle that have reveled track records of which legislators are in alignment with our support or opposition of proposed bills that affect our profession. Architects need to support those legislators that can continue these efforts and we can only do that through the AIA Virginia PAC. Contributions to incumbents up for reelection are the way that we can show our continuing support of their efforts. Know that your AIA dues do not and cannot support these PAC efforts and only by supporting the PAC can we be heard. This year all 100 House seats and three statewide offices are up for election. Please contribute today

The Grassroots leadership conference is happening now in D.C. and architects from around the country will be making Hill visits to deliver the AIA national legislative agenda. The conference emphasizes component leadership and workshops designed to help component officers become more effective chapter and civic leaders. Members are given the opportunity to provide input on AIA initiatives, share information and ideas, and best practices with their counterparts from around the country.  In addition to the regular programs devoted to building stronger component leaders, this year’s event will introduce attendees to the role of architects in shaping lives through design.

You can review the Issues Brief linked here;

Issue brief – Support federal sustainability goals
Issue brief – Support the preservation of historic buildings and spaces
Issue brief – Investing in our nation’s infrastructure
Issue brief – Help young architects serve their communities
Issue brief – Reform procurement laws that inhibit good design
Issue brief – Help communities prepare for natural disasters
Issue brief – Promote a comprehensive, fair, pro-growth tax code

I hope to see you at Grassroots, in Washington DC, and A’17, the architecture & design event of the year in Orlando FL. Take time to reach out to your representatives, either local or national, and offer your opinions and expertise as architects who have unique understandings and perspectives on the qualities we want to see in society, communities, and neighborhoods.

Bill Brown, AIA
2017 AIA Virginia President