2011 – Year in ReviewAs I’ve already written in this column, 2011 has been a mixed bag for architects in Kansas, but on the whole we should feel fortunate. Economic times have continued to create stress for many of our firms and members and yet, we are far better off than our colleagues in many parts of the country. As the year closes the prospect for increased design and construction activity is improving in many of our communities. Let’s hope that trend continues.
When we look back on this year, I’m confident that AIA Kansas members will be pleased with progress in at least three areas – greater involvement and influence of emerging professionals, leadership development and our annual conference in Wichita.
The younger members of our chapter continue to demonstrate that the future of our profession and our organization are in good hands. We see their influence in our committees through their volunteerism, in the good work that is being done across the state and in their enthusiastic participation in emerging professional activities and meetings. I’d like to recognize Amanda Moore, Jennifer Rygg, Stacey Keller, Eric Wittman and Travis Willson for their efforts this year in behalf of the Chapter.
In September the first class of blox, AIA Kansas’ leadership development program, met to craft a curriculum and activities that will define their year of growth. They have since met twice and benefited from excellent programs. I want to thank Wendy Ornelas, Dave Hoffman and Neal Angrisano for the commitment they’ve made to the development of blox.
More than any other undertaking of the chapter this year, I believe that we’ll look back on the 2011 Central States Conference as one of the best yet. Our volunteers working with Trudy and Carol assembled a series of continuing education opportunities that were great for all who participated. Our keynote speakers that include representatives from our design awards juries, 2011 Firm of the Year, BNIM, and Robert Ivy, AIA’s chief executive officer, were truly exciting. To top it off the day visiting Greensburg inspired all of us.
Are there areas in which we can continue to improve – of course there are. Committee members are laying ground work to build a stronger and more responsive Continuing Education program for our members. We need to continue to be diligent in supporting the Government Affairs committee and their efforts for advocacy in the legislature and State agencies.
I for one am looking forward to next year and Hans Nettelblad’s leadership. Please consider stepping up and giving him a hand by getting involved in one of our many important committees. Finally thanks to Trudy and Carol for their service to our members – their dedication day in and day out deserves a thank you from each of us. And thanks to each of you for what you do for our organization, our profession and our communities. Back to Top
Recently Congress (yes, that governmental body that can’t or won’t stop bickering and help America get back to business) agreed that pizza is a vegetable. The USDA's proposal (to reduce the use of potatoes, reduce salt, and increase whole grains) could have pushed pizza-makers and potato growers out of the school lunch business. It would have pushed vegetable growers into the business, but their lobbyists aren't as powerful, it seems. In addition to this, the move to classify pizza as a vegetable gained traction because of popular, reality-transforming political philosophies on the role of government.
Now what does this oxymoron have to do with our profession? Power and influence in government!! If pizza is a vegetable, then do we need government interference (codes and standards, licensed architects and engineers, and rules and regulations governing design and construction) to put up a building, build a bridge, etc.
This may seem silly to you and me – but read the words that are in bold above. As politicians become more conservative, anti-regulation and entrenched, our very livelihoods are in jeopardy. Won’t happen? Earlier this year, here in Kansas there was a bill introduced that would required any state agency interpreting or enforcing a federal regulation, a federal statute or a national building or fire code and such regulation, statute or code that is interpreted less restrictively by state officials in other states, that such less restrictive interpretation shall be applicable in Kansas unless such less restrictive interpretation conflicts with a Kansas statute, regulation or local ordinance or resolution. Think about what would happen if this were adopted. When could you ever be sure how to design a building when you weren’t sure what standard(s) you should (could) use for its design?
So, what do we do about it? Become engaged in every facet of government. This doesn’t mean waiting on AIA to do something – it means YOU too.
AIA Kansas will be concentrating our efforts during 2012 to engage legislators in discussions about the value/necessity of architectural services; advocate for social (health/life safety), environmental (reduced consumption/waste), and economic (operating efficiency) defined in building codes. We will talk about the International Green Code overlay into existing I Codes, and advocate for a statewide building code.
Get to know your legislators – invite them to visit your office or take them to lunch; give them a call to express your opinions
Be knowledgeable about issues (read the AIA Kansas newsletter and any legislative update)
Make a PAC donation – Architects Political Action Committee funds are used to elect representatives that are friendly to the design and construction industry. By joining with fellow members, we are able to provide financial support to these candidates. Need more information: Donation form
Respond to legislative alerts AIA Kansas sends you – we never contact you for help unless we need it but YOU are the constituent. That means you have the POWER to vote that legislator in or out. – This may sound very cynical – but it is true.
Now, write that PAC check or send us your credit card information at . And join us on the Government Affairs Committee where we discuss our policies, positions and more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join. Back to Top
Recently Congress approved, and the President signed, a measure to repeal the 3% withholding tax mandate. AIA was instrumental in getting this passed and, if you contacted your legislators regarding this, thanks. This victory is proof, that working together, we can accomplish difficult tasks. Back to Top
As part of our ongoing partnership with aecKnowledge, we are pleased to announce:
Special Group Rates on Distilled, Practical Knowledge (and CEUs too!)
aecKnowledge is offering special pricing to firms on all of their high-quality video continuing education courses. Now practitioners throughout firms can elevate their practices while learning from some of today’s top thought leaders. aecKnowledge has created a diverse library of focused, relevant topics not readily available online, that can benefit your entire firm.
Worked on a construction project in the United States or Canada recently using architectural copper? If so, your firm may be eligible for a 2012 North American Copper in Architecture (NACIA) award. An entry form and guidelines can be found on the Call for Entries Page. Back to Top
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