December 2017 President’s Message

Our year of the Fire Rooster is coming to a close and so is my privilege of being your AIA Maryland President. I want to thank you all for your support, especially our 2017 AIA Maryland board members; our local chapter boards of Baltimore, Potomac Valley, and the Chesapeake Bay; our executive directors, Kathleen Lane, Rene Catacalos, and Melinda Kay respectively and, our own Sandi Worthman, AIA Maryland Executive Director.

As we enter the time-honored tradition of new year’s resolutions, I’d ask that we all increase our involvement and voice within The AIA and our communities at large. Whether you join your local chapter’s board, attend an event, submit an article for the monthly newsletter, share concerns with me via email or, just make it a point to read our newsletter and check the AIA websites at the 3 levels (chapter, state, national); your participation is what makes AIA great. Once you’ve taken these initial steps, share your thought on what AIA is doing well and where we can improve. We are here to serve you, and we need your voice in order to reach for excellence. If this message seems familiar, then I have accomplished my goal of increasing the dBs in our message (it may have also appeared in my inaugural message). If I remember anything from my 12th grade history teacher, Mr. Salerno, other than being a member of the “clipper club – AHS ‘99”, it’s that an essay must start with a strong position and finish with compelling proof. While I conclude my year, and hand the keys over to Larry Frank (thanks again for taking this on for a second go-around), I leave you with what we started with, and that which we can continually strive for…

We are at the dawn of the year, and through hard work and patience, we can—we will achieve success in 2018!

We need you!

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2017 Has Been Quite a Ride

How has your year been and what are you thinking about for next year?  2017 has been quite a ride and I have much for which I am grateful.

I am incredibly fortunate for all the hard work my colleagues have given over the last year to AIA Maryland.  They have worked hard on issues that affect all of us throughout the state.  We are lucky to be supported in these efforts by Sandi Worthman, our executive director and Joe Miedusiewski, our able lobbyist.  These two keep us up to date, remind us of our commitments and offer guidance while also knowing when to stand back and let us march forward.  I am thankful to have all these extraordinary persons as great resources working with the same shared goals.  And…

A special thanks to Brenden, our fearless president this past year, for working, listening and embracing everyone as he guided the board throughout his term.  He truly deserves the captain’s cap he received at the new board / old board meeting last week!

The year has been exciting. We have had much success as you have read in Brenden’s articles and throughout the newsletters over the course of the year.  We could not have accomplished this without your support, our colleagues in practice.  We appreciate you reaching out to us, talking with us and your support of legislative issues on the state and national level.

The coming year will continue to bring us challenges.  We have much to advocate for on preservation, schools and state procurement.   We welcome your continued participation and invite you to join us for our joint advocacy day with Preservation Maryland on February 1st and, our legislative luncheon at the chapter house that day (registration and more information on this to come).  Call us with your questions when you see an issue that affects us; we need your help and all our voices working together.

For all this, I am thankful and hopeful.  Wishing everyone the best in the holiday season and for the new year!

Larry Frank, AIA
2018 President, AIA Maryland

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What can AIA do for me?

I’m often asked this question by emerging professionals and non-members. In response I offer my experiences below:

I became a member when my employer, who happened to be chairing the local membership committee offered to pay for my AIA membership on the condition that I join a committee.  At the time I was working for a five person architectural firm where I eventually earned the position of partner. Little did I realize that AIA membership would shape my career.  As an associate member I dove into the committee work with both feet and began making friends and learned many organizational and leadership skills.  I believe that volunteer time on the chapter’s bylaws committee and continuing education committee helped with my preparation for the architectural exam.

My AIA committee work was eventually noticed by senior members of the chapter and as a result I received an unsolicited call from an AIA chapter board member, who said that he had been impressed with my committee work and asked me to consider a corporate management position with his company, Westinghouse Electric’s corporate headquarters. The transition from a 5 person architectural firm to a 120K employee corporation was an eye opener and dramatically changed my professional trajectory.   I spent 10 rewarding years there managing design, hiring architects and contractors.  Those projects stretched coast to coast and ranged in scope from industrial plants, 23 story office towers, and TV and Radio stations to defense sites.  As the corporate architect I was able directly influence project scopes and even hire AIA Gold Medal winners to design the corporation’s buildings.

AIA has also provided me with great opportunities for leadership skill development which has helped in my corporate advancement.  I served as President of the AIA Pittsburgh Chapter at a time when Pittsburgh was reeling from the sudden collapse of the steel industry. Our AIA chapter responded by spearheading the first international RUDAT and a conference named Remaking Cities which focused on the plight of rust belt cities.  We reached out to National AIA and the Royal Institute of British Architects to help us host the conference.  The event convened architects, urban planners and world leaders including its honorary chair, HRH Prince Charles of the UK.   As a result we made recommendations for rust belt cities that have been incorporated globally.  At a local level the conference helped Pittsburgh transform itself from a polluted industrial hub to a high-tech center listed as one of the nation’s most livable cities.  I served on the conference organizing committee and solicited financial support from Westinghouse and other national corporations. The conference not only afforded me the honor of participating in meetings with royalty and other heads of state but it elevated my profile within my company and put me in direct contact with the Westinghouse CEO and Board of Directors.  The exposure led to my inclusion in the corporation’s fast track management program for future leaders.

My AIA involvement also opened the door to various public and private appointments on task forces, panels, boards and commissions.  These “citizen architect” positions” have afforded me many rewarding opportunities to directly engage in the decision making processes that impact the region’s communities, infrastructure and natural environment.

Eventually I received another unsolicited call from FORE, Systems, a fast growing high-tech start-up.  They too had been referred to me by an AIA colleague.  I became that company’s VP of Facilities and Real Estate managing the design and construction of a new $80M 100 acre headquarters campus.  The responsibilities quickly expanded to include the design and construction management of all of the company’s international offices, research labs and manufacturing facilities spanning 5 different continents.  As a result of that company’s broad geographic reach the CEO challenged me to improve transportation logistics between these international facilities. I solved the problem by commissioning the design, construction and operation of a $40M corporate jet which shuttled employees around the world.

In summary my AIA experiences and contacts continue to open professional doors in my career.  More importantly AIA has allowed me to become friends with many of the world’s best architects.

Bill Bates, FAIA
AIA 2018 First Vice President/2019 President-Elect

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Why I am Thankful

‘Tis the season for self-reflection and sharing good will with others. As architects we have the opportunity and the responsibility to do this every day and not just when the golden leaves are falling. Being able to drive around and see buildings standing that you’ve had a hand is shaping is rewarding, but our work has greater significance. We are able to solve complex problems for our clients and the people who will live, work, visit, or wander through these structures. More than anything else, I am most thankful for being a part of this process. We have the opportunity to collaborate with wide variety of people and we are responsible for leading these teams from inspiration through conception, into construction, and finally sharing the celebration of ribbon-cutting and beyond.  When I’m asked what I enjoy most about the practice, I note that while most projects share a similar process such as programming, design phases, construction, etc., every project team is different and every creative solution is born from unique criteria. The result is an experience that changes day by day and it opens new, exciting opportunities along the way. The AIA has allowed me to work with a diverse group of professionals on a variety of critically important topics that affect the architectural profession and the built environment. My focus has been our significant influence with the legislature at State Circle and, by extension, Capitol Hill as well as being a promoter of and for our profession to the public as large. Lastly, while we are eating great food and watching some football, I ask each of you to consider what part of the process made you want to be an architect. My hope is that you are thankful for it and, that together we will inspire the next generation of professionals.

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State Board of Architects 2017 Fall Report

Paul Edmeades, AIA, has been Chair for several meetings of State Board of Architects, and his predecessor, Diane Cho AIA, has been honored at a luncheon by the SBOA for her years of service as Chair. The SBOA has named Cynthia Shonaiya, Vice Chair to replace Paul. Both Shonaiya and Garry Ey have notified the State administration that they would like to serve additional terms. The vacant professional member seat remains empty. Meanwhile, Board Counsel Milena Trust, Esq. has been elevated to be the Assistant Attorney General detailed to be the General Counsel for the whole DLLR, which means the Design Boards could be getting a new Assistant Attorney General to serve as Counsel.

The Cho era as SBOA chair has been characterized by her gentle but firm leadership during monthly Board meetings, and her attendance at Joint Chairs meetings, all costing her time from her practice. Cho, Benn, and Holback has been for decades at the pinnacle of local architectural firms, receiving dozens of AIA Design Awards for an amazing variety of projects, private and public, new and renovated. Maryland is better served than many states by having architect members from many of its leading architectural firms rather than nonentities. The downside of all this success lies in the SBOA’s inability to empathize with the least of their colleagues. Without the ability of SBOA to comprehend the woes of tiny practitioners, these little people have suffered PE incursions, while the members of underserved communities in which many of them practice pay higher fees for unecessary double sealing, or flee to “package dealers” who offer lower fees for small projects by bootlegging them into place under cover of darkness.

Sixty percent of Marylanders (Montgomery, Prince Georges, Charles, Anne Arundel and Howard Counties and, Baltimore City) are thus burdened by the restraint of trade that occurs when architects’ seals are refused for designing the “integral parts” of their buildings. Should this anticompetitive system be noticed by the Federal Trade Commission, it could lead to a situation similar to the Dentists’ Board of North Carolina.  In “Carolina Dentists”, the US Supreme Court vindicated the FTC’s defense of free trade for licensed professionals. Should this happen, the brunt would be borne by the volunteer SBOA Members, since the DLLR Staff is protected by the State’s sovereign immunity from Federal prosecution.

Late news from Montgomery County: The activist permitting PE’s of Maryland’s largest county have admitted that their publication, “Permitting Facts Related to Places of Worship” was in “error” when it stated that a PE was necessary to perform as-builts on an existing church – even though State Law prohibits PE’s from designing buildings for public assembly and that work is reserved for architects.

It took AIA Potomac Valley a year of letter-writing to win the modification, “The cost of getting an ARCHITECT (caps substituted for emphasis) and/or (not really the PE’s job) engineer to develop a set of as-built drawings can be expensive, but it is necessary.” A partial victory, but a victory for the public.

NCARB has introduced its latest survey of Perceptions in the architecture profession. Like many surveys disseminated in Washington, there are several levels of interest. The stated interest is to find what the profession thinks of the NCARB, while the choice of words would guide the survey taker to as positive an opinion as possible, for a self-fulfilling prophecy; “They love us!”. The mission creep of the NCARB is visible in the survey, as it asks the taker to approve of NCARB’s encroaching in fields for which other architectural collaterals have long been responsible.

The following questions have the usual six possibilities from “extremely” to “not at all” effective.

First question: “NCARB’s MISSION protects the public through standards for licensing and credentialing architects.”  (for over 80 years NCARB’s core mission, answer: “extremely effective”.)

Second: “NCARB’s goal to foster collaboration with collateral architectural organizations”. (or is it to coopt or bypass those organizations?)

Third: “NCARB’s goal to facilitate licensure through programs that are catalysts for early licensure”.    (what happened to the Collegiate Schools of Architecture? to NAAB? Wasn’t this their job?)

Fourth: “NCARB’s goal to centralize credential data for all architects in all states.” (Is this not what the AIA has been doing for years?)

The core of this survey asks the taker to select from 49 words of which 43 are positive, even glowing characteristics that anyone would like to emulate, while only 6 words could be considered negative. Some takers, recalling their IDP wounds, would think the words, “Dull”, “Bureaucratic”, “Complicated”, “Expensive”, “Irrelevant” or “Old-fashioned” could all be applied to NCARB. True NCARB believers would revel in choosing, “Cutting-edge”, “Dynamic”, “Ethical”, “Friendly”, “Prestigious”, “Innovative”, ”Knowledgeable”, ”Professional”, “Relevant”, ”Respected”,  ”Sophisticated”, or ”Transparent”. Surely takers of this survey will record high positives for NCARB out of sheer fatigue as they plow through the plethora of platitudes.

Not surprising are the perennial NCARB mission creepers: “Promote the value and significance of the NCARB Certificate” (supplanting AIA after an architect’s name). “To access continuing education offerings” (and bypass the AIA CEU service). “I know where to find information about the AXP process and requirements” (finally, relief after frustrating two generations of wannabe architects with the arch-rigid IDP orthodoxy). Interestingly, there are no questions suggesting the takers should approve of the IPAL education program of the NCARB, heretofore the province of the collegiate schools of architecture. NCARB’s model national registration law would seek to supplant the US Constitution’s Federalist system which guarantees the 50 States the power to certify professionals their own way. However, that model law does defend an architect’s right to perform incidental engineering so as to offer Americans choice in whom they might hire as a design professional; just as the Federal Trade Commission requires. “YES!”

The most honest question of the entire survey is this: ”NCARB has improved its services in recent years”

Answer: “YES! “The 2009-2010 NCARB Board President Andrew Prescott’s miracle at its K Street Headquarters, where he fired some and hired new officers, modified the behavior of others, and demanded winsome, empathetic responses to architect candidates, has been transcendently transformative in its support for our profession. From Victorian Dickensian squalor in the 1980’s,’90’s, 2000’s and early ‘10’s to nearly 21st Century affirmation today, the lot of aspiring professionals is incomparably improved. Pity that “mission creep” shows hubris as is celebrated in this survey is still not completely banished at NCARB.

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AACC offers Certified Again-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) Designation Courses

The Certified Again-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation program teaches the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the again-in-place client.

Anne Arundel Community College is offering all three National Association of Home Builders approved courses this fall. Satisfactory completion of all three courses is required for the CAPS designation.

November 16, 17 & 18, 2017

Anne Arundel Community College, Arundel Mills Campus, 7009 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover, MD 21076

$370 for each course (includes materials). AIA CEUs available.

To register, visit www.aacc.edu/noncredit.  For questions, call 410-777-2939.


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