President’s Message, December 2019

2019 AIA Maryland President, Joel G. Fidler, AIAIt feels like 2019 literally flew by and we’re now looking 2020 straight in the eye. I was always so intrigued by the fuzzy, but tantalizing prospect of such a milestone future date. When I was kid, I honestly thought I’d have a robot assistant and be commuting via personal spaceship by now. I was clearly overly-influenced by 80’s sci-fi movies and the Jetsons. Now that 2020 is here, I know that my commute will remain grounded on four wheels. While I think I have a pretty good picture of what next year will look like, I’m looking forward to the unexpected. Before we collectively take our big step into 2020, I first wanted to take a quick look back at AIA Maryland’s 2019.

We spent the beginning part of this year focused on developing a Strategic Plan for the state chapter. We have been refining and editing it throughout the year and it will be going live on the AIA Maryland website in the new year. We’re excited to share how we intend to move forward over the next few years to better serve all of you. 

Moving from January into February, our focus quickly turned to our legislative priorities. Once again, this year, we teamed up with Preservation Maryland for a very successful legislative day. We met with dozens of legislators, discussed issues that are important to the profession and demonstrated our commitment to make Maryland communities sustainable, livable, and resilient. We testified on numerous bills, from bird safe building design, to historic tax credits, to smart growth funding. There is new leadership in both the House and Senate, and we are already strategizing about how to advance AIA Maryland’s agenda in 2020.

This fall we celebrated the best designs in the state at R House in Hampden, and the event was once again a success. We received 123 professional submissions, presented 26 awards and announced the Good Hope Recreation Center by DLR Group as the Public Building of the Year. We were also excited to present the former Chair of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, Senator Joan Carter Conway with the inaugural ‘AIA Maryland Capital Award’ for her ‘public service and legislative action’ on behalf of architects across the state.

The Statewide Disaster Assistance Program is continuing to prepare our architects to heed the call if needed and be a resource for local authorities in jurisdictions affected by natural disasters. And, our annual Educator’s Forum remains a strong conduit to allow students, practitioners and academics to share knowledge, goals and concerns about the state of our profession.

This has been a challenging and rewarding year as President, and I want to thank the entire board for their support and leadership. I especially want to thank our lobbyist Joe Miedusiewski and our do-it-all Executive Director, Sandi Worthman. I look forward to continued improvement and exciting new challenges with Matthew Ormsby leading us in 2020 and I think it’s time to start looking for that robot for the chapter house.

Happy holidays and all the best in 2020!