President’s Message FEB19

What a start to the new year!

It’s been a busy month and a half since the new year kicked off. Aside from the havoc caused by our bizarre weather – I had a flight canceled last Monday due to impending snow and four days later enjoyed an afternoon in the low 70’s – things around Annapolis are getting pretty hectic. On January 31st, AIA Maryland, for the second year in a row, partnered with our friends at Preservation Maryland to organize our Advocacy Day and Legislators’ Lunch. Once again, the day began with an overview of both organizations’ legislative priorities, pointers on meeting with legislators, and a light breakfast. The volunteers then split up to go to the Senate and House office buildings and meet with their district Senators and Delegates, and then met back at the chapter house for lunch with legislators. Despite the below-freezing temperatures, dozens of legislators and their aides joined us at lunch to grab some food and talk a little more in depth about the issues that are important to Maryland architects. This continues to be a great, low-pressure way to get to know our legislators and reinforce our priorities and concerns.

We need to continue to build goodwill for when we encounter proposed legislation that disadvantages architects, hinders business, or creates unnecessarily high hurdles for our profession. What started off as a slow legislative session has significantly picked up the pace, with AIA Maryland taking active positions on bills relating to procurement exemptions, invoicing on state projects, small business designation, and bird-safe design. Please continue to follow the AIA Maryland website for our up-to-date tracking of legislation that may impact your business and profession. Additionally, we are working to ensure that the law that we co-authored last year regarding in-state procurement is implemented consistently throughout the state. To say that our lobbyist, American Joe, and our Legislative Committee are busy is an understatement!

As I mentioned last month, we also undertook developing our first Strategic Plan. After soliciting input from past leaders of the chapter, the board met for a day-long working session, facilitated by Bob Harris, CAE. The morning focused on identifying what AIA Maryland does currently, and how we envision the chapter in the future. We reworked our mission statement, clarified our goals, created strategies to achieve those goals, and honed our values. It made my day to hear Bob say, “wow, AIA Maryland members get all of that for their membership?!” That’s really the whole thing, right there in a nutshell. What do members get for their money? What is the value of AIA Maryland? We spent the second half of the day discussing just that. And what seemed at the beginning of the day a lot of semi-connected thoughts and discussions, became a concise value proposition that clearly defined the multitude of ways that AIA Maryland benefits its membership. 

We are working to realign our board committees to reflect the framework of the Strategic Plan and develop a consistent and effective message around the value of AIA Maryland. We are excited about the process and look forward to sharing information in more detail in the coming months.

All of this has happened and we’re only a month and a half into the new year!

As you enjoy your President’s Day, I encourage you to think about responsibility and leadership, and to figure out a way that you can take a leadership role within your team, your company, your community, your city, your state or your profession. It starts with engagement and grows from there.

Joel Fidler, AIA