April 5, 2016 / President's Letters

April 2016 President's Letter – Serving You EVEN Better

This is why we are here.
Our AIABaltimore Chapter was founded in 1870 by 15 architects and 3 engineers advocating against unfair design competition practices. They understood the importance of joining forces to counter these inequitable conditions. In the intervening 146 years we have grown nearly 70-fold in members and the issues we have addressed have evolved and increased in number. But one very important thing has not. Our mission is still focused on serving the needs of our members.
Last year AIA National asked chapters across our country to assess how well they are serving members according to such criteria as elevating public awareness, providing continuing education, member communications and advocacy. Our four Maryland components used this assessment as a springboard to begin several new cooperative initiatives to reduce inefficiencies and increase the quality of our member services.
Over the past several years your executive board and chapter staff have initiated numerous luncheon visits to our member firms. We have done this to accomplish the following:

  • Make sure all understand the numerous and expanding benefits of AIA membership.
  • Personally invite them to participate in any of our 26 AIABaltimore committees that align with their interests and passions.
  • Let them know about the wealth of chapter and BAF events we offer.
  • Ask them for specific feedback on how we are doing and also what we can do to better serve them.

(Contact Kathleen Lane at klane@aiabalt.com to schedule a visit to your firm!)
At the most recent of these to Rubeling & Associates/JMT we had a great dialogue and obtained excellent feedback we will now follow-up on. During this visit, Jim Determan of HCM made the point that ~57% of all registered architects in the US are AIA members. We need involvement from AIA members to increase our voice and effectiveness as an organization.  Involvement in AIA is our very best option to make substantive improvements in the practice of architecture. And we REALLY need all architects, especially those who are passionate, to be active, engaged members of AIA.
Your AIABaltimore Chapter recently achieved an important milestone: As of March 16, we now have over 1,000 Architect and Associate AIA members! This qualifies our chapter as one of only 18 “Big Sibs” among 268 national components. Most importantly, this means that now you, our members, will have an even stronger voice at the table within AIA National. We want to use this stronger voice to push YOUR agenda.
From past surveys we have learned the following:

  • You very strongly prefer digital communications (91%) to printed or mail (2%).
  • E-newsletter frequency: Members indicated a preference for bi-weekly electronic communication from local chapters and monthly from state.
  • Many members expressed a preference for a single statewide print and digital directory.
  • You appreciate our chapter’s particularly strong committees and very capable, welcoming chapter staff.
  • Continuing Education activities seen as most valuable (3.75 on 1-5 scale); followed by component communications (3.71). Note that these activities are where we direct most of our staff and chapter resources.
  • Preferred topics for Continuing Education include: Changes in technology/science (3.96) and Leadership development (3.48).
  • Face-to-face learning is preferred to webinars.

We ARE listening and reinventing ourselves accordingly. So please take the time to let us know what is important to you. Please use our new “Virtual Suggestion Box” located on our website in the contact section, per the link below.
I look forward to hear what we can do to serve you EVEN better.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to provide your essential feedback!
anthony sig
Anthony Consoli, AIA
President, AIABaltimore 2016
Campus Architect, University of Maryland Baltimore