January 9, 2017 / President's Letters

January 2017 Presidents Letter – Drawing on Experience

Happy New Year!
When faced with new and challenging endeavors, like being your 2017 President, the things I draw on are my past experiences. Good or bad, our experiences help shape who we are today.
For me professionally (and often personally), this means tapping in to my work in Construction Administration. I consider working in CA the best of both worlds. I get to be an Architect and be part of the construction process. There are many different themes that can be used, but the following three stand out the most to me and correlate to other aspects of being an Architect and member of AIA.
Teamwork – Architects are always part of a team in various forms with clients, engineers and contractors. No one person knows it all and when the team can focus on the common goal of a successful project, it is a win for everyone. As Architects, we need to be leaders of the team. Our abilities to see the big picture, bring together various voices and use our problem solving skills are major keys.
We need to continue to promote Architects as leaders in the industry and work with our Allied partners to better the built environment.
Communication – This is one of those things that can go terrifically right or horribly wrong, and as Architects it is essential to what we do. It seems to come to a head during CA, where everyone thinks communication is adversarial. Contractors vs. Architects. For me, it comes back to teamwork and understanding we are all heading toward the same goal. It is about listening, understanding where the other person is coming from, and being respectful of what others do. Too often input is discounted before it is considered or because of who is offering it. Communication goes both ways.
We need to continue to be thoughtful communicators with clients, team members and the public, sharing our expertise and listening.
Mentoring – This is something that is critical to the present and future of our profession. It is important to continue to share your knowledge with the next generation—not just the how, but the why. One of the best learning opportunities is being a part of CA, where your drawings become reality. You can draw a detail a hundred times, but until you see it come together in person, it may not fully click. CA is also a prime opportunity to mentor better communication and teamwork skills.
We need to continue promoting the importance of mentoring and also highlight the importance of CA as part of our profession and the Architect’s role in it.
These are things I keep in mind as I focus on the year ahead. One of the big tasks this year is to revisit and update our chapter’s Vision Plan. The last Vision Plan presented was for 2013-2015. Thankfully we achieved our goals, but as with any plan and vision, it must be regularly evaluated and updated. We will be asking members for input as the Board puts together an updated Vision Plan.
Thank you for this opportunity to be your president and I look forward to working with you all.
sharon signature
Sharon Day, AIA
GWWO Inc./Architects