On March 4th through 6th, the AIA held its annual Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference, which focused on expanding public awareness about the built environment and advocating for the profession at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Despite the snowstorm that hit the city last week, AIA members from all over the nation—and even the world—gathered to discuss the AIA's agenda, which includes resilience, design, continued economic growth, and the future of the profession.
Here are some of the biggest announcements made at the event:
- The AIA honored Urban Design Regional Action for Minorities and Washington, D.C.–based Sorg Architects as part of this year's Diversity Recognition Program, which recognizes groups that are committed to increasing diversity and inclusion within the profession.
- The AIA also presented its Component Excellence Awards:
- Citizen Architect: William Dikis, FAIA, member emeritus of AIA Iowa
- State Advocacy: AIA Florida
- Elevate Public Awareness: AIA Sierra Valley; AIA Southern Arizona
- Expand and Share Knowledge: AIA New York State; AIA New Jersey; AIA New York Chapter
- The AIA gave its National Service Award to AIA Minnesota's executive vice president Beverly Hauschild-Baron, Hon. AIA; and its AIA Staff Presentation to director of component information and resources Brian McLaren, AIA, and vice president of finance and accounting Lisa Green. It also presented an "unscripted" award to script writer Ray Rhinehart, who retired on March 6 after 35 years at AIA.
The nine candidates for national AIA positions discussed their campaign goals and viewpoints in a panel moderated by ARCHITECT editor-in-chief Ned Cramer, Assoc. AIA. On the ballot this year will be the following:
- 2016 First Vice President/2017 President-Elect: Don Brown, FAIA; Stephen A. Fiskum, FAIA; Thomas V. Vonier, FAIA
- 2016–2017 Treasurer: Stuart L. Coppedge, AIA
- At-large Directors (three will be elected): Jerome L. Eben, AIA; L. Jane Frederick, FAIA; Haley M. Gipe, Assoc. AIA; Anthony P. Schirripa, FAIA; Jennifer Workman, AIA
Starting next year, this conference will be split into two events: one focusing on building leadership skills and the other centering around advocacy training. The Grassroots Leadership Conference will take place February 23–25 in Detroit and the Grassroots Advocacy Conference will take place July 13–15 in Washington, D.C.