Each year, AIA members attending the AIA Conference on Architecture have the opportunity to vote for candidates to help lead the Institute's national office. Ahead of the June 21-23 event in New York this year, ARCHITECT spoke with the candidates running for 2019 first vice president–2020 president-elect. The candidates are: Jane Frederick, FAIA, principal of Frederick + Frederick Architects in Beaufort, S.C., and William "Bill" Carpenter, FAIA, founder of Lightroom in Decatur, Ga.

We posed the same three questions via email to each candidate. Here's what they wrote back:

Jane Frederick, FAIA, Frederick + Frederick Architects, Beaufort, S.C.

Why do you want to lead the AIA, and how will you engage the membership?
Frederick: We live in an era when our industry is uniquely poised to create positive change. We are positioned to not only lead the conversation, but also the action that is desperately needed to build a more inclusive, innovative, and prosperous future for us all.

I want to lead the AIA to make strides for a more diverse industry because the future of our profession depends on it. I want us to lead on sustainability, resiliency, and energy independence because our planet depends on it. I want us to take on more leadership roles within our cities because our communities and our country depend on it.

We need forward-thinking leadership that can break new ground and build on the success of current initiatives. Through my leadership on the Public Outreach Committee, we developed our Message Book, which helps members communicate four key concepts about practitioners and the profession to the public: Architects are partners in the design process; architects strengthen society; architects are problem solvers; and architects transform communities. Getting these messages across is critical to helping us get a seat at the table when change is on the agenda. The success of the Message Book inspired us to create a—soon to be released—advanced communication course to help our members make a difference in their communities.

What is the role of architects and the AIA for the greater public?
Communities needs our skills, our ideas, and our engagement. We are facing massively complicated challenges—how to build healthy cities, end homelessness, and create sustainability and energy independence. Together, we have the technology, drive, and passion to address them. We need to encourage the proliferation of component leadership programs across the country, as well as an advanced leadership program at the national level. This will give our members the training to engage in their communities on boards, commissions, and elected offices and be in a position to effect policy.

That is why AIA’s work to involve us with influencers through the Blueprint for Better campaign is so important. Our engagement with the U.S. mayors summit at SXSW gave us an opportunity to help mayors envision the future of their cities.

What is the greatest challenge facing the profession today? How can firms and individual practitioners respond to it?
The 21st century will be remembered as the Urban Revolution, as more and more of the world’s population move to cities. The World Bank’s research shows that over 54 percent of the population lives in urban areas—up from 34 percent in 1960. Our greatest challenge is working with mayors, developers, public agencies, and the general public to create healthy, sustainable, safe, and beautiful cities.

The AIA needs to drive the research and implementation of renewable energy, materials, and how buildings affect the health and well-being of their occupants to create a cleaner, healthier, safer, and sustainable world. We also must help all of our members reach the 2030 goal of being carbon neutral.

William "Bill" Carpenter, FAIA, Lightroom, Decatur, Ga.

Why do you want to lead the AIA, and how will you engage the membership?
Carpenter: I am a proven and respected leader with distinguished board and national service to the AIA. I will engage the membership by emphasizing inclusion, a stronger collective voice for the profession, and cultivating new leaders. As the founder of the AIA National Young Architects Award with the support of the AIA Board, I have demonstrated that I am a strong consensus builder. It is now one of the most important programs of the AIA.

The AIA President can engage the membership by strengthening the connection between the profession and academia by connecting university research centers and practices, and connecting firms to the pipeline of talented graduates who are the future of our profession.

What is the role of architects and the AIA for the greater public?
We are the stewards and visionaries of the built environment. We have the training to broadcast design to many communities and engage with them. The public has become design savvy and supportive of architecture. We need to continue to tap into this support as a profession through marketing our talents and vision.

What is the greatest challenge facing the profession today? How can firms and individual practitioners respond to it?
We have a significant number of retiring AIA members and with this watershed change that is coming, we need to cultivate new leaders locally, regionally, and nationally. We also need to foreground diversity and inclusion to help prepare and make the AIA even more relevant.

The firms and individual practitioners should become more involved in cultivating leadership; for example, they could send staff to leadership training opportunities like the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program. Firms should also prioritize engaging with the public. An example of this is the design conference Modern Atlanta. Over 3,000 people participated last year and one participating firm saw a 30-percent increase in new work largely due to their involvement.

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.