Conferences & EventsNational Convention
About Bill Turner, Assoc. AIA: Mr. Turner, owner of Path21 Architecture in Denver, is the
associate representative on the 2013 Convention Advisory Committee.
He has deep experience with urban infill, mixed-use mid-rise, master planning, and multifamily projects in the United States and abroad. He believes that the crafting of buildings that are
healthy, exciting, and functional not only fosters quality of life but is also imperative to the future
of sustainable architecture.
The 2013 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition will be held in Denver, June 20–22. The theme of the convention is “Building Leaders.” What role does the 2013 Convention Advisory Committee play in developing the convention?
The committee plays an oversight role and, for the education program, partners with the local component, which in 2013 is AIA Colorado. The committee creates the theme, designs the framework for what is important, and then uses that theme to develop the direction for education programming, keynote speakers, and other events to address the needs of all attendees.
Mr. Turner, you are the associate representative on the committee. Why do you feel it is so important to have an associate voice in the development of the national convention?
Over the last couple years, the AIA and the board have made support for emerging professionals a priority, and associate members are a subset of that group.
We’ve taken particular interest in creating meaningful programming for associates. We looked at rebranding the Emerging Professionals Town Square and making it a place of high energy and relevance—incorporating new technologies not only for emerging professionals, or associates, but also for the broader membership.
You just mentioned the Emerging Professionals Town Square. Could you elaborate on what resources emerging professionals will find there?
In years past we had panel discussions with speakers like Cameron Sinclair, and we are going to continue to do that. This year we are building on that energy by placing the Emerging Professionals Town Square in a more prominent place on the expo floor. We are tying-in new technologies because we are interested in how emerging professionals use technology to collaborate and how technology can make the work we do more efficient— and more spectacular.
In order for emerging professionals or associate members to take advantage of this town square, they first have to attend the convention. How is AIA’s leadership being asked to support emerging professionals at convention?
We have challenged the AIA’s leaders to bring an associate member with them to convention. That member may be someone in their office or someone they mentor.
We also asked the AIA’s leaders to help the young professional with the logistics of attending, e.g., sharing a train ride or having their firms provide time off to attend. We want firms to recognize the value of having their young professionals attend convention by making their attendance a requirement. The professional would be asked after convention to share with the entire office something learned or discuss a session he or she attended that might be important to the firm.
Could you speak about other ways that firms benefit from emerging professionals attending convention?
I now have a firm, and I think it’s an opportunity for firm leaders to get to know their people—to find out what interests them and support them in that exploration. If it’s sustainability, women in design, diversity, the AIA convention offers opportunities for design professionals no matter the age.
We recommend that associate members volunteer at, or participate in, AIA events as soon as they begin their membership. How has your involvement with the AIA affected your professional development?
I joined AIAS the first week I was in school. Two years later I was the vice president for AIAS in my chapter. After that I became involved in the Committee on the Environment, my local board, my regional board, the national board, and national committees.
Through all of those experiences, I’ve had an opportunity to network with incredible professionals. For instance, I’ve had an opportunity to advocate for sustainability by being involved with the AIA’s work on the International Green Construction Guide. More recently, I’ve been an advocate for associates at the national level, and we are really looking at how the Institute can take meaningful steps toward being shepherds of young professionals.
William Turner, Assoc. AIA
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