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Helping Architecture Firms and Practitioners Navigate an Economic Downturn

Podcast: 2008/4/8 - 27:03

Presenters: Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA; Marjorie P. Callahan, AIA, ASID, LEED AP; & Michael Strogoff, AIA






Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA

As the AIA’s chief economist, Baker analyzes business and construction trends in the U.S. economy and examines their impact on AIA members and the architectural profession. He originated the AIA’s “Work on the Boards” Survey, a monthly assessment of business conditions at architecture firms, as well as the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel. He also writes a regular economics column for AIArchitect, the weekly eNewsletter for AIA members.

In addition, Baker is the project director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. This research effort aims to improve understanding of the dynamics of the U.S. repair and renovation industry.

Before joining the AIA, Baker was vice president and director of the Economics Department at Reed Business Information, where he was responsible for industry forecasting. During his 10 years at Reed, Baker developed the Top U.S. Construction Markets Report and served as editor of Reed Business Information’s Building and Construction Market Forecast newsletter.

Marjorie P. Callahan, AIA, ASID, LEED AP

Callahan is an associate professor in the College of Architecture (Division of Architecture) of the University of Oklahoma, where her teaching and research focus on professional practice. She has been an architect with a private practice in Oklahoma City since 1987.

Callahan also serves on the Advisory Group of the AIA Practice Management Knowledge Community as well as on the Advisory Committee of the Practice Academy, a collaboration of the AIA, the architectural academy, and architecture firms to provide a framework for a rigorous internship for architecture students and interns

Michael Strogoff, AIA

Strogoff is an architect and the principal of Strogoff Consulting, a management consulting firm in Mill Valley, Calif., that guides architecture and engineering firms through the ownership and leadership transition process, develops valuations of firms, and operates the Confidential Clearinghouse for Mergers and Acquisitions. Previously, Strogoff was the managing principal of a 40-person architecture firm.

Strogoff also serves as the Advisory Group vice chair of the AIA Practice Management Knowledge Community.

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell dramatically in February 2008 to its lowest score in six years. This leading economic indicator, developed by the AIA, measures current design activity and therefore future construction activity. According to the February ABI, weakness persisted in most regions of the country, and firms with a commercial or industrial specialization were particularly hard-hit.

In this podcast, speakers with expertise in economics and practice management address how architecture firms and practitioners can best cope with business conditions that look increasingly unfavorable. They explore how architecture firms—and the profession as a whole—can survive and even thrive in an uncertain economy.



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