Long-time leader of AIA California Council to guide Institute through search for next AIA staff executive
Contact: Scott Frank
For Immediate Release:
Washington – June 10, 2010 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced today that
Paul W. Welch, Jr., Hon. AIA, Executive Vice President of the AIA California Council (AIACC),
will serve as interim Executive Vice President/CEO of the AIA. An experienced California public
servant and senior executive with the AIACC for nearly three decades, Welch begins the
appointment July 19 and will continue in this role through the conclusion of a national search to
fill the position made vacant by the departure of current AIA EVP/CEO Chris McEntee.
“Paul Welch embodies all of the qualities we seek in an effective interim staff executive,” said
AIA President George H. Miller, FAIA. “I know that the AIA will be in the hands of a capable
leader whose commitment and dedication to the profession of architecture is well documented.
He will be an integral team member working to achieve the AIA strategic goals for 2010 and
beyond. Paul’s leadership during this transition will give us an opportunity to be thorough in our
selection of the next AIA executive,” Miller added.
Welch will assume the full legal and fiduciary responsibilities of the AIA EVP/CEO position,
including managing the national Component staff, annual operating budget, and AIA programs,
as well as overseeing the day-to-day operation of the Institute. Also, in addition to supporting the
overall success of the new integrated media partnership with Hanley Wood, he will manage
implementation of technology initiatives CES Discovery, an online solution for managing
member continuing education and NetForum, an association management system. A special
emphasis of the implementation will focus on ensuring that these initiatives incorporate the input
and guidance of State and Local AIA Components.
“I am honored to continue serving members of the American Institute of Architects in this new
interim role,” said Welch. “The future of the AIA is important to the future of the architecture
profession and I will work hard to ensure that the next staff executive steps into their position
leading a vibrant and thriving organization.”
Welch joined the AIA California Council in February 1981 and is active at all levels of the
Institute, within California and throughout the nation. During his tenure at the AIACC, he served
and/or chaired numerous national AIA Committees and Task Forces across a span of issues,
including licensing law, membership, government affairs, and most recently, the Component
Prior to his career at the AIACC, Welch was the Executive Officer for the California State Board
of Architectural Examiners from 1978 to 1981, and served earlier as Director of Consumer
Affairs for the California counties of Stanislaus and Monterey. A native of Modesto, California,
he graduated from California State University-Humboldt with a degree in Natural Resource Management, post-graduate work in Public Administration at California State University Stanislaus, and holds an Honorary Masters of Architecture from the New School of Architecture
and Design in San Diego. Welch will relocate to Washington, D.C. during the interim period.
So that Welch can devote his time and energies to his new assignment, the AIACC Executive
Committee will appoint Nicki Dennis Stephens, Hon. AIACC, to serve as Interim AIACC
Executive Vice President. “As AIACC Senior Director, Nicki is well prepared to assume the
responsibilities of the position, and we are confident that AIACC staff will continue the high
quality of member services and delivery” said AIACC President Nicholas Docous, AIA.
About the American Institute of Architects California Council
The AIACC represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in
California. Founded in 1944, the AIACC mission supports architects in their endeavors to
improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more livable communities, sustainable
designs, and quality work environments. Today, the AIACC is the largest Component of the
national AIA organization. For more information, visit www.aiacc.org.
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other
and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and
cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are
uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address
climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org