AIA Northeast Illinois President's Welcome

DLA_Brian Scully

DLA Architects

Fellow AIA NEI Members,

My name is Brian Scully and I would like to formally introduce myself as the 2020 AIA Northeast Illinois Board President and welcome you back for another year.  What’s that you say?  It’s March 2nd and I am just getting around to this President’s Welcome now?  Well I was on deadline and I had a bunch of meetings pop up and there were the kids’ swim lessons, pinewood derby, a couple birthdays in there…

Does that sound familiar? Every word of it is the truth.  We as architects lead busy lives and finding time to complete all our job tasks, balance family life, and advance our careers/profession can be difficult.  The AIA winds up pretty far down the priority list and definitely toward the back of one’s mind.  It is easy to put the “AIA” after one’s name on a signature and move on.

The Northeast Illinois Chapter recognizes this and I wanted to take a moment to let you know what we have been up to, what we plan to bring you this year, and what AIA does for architects behind the scenes on a daily basis in the hopes of peaking your interest beyond paying annual dues.

Knowing that our members span a large geographic region and run very different schedules, we have for the past year plus begun to offer monthly programs at various locations throughout the Chapter at different times of the day with a number of topics from building tours to sessions on firm management to a series of engineering discussion panels.  Our goal is to provide more interesting continuing education opportunities that become accessible to all our members, even those who may not work a traditional schedule (and what architect does, really?).

Likewise, we are offering more social and networking events to allow members to meet one another as well as aligned professionals in the construction industry.  Often, we are trying to pair these events with educational programs, allowing our members to get more value from the time/money put into committing a couple hours to AIA NEI.  

A major focus of such events this year will be Emerging Professionals (EPs). (The AIA defines "Emerging Professionals" as architecture students, associates and young architects licensed for less than 10 years.) It can be hard for young architects to gain a foothold in the industry or a perspective outside the confines of their workstation.  AIA NEI is committed to giving EPs opportunities to tour firms and job sites, collect continuing education units, give support in studying for licensing exams, and hosting social events for EPs to bond over their shared experience, all in a low to no-cost manner as part of our Chapter’s outreach.

But outreach cannot and does not end within the architectural community itself.  This year the Chapter will participate in several events intended to engage and educate local governments, students, and the general public.  From creating activities for STEM events at local schools, to participation in community sustainability summits, to hosting an architectural film festival, to planning for a panel discussion involving and aimed at local mayors and community development directors, AIA NEI intends to turn outreach into advocacy.

And that outreach and advocacy is what really sets the AIA apart from other professional design organizations. It is both the visible and the behind-the-scenes work that the AIA in its national, state, and local chapters does on a regular basis withl governments, community organizations, and business leaders that many members don’t even see but is crucial to maintaining the architect’s role in shaping and developing the communities and the world in which we live.  The Citizen Architect.  

That is why it is so important that we as architects continue to support all our local professional organizations, especially the AIA, by joining the Chapter, volunteering for committees, sharing knowledge, or even just attending events or conferences. Whether joining other architects from around the state in speaking with and lobbying to elected officials in Springfield on March 24, 2020 for Prairie Grassroots, or by volunteering to be a part of a crit panel for high school student designs, there are myriad opportunities to become involved at whatever level works for each member.  

We plan to continue to update you more frequently on what we are doing and what is being done on your behalf throughout the coming year.   We hope that you appreciate that effort and consider becoming involved.

Brian P. Scully, AIA

President, AIA Northeast Illinois

Image credits

DLA_Brian Scully

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