The President’s Corner / August, 2012

THE VALUE OF THE ARCHITECT and  AIA-NJ
STOP SCREWING AROUND AND GET INVOLVED

I am proud to be an active member of the AIANJ, it is something that I consider to be an honor.  I joined and started to participate in 1968 when I was a young draftsman. I did not have the time and or the inclination to be actively entrenched and serve on the Board of my local section, the Architects League of Northern New Jersey, until years later.  I attended all of the monthly meetings and had a lot of fun observing the older established architects with their creative antics. Most of these architects were well seasoned and skillfully versed in design and construction.   It was the late John Robert Gilchrist, AIA, who through his leadership instilled in me the spirit to join AIANJ and become more actively involved.

I always enjoyed the NJ Architect Conventions in Atlantic City and later on at the Playboy Club in Vernon, NJ.  I learned a lot during those early years especially at the Playboy Club. But since becoming an active member serving on the Board and committees I’ve gotten an incredible amount of experience and knowledge out of AIA.  If you really need to know, you will get back more than your dues in assets and so much more in the way of enrichments from being actively involved in AIA. Why throw away your money to be a non-active member, be involved and reap the rewards that AIA has to offer. Become an Officer, become President of AIANJ serve on the Board, Serve on a committee, Chair a committee on Codes, attend State Board Meetings, attend the learning sessions like East Coast Green or the Code seminars, Design Day, the Business and Ethics of Architecture, you will never say “what does AIA do for me” again, I promise you this.

Membership in The American Institute of Architects brands us all to the highest level of professionalism of a 150 year old organization established for the purpose to enrich the practice of architecture. Being a member in the AIA is a privilege that is bestowed on us all having passed the licensing exam and commanding a sense of responsibility and knowledge to maintain the highest level of competence in the field of architecture.  What is the purpose of being a member if all you are interested in are the initials AIA behind your name? Do you think that is all it is worth? If you do, you are sadly mistaken.

Understand the value of donating to your New Jersey Architectural Political Action Committee (APAC). Don’t forget ARCHIPAC, AIA Nationals Political Action Committee. We have a voice because of those who continuously donate and are actively involved. Your donations go directly toward supporting elected officials who support architects. There is no bull about it, become a full active APAC member and attend political fundraisers, meet your Senators, Congress and Assembly members face to face. Share in communion of the political prosperity.  Attend the annual Grassroots Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. Going to Capital Hill and lobbying your Senators and Congress person is like nothing you have ever done before. This conference is spectacular, thrilling and offers a vast opportunity to attend incredible learning and leadership sessions. As an active Board member your cost to attend this conference is sponsored by AIANJ and its Sections.

I have been very actively involved in AIANJ for the past 10 years. This has been the most rewarding time spent for me as a member of AIA.  Don’t lose sight of what truly matters. When I first became involved and noticed that the same individuals some 15 to 20 members are the ones who keep this organization going. These few give their personal time to serve with no compensation only the love for architecture and desire to better our profession.  Now it is your time to give back as those before you have. As we go into the future it will be the young architects who will step into these active positions and take over the leadership rolls in this culturally rich organization. I ask that you encourage the youth of our profession who work in your office to join AIA as an associate member.  It costs very little and will continue new life in our society. Do your part to support our New Jersey Society of Architects to help it grow, get involved and be active. This is our profession, keep it strong and keep it ours.

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