Happy New Year!
First and foremost, a big thank you to Kim Bunn AIA for her leadership as President taking on and delivering a new Strategic Plan and Member Core Services amongst all of the other successful programming events of 2015! I am exhilarated to be your 2016 President and the year could not have started off any faster for us at AIANJ. As just mentioned, AIANJ will be implementing its new strategic plan that has four key goals:
- Advance the quality of the profession by keeping pace with technology, sustainable design practices and the ever-changing political, economic, social and physical environment.
- Cultivate well-designed, livable, sustainable, resilient communities that enhance the public’s health, safety, and welfare.
- Elevate the value of the profession; educate the public on the benefits of using architects for sustainable/innovative design; and promote a streamlined path to licensure.
- Expand the diverse membership base; continue to enhance its organizational, membership and technical resources; and extend its policy advocacy role.
As you can imagine, the implementation of this plan is taking a lot of time and effort and I want to thank all of those who are involved for their commitment to the future of this organization.
This is also the first year of the implementation of Core Member Services, which is a new plan instituted by AIA to ensure that each member throughout the country receives a minimum level of membership benefits. The good news is that AIANJ and its Sections meet all of the requirements of Core Member Services and will continue to deliver those benefits to all of you.
On the legislative front, the Governor signed Bill A2023 AcaSca (2R), which revises the definition of “responsible charge” as it relates to licensed architects. This is a very important win for AIANJ as it supported the passage of this bill. The revised language now recognizes the “digital age” in the architectural practice and the many firms who are utilizing production teams outside of their physical offices. So in short, if you are working with a consultant or with a team member who is producing the drawings outside of the physical office that the architect sits in, you are practicing legally as long as you are providing the proper personal direction and oversight. AIANJ thanks the efforts of Assembly members Louis Greenwald, Daniel Benson and Nilsa Cruz-Perez for their support!
Lastly, the sad news is the loss of the St. Mark’s Church in West Orange to a major fire on New Year’s Day. The St. Mark’s Church underwent a major renovation and addition between 1861 and 1877 by Richard Upjohn FAIA, the founder of the AIA. The church was nominated to the National Historic Register in 1977 and is also a State and local Historic Landmark. Many AIANJ members including Jerry Eben AIA, Eli Goldstein AIA, Mark Hewitt FAIA and Marty Feitlowitz AIA, have been working with the church owner’s and the municipality to save the church from demolition. This is a great example of AIANJ members taking the initiative to save an important and historic piece of architecture, while at the same time educating the public as to why it is important.
Educating the public about architects and architecture is something that all of us must do if we expect the public to value the talent and services we provide. AIANJ through its Public Awareness Committee is committed to this important effort as it is one of the cornerstones of our Strategic Plan. However, it does not stop there, it must continue with the boots on the ground, the members, who work with the public on a daily basis. Let me know how AIANJ can help you in this most important effort.
Justin A. Mihalik, AIA
AIA New Jersey 2016 President