Category Archives: Practice Management

AIA-NJ to Host Annual Design Conference

Oct. 20 in Somerset, N.J.

AIA New Jersey Design Conference to Include Rutgers Campus Tour, Keynote on University’s Master Plan as well as annual Design Awards



The biggest names in New Jersey architecture will meet for a full-day architectural affair, culminating in a panel review of AIA-NJ’s annual design award submissions. In addition to the Design Awards Reception, the conference will feature a trade show as well as seminars on a range of topics, from women in architecture to emerging technologies for architects. In recognition of the 250th anniversary of Rutgers University, the opening keynote will focus on Rutgers University’s master plan, while the annual architectural tour will be a walk-through of the New Brunswick College Avenue Campus, discussing the campus’ history, recently constructed buildings and what the future holds in store.


Keynote 1: Frank Wong, Rutgers Executive Director of University Planning and Development on the topic of “Rutgers University Master Plan, Then and Now”

Keynote 2: Stephen Chrisman, Senior Associate at Ferguson & Shamamian Architects on the topic of “New Traditional Architecture: The Work of Ferguson & Shamamian Architects”

Keynote 4: Rick Joy, AIA, renowned architect and former visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design on the topic of “Taking the Time”



      Design Conference – Thursday, October 20, 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.


Highlights include:

-Rutgers Keynote – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

-“Women in Architecture” seminar – 10:15 – 11:15

-Walking Tour of Rutgers University – 10:15 – 12:15

-Design Awards Reception – October 20, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

-Showcase New Jersey Architects’ Projects – October 20, 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.



The Palace at Somerset Park, 333 Davidson Avenue, Somerset, NJ



AIANJ: Women and Democracy Event

AIANJ Women in Architecture : Women and DemocracyWIA Final Logo

The AIANJ Women in Architecture (WIA) held the latest in its Lecture Series.  Open to all, this event focused on democracy and the local legislature.  Guest speakers Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin,  and Freeholder Tracey Silna Zur spoke at a round table discussion to members who attended.

img_0047 img_0050Join WIA at their next event to be held during the AIANJ Design Conference on October 20th.  Click to find more information and register to attend.


New Overtime Rules: What to Know and How to Prepare

Reprinted from AIA KnowledgeNet
ANGLE Staff  05-26-2016 19:11

Earlier this year we highlighted a proposed rule that would expand the pool of workers who qualify for overtime pay, and discussed its wide-reaching impact on American businesses. Finally, after months of deliberation, the Department of Labor has released the final version of its long-awaited overtime rule. Below we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what to expect, as well as how to prepare for the changes.


How is overtime currently mandated? 

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 ensures that all salaried workers are guaranteed overtime pay at time and a half for any hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek. The main aspect of the FLSA is its salary threshold, which says that every employee making under $23,660 annually must be paid overtime (this number has been

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YAF Connection August 2016



This issue focuses on the theme of EVOLVING BUSINESS MODELS.

In our annual State of Practice issue, we explore the current state of the profession, the key resources, and how it will evolve to meet the future needs. Our specific focus this month is on emerging professionals practicing internationally and future business models.

Read the full issue here:

YAF Connection Magazine


Interesting in getting involved in the AIA New Jersey Young Architects Community –
Learn More…


AIA Small Firm Exchange (SFx)

AIAeagle_2016The AIA Small Firm Exchange (SFx – and previously the Small Firm Roundtable SFRT) recently published its inaugural newsletter. Click here for a link to the letter from the Chair. There you will find the first articles and a link to sign up for the Small Firm Exchange (nationally), which will put you on the email list for the newsletter.

As mentioned in previous SFx posts, AIA New Jersey is also interested in organizing local Small Firm Exchanges (Roundtables) throughout the state. Please stay tuned for additional information, but if you have an interest, you can always contact me directly.


Bruce D. Turner, AIA
email: [email protected]

WIA Lecture Series: Women and Democracy

WIA Final LogoPlease Join Us – All Welcome


Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi



6:00PM TO 9PM




to Kim Vierheilig at [email protected]
AIA Members: No Charge | Non-AIA Members: $20 (at door) 1.0 CEU Pending Approval

THANKS to our Sponsor



Position Available Architect – North Jersey / New York

Irvington-on-Hudson NY
Paterson Fall NJ

Project Architect

WSA|ModernRuins is seeking highly motivated architects with 5-10 years experience in all stages of project development from conception through construction administration. Applicants must have a deep knowledge of construction assemblies, details and real world conditions for heritage buildings and new construction technologies.

A successful candidate will have the following qualities: positive proactive attitude; honesty and integrity; passionate and dedicated; motivated by a quest for knowledge and innovative solutions; ability to work independently and as a team; solid communication skills; productive use of time; and a commitment to excellence. Proficiency in AutoCad, Revit and other graphic software is required.


Surveys and evaluation of existing buildings & sites Building, zoning and energy code analysis Conceptual drawings, programming & renderings Construction documents & specifications

Field and In-office construction administration

About our Firm

WSA|ModernRuins is an award-winning architectural firm dedicated to sustainable preservation. Deeply engaged in the formation and dissemination of innovations in technology, philosophy, codes and guidelines relating to the marriage of sustainability and heritage buildings. No matter the size or complexity, project goals integrate community and culture, education and training, regionalism and local economy, artisanship and authenticity.

Email cover letter, resume and references to [email protected]

Embrace the Cloud: Improved Design Experience

Lynn Allen presents “Embrace the Cloud”: Improved Design Experience
Sponsored by IMAGINiT Technologies & Autodesk

Date: September 27, 2016design cloud-computing


8:30 am – 12pm


The Benjamin Hotel, 125 E 50th St, New York, NY 10022

Registration is required –


This event is Free to all AEC firms.   Breakfast included.

CLOUD technology is everywhere we turn – but what does it really mean to you?

LynnAllenpicJoin Autodesk Evangelist Lynn Allen as she clears up any misconceptions you might have about the Cloud and how the latest Autodesk Cloud offerings are certain to improve your design experience. The Cloud opens the door to everything from real-time collaboration and reality capture to endless design iterations, energy analysis and speedy renderings – you just need to walk through that door! Join us for this eye-opening session and experience the possibilities.

Speaker: Lynn Allen, Cadalyst columnist and Autodesk Technical Evangelist.  Lynn speaks to more than 30,000 users worldwide each year. For the past 22 years she has written a column for Cadalyst magazine called “Circles and Lines” and is the voice behind the popular Cadalyst videos –“Tips and Tricks with Lynn Allen”. Lynn started using Autodesk® software over 25 years ago, and taught at the corporate and collegiate level for 13 years before joining Autodesk. A sought-after public speaker with a unique comedic style.

For more information, please contact:

IMAGINiT Technologies

Aurora Deana-Roga


[email protected]

KSS Architects Recognizes & Elevates Dedicated Employees

KSS Architects, a design firm focused on architecture, interior design, and planning, is pleased to announce the promotion of several employees who embody the values & dedication of the firm.


KSS7_16FacesMayva Donnon, AIA, LEED AP, has been promoted to Principal. Mayva, at KSS for 11 years, has distinguished herself as a leader in designing spaces for clients in the realm of community, with a particular emphasis on educational clients and clients who serve special needs communities.


“Mayva is on a mission to improve the world,” says Merilee Meacock, AIA, LEED AP, PP, a Partner at KSS. “She is a great example of how our people align with our firm’s values—her energy, creativity, and thoughtfulness are integral to the way we deliver exceptional projects.”


Rebecca Udell has been promoted to Executive Director of Marketing Strategy.  With a long history at the firm, Rebecca’s career has been informed by over 20 years of experience as an Interior Designer, receiving her MBA at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and her involvement in several industry organizations including serving as President of CREW Philadelphia. Her experience as a practitioner, ability to see the meta view, and strategic mindset has made her an integral part of the growth and transition of KSS Architects.


“Rebecca has profound vision,” says Merilee. “She helps us understand where we’re headed as a firm and plants the seeds of change to help us get there. Rebecca is a key voice and representative of the values of our firm.”


Nicole Hollenbeck, AIA, LEED AP, has been named an Associate. The AIA-New Jersey Intern Architect of the Year in 2014, Nicole is a dedicated member of the firm’s industrial team and also a leader of the technical practice group, which strives to elevate the firm’s use of technology and innovative tools to advance both KSS projects and the field of architecture.


“Nicole has taken great initiative in developing the technical language with which we approach our projects,” says Ed Klimek, AIA, NCARB, Partner at the firm. “Her ability to understand a client’s needs, do research, and apply precise solutions is critical to the success of many of our industrial projects. Nicole earns the trust of our clients, and trust is everything in architecture.”


Christina Marconi, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, has also been named an Associate. A talented architect with an acute attention to detail, Christina works on the firm’s higher education team, and serves as a leader of the firm’s dedication to the future of architecture—Christina organizes the firm’s ACE Mentor initiative in Philadelphia, which has been nationally recognized by the White House and ACE National for its efforts to mentor local students for future careers in architecture, construction, and engineering industries.


“Christina is exceptional at guiding the process from design through to implementation,” says Pamela Rew, FAIA, Partner at the firm. “The tact with which she navigates design opportunities and challenges is of incredible value to each client and  an example to architects everywhere—she understands a client’s needs, takes ownership over project management, and sees it through to completion in a way that enacts the true program and design aspirations of a project.”

SURVEY – Business Models for Small Architectural Firms

AIAeagle_2016The Small Firm Exchange (SFx – previously called the Small Firm Roundtable, or SFRT) seeks the anonymous input of small architectural firms (10 persons or fewer) on a variety of business practices. Below is a full article by Kevin Harris, FAIA explaining the request. This article will soon appear in the CRAN Journal. But, to help us get a jump on this we are asking for you to participate in the survey now. The survey is very brief and should not take long to complete.

To access the survey click HERE!

Kevin Harris PhotoCRAN Journal – Summer 2016
Article by Kevin Harris, FAIA


As architects, we are all familiar with the process and benefits of modeling our designs prior to construction. Models are an effective medium to study proposed creations and help communicate those concepts to our clients.

Constructing a model takes time however, it can give us an opportunity to take a break, reflect on new insights, and manipulate the parts until all seems right. Working with a model is a process that helps us elevate our plans from good to better.

As part of their ongoing effort on identifying what information could best benefit members of the AIA, the Small Firm Exchange (SFx) distributed its Small Firm Survey (Beta version) during the 2016 AIA Convention. Its purpose was to identify and measure the variety and commonalities existing in small firm models with the goal of providing meaningful insight to all architects practicing in small firms. It collected data on firm location; staff number, credentials, and commitment; project numbers, types, locations, and budgets; business plan existence and update frequency; contract usage; fee methods; gross revenue; and identified interest areas for additional studies.

The surveys were distributed as paper copies in both the SFx and AIA Fellow/VIP Lounges at the convention. Participants in this “Beta” test group formed a small sampling however, one large enough to reveal certain patterns of important concern to small firm practitioners.

Most notable is the fact that very few responded as having, or updating, a business plan. Those that did have one admitted at best to infrequent review or updating of this important planning tool. A business plan is widely acknowledged as a basic guide that is to be used throughout the lifetime of any business. In order to be of value, the plan must be kept up-to-date!

This brings up the rhetorical question that, as a profession, why don’t architects apply those concepts of creative process improvement modeling used to arrive at better designs, to plans used to guide their own businesses? Why indeed!

I am also guilty of spending little to no time on developing, studying, or “modeling” my own business plan. This SFx survey has piqued my interest on what other things I might learn from observing other practices. What patterns are applicable to my own firm? For example, since I want to improve my financial success, is there a correlation between firm income and the number of projects each year? Or does the number of staff in my outfit restrict the types and sizes of projects I can best handle? What type of contracts do others use? Are there better patterns to distribute the responsibility hats worn by a sole proprietor when in a firm of 2-4 people, or is it any better with 5-10? Is a larger firm more profitable than a sole practitioner without support staff? The data sampling of small firms must be greatly enlarged to properly study these and other relevant questions.

Below is a sample “dashboard” that visually communicates the data gathered from the initial “Beta” version. Similar outputs will be applied to the digital version, and will be made available to all who participate. Follow this link to the survey:

SFx Beta Survey Results

Answering basic business questions and conducting mid-stream course corrections is required for your basic business survival. Having access to a database illustrating how your peers address these same issues will go a long way towards guiding you towards a more financially sustainable practice.

Download the survey link NOW!

Updated small firm model statistics will follow in a future issue of the CRAN Journal.

CRAN Journal – Summer 2016
Article by Kevin Harris, FAIA