Category Archives: Practice Management

AIA Small Firm Exchange at 2015 AIA National Convention

Did you know that 50% of AIA members practice in firms of of 5 or less people? Did you know that 70% of members practice in firms of 20 or less? The AIA Small Firm Roundtable (SFRT) seeks to specifically address the needs of the small firms. At the AIA National Convention there is a track of programs and events specifically tailored to the interests of small firms. That track is call the Small Firm Exchange, or SFx. This year in Atlanta the SFx track is particularly robust. Please see the flyer below for the complete schedule of events. And, while in Atlanta look for people donning a SFRT badge. They will gladly welcome you to the group!

2015 SFX LAYOUT DRAFT v05

Working With The Media – Writing a Letter to the Editor

AIA-NJIn our recent year end review of the 2014 activities of the AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee, we asked you to stay tuned for tools that will help you make a splash in the press. Below, is the second in a series of articles that will help you in that regard. With your help, we hope to be able to leverage our strength in numbers to help promote architects and architecture.

In the inaugural installment of our Working with the Media series, we discussed the process of familiarizing yourself with your local media landscape, including reporters and editors from various mainstream and trade outlets, and local community papers. We discussed a process called source filing, in which you, as an architect, establish yourself as a professional resource for future building and design-related stories that a journalist may be writing.

This is a necessary first step to making a splash in your local publication, but as a standalone measure, it leaves you in a passive position. Source filing vastly increases your chances of being contacted by a reporter when they need a source, but what if you want to proactively offer your expertise to the media?

Without pitching a story to a local reporter, it’s still possible to get published through a simple letter to the editor. A letter should be short – ideally less than 300 words – addressed to a newspaper or website’s editorial staff regarding a specific story or pertinent trend. Once you’ve identified the correct email or mailing address for the editor (usually located on the ‘Opinions’ or ‘Letters’ page), it’s time to get started on your letter.

As you’re writing your letter, keep in mind a few key points:

  • Keep it (somewhat) formal: Begin your letter with a proper salutation and thoroughly check it for spelling, grammar, and unnecessary shorthand writing. The printed letter is a direct reflection of you as a professional!
  • Send it electronically: While sending a physical letter is a novel idea, you greatly increase your chances of being published if you email the letter. It’s far easier for busy editors to copy/paste a letter than to retype it.
  • Clearly state your position in the opening paragraph: Whether you’re responding to a recent article or commenting on a building or architectural issue, make sure that you don’t bury your main point. In the first paragraph, be sure to plainly state your stance in relation to the story or subject.
  • Don’t (always) have a bone to pick: The tendency for many is to write a letter to the editor only when they are upset or opposed to something that a reporter has written. In fact, letters to the editor can be laudatory of a reporter, fellow architect, development project – anything! In fact, as long as you’re offering a fresh perspective, staying positive is a great way to solidify your relationship with the publication in the early stages of your relationship.

Letters to the editor offer a unique opportunity for architects because they are not controlled by an editorial board or journalistic practices. They’re an opportunity to say something constructive, educational, or unique about architecture while solely owning the message. Best of luck and happy writing!

For more suggestions, refer to AIA Best Practices – Getting Good Press on the web at www.aia.org. Please note this is a password protected, member only website. Therefore, we cannot provide a direct link to the site for you. But you can find it under Practicing Architecture; Best Practices; Part 2 – Firm Management; Chapter 6: Marketing and Business Development. You might also find a lot of other beneficial material in this area of the website.

If you would like to read the previous article in this series, please click here.

If you would like to see a sample Letter to the Editor, please click here.

Kyle Kirkpatrick
Account Supervisor
Beckerman PR Real Estate Team

Bruce D. Turner, AIA
Chair, AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee

Working With The Media

AIA-NJIn our recent year end review of the 2014 activities of the AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee, we asked you to stay tuned for tools that will help you make a splash in the press. Below, is the first in a series of articles that will help you in that regard. This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more. With your help, we hope to be able to leverage our strength in numbers to help promote architects and architecture.

You’ve just completed design and implementation of your plans for a building. Or perhaps you feel that the media is ignoring an important architectural story in the news. The question is: Now what? How can you leverage your hard work and expertise to build your reputation and attract future business prospects?

Luckily, for architects, several avenues exist to publicize projects through “earned media” – that is, unpaid, “legitimate” news stories. And with the proliferation of specialized digital media, it’s even more likely that a building that you’ve helped to design can garner significant media coverage.

But first thing’s first. It’s often not enough to simply “cold call” a news outlet in order to garner ink. Working with the media is as much about building relationships as it is about hard news. Remember, reporters are people, too!

Building a working acquaintanceship with your local media is effective not only in building respect for your firm’s individual projects, but also in positioning yourself as a go-to expert for architectural issues. Reporters will often need to quickly reach out to an industry expert in order to obtain necessary information or print a quote for their story. This process is called source filing.

Luckily, beginning the dialogue with your local media is relatively straightforward:

  • Familiarize yourself with local media: The first step to interacting with your local reporters is to understand their publication and their area of expertise. Read your local papers and identify which reporters report on real estate, business, and community development.
  • Email a reporter: In most publications, it’s easy to locate an email address for a particular reporter on its website. Simply send a brief “hello” introducing yourself, your practice, and your specific area of expertise. It helps to reference a story that the reporter wrote recently, which demonstrates your familiarity with their work.
  • Call the publication: Particularly when you’re seeking to connect with a reporter about a timely issue, it’s best to call the publication’s main number and ask for the reporter. You can even invite them to lunch or coffee as an introduction.

While these approaches may not translate to instantaneous news coverage, building a relationship with your local reporter is the most prudent first step to constructing your own public relations campaign. Over time, it will pay dividends.

For more suggestions, refer to AIA Best Practices – Getting Good Press on the web at www.aia.org. Please note this is a password protected, member only website. Therefore, we cannot provide a direct link to the site for you. But you can find it under Practicing Architecture; Best Practices; Part 2 – Firm Management; Chapter 6: Marketing and Business Development. You might also find a lot of other beneficial material in this area of the website.

Kyle Kirkpatrick
Account Supervisor
Beckerman PR Real Estate Team

Bruce D. Turner, AIA
Chair, AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee

Careers: FVHD Architects + Planners promotes Joseph Como

FVHD is pleased to announce that Joseph V. Como, AIA, LEED Green Associate is joining our exceptional team of Senior Associate Gary A. Rostron, AIA, and Associate Jason J. Dubowitch, AIA, NCARB

JOSEPH V. COMO

FVHD Architects + Planners is pleased to announce the promotion of Joseph Como, AIA, LEED GA to Associate, effective January 1, 2015. Joseph has over 15 years experience working on public and educational facilities, providing consistent management and leadership on all projects. His creativity and attention to detail make him a valuable member of the firm. Since graduating from Philadelphia University in 2000 with a 5-year Professional Bachelors in Architecture, he has approached all projects with great enthusiasm, striving to make each a success for the client, firm, and community.  As an Associate of the Firm, Joseph will increase his involvement in the Firm’s operations, supporting the Principals, while continuing his role as Project Manager. He is a Registered Architect in New Jersey, credentialed with USGBC as a LEED Green Associate, and a current member of the Lawrence Township Historic Preservation Committee. Recently, Joseph has completed renovations to the Ambassador’s Residence to Cyprus, in Washington DC, additions and renovations to the Hillsborough #3 Fire Station, in Hillsborough NJ, and is currently working on security additions and renovations at (9) facilities for Marlboro Township Public Schools. Continue reading

What Do You See When You Look Up?

AIA wants to know – “What Do You See When You Look Up?”

See what architects see and pass it on, go to:

http://www.ilookup.org

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Year End Review of AIA-NJ Public Awareness

AIA-NJAs we close the books on 2014, the AIA-NJ Public Awareness Committee is pleased to report yet another successful year in the evolution of the organization’s public relations campaign.

Each year, the Public Awareness Committee – chaired by Bruce Turner, AIA, along with representatives from each local Section and leaders of the State Chapter – teams with Beckerman Public Relations to build and sustain exposure for our membership and the architectural profession at large. Our committee has been able to consistently achieve this goal through an “earned media” campaign, in which we publicize specific projects, awards, events, and trends using a comprehensive media relations strategy. We regularly pursue coverage through distribution of press releases, event advisories, and bylined pieces submitted by AIA-NJ members. This earned media effort positions AIA New Jersey as an expert resource to the media, and we are, therefore, often called upon by them when specific news stories arise or to comment on feature articles these journalists are writing themselves.

This year, the committee approached the campaign with a renewed focus on where we were promoting AIA-NJ in the media. Our goal was not only to raise awareness of architectural practice in the general public, but also solidify the AIA-NJ brand among key stakeholders, industry influencers and potential clients. To this end, we targeted a wide variety of local general news publications (Times of Trenton, Asbury Park PressNj.com, and Courier News, to name a few) along with more specialized industry trade press (NJBIZ, GlobeSt, Commercial Construction and Renovation, Real Estate Weekly, and, of course, AIArchitect). In total, we issued upwards of 35 press announcements throughout the year, securing approximately 120 media placements!

Additionally, AIA-NJ maintains an all-volunteer social media campaign to complement this digital and print media presence. Not only have the AIA-NJ Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages been increasingly active in promoting the organization’s core messages, but our members have also maintained their own active social media presence, benefitting both their own firms and the practice as a whole.

Now, with repositioning in mind and on the heels of the recently launched AIA national “I Look Up” campaign, we’re asking all members of AIA-NJ to get involved and take advantage of the opportunity to market themselves while helping to promote AIA’s central goals here in New Jersey. Together with Beckerman, we’re working on a series of educational initiatives to make sure that our members have the tools that they need to make a splash in the press. Stay tuned!

AIA 2015 Membership Renewal

AIANJ_logo

Dear AIANJ Members:

You should all by now have received your AIA Membership renewal letter by mail.  If you renew early, which would be by December 31st, you have the following advantages:

1.      The chance to win a Surface Pro 3 or iPad Air 32G!

2.    An additional business expense for tax purposes

3.    AIANJ and your AIA Section receive due payments early which is always beneficial for local event planning and payment

4.    One more thing to take off of your 2015 to do list!

You can renew by visiting http://aia.org/renew/ and signing in with your member id number.  We at AIANJ value our members and look forward to an exciting 2015!

Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!

Justin A. Mihalik, AIA

Membership Chairperson

Reciprocity With Canada

Grassroots 2009In his recent trip to Canada, Governor Christie said “I’ve gotten the impression over time, watching American foreign policy, that Canada has been an afterthought……I don’t think we pay enough attention to this relationship as Americans in general. I’ve made a very conscious decision to come to Canada and to come here to Alberta because we should treat our friends with both respect and attention.”

This statement comes on the heels of a recent tri-national agreement by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), Canadian Licensing Authorities (CALA), and the Federacion de Colegios de Architectos de la Republica Mexicana (FCARM), making it possible for architects to work across North American boarders.

With all of this in mind, it is time for the State of New Jersey to take specific action to address New Jersey’s relationship Canada relative to the practice of architecture. Specifically, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects renews its call for the State of New Jersey to resolve impediments to cross border licensure with Canada, and stands ready and willing to work with all relevant parties to find a workable solution for New Jersey.

Gilbert Seltzer AIA Celebrates 100th Birthday

WO-gilbert-seltzer-C-300x225Longtime West Orange resident Gilbert Seltzer, an architect, recently celebrated his 100th birthday.  Seltzer, who was born in Toronto in 1914, is the owner of Gilbert L. Seltzer Associates in West Orange. He still drives himself to work every day and has no plans on slowing down.

AIA New Jersey congratulates Gilbert on this milestone and wishes him many more years in the architecture profession.

Click on the links below to see some of the articles that have been published online and in local newspapers:

West Orange Patch

Essex News Daily

AIA-NJ Leadership

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Members and leaders from around the six sections that make up AIA New Jersey attended the 2014 Leadership Conference on Saturday, November 15th.   The day was spent looking at the current organization and how it can be improved to serve its members and the profession of architecture better.

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The topic of the day was Effective Practices of Successful Boards lead by Glenn Tekker of Tekker International, LLC. Attendees said the session was very informative and gave all bullet items to take back to their local groups to help further the discussion.  Throughout the afternoon break-out groups started the task of identifying areas where AIA-NJ can focus to improve it’s core mission of member value and enhancing the architecture profession in NJ.   Each break-out group generated pages of information that is being organized now for the next working session to be held in upcoming months.  What for more on this in 2015.

See more images: Leadership Conference pictures

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