AIA wants to know – “What Do You See When You Look Up?”
See what architects see and pass it on, go to:
AIA wants to know – “What Do You See When You Look Up?”
See what architects see and pass it on, go to:
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 Press, Nj.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!
In 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.
Longtime 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:
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.
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
by Steve Whitehorn
Editor’s Note: This is the third article in the Empowerment by Design series by Steve Whitehorn of Whitehorn Financial Group, Inc., providing A/E professionals with practical tips for a more successful, profitable practice.
The design industry has seen substantial change in business models over the past 15 years. The financial crisis and slow recovery coupled with the rising popularity of design/build have created pressure to reduce fees and lead to fierce competition. As a result, architectural firms are falling into the commoditization trap.
Commoditization occurs when clients don’t understand the difference between goods and services. The ever-increasing availability of computer-aided design and the myriad of delivery options available for design services in today’s marketplace have led to the misguided notion that design is a good rather than a service. Project decisions are increasingly being made based on price and ease of delivery, rather than design expertise or lasting value.
Many firms are struggling against commoditization by trying to be all things to all clients. Others are becoming bloated and unfocused by taking on any and all projects just to bring in revenue. These reactionary tactics can lead to a race for survival among competing firms.
How can you avoid commoditization? The first step is to define your value proposition. A value proposition is a succinct statement that explains why a client should choose your firm over the competition. Your value proposition needs to communicate exactly what services your firm is offering, and what differentiates your firm from the others. It should also clearly convey the value your service can bring to a given project.
One of the best ways to define your value proposition is to perform a “Dangers, Opportunities, Strengths” (D.O.S) analysis.
Begin by making an honest self-assessment of your firm. Assemble your firm’s leadership and key-stakeholders to discuss your firm’s dangers, opportunities, and strengths. Ask questions such as: What do we do best? What is our current specialization – healthcare, hospitality, cultural facilities, etc.? Who are our preferred clients? Who are our competitors? What differentiates our firm from our competition?
Next, ask your clients the questions from their perspective. Talk to your top 20 or so clients and ask questions about dangers, opportunities and strengths. The following are some example questions that can help you formulate your client-facing D.O.S. analysis:
Dangers: What do your clients see as obstacles to their projects – project financing, divergent interests of stakeholders, community pressures? What are they most concerned about during the construction process (issues arising from delays, changes to the plans, etc.)?
Opportunities: What do they see as the prime opportunities for their projects, for example: building a legacy, visible impact, community improvement, etc.?
Strengths: What influenced their decision to work with your firm? What does your client see as your firm’s advantages and differentiators? How will this/these projects support their vision and their strategy?
Review your clients’ responses and compile their common top three answers on dangers, opportunities, and strengths into one list. When you have that list, compare it against the list of answers from your internal review. Are you on the same page as your clients? Do they see your D.O.S. the same way you do? Are you adequately addressing their concerns? Do you understand your clients’ aspirations in the opportunities column? Does your client see your firms’ strengths the same way you do? Identify the gaps between your clients’ answers and your firm’s answers and determine a strategy to bridge those gaps.
Now you are ready to define your value proposition. Go back to the questions you first asked yourself: What do we do best? What is our specialization? Who are our competitors? What differentiates our firm from the competition? Use your D.O.S. analysis and the input from your clients to refine your answers. Make a pro-active plan to mitigate the dangers, take advantage of your opportunities, and refine and reinforce your strengths.
Your value proposition needs to be simple and direct. Explain how your firm can meet your clients’ needs, the specific benefits your firm can deliver, and why the client should choose your firm over the competition. Above all, keep an eye out for changes in the market. Revisit your D.O.S. analysis as necessary to identify how your value proposition can fulfill a unique niche in the current market.
Knowing who you are, what you can deliver, and understanding your value proposition will help you break free from the commoditization trap.
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Steve Whitehorn is the author of the upcoming book, Ensuring Your Firm’s Legacy, and Managing Principal of Whitehorn Financial Group, Inc., and is the creator of The A/E Empowerment Program®, a three-step process that helps firms create a more significant legacy and empowers them to achieve greater impact on their projects, relationships, and communities.
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• Student actively pursuing a four year degree in Engineering Technology, Survey or Civil Engineering; • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher;
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• Knowledge of land surveying and 3D modeling experience a plus; and, • Proficiency in AutoDesk Revit building systems.
Please submit resume, cover letter and include academic transcripts. Preference will be given to students who are currently in their Jr. or Sr. year.
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AIA New Jersey is pleased to announce the successful completion of one of its major legislative initiatives with the enactment of the Good Samaritan bill signed by Governor Christie yesterday. The profession will be in a position to offer its services to the people of New Jersey during a declared disaster as a first responder with the protections afforded in this statute. We want to thank our prime Sponsor Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald and sponsors Assemblymen Moriarty and Chivukula and the Governor for their support. Below is a press release regarding the bill.
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula to improve the state’s ability to respond to large-scale natural disasters has been inked into law.
The law (A-2025) bolsters safety inspection capacity in the aftermath of disasters like Superstorm Sandy – the scale of which can easily overwhelm local governments – by shielding licensed architects and professional engineers from liability when they volunteer to help local governments respond to major natural disasters.
“Whether it’s tornadoes in Alabama, earthquakes in California or hurricanes in New Jersey, Good Samaritan laws are critical in ensuring a safe, effective and speedy response to major natural disasters,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “By passing a Good Samaritan law in New Jersey, we better prepare our state to respond rapidly and efficiently to the next Superstorm Sandy.”
“Not having had this protection deterred many of these professionals from volunteering their services in times of critical need, which unduly restricted our ability to quickly and effectively provide safety inspections after a large-scale disaster,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “We cannot afford to go without such valuable assistance when the next big storm hits.”
“These are professionals who are willing to volunteer their time, expertise and services to help rebuild communities that have been damaged by major natural disasters,” said Chivukula (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “With the weather expected to become even more severe in the future, it will be wise to have people with expertise who are ready and able to help when the time comes.”
Nearly 400 architects stood ready to use their professional expertise to assist in assessing storm-damaged properties in New York City days after Superstorm Sandy hit, according to a 2013 Crain’s New York Business article. The specter of thousands – if not millions – of dollars in potential lawsuit liability deterred the vast majority from volunteering their assistance, leaving local officials overwhelmed by the scale of the task.
In contrast, Alabama’s Good Samaritan law, enacted in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, was crucial in the aftermath of devastating tornadoes that in April 2011 killed 64 people and caused $2.2 billion in damage. In response to the devastating category EF-4 tornado, over 200 professionals volunteered nearly 1,300 hours in Tuscaloosa alone, inspecting over 7,000 buildings for safety–critical assistance given the municipality’s limited staff resources.
Under the law, licensed architects or professional engineers would remain liable for the full extent of damages caused by their own acts or omissions that are wanton, willful or grossly negligent.
We are very pleased that the governor has signed the Good Samaritan legislation, particularly with widespread support from both the the Assembly and Senate. By removing prohibitive regulations against building professionals, the Act will allow trained architects and other professionals to quickly and effectively respond to pressing infrastructural issues in times of emergency. This legislation reflects the mission of the AIA to contribute its collective expertise when it is needed most, which is crucial in the planning and rebuilding of New Jersey’s communities. We commend lead sponsor and Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, along with sponsors Paul Moriarity and Upendra Chivukula, for their sound and rational advocacy of this bill.