Category Archives: Business

USGBC-NJ Hosts Senator Norcross Networking Event

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USGBC NJ Chapter
South Branch Presents
SENATOR DONALD NORCROSS
PRESENTATION & NETWORKING DINNER
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
5:00 – 8:00 PM
Wyndham Philadelphia – Mount Laurel

Come out and enjoy a night of networking and socializing with others in green building & advocacy related fields. Senator Norcross will discuss the topics of economic development, green building, and school construction, particularly in South Jersey.

REGISTER HERE


Senator Donald Norcross (D),
Legislative District 5:
Committees: Law and Public Safety, Chair, Military and Veterans’ Affairs Transportation. Senator Donald Norcross was sworn to the Senate on January 19, 2010. The Senator has been an advocate for the working men and women of New Jersey. He also championed efforts to expand and diversify the workforce through the recruitment and hiring of women and minorities. As a legislator, he is working to reduce the costs of government and to bring property taxes under control. He also promotes reform movements within government spending, ethics, and accountability. He is dedicated to creating public-private partnerships and other initiatives to spur economic development, revitalize neighborhoods, and rejuvenate the downtown business districts within Camden.CLICK HERE for full bio.

THANK YOU TO OUR EVENT SPONSORS:

            

SCHEDULE:
• 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm sign-in, networking & drinks (cash bar)
• 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm buffet dinner and networking
• 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm speaker Senator Norcross (includes Q&A)
COST TO ATTEND:
Members/ Non-members & Students/ Emerging Professionals: $25
(Click here to register)
LOCATION: Wyndham Philadelphia – Mount Laurel
1111 Route 73 North, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

Architecture Positions Available

New Jersey Architecture Firm looking to fill the following positions:

 

ARCHITECT   – Well established creative Architectural Design Studio seeking Architect with B. of Arch Degree plus 6 to10 years’ experience.  Qualifications include good working knowledge of   Construction Drawings /Details. Candidate must be proficient in Architectural Desktop, Revit would be a plus. Applicant must be capable of producing and delivering projects from concept to finish. Design projects include Schools, Residential   commercial and institutional, masonry and gut renovations.   Candidates must have excellent work ethics and be able to direct and manage staff.  Respond with a resume illustrating your experience and leadership qualities. Also include salary history and requirements.   We offer competitive salary w/ benefits, send resume to ARCHPOSITIONS@AOL.com

 

 

ARCHITECT- JUNIOR – seeking motivated person with 1 to 3+yrs experience. Architectural recent grads welcome. Basic knowledge of design and construction working drawings are essential. We use AutoCAD & Architectural Desktop. A working knowledge of these programs is mandatory. Projects include public schools, commercial, medical, mid-rise & residential designs. Competitive salary Competitive salary w/ benefits send resume to ARCHPOSITIONS@AOL.com

 

ASID-NJ Summer Networking Night

Join ASID-NJ for our Summer Meet & Greet — A Networking Night for all NJ’s finest design professionals.

June 25, 2014
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Stone House at Stirling Ridge

Register and RSVP:    http://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-meet-greet-registration-11839186325

SUMMER-MEET-GREET

The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Announces Newly-Elected Society Directors and Trustees


TST_HeadshotPrinceton, NJ – May 30, 2014
Thomas S. Townes, AIA, FSMPS, CPSM, Director Business Development, Van Note-Harvey Associates, PC has been elected Fellows Delegate on the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) 2014 – 2016 Society Board of Directors.

SMPS is a community of marketing and business development professionals working to secure profitable business relationships for their A/E/C companies and is the only organization dedicated exclusively to creating business opportunities in the A/E/C industry. SMPS was created in 1973 by a small group of professional services firm leaders who recognized the need to sharpen skills, pool resources, and work together to build their businesses. Today, SMPS represents a dynamic network of 6,000+ marketing and business development professionals from architectural, engineering, planning, interior design, construction, and specialty consulting firms located throughout the United States and Canada. The Society and its chapters benefit from the support of 3,700 design and building firms, encompassing 80% of the Engineering News-Record Top 500 Design Firms and Top 400 Contractors.

Van Note-Harvey Associates is a 120 year old consulting engineering and environmental services firm serving the Mid-Atlantic States.  Headquartered in Princeton, NJ with an office in Cape May Court House, NJ, VNHA provides project surveying, environmental and site development services including environmental compliance, permitting, subsurface utility location services, site and utilities engineering, and construction administration to municipal, public and private clients.

Prior to joining Van Note-Harvey Associates, Tom was President and Senior Principal at Focus Architecture of Pennington, New Jersey.  Over his 30-year career, he has helped his clients with a wide range of initiatives, from planning to project completion. Along with his solid capabilities as a project executive, his professional credentials include opening multiple branch offices for a national firm, programming, management, strategic marketing planning and business development.  Tom is a licensed Architect in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware and is certified by the National Council Architectural Registration Board (NCARB).  Mr. Townes resides in Hopewell Township, NJ with his wife Myra Anne B. Townes.

 

New Series: Empowerment by Design

By Steve Whitehorn

Introduction

These days, owners are expecting more and more for their investment dollars.  Unrealistic owner expectations can lead architects and engineers to experience greater risk and anxiety with every new project.

In my new series for AIA New Jersey – Empowerment by Design – my goal is to help you, the A/E professional, to create a greater sense of clarity in your practice, to establish standards that will protect you and to make you more confident practicing in this ever-changing economic landscape.

It’s not my position that what you’ve been doing is wrong, but that there are more effective strategies – both internal and external – that can empower you and your firm to succeed in today’s marketplace.

This column will also provide you with information as well as, I hope, inspiration.  The kind that helps you step outside of your comfort zone, away from the mindset of “this is the way we’ve always done things, ” and toward a more confident approach to risks and rewards.

Professional boxer Jack Dempsey used to say, “the key to a good offense, is a great defense.” It seems to me, that for the past 40 years, our industry looked at risk in this way.  In my opinion, this hasn’t been the best approach; architects and engineers get sued all the time, and not necessarily with good results.  That kind of uncertainty leaves you always on the balls of your feet.

But what would happen if you learned strategies that helped you get paid, on time, every time?  How about setting standards that empower you to refuse to accept substitutions?  How about discovering the power to keep contractors from running circles around you?  You may find operating and negotiating from a position of strength has its payoffs.

We believe it’s time for change and that your credo as an A/E professional should be, “the key to a good defense, is a great offense!”  That’s what Empowerment by Design is all about.  So go confidently in this new direction, dear reader.  We’re here to help you find greater clarity, greater stability and, above all, greater success.

 

Create Greater Clarity to Empower Your Firm

Editor’s Note: This is the first 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.

As an architect, what are your top career goals?  Fame?  Creative freedom?  Respect?  More money?  Having worked with hundreds of architecture and engineering firms over the past twenty-five years, I have learned that there are many paths to a successful career in architecture.  But each path has one common guide that lights the way: clarity.

So what exactly do I mean by “clarity”?  In the context of observing it in successful firms, possessing clarity means having a detailed understanding of the responsibilities of each person’s role in the firm – from principals to associates to assistants, and so forth – and developing a greater awareness of how each role affects the other.

Why?  Because design is a team sport.  In baseball, for example, coaches typically say that their best hitters are “seeing the ball well.”  In other words, they have achieved a sense of clarity: they can see what’s coming at them and they’re confident they can knock the ball out of the park.  In the same way, the greater clarity firm principals have, the greater positive impact it will have on the firm.  Clarity is a stepping-stone for success, as it will improve and guide the firm’s projects, relationships, and overall economic stability.

Unfortunately, a lack of clarity is a distinct flaw that shows up in many areas of a firm.  I have found that most of the fears and anxieties that my clients possess ultimately can be traced back to a lack of clarity. The resulting uncertainty and apprehension leads to a domino effect of confusion among their employees in their respective roles.  Thankfully, finding greater clarity within your firm isn’t as elusive as it may seem.

The following are a few ways in which you can empower yourself to bring more clarity to your firm, your projects and, with it, more peace of mind for yourself:

Be selective.  You may find that you spend only 20% of each day actually designing and the other 80% lost in tedious tasks.  This is because you lack clarity and you’re not making the right business decisions. In school, you learned how your designs could change the world, but what you didn’t learn were strategies necessary to attain the work you desire. When you’re clear about what you want, how you and your team are going to execute tasks, and you’re selective with clients and projects, it’s likely that you’ll end up with more projects you want and can reasonably manage.

Create a gameplan.  You must establish a clear understanding of scope for each project; from the owner’s perspective, your perspective, and the project team executing the project.  Creating a game plan for your team – one that clearly states which team member is responsible for which tasks, and so forth, from the start of a project to its completion – will relieve you as a principal from feeling like you have to control everything and accomplish everything yourself.

Beware of micromanaging.  If you find yourself worrying about what might go wrong if you don’t have your eye on each and every task within your firm, or about what an employee might do without your knowledge, nothing in your firm will be accomplished.  In this case, you’re too busy planting doubt within your firm and those who work for you.  Clarity comes when you learn to let go of the worry of losing control.  In fact, you will have greater control in the end because you will be able to focus more clearly on your vision, passion, and creativity, while knowing who’s executing tasks and how the work is getting done.

Clearly define post-design phase responsibilities.  Lacking clarity, especially during the construction process, prevents employees from practicing with confidence.  For the construction phase of a project, clearly define your firm’s responsibilities, as well as each of your employee’s responsibilities.  Additionally, confidently express expectations to the contractor in terms of their responsibilities for the project, and, above all, always hold them accountable.

Step out of your comfort zone.  If you’re holding on to the mindset that “we’ve always done it this way,” you’re not doing yourself or your firm any good over the long term.  Finding greater clarity will require you to try new ways of getting things done.  This doesn’t mean that the way you’ve always done things is wrong, but that there are ways to do the work more efficiently and effectively.

Greater clarity enriches your firm’s value, but it must be shared from top to bottom.  Defining scope and responsibilities, being more selective about the work you take on and freeing yourself to do more of what you love to do, will bring you and your firm greater clarity, greater confidence, and greater success.

 

Steve Whitehorn is the author of the upcoming book, Empowerment by Design, and Managing Principal of Whitehorn Financial Group, Inc., which provides architects and engineers with strategies that minimize risk, increase profitability, speed up cash flow, and get more work. Whitehorn Financial Group, Inc., is the creator of The A/E Empowerment Program®.whitehorn-finacial-logo-w-tagline41

 

Healthcare and Small Firms- how will you be affected?

Submitted by: Justin A. Mihalik, AIA, Membership Chairperson

This past Grassroots in Washington, D.C., I spent some time with the folks from AIA Trust specifically to talk about what options Trust has for members as it relates to healthcare.  Recently, members have talked to me about the importance of access to healthcare through AIA being a “value” to members.  As a small business owner myself I fully understand this.  For many years, members of AIA and AIANJ have lobbied on behalf of its members, for legislation that would allow the AIA to offer group healthcare plans to its members.  Although the House approved the Bill to make this happen on more than one occassion, the Senate never took vote on it because the administrations had been working on a healthcare package for the Senate to approve, which never happened.  Therefore, AIA and many other national trade organizations like AIA, cannot offer the plans as a group.  With that said, there are options through AIA Trust and a wealth of information for firms to understand how the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) will affect them.  You can find this information at http://www.theaiatrust.com/healthcare-coverage/.

As an AIA member, there are many benefits that come with your membership including access to discounted Professional Liability/Risk Management, Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, and even Travel Assistance, all through AIA Trust.  Please visit their website to take a look at all of these offers.

AIA-NJ

PRACTICING ARCHITECTURE WITHOUT A LICENSE – DON’T LET IT HAPPEN

AIA-NJThis is a reissue of the original article from 2011.  There has been great success as of recent against parties who were practicing architecture illegally.  If you know of someone who is practicing illegally, please file a complaint!  Read below to understand the process.

AIANJ members have been contacting the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee lately regarding illegal or unlicensed practice, including the offering or providing architectural services by unlicensed practitioners and the practice of “plan stamping” i.e. licensed architects signing and sealing drawings produced by those without a license with little or no direct supervisory control over their production. They often ask, “What is the AIA doing about this?”

As a professional organization, it is AIANJ’s role to inform its members about our successful lobbying effort on behalf of its members as well as for non-members for the ability of the State Board of Architects to investigate the illegal and unlicensed practice of architecture.

Members are the eyes and ears of the AIA. It is every architect’s legal responsibility to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the public by reporting potential instances of illegal and unlicensed practice to the State Board. The State Board cannot proactively investigate alleged cases of misconduct, but rather must rely on members of the public (and especially the licensed professionals it regulates) to file complaints when they become aware of a violation of the regulations.

Therefore, it is important that we all understand how to properly file a complaint with the State Board of Architects against someone who may be illegally practicing architecture.  The first step is to understand what constitutes the illegal practice of architecture by reviewing the New Jersey State Board of Architects Law and Regulations, which can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/oag/ca/arch/arch_rules.htm.  The description of the practice of architecture may be found under Article 45:3-10 of the Architects Law, “Practice of Architecture; what constitutes; exceptions”.

The next step is to download the complaint form, which can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/oag/ca/complaint/archcom.pdf.  Once you download the form, read it carefully and follow the instructions.  Provide as much information as possible including any evidence that you may have that supports your complaint.  Include any written documentation you come across including letterhead, business cards, mailers, magazine ads, print outs from a violator’s website, or any statement they make that uses the term “architect”, “architecture” or “architectural” without including a bona fide license number of a registered architect.

You may submit a claim anonymously but it must be in writing.  However, if additional information is required by the Board to process the complaint, an anonymous complainant will not be able to respond to the request.  Therefore, if you want the complaint to have the best possible chance of being enforced it is recommended that you include your contact information on the complaint.  Please be aware that the investigation process may take several months before the Board renders a decision, since the Board needs to follow certain guidelines in making notifications to the alleged violator in accordance with state laws.

Once a decision is rendered, it will be posted on the State Board’s website under “Board Actions”. We ask that you follow through with each complaint and notify our committee of any actions taken by the Board so that we may publish the results of your efforts. If the Board does in fact find that someone is practicing illegally or without a license, the actions may be a warning, suspension, fines, or removal of license.

AIA New Jersey is the only credible voice speaking on behalf of the architectural profession here in our state.  But we need your help filing these complaints. Architects are the only people who can really police this industry and ensure that the public receives the best possible services and protection. Rest assured that members of the L&GA committee do actually file complaints as individuals on a regular basis.  But as a volunteer organization, we simply do not have the time and resources to proactively search out all the instances of illegal practice across the state.

The only way to deter those who practice illegally is by hitting them where it hurts the most, in their wallets!  So please, protect your livelihood while protecting New Jersey’s citizens by filing a complaint if you suspect that someone is practicing illegally!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee at lga@aia-nj.org.

Justin A. Mihalik, AIA,  Licensure Subcommittee Chairperson

David DelVecchio, AIA,  Legislative & Government Affairs Committee, Chairperson

Hurricane Sandy Small Business Recovery and Matchmaking Summit

sba-sandy

Women in Architecture NJ Meeting


WIA New Jersey

Tuesday we will be hosting our next Women In Architecture meeting.  Please RSVP by Monday if you will be attending Tuesday night’s event.

Similar to our last meeting we will have an open discussion on a specific topic.

This month we will be speaking with Alexis Goldman and Severine Rennie who have recently completed their licensing exams.

Additional topics include:

  • AIA Convention in Denver
  • Women In Architecture dinner/speakers at the convention
  • Women In Architecture Network Calls
  • Next Month’s tour ideas

WHEN: Tuesday, June 25th 6:00pm -8:00pm

Please RSVP by Monday to gina_cangialosi@gensler.com

WHERE: 261 Hollywood Ave, Fairfield, NJ 07004 (Fairfield Library).

If you have any questions feel free to call me at 908-644-4645.

Social Media is the HGTV of DIY – A wake up call for all you do it yourselfers!

Have you ever watched HGTV and felt inspired to remodel your kitchen, bedroom, or begin a landscaping project?! If so, you may have been delusional about the results, the time it takes to complete, and yes, even its costs. Do it “yourself” really requires a team of professionals to achieve a camera ready result. When you watched that 30 minute DIY TV show, did you see the weeks of prior design work and script writing, did you see the many unnamed workers that perform the work and ask yourself, is that “budget” real, did it include installation costs, adjusted cost of donated products and more importantly did it include the host/designer’s fees? Staging items may have even been brought in during filming that did not stay with the owners. Hours went into editing, camera angles were chosen, and anything that was not perfect was not shown.  Still feeling inspired?

So when something goes viral, when you find a marketing scheme you like for your business, and when you hear success stories from Constant Contact, do you tell yourself “Hey, if they can do it so can I?” Most likely you are wasting hours trying to market your business with no results, you may have several subscriptions and utilizing marketers that are telling you that you are getting “page hits”, but are you getting real-world results?  I bet you are using every single “social media” tool in the Toolbox that is the Internet. Well every job requires a specific tool, knowledge on how to properly use it and unfortunately you are using the wrong end of the screwdriver to paint your walls.

Here are some real world tips for anyone who wants results:

  • Viral versus virus- Are you spamming or stimulating?
  • Unless your logo goes on every product you produce, no one really cares about your label. Use the “free” image that you have been using for your profile picture on social media and Google Business Listings to place an image of what you really do. If you are an architect that only does residential work, well then post a picture of one of your residential projects. That is more of an attention getter than a logo using your initials!
  • Constant Contact will only reach people you have already reached out to! Unless you are a gym, a restaurant or another business that benefits from using coupons, you are wasting your time with e-mail marketing. You are milking the cow twice and making it angry.
  • Unless your target audience is teenagers and college students, get off Facebook for your business marketing. Try this experiment- type the industry and location of your business on Facebook’s search engine. For example, sticking with the architecture theme, try typing architects in NJ. Do you come up? Unless you are a brand, Facebook is for friends.
  • Do use Google or other search engines to increase your results. A great example of excellent marketing was Andersen versus Pella. For a few weeks, when you typed Anderson Windows, the first page hit was Pella’s article on why Pella was better than Anderson.
  • Finally, social media is not “do it YOURSELF”. That defeats the purpose of “social”. No one wants to be friends in real life with someone who only talks about themselves. Nor does anyone want to like, friend, or follow anyone who posts provocative MySpace style photographs of themselves, invites them to play Farmville, Pokes them every 5 seconds, fills up their newsfeed with web cats or emails them 5 times a day without anything interesting to say. Try to market your business as you would a conversation and not a 140 character tweet.

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
Regional Associate Director | New Jersey Region
ss
jpeist@trmassociates.com
| @AIANJRAD

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