Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017. I am excited to serve all of you as the 2017-2019 AIA New Jersey Regional Representative to the AIA National Strategic Council. My tenure got a jumpstart early in December when I attended Governance Week 2016. This served as my orientation/initiation to the Strategic Council and a farewell to the outgoing Class of 2016. Among that group is our outgoing Regional Representative Robert Cozzarelli, AIA. His tenure marked the transition from the previous role as Regional Director on the AIA Board to the new role of Regional Representative on the Strategic Council. That is NOT a distinction without a difference. These are significantly different roles. Bob, and the rest of his Class of 2016, were at the forefront of defining this new system which has the specific goal of better serving the members and the profession. After attending these meetings in Washington, DC, I can personally attest to that fact that Bob was highly respected and did a very good job representing us. He will be a tough act to follow. I want to personally thank Bob for his many years of hard work and dedication to the AIA and the support he has offered me throughout the years.
The agenda for the week was packed. Our work started with two half-day sessions of orientation. During these sessions we were reminded that the purpose of the Strategic Council is to advance the profession of architecture by informing the Board and other Institute bodies of important issues and opportunities. Toward that end we were challenged to continually ask the question: “What does it mean and why does it matter?” and to listen more than we speak. With that in mind I will remind you that my door is always open to all of you. I can be reached by phone at 856-405-0351 or by email at [email protected] Or, if you want to meet face-to-face, and you are in Vineland, you are welcome to stop by. Or, let me know if you want me to come see you.
After our orientation sessions, my group (the Class of 2019, or XIX as we refer to ourselves) was invited to join a Joint Board/Council Meeting. As you may have read in other publications, this was the meeting where the Gold Medal, the Firm Award, The Topaz Medallion, The Kemper Award and the Whitney M. Young Award were considered and ratified. It was a humbling experience to be in the room as these awards were deliberated and announced. It was especially moving to be a witness to the posthumous award of the 2017 AIA Gold Medal to Paul Revere Williams, FAIA.
The next day we were invited to the final Strategic Council Assembly of 2016. This was a day-long session with a variety of generative exercises, outreach exercises, reports, discussions and agenda setting for 2017. Beyond the specific discussion on any topic, it was apparent that the focus of the Council, and the remainder of the leadership, has the member experience at its core. This discussion was informed by the goals of the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, namely: Elevating Public Awareness, Advocating for the Profession and Advancing Knowledge and Expertise. To achieve its goals, the AIA has articulated the following primary objectives: Career Pathways, Influence, Innovation, Market Leadership, Outreach, Policy, Relevance and Research. All the while we are constantly being challenged to try to find The Next Big Thing.
After (and among) all of these working sessions, we also had time for networking with our fellow Councilors and other leaders of the Institute. Since the Council only meets face-to-face three times during the year, this time was critically important to build or expand these relationships. Among these meetings was a reception at the Institute Headquarters, the AIA Presidential Inauguration, which was held at the Museum of African American History and Culture, and a Class of 2016 Dinner that was hosted at the home of Robert and Holly Ivy. I was glad to be joined at the inaugural by my wife Sarah, and David and Suzanne Del Vecchio, Jerry and Marsha Eben, and Verity and Andy Frizzell. I am sure they will also be glad to share with you their impressions of that event.
Now it is time to get down to work. These are exciting and challenging times for our profession. But, working together I am confident that we all can make the AIA and our profession of ever increasing service to society.
Bruce D. Turner, AIA
AIA New Jersey 2017-2019 Regional Representative