Tag Archives: Justin Mihalik AIA

President’s Message – 2016 Highlights

JAM_headshotHappy New Year to all of you and I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!  With the New Year comes a new president, Ben Lee AIA, who is very excited and has some great initiatives that promote the goals of AIA-NJ’s Strategic Plan.  I called Ben over the holiday weekend wishing him the best of luck and he knows he has my full support.  For me this has been a fabulous year as president that just went by all too fast.  As members you can rest assure that those serving on the Board of Trustees have you in mind as they represent you better then can be expected.  Without them I could not have accomplished my goals as president and I thank them for their support and their continued support for Ben Lee.  Some of our accomplishments in 2016 are as follows:

• Creation of the AIA New Jersey Center for Architecture– as a result of meetings with the six AIANJ Sections a Committee has been formed and is working toward a schedule of events to be hosted throughout the state with the Center as a “pop-up”.  I will remain closely involved as the idea of a Center has been near and dear to my heart for more than five years now and I believe this is the best vehicle for outreach to the general public.
• Resiliency/Disaster Assistance– AIANJ had its first Training of the Trainers for Disaster Assistance Training.  We now have five certified trainers here in NJ that will continue to provide training to NJ professionals.  We also held our first Hurriplantraining that provided more than twenty architects with the tools to prepare a community for a hurricane.  We will continue to work with the State Police in order to have the AIANJ Post Disaster Assessment team members registered so that in time of a declared disaster, they may be activated by the Governor.
• Lightweight Construction Materials – we continue to work with our legislators through our Task Force to educate them as to the proper use and protection of lightweight construction materials in multi-family construction.  We are committed to working with DCA on improvements to the building code as outlined in the Whitepaper issued by the Taskforce with the potential of seeing our recommendations considered in the International Building Code.
• AIANJ Large Firm Roundtable  We will continue to develop a Large Firm Roundtable so that the large firms here in NJ can discuss the issues that are unique to them.  All those firms interested in participating that have a staff of 25 or more, please contact me.
• AIANJ Scholarship Foundation  I will continue to work with the Scholarship Foundation on the formation of a new foundation to be the AIA New Jersey Foundation that will have a broader mission and be more closely aligned with AIANJ.  The Scholarship Foundation has been committed and provided thousands of dollars over the years in scholarships to NJ students attending a school of architecture and we want to see this continue as well as other programs and events that will be beneficial to members and the public.  Much thanks to the past and current Scholarship Foundation Board!
• AIANJ Governance  The Board of Trustees in our last board meeting of the year voted in favor of a new governance structure that will reduce the number of board members as well as open board seats up to individuals from the public.  In order for AIANJ to remain relevant it is important that we see and understand the public’s viewpoint on architects.  This is a big step for AIANJ and one that will allow the organization to grow and provide more for its members.

In closing, my experience over the last twelve years being involved in AIA has been priceless.  My motivation has always been to make our profession a better place to practice and to mentor and to continue to promote the profession to the public.  I like to believe that I have left my mark on my work thus far with AIA Newark & Suburban as well as AIA New Jersey, and I will continue to do so.  In the meantime, it is now up to you to get involved and make this AIA your AIA!

Sincerely,

Justin_sig

Justin A. Mihalik AIA

2016 President

President’s Message – Time For Thanks

JAM_headshotDid you know that 50% of our military forces are made up of the part-time personnel?  I did not either until I attended an event at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst called Seven Seals Boss Lift, which is an annual event hosted by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR).  The ESGR is a Department of Defense office that was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers.  This event occurs every year and its purpose is to thank employers who hire members of the Reserves and the Guard and to allow them a peek into the lives of their employees when they leave for training and what they do when they are at training.  As a participant I experienced the training of our medics in a brand new facility with state of the art “dummies” that are wirelessly controlled by military personnel during a training session in order to control heart rate, breathing rate, blood flow, eye function and the ability to communicate.  Additional experiences included a simulated roll-over in a HUM-V, a patrol of a village in the middle east that resulted in a firefight with members of the Taliban, refueling a jet fighter plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, and best of all a ready to eat meal (MRE).  The simulators that are used at the Joint Base make this only one of two training facilities of its kind in the world for our Guard and Reservists.  The base serves as home and work to more than 44,000 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians and their family members having a considerable impact on the economy of NJ.

This was a two day event and at the close of the event there was a ceremony that entailed the signing of a document by all those employers who attended acknowledging their support of the ESGR and those Guard and Reservists who serve our country.  I was very proud to represent AIANJ at this event just to raise awareness to our members about this organization and especially for those AIA members who do serve as Guard and Reservists.  Currently AIA does not track members that have served or currently serve our country and so I took the time to meet with AIA Membership staff at the Convention to discuss this.  With the launch of the new AIA website and digital transformation, it is possible for them to include additional check off boxes on the member profile page so that AIA can capture this information and we can know just how many AIA members have served and are currently serving our Country.  I want to thank Louis DiGeronimo AIA who serves as the Northeast Chair for the ESGR for inviting me to this event.  Lou himself served in the US Army and operated a tank, and for as long as I have known him he has been involved as an Architect in military work including the design of a gymnasium in Kuwait during the Gulf War.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank all of our members who have served, are currently serving and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to our Country.  The dedication and sacrifice that the men and women of our armed forces make to protect our country is a blessing to all of us that can experience the freedom that makes America the greatest country in the world.  I am proud to be an American and am the son of Sailor who was a Veteran of the Vietnam War.  Thanks Dad.

Sincerely,

Justin_sig

 

 

Justin A. Mihalik, AIA

Presidents Message – 2016 First Quarter

AIAeagle_2016It has been a very busy first quarter as your President and I wanted to share with you some of the events and projects that AIA-NJ has been busy working on…

February kicked off the year with a pair of building code seminars for the 2015 IBC and IRC at the Palace in Somerset.  There were well over 250 attendees to learn about the changes to both codes, which had not been updated since 2009.  As of March 21st we are officially beyond the grace period and into the new codes.  Hopefully, you were able to attend the code seminars, but if you did not, Robert Longo AIA, AIANJ Codes & Standards Chair wrote a brief article on the code changes you can find on our blog.

Also in February, more than 12 AIA-NJ leaders attended the AIA Grassroots Leadership Conference in Detroit, MI.  I have been attending Grassroots since about 2005 and I find that each time I attend I come back to NJ inspired and excited to implement ideas and programs for the new year.  aianj_grassroots2016This year was the first year since I began attending the conference that it focused on Leadership programming and did not have part of the event focused on Advocacy.  I have to applaud AIA on this change.  This July will be the second half of Grassroots, dubbed as “SpeakUp”, will happen in Washington D.C.  The event will focus on training AIA members to become leaders in Advocacy.  If you are interested in learning about the federal legislative process and how to become an active advocate for AIA and the built environment contact AIA-NJ.

 

Our Public Awareness Committee has been very active highlighting several of our members on diverse subjects.   On February 23rd Stephen Schoch AIA of Kitchen & Associates was interviewed by Construction Dive regarding FHA and ADA accessibility in multi-family housing.  William J. Martin AIA, Co-Chair of the AIANJ Public Awareness Committee and a member of the Bergen County Historical Preservation Commission was quoted in two articles regarding church fires in March due to their historic significance.  Kimberly Bunn AIA, AIA-NJ Immediate Past President, was featured in an article for Women’s History Month on none other than Eleanore Pettersen FAIA.  Most recently Stephen Schwartz AIA was featured in NJBIZ regarding architects who have taken the plunge into development.  To top things off our Public Awareness Committee had fun during National Architecture Week with #archselfienj for #archweek16.  Thanks to all those members that participated!

I have been fortunate to have maintained a close relationship with the College of Architecture & Design (CoAD) at NJIT and have been working with the Director of the School of Architecture, Richard Garber AIA, on a multi-week BIM program that will be held this summer at the school and offered to AIA-NJ members.  Not only will participants learn the basics on BIM, but will also learn how BIM can be integrated into your practice.

I am proud to announce that AIA-NJ’s Taskforce on Lightweight Construction, which was formed after the AvalonBay Edgewater, NJ fire in January 2015, has completed a whitepaper on “Building Design with Lightweight-Framed Construction and the Health, Safety, and Welfare of the Public”.  This document will be issued in order to better educate the public and our legislators about the findings of the Taskforce.  I want to thank the Taskforce for its work and look forward to the discussions that will occur as a result of the whitepaper.  Members who are interested in joining the Codes & Standards Committee to continue the work of this Taskforce are welcome to contact AIA-NJ.

In closing, I want to congratulate our new Fellows, Dean Marchetto FAIA and Michael Schnoering FAIA who will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2016 National AIA Convention in Philadelphia May 19th-21st.  AIA-NJ will be honoring our newest Fellows at the AIA-NJ Fellows Reception on Thursday, May 19th at the Hotel Palomar, formerly the AIA Building in Philadelphia.  If you plan on attending please contact Laura Slomka at AIA-NJ to RSVP.  The AIA Fellowship Committee will be hosting a presentation on  “Demystifying Fellowship”on Tuesday April 26th at 5 pm at the NJIT AIA room and on Wednesday, April 27th at 5 pm at the office of KSS Architects in Princeton.  If you are considering applying for Fellowship then you need to attend.

See you at the Convention in Philly!JAM_headshot

Sincerely,

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Justin A. Mihalik, AIA

AIA New Jersey Presiden

2016 Gala Honors NJ Architecture

On January 30th, the AIA-NJ honored the collective achievements of its members and leadership at the Park Savoy in Florham Park, New Jersey.

The organization honored those who served AIA-NJ in 2015, while formally installing its 2016 slate of officers, providing a glimpse into who will be leading the organization in the coming year. The lively affair, which attracted more than 200 architects, friends and family, included cocktails, dinner, dancing and live music.

AIA-NJ also honored the six recipients of its service awards, which are bestowed upon individuals and firms that have demonstrated exceptional service to the profession. The honorees included Robert F. Barranger, AIA, who was named “Architect of the Year” and Tokarski Millemann, which was recognized as “Architectural Firm of the Year.”

“This was a wonderful event in which we celebrated the achievements of our AIA-NJ members as well as members of the public for their contributions to architecture here in New Jersey,” said AIA-NJ President Justin Mihalik, AIA. “As I assume the AIA-NJ presidency, I pledge to engage in advocacy and outreach efforts to improve the practice of architecture and elevate the importance of responsible design.”

c2016 David Hollander Photography and AIANJ

c2016 David Hollander Photography and AIANJ

In addition to Mihalik, other officers installed at the ceremony included:

  • President Elect Ben P. Lee, AIA
  • First Vice President Verity Frizzell, AIA
  • Second Vice President Judith Donnelly, AIA
  • Secretary John Cwikla, AIA
  • Treasurer Steven B. Lazarus, AIA
  • Regional Director Robert Cozzarelli, AIA
  • Regional Associate Director Brandon Warshofsky, Assoc. AIA
  • Past President Kimberly L. Bunn, AIA

During the event, Kimberly Bunn, AIA, the outgoing 2015 President, thanked all who had participated in AIA-NJ over the previous year.

“As we look back, the organization had a very exciting 2015, with initiatives that reached both members and the community at all levels,” said Bunn. “Justin has been a key part of the leadership team, and I look forward to helping him continue to guide the organization as it works to enhance the architecture community in the Garden State.”

President’s Message – Happy 2016

JAM_headshotHappy New Year!

First and foremost, a big thank you to Kim Bunn AIA for her leadership as President taking on and delivering a new Strategic Plan and Member Core Services amongst all of the other successful programming events of 2015!  I am exhilarated to be your 2016 President and the year could not have started off any faster for us at AIANJ.  As just mentioned, AIANJ will be implementing its new strategic plan that has four key goals:

  • Advance the quality of the profession by keeping pace with technology, sustainable design practices and the ever-changing political, economic, social and physical environment.
  • Cultivate well-designed, livable, sustainable, resilient communities that enhance the public’s health, safety, and welfare.
  • Elevate the value of the profession; educate the public on the benefits of using architects for sustainable/innovative design; and promote a streamlined path to licensure.
  • Expand the diverse membership base; continue to enhance its organizational, membership and technical resources; and extend its policy advocacy role.

As you can imagine, the implementation of this plan is taking a lot of time and effort and I want to thank all of those who are involved for their commitment to the future of this organization.

This is also the first year of the implementation of Core Member Services, which is a new plan instituted by AIA to ensure that each member throughout the country receives a minimum level of membership benefits.  The good news is that AIANJ and its Sections meet all of the requirements of Core Member Services and will continue to deliver those benefits to all of you.

On the legislative front, the Governor signed Bill A2023 AcaSca (2R), which revises the definition of “responsible charge” as it relates to licensed architects.  This is a very important win for AIANJ as it supported the passage of this bill.  The revised language now recognizes the “digital age” in the architectural practice and the many firms who are utilizing production teams outside of their physical offices.  So in short, if you are working with a consultant or with a team member who is producing the drawings outside of the physical office that the architect sits in, you are practicing legally as long as you are providing the proper personal direction and oversight.  AIANJ thanks the efforts of Assembly members Louis Greenwald, Daniel Benson and Nilsa Cruz-Perez for their support!

Lastly, the sad news is the loss of the St. Mark’s Church in West Orange to a major fire on New Year’s Day.  The St. Mark’s Church underwent a major renovation and addition between 1861 and 1877 by Richard Upjohn FAIA, the founder of the AIA.  The church was nominated to the National Historic Register in 1977 and is also a State and local Historic Landmark.  Many AIANJ members including Jerry Eben AIA, Eli Goldstein AIA, Mark Hewitt FAIA and Marty Feitlowitz AIA, have been working with the church owner’s and the municipality to save the church from demolition.  This is a great example of AIANJ members taking the initiative to save an important and historic piece of architecture, while at the same time educating the public as to why it is important.

Educating the public about architects and architecture is something that all of us must do if we expect the public to value the talent and services we provide.  AIANJ through its Public Awareness Committee is committed to this important effort as it is one of the cornerstones of our Strategic Plan.  However, it does not stop there, it must continue with the boots on the ground, the members, who work with the public on a daily basis.  Let me know how AIANJ can help you in this most important effort.

Sincerely,

Justin_sig

Justin A. Mihalik, AIA

AIA New Jersey 2016 President

ArchiPAC Update- Race for the ArchiCUP!

ArchiPac_2015AdvocateThe Convention in Atlanta was a great success for ArchiPAC and I wanted to thank those AIANJ members that contributed while there!  Thus far ArchiPAC has raised $24,000 and recruited 225 members.  This year at Convention to make things interesting there was a competition amongst the Chapters and team ArchiAdvocates, which included AIANJ, took 4th place and raised $4,326.50 with 31 contributors!  It was a very close race and was all in good fun!  I wanted to provide AIANJ members with a legislative update to understand that AIA Advocacy is working hard on your behalf and we continue to need your help so that AIA can continue to lobby on behalf of its members with our legislators.  Here is the latest update from AIA headquarters:

  • Design-Build reform: Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that takes steps to improve the design-build process federal procurement process.  A similar bill, Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2015 (HR 1555) was introduced by Representative Sam Graves (R-MO).  AIA has been a critical factor in the emergency of Sen. Portman, Rep. Graves and others as champions for reforms within the federal procurement arena.
  • Small Business Administration size standards: Ron Reim, AIA, testified on June 4th before the House Small Business Committee on the issue of SBA’s size standards.  Ron spoke in favor of a bill introduced this year by Representative Mike Bost (R-IL) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the Stronger Voice for Small Business Act (HR 1429), which would allow small firms to appeal size standards they see as unfair directly to the SBA rather than having to go through the costly federal courts.  Standards established by the SBA defines a “small business” and firms fitting that description are eligible for SBA loans and set-aside projects from the federal government.
  • Tax Reform: as the debate over tax reform continues, members of Congress are looking everywhere for possible ways to trim the tax code, including a number of provisions that directly benefit architecture firms.  An example of this is Section 179D-Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings (passed as part of HR 5771) which allows building owners and tenants who make expenditures to cause new or renovated commercial buildings to be more energy efficient will be eligible for a tax deduction up to $1.80 per square foot.  Currently this deduction expires annually but efforts are currently under way to introduce legislation that would make the deduction permanent.  That push is being led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD).
  • Student Loan Forgiveness: Legislation was introduced last Congress as the National Design Services Act of 2014 by Rep. Earl Perlmutter (D-CO) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) that would provide some level of student loan forgiveness for architecture students who volunteer design services within their community. The program would mirror ones in the medical, legal, and even veterinarian professions.
  • Building Codes: Rep. Diaz-Balart (R-FL) recently reintroduced bill HR 1878- Safe Building Code Incentive Act incentivizing states to strengthen their building codes, mitigating the various negative impacts of disasters.
  • 2030: Both chambers of Congress are contemplating language to repeal the 2030 fossil fuel reduction targets for federal buildings as part of comprehensive energy legislation. AIA is working with allies to advocate against a repeal of the 2030 targets, a critical issue for the design industry.

I am happy to speak with any members that have any questions regarding the issues above and/or how members can get involved as “Architects in Action”.  Please visit the ArchiPAC website to become an advocate as well as to INVEST in ArchiPAC!ArchiPAC_Invest Sincerely, Justin A. Mihalik, AIA 2015 ArchiPAC Steering Committee Member

New Benefits to Yout Membership

red_eagleby Justin A. Mihalik, AIA Membership Chair 2014

Just flying back home from the 2014 Convention and there are some exciting new benefits to your membership I wanted to share with you.  First, if you have not been to an AIA Convention it is a must at least once in your lifetime!  Visit the schedule on AIA’s website and pick a city that you have always wanted to visit and make your reservations. The 2015 Convention will be in Atlanta. There are so many fabulous tours and behind the scenes tours of the cities, buildings, parks and places that are sure to teach you something that you did not know before.  Personally, I use the convention as an opportunity to take my family so that they too can enjoy another beautiful city in this country.  My kids were able to see the city this year from the crown of the Chicago Tribune tower and it was just fabulous!

The benefits of membership is something that is always questioned by members so I felt it was important to share with you some exciting things AIA is doing to help provide its members with the tools and information that will make us all successful.  First, in order to keep the membership up to date on what it has been doing thus far in 2014, AIA has published the AIA Foresight Report, the first of its kind, which you can download from the AIA website for free.  This document is an example of the transparency of the Institute and its move toward full inclusion of the membership on its operations.   Second, is a new strategic partnership with Reed Construction Data that is sure to be the best thing AIA has done since it has embarked upon Repositioning.  I was fortunate to have taken part in a market test group at the Convention to get a sneak peak and give valuable feedback.  The product called accessArchitecture, is a web portal that will allow AIA members for free as part of your membership the ability to access Reed’s database of over 500,000 projects for things like products and specifications specified, project data, construction cost data, and owner and project team information.  But probably by far the best feature is project leads!  Members will be able to search for job leads anywhere in the country, by project type, project value, and even by owner.  As an architect who does retail franchise work in many states, this enables me the ability to seek out other opportunities in markets that I am already working in. There is also very important market trend data available that allows you to see analyticals on various aspects of the market, whether geographical or by project type. The dashboard is totally customizable to each user and is memorized for the next time you use it again.  The best part about this is that it is free with your membership!  Now that is value and if you are able to use this tool to your advantage it will pay for your membership.