President's Message January 2011

Dear AIA Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Members:

I have just returned from the AIA Grassroots 2011 Leadership and Legislative Conference. This year’s theme, DESIGN VOICES, celebrates and strengthens the role of architects to advocate for stronger, better communities; empower our collective voice; and communicate that design matters. It’s a tall order, but I will look at what we can do at the Chapter level to reinforce these themes in the coming year.

For me, this is my third Grassroots event, but hopefully not my last. I find that taking the time to bring issues, our issues, to the attention of our Representatives has a far reaching affect. We are architects; but we are also small business owners, contractors, teachers, mentors and parents. No agenda item is so narrow as not to impact our collective lives on multiple levels, and representing our profession as a multi-faceted one resonates with the Congress.

Another theme that quietly ruminates in the background, subtly informing all of our actions, is the state of our economy. I recall a session from Grassroots 2009 where Robert Ivy, FAIA spoke about the cyclical effect the economy has had on the profession in recessions past. He struck a nerve for me when he brought up the recession of 1991/1992 where “an entire generation of architects was lost”. It drives home the point that we need to make sure the voices of Young Architects, Associates, and Emerging Professionals are still heard.

On a bright note, after meeting with component members from around the country, the take away is that we are all hurting to some extent, but there are pockets of opportunity beginning to develop. Always good news!

For our Chapter, the 2011 program is coming together with exciting events focusing on business, practice, design, education and advocacy. I look forward to our next meeting at the Copperhead Grille in Allentown for a presentation on the 179D Energy Tax Benefits.
Hope to see you there!

Scott J. Compton, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
2011 Chapter President