President's Message Winter 2002/2003
I lied to Ron Shaffer (President of Synergetics Architects in Reading). I told him that our executive committee has a staff to do all of the mundane work, and that the executive committee only focuses on critical events and long range planning. So…. Ron signed on as Secretary!
My first real experience with AIA Eastern PA was to fight insecurity and actually attend an executive committee and event. After I made my first comment, Gary Shane (President 1998) turned to me and said, “Are you an AIA member?” Not really was the truth, but thank you Gary for becoming a great friend. Gary gave up his position at Grass Roots to send me, which was a kick-start to understanding what AIA is all about. The same question from Gary also elicited a question from John Hill (President 1999) “I’m glad you are here and have interest, how about heading up our Membership Committee?!” Well, John has become a great mentor and just the other day over lunch I learned a few things that will make contract negotiation better for me and our profession. Christine Carl (President 2000) became an instant friend with common family life and a real devotion to AIA. Christine held planning committee sessions and hosted the ADA seminar that took all of our education levels up a notch. Christine also helped me with the All Day Code Seminar last fall. Bob Kaplan (President 2001) solidified our allied membership drive, helping boost allied membership from 3 to 30. Bob also has twins and our wives now enjoy going to events together. Jeff Gross (President 2002), the guy who beat me out as Secretary several years ago, turned out to be a pretty nice guy in spite of it all. Jeff has been doing double duty making sure the Kiosk is going out until we can fill that position.
Back to the Lie! It really is a result of wishing so badly what I want our chapter to be. I want AIA Eastern PA to have staffing. I want Jim Spinola (President 2005, Las Vegas) to focus on his fortes – legislative issues, web pages, and articles – instead of fighting with “the books” as treasurer. I want Stewart Gouck (President 2004, Chicago) to focus on quality events and sponsors instead of scheduling rooms and mailings. Finally, Ron Shaffer (President 2006, where?), you will still have to do the minutes, but the membership lists could be kept up to date by staffing, freeing you up to do some long range planning for when you are President.
We are anxiously awaiting a response to our RFP to have services provided by AIA PA. It will cost us very little compared to the value we will receive. Thanks to the Past Presidents and executive committees, the finances are strong for our chapter. I hope to be asking for motions at the next executive committee meeting that will “free up the work load of our committee members and create time to do truly valuable service to our chapter”. I also hope that this will encourage future committee members to be the established leaders of our chapter… to create an environment where the past presidents who know the ropes are willing to serve once again.
JOHN C. WATKINS, AIA
PRESIDENT 2003 AIA EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA