President's Message November 2016

I confess. I am a 53 year old white male architect. For better or worse I am probably what most people imagine as the stereotype of the profession (though their version is probably better looking and driving a sportier car). I am Stewart Gouck, AIA, the 2016 American Institute of Architects – Eastern PA President.

Why do I mention my old guy-ness, whiteness, and maleness? – Because in large part I reflect the membership of the AIA. AIA National has been working to change the organization to better reflect the diversity of the world at large and to increase the number of emerging professionals, women, and minorities involved in the organization.  Our chapter Secretary, Ana Sarachaga, AIA, and our Associate Director, Jared Bilsak, Assoc. AIA have both become integral members of the board this year. We can look forward to their valuable leadership as they become more acquainted with the organization.

How can you increase your involvement with the chapter? One way is to become involved in one of the newly formed committees, which include assisting in tour/meeting planning, mentoring at local schools, and by assisting in other community outreach events.  As a volunteer, you will have the opportunity to experience what goes on behind the scenes and have a direct impact on your chapter.

Another way to get involved is to attend the building and plant tours and by joining us at monthly dinner meetings.  We are always looking for ways to improve our chapter and would appreciate your feedback as to how we can make the organization more valuable to you.  Tell us what will work for you and we will do our best to make it happen.   A good example of this is Canstruction, which was launched by President-Elect Gary Lader, AIA two years ago. A partnership with CSI and AIA Eastern PA was formed, the first event was a success, and now the second installment is ready to go.

Canstruction is an involved endeavor but your idea can be something simple and fun; perhaps a weekly get together at a local bar or restaurant for an after work libation or a joint event with an allied professional group. You will have a chance to speak with board members this week at our emerging professional themed chapter meeting. Bring your ideas and let’s get started!

Stewart Gouck, AIA, President