by Bruce Monighan, AIA ~ 2011 Chapter President
At the beginning of this year in my message to the membership I asked “What do you want?” As we near the end of a very full and successful year for the AIACV I find myself still without a clear answer to that question from 8 months ago.
The Chapter has provided a variety of programs from those mandated for continuing education credits to esoteric film screenings and dialog. We have engaged the public in the 4th Wednesday Design Dialog and engaged professional minds in Design Matters. We have toured buildings, celebrated design at our Design Awards Gala and Capitol Mall Ideas Competition and become a partner with the City of Sacramento in monthly discussion of how to create a better private/public partnership. We have even engaged in advocacy efforts through our partnership with Region Builders working to create better regional practices and uniformity of public jurisdictions.
As members we must be pretty proud of those offerings and accomplishments…..but I still wonder what do the individual members need, want, expect? Not everybody wants to volunteer or participate so what is their take-away? The only way to know is to ask you or for you to tell us.
Next year I am serving AIA California Council as Secretary / Treasurer and one of my missions will be to help structure the organization around the wants and needs of members. In order to do that I will be talking with a lot of you, especially those of you we don’t see a lot. I hope you will give me some good ideas on what we might be missing.
Statistically architects are held by the public as one of the highest and most honorable professions. The public is interested in what we have to say and what our opinions are. As I mentioned in our partnership with Region Builders and our Public Policy Committee meetings with the City of Sacramento we have moved the Chapter towards a larger role in shaping the policy environment of our region. This of course comes with some level of discomfort as we move into areas we have not been participants in before. But as the Board discussed early this year, “if you are not at the table you are not in the discussion” or as I heard a bit later, “if you are not sitting at the table you might be the lunch.” We have chosen to be a voice in those things that affect us: ordinances, fees, policies and procedures. We have chosen to be visible.
We recently held a forum with the Sacramento City Council candidates for District 4 and will be publishing opinions on what we heard from them and how their position as a Councilperson would help or hinder our profession. We have worked with Region Builders to identify obstacles in practice, profitability, and development that could be changed with lobbying of public officials.
Now is a unique time to affect change in our communities, to build reputations as problem solvers and advocates of good and sustainable design and be recognized as a “trusted advisor”. You can be an agent of change by being part of the Chapter’s work, by volunteering in your community forums and Boards, or by seeking election in your local community.
Together we can create value and you can be part of shaping your own opportunity and the future of the region.