The American Institute of Architects, on all levels, continues to provide leadership and advocacy for our professional lives as architects.
We have had an amazing 6 months! Now already half way through the year, we should all be proud of what we have accomplished. You may recall my exhortation to the membership back in January wherein each of us has a potential role (and indeed a responsibility) in shaping the future of our profession. We were expecting 2015 to be a year full of challenges and opportunities for our membership. Little did we know what an understatement that was!
At the state house this past spring, your profession continued to be well represented by members of the AIA executive committee, directors, support staff, and devoted leadership from ordinary members at large. Responding on short notice and at times almost daily in Montgomery towards the end of the Alabama Legislative Session, our efforts to represent the interest of our membership has borne fruit on several fronts. Your AIA negotiated diligently for reasonable language for CM at Risk and Design/Build legislation. The bill finally died as the result of significant opposition from within the construction community. You can expect that bill to return next year in some form.
As a result of misguided legislative efforts to save taxpayer funds, we fought off a series of Bills that would have dire consequences for our profession and more specifically our intellectual property rights. Working closely with house and senate committee leadership we won support for our opposition to SB 76 and SB 373. This was a clear example of our ability to educate the legislators and make our opposition heard from the broader membership across the state..
The key to our success? YOU!! Because of your willingness to take a few minutes out of the day to call your representative and email committee members to voice your opposition, we were heard. Our ability to marshal emails and phone calls, coupled with personal visits at the Statehouse, had more impact than much larger and better funded interest groups. Our take away lesson should be that we can leverage our membership to be heard in Montgomery. Thank you all for the considerable response with the email blasts when we needed them. It is the most important contribution you can make.
On other equally important matters, the AIA State Convention was held for its third year in Birmingham in June. With attendance slightly higher than last year, as well as again being financially in the black, it was an unqualified success. Membership surveys each year have overwhelmingly endorsed the Birmingham location for the convention. A very special “thank you” goes out to Robin White and Alabama Power Company for their considerable hospitality and support. This year was also the 50th anniversary for the founding of AIA Chapters in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile. The first annual Beaux Arts Ball was held on the last day of the convention to commemorate that milestone. Thanks to event sponsor Hoar Construction for a spectacular evening
We can all be proud of what we have accomplished these past six months. Through the power of the relationships we forge, and with outspoken and involved membership, we will continue to strengthen our profession and have an active role in shaping our future.
Bill Whittaker, AIA
AIA Alabama President