February 1, 2016

AIA Detroit President’s January 2016 Message

Much of the AIA’s discussions in 2015 were about the repositioning of the organization. While it was a challenge at times, the underlying value was well intended. The goal of the effort was to be sure that AIA members across the country all receive an equally-distributed minimum set of basic services. That is not an easily achievable task when you consider distributing services efficiently to chapters that are vastly different in their size and density, such as the Metro Detroit area versus the Upper Peninsula. Deciding whether the chapters or AIA Michigan expend funds and efforts to provide certain services was by no means an easy discussion. In the end, the Detroit chapter has remained in its current form, AIA Detroit, without changes to the boundaries or its basic structure, all of which were discussed throughout the year last year. The size of the AIA Michigan Board was reduced through the changes to their bylaws, which were voted on at the AIA Michigan annual meeting last November. Hence the AIA Detroit board was reduced in size by virtue of the fact that our representation on that board was reduced from five to three directors.

With the majority of those discussions behind us, our Board began 2016 with a Board retreat at the DIA in order to create a Strategic Plan for Detroit that will set future goals for the board and future boards. The Strategic Plan is intended to look ahead five years and set the direction of the efforts over those years. While we may have additional duties about recording the results of our chapter to the National organization, we are assured that it is our duty to you is to serve you at the local level. The direction of the board for the period of time on which I have served has been unwavering. The focus has been to create a voice for AIA architects in Detroit and to work in collaboration with like-minded organizations to have a louder voice in the Detroit metro area. The work on the Strategic Plan will continue, and the results will be published in the near future.

Speaking of cooperating with other organizations, you will recall that in 2014, Chris Lambert of Life Remodeled (www.liferemodeled.com) was awarded a Charles Blessing award for his organization’s work in revitalizing Detroit neighborhoods with massive volunteer efforts, having done work rebuilding the Denby and Osborn High Schools and neighborhoods the last two years. A small group of AIA Detroit and interior design professionals volunteered time and services with design assistance in the renovation at Osborn High. We will repeat some of those efforts this year, so anyone who might be interested should contact us. And also, since all of your firms probably dedicate time to community service, the chapter will be organizing an AIA Detroit contingency of volunteers to assist in their renovation efforts during their volunteer week in August. This is one of those ways that we as a profession can show our combined efforts in a much broader way than any individual firm might. Stay tuned later in the year for more details.

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