Advocacy Begins with You

As part of AIA Ohio’s effort to provide relevant continuing education for members, one of the primary focuses of this year’s educational programing has been advocacy. While the organization’s mission and strategic plan includes advocacy as one of our key goals, this is the first time in recent years that AIA Ohio has developed a series of programs that focus specifically on the range of topics that fall under advocacy.

In February, AIA Ohio held our first “Virtual Day at the Statehouse”. This program was created to provide wider access for members to this annual event. Online discussions and presentations with members of the Ohio Senate along with a video message from Ohio House Speaker Robert Cupp (R, Lima) emphasized the need for architects and AIA Ohio members to stay connected to the activities of the Ohio Assembly. Senators Louis Blessing III (R, Cincinnati), Senator Mark Romanchuk (R, Mansfield), Vernon Sykes (D, Akron) and Frank Hoagland (R, Adena) all provided the organization with information on their focus for the upcoming year as well as their thoughts on issues and concerns affecting members of AIA and the design and construction industry. Senator Sykes is one of the sponsors of SB49, the Payment Assurance Legislation (PAL) and Senator Blessing is the sponsor of the indemnification bill. Both have gone through the hearing and approval process in the Senate. Members attending the virtual program also heard from AIA Ohio lobbyist Luther Liggett, Ohio Architects Board Executive Director Shannon Himes, and Steven Regoli who has served as Architect Administrator for the Ohio Board of Building Standards. These sessions afforded AIA Ohio the opportunity to advance our concerns with the members of the Senate while at the same time provide members with greater access to Ohio legislators. The five-hour program, while entirely virtual, elevated AIA Ohio’s visibility with key members of the 134th Ohio Assembly.

March’s program was a program that was directed toward informing members on how legislation moves, or does not move, through the Ohio Assembly. With commentary by Luther Liggett, AIA Ohio Lobbyist, the program reviewed the steps and roadblocks of bills introduced in the House or the Senate. The session ended with a presentation by Bob Loversidge, FAIA on the Ohio Statehouse coupled with a virtual tour of where legislative activities actually take place.

The third program, held on April 21st, featured four AIA Ohio members and their journey into local community leadership and advocacy. Highlighting the activities of Emily Little, AIA, Erin Curley, AIA, Alexandra Bohler, AIA, and Jud Kline, FAIA, the program explored how each person’s engagement within local committees, groups or government brought about positive benefits to both them and their communities. This program underscored how members can make a significant impact at every level of advocacy and engagement.

The May session, Advocacy and You, featured professionals who have channeled their passions into advocacy. A panel discussion featuring Patri Acevedo, AIA, Cindy Schwartz, Managing Director of Advocacy and Operations, and Lora Teagarden, AIA, offered participants the opportunity to understand how to develop their personal advocacy brand and contribute their skills outside of AIA Ohio’s state government issues.
AIA Ohio will continue our advocacy series, providing two more programs through July. These include:

    • Implementing a Successful Advocacy Program, June 9th, and
    • Stories of Advocate Architects, July 21

These programs have been created to advance advocacy on an individual scale, a component scale and at AIA Ohio. There is still time to sign up for programs and “last chance” reminders will be sent several days before each program. We invite you to join us and learn more about how Advocacy begins with You.