Yesterday, I once again had the chance to sit in a room of the Union Club in Cleveland and share the camaraderie of those who are part of the unofficial “Northeast Ohio Fellows”.  Consisting of just under 20 Fellows from AIA Akron, AIA Cleveland, and AIA Youngstown, the NEO Fellows group is a mix of educators, practitioners, principals, and retired architects who share an interest in the advancement of the profession. 

While attendance at the gatherings varies, there is one striking difference between these get togethers and the meetings of the chapters.  There is no governance. Run out of AIA Cleveland and coordinated by Jack Bialosky, FAIA, the NEO Fellows group focuses on the work of those in attendance, the good work being done by others in the community, and the work of a guest who is often invited to attend the get togethers.  The guest at this meeting was Sam Lasky, AIA, of William Rawn Associates, of Cambridge, MA.  Working on several projects in the greater Cleveland area, and partnering with Bialosky on a project in Toledo, Sam provided the group with an overview of their firm, their design philosophy, and how they operate to create an environment that attracts top designers to their firm.

The NEO Fellows group does not focus on the day to day of architecture. Rather, the discussions that take place around the table are more global.  From concerns on AIA related issues to local planning concerns, the Fellows’ meetings are directed on how those in attendance can work with others, or help others achieve their goals.  From collaborating with the National Park Service to local exhibits, the group provides the members with the opportunity to promote and help enhance the issues that brought many of us into the profession to begin with.

While not as actively engaged with the mentoring of potential Fellows as some other groups throughout the state, every member of the group is invested in advancing the profession of architecture.  Those interested in discussing Fellowship can reach out to any member of the NEO Fellows to discuss the Fellowship process.

The NEO Fellows group encourages everyone to watch for announcements of the next Coffee with Fellows program.  A program of AIA Cleveland with the NEO Fellows, this program pairs up Emerging Professionals with both national and local Fellows for an hour-long discussion.  More information on Coffee with Fellows can be found on the AIA Cleveland website. 

Bruce Sekanick, FAIA