President’s Message

As Summer comes to an end, I’m reminded of all that we have accomplished during the first eight months of the year in the presence of the ever changing and ongoing pandemic. Just when we all started to have confidence that the pandemic was waning, a new variant reminded us that we are not through to the other side. Although the year has been full of challenges outside our control, in some ways, the disruptions have been a blessing. We have reached more members, accomplished a multi-year legislative achievement, and connected our members and chapters in ways not conceived or possible in the pre-pandemic world. It’s been rewarding to hear the positive feedback from members now connected through the AIA Ohio weekly update on the value of being able to join in on programming across the state that fits their practice needs and interests. Our members have let us know that they feel more connected to AIA Ohio and appreciate the greater connectivity between all of the chapters across the state. This connectivity among members and Ohio’s seven chapters is something I hope will continue even after the pandemic.

On the advocacy front, one of the most significant achievements this year has been the passage of SB49 that provides payment assurance for Architects in the state of Ohio. It was an honor to participate in the signing ceremony with Governor DeWine as a culmination of years of perseverance to pass proactive legislation that will have a lasting impact on the profession in Ohio. This legislation would not have been possible without the leadership of Christopher Toddy, AIA, who first championed the legislation to the AIA Ohio Board, the members of the task force that worked to craft the strategy, members who prepared written testimony and testified at committee hearings, members who participated in AIA Ohio’s virtual day at the statehouse, Luther Liggett who championed the passage of the legislation at every step of the process, and all of the members of AIA Ohio who supported passage of the bill by contributing to the AIA Ohio PAC this year. In the Fall, AIA Ohio will be sponsoring a virtual seminar that will provide our members and firms with the details of the new law, how to exercise your rights to perfect a proper lien, and answer any questions our members may have regarding implementation of the new law.

In July, the advocacy series wrapped up with an inspiring session presented by advocate architects. The new series attracted members from across the state to focus on advocacy and incorporated all original content developed by the advocacy committee. Congratulations to the Advocacy planning committee including my co-chair Bruce Sekanick, FAIA, and committee members Matt Toddy, AIA, and Kate Brunswick, Hon. AIA, for putting together a successful series to engage and develop the next generation of advocate architects. Details of the success, planning, and outcomes of the sessions was spotlighted at the national AIA Architects in Action Conference this year. Bruce, Kate, and I were honored to present at the conference and share AIA Ohio’s success with advocacy leaders across the country where our session received recognition from AIA based on the attendee satisfaction survey.

The sixth and final AIA Ohio design series lecture featured Sung Ho Kim and Heather Woofter concluded what has been an inspiring series of speakers representing an interesting cross section of architects and practice models from across the United States. I’d like to thank and recognize Robert Maschke, FAIA, for curating and hosting the sessions for us this year.

One of the highlights of the year will be here soon with the AIA Ohio virtual design awards that will be presented on Thursday, September 30th at 5:00 PM. Make plans now to host a watch party and enjoy finding out who will receive the 2021 AIA Ohio design awards! A new feature this year program will be the People’s Choice Award and the announcement of the AIA Ohio Student design competition award recipients from the schools of architecture across the state.

By now, you should have received a postcard with the dates and times for the upcoming Practice Innovation Series. The first of six sessions will start on Tuesday, September 14th at noon with a program titled “Recognizing the Added Value of Research in Practice.” The committee, chaired by Melinda Scalfaro, AIA, have put together a variety of informative programs designed to provide members with practical and inspiring ideas focused on new technologies and practice models that can be implemented by firms to enhance their practice.

Finally, don’t forget to save the date for our member recognition program on Thursday, November 4th from 6pm to 9pm. We will be celebrating our honor award recipients, Chapter Sponsors, Ohio’s newest Fellows, AIA Ohio PAC donors, Ohio’s recently registered architects, and Presidential and Marr Citation recipients at the Joseph Hotel in Columbus. This will be the only in person membership event this year and it’s sure to be a great opportunity to join together outside of our zoom boxes to recognize and celebrate our members’ contributions to the profession.

I’m excited about the plans we have for the remainder of the year and look forward to seeing you virtually or in person at one of AIA Ohio’s events this Fall.

Karen Planet, AIA
AIA Ohio President, 2021