An Official E-Newsletter of AIA Ohio – Winter 2011

Local Government Construction Projects In Doubt
We are the Architects of Our Future
Ohio Architects Board Update
Board Adopts Revisions to Continuing Education Rules
Geothermal Heating and Cooling Technologies Evolve
Intern Development Program Updates
AIA OVR Unconvention 2011
New Vendors Selected for the ARE
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Steve ShinnA Recap of 2011

Steven H Shinn, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C

AIA Ohio President



We are completing our year of planned initiatives, goals and strategies that were established last fall. Below is an overview of our major activities and efforts.



(Advance policies about design through political outreach, education and engagement.)

Government Affairs

Legislative InitiativesThis year, we have actively tracked up to 15 legislative issues on behalf of our profession. Several issues have involved meetings and letters promoting our policies and interests.

Day at the Statehouse – The event was very successful with over 150 architects engaging 150 legislators in the Statehouse Atrium. Governor John Kasich presented Senator Chris Widener, FAIA, with the AIA Ohio “Good Government Award”. During lunch and afternoon visits our members promoted four legislative issues with their Representatives and Senators including: Capital Bill; Construction Reform; Regulation of Change Orders; and Historical Tax Credits.

AIA Ohio PAC – Funding support for the AIA Ohio PAC was integrated with the Advocacy Grants this year. Our “Triple Play” program allows individuals to take up to a $50 tax credit (or $100 on joint returns) for personal contributions made to the campaigns of state office holders. Our AIA-Ohio PAC matches the member’s contribution and sends a letter to the candidate asking him/her to use the contributing architect as a sounding board for design/construction legislation. Your separate personal contribution to the AIA-Ohio PAC will assure the continuation of this important program.


Advocacy Grants

Local Advocacy Grants – We continued to encourage and support local chapter outreach with our Advocacy Grant Program. This year, the funds were awarded to support local chapter civic engagement raising awareness of the value of AIA Architects in their communities.


Political Outreach

Website – Our website is updated on a regular basis to serve as a current and relevant resource for our members, clients and media. It includes legislative issues, a local and state calendar of events.

Electronic Firm Directory – The AIA Ohio Firm Directory was printed and it is also available on line as a searchable database for the media and public.


(Promote the value of design and the importance of architecture.)

Member Outreach – We engaged the local chapters with the AIA Ohio President and President-elect visits during board meetings and/or member functions. We encouraged local chapters to focus on membership and leadership drives and we participated in the AIA Cleveland Principal’s Breakfast, the AIA Toledo’s Principal Meeting and a similar meeting in AIA Akron. The goals of the meetings were to solicit grassroots feedback to help AIA at all levels to be more effective.

Chapter Outreach – We also facilitated quarterly President’s Conference Calls to become more familiar with pressing local issues and to give us a chance to personally share some of the state level activities. This outreach helped us refine our activities and programs to provide more value and relevance to our members.



(Empower networks of components and allied professionals.)

AIA National – We worked on a regular basis with National. Ohio is well represented on the National Board with members on the executive committee, the board, taskforces, and committees, including Advocacy and Diversity. Our efforts to elect Debra Kunce, FAIA (our current regional director) to Vice President of AIA next year were successful at the National Convention in New Orleans.

OVR – We worked with the Ohio Valley Region representatives to coordinate activities between Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, including more frequent regional conventions.

Schools of Architecture – One of our board meetings occurred at the School of Architecture at Miami University. Faculty representatives from all 4 schools of architecture and AIAS officers from Miami were present. During the meeting, we discussed ways to increase engagement and interaction between the profession, faculty and students. After the meeting, board members participated in student critiques with faculty and students.

Associates – We promoted more collaboration between our young associates and our membership to build leadership. This year, the Associates “Unconvention” took place at the same time as our regional convention in Dayton. The goal was to encourage more engagement between our young and senior members.



(Disseminate interdisciplinary study and research so AIA’s members are leaders in the profession.)

Convention – The 2011 Regional Convention in Dayton was profitable and very successful. Over 360 people attended the event which offered over 12 learning units, including GBCI credits for each attendee. It was also coordinated with the exciting Dayton Urban Nights event, a walk on downtown’s creative side.

Day at the Statehouse – In conjunction with our legislative event at the Statehouse, we also offered a continuing education program titled “Doing Good and Doing Well…Advocacy as a Business Strategy” to explore the link between advocacy endeavors and real projects. Over 100 people attended the event.

Schools of Architecture – This year, we established a Research Grant Competition for our four accredited architecture programs in Ohio. The grant was awarded to Kent State with the goals to encourage academic research from our professors and students and to disseminate the results to our membership at our future conventions.

Opportunity Grants – During the year, we developed grants to help the local chapters engage exceptional speakers and provide programs of significant value in advancing the profession and practice knowledge.



A recent study of the architectural profession by the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business and the Design Futures Council Think Tank offers valuable resources for the AIA. The report includes challenges facing our profession; a survey of our members; major trends in technology, connectivity and globalization; and design industry trends in commoditization, collaborative delivery models, changing demographics and technology. Some of the recommendations to the profession and AIA included:


  • Survey and monitor key metrics about our profession
  • Use education to recapture our role in some specialties that have migrated away
  • Strengthen core services in building design and technologies
  • Identify and develop new services and new client types
  • Improve relationships with collaborators in the construction process


Most of these recommendations fit under the strategies of the AIA National and AIA Ohio Strategic Weave: 

  • Advocacy to promote the profession
  • Communication and Education to promote an expert workforce
  • Collaboration to stay connected and relevant


At some level, we are currently implementing many of these recommendations at the state level of AIA. I believe AIA Ohio is working to understand the needs of our members through our local component outreach. We continue to improve our relevance and promote the profession.  I want to thank our AIA Ohio board members and especially the executive committee and staff for working so hard this year. We have a very active and engaged executive committee and I look forward to next year as we continue to make a difference and build our future. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions. You may contact the AIA Ohio office at 614.221.0338 or my cell number 614.551.8896.

D Field 2010

Local Government Construction Projects In Doubt

David W. Field, CAE, Hon. AIA,

Executive Vice President


At the urging of Governor Kasich, the legislature cured a $7 billion state budget deficit partly by promising “new tools” to help local governments cope with much reduced funding levels. The “tools,” which reduced the power of public unions, were passed by the legislature as SB 5.


But the unions fought back via referendum and Ohio voters overturned SB 5 by opposing Issue 2 on the November 8 ballot.


The result:

As a result, local governments won’t get the “tools” promised to help them deal with their drastically reduced state funding. And with neither the funds nor the tools, some local construction projects may be delayed or abandoned.


On November 8 local voters generally said an overwhelming “no” to new property and income taxes, including those supporting projects matched by the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC).


Kent Scarrett, a lobbyist with the Ohio Municipal League, says local governments across the state are going to be faced with the choice of either cutting back on services or asking voters to pay more in local taxes.

Re-enacting pieces of SB 5:

Scarrett also says the Municipal League would support reconsidering parts of SB 5, the target of Issue 2, especially the portions focused on reducing the amounts employers pay for employee health care and pensions.


But in the wake of the overwhelming defeat of SB 5, the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Bill Batchelder, says he doubts this General Assembly will re-visit those issues.


Senate President, Tom Niehaus said that though poll results and discussions he has had indicate that voters supported parts of the bill, he hasn’t considered breaking out those favorable parts for separate legislation. “We have had no conversations” and it’s “too soon to speculate” whether collective bargaining will be addressed in the future as a way to help local governments, Niehaus said.


Emerging alternative:

On November 3 another option surfaced: encouraging local governments to consolidate or share services.  


The most recent Census report reveals that with 11.5 million people and a stagnant economy Ohio is burdened with 3,702 local governments–more than twice as many as a growing Florida. And all of them–counties, cities, villages, townships, school districts and “special” districts (park and conservancy districts, port authorities, etc.) have payrolls.

Just four days prior to the November 8 election, Chairman of the Ohio House Finance Committee, Rep. Ron Amstutz, introduced HB 371, which would create a state Local Government Innovation Council. The Council could establish criteria for and make loans and awards to political subdivisions for local government innovation projects including those that are part of a consolidation effort.


To the extent that local governments can re-visit labor agreements, lay-off current workers, raise taxes or consolidate services, dollars may become available to breathe new life into hoped for construction projects.


Capital Bill prospects are dim:

Already on the endangered list due to Ohio’s fiscal squeeze, is state-backed bond funding for special local projects like theaters, arts and sports facilities. These appear headed for extinction in Governor John Kasich’s first capital appropriations measure.


The elimination of “community project” funding from the upcoming Capital Bill was detailed in the capital bill planning guidance issued by the Office of Budget and Management on November 16 to state agencies, boards and commissions.

If followed through by the legislature, the change would be a further blow to local governments that saw the historic revenue-sharing arrangement with the state cut considerably in the biennial budget (HB153) – to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

While general revenue appropriations have become scarce in the last few capital bills, policymakers have still provided in the neighborhood of $100 million for community projects as part of the bond-funded package. OBM Director, Tim Keen, said in a memorandum to directors and fiscal officers that such considerations would not be part of the governor’s plan.

Focus will be on maintenance:

“Capital bill appropriations directly impact operating budgets via debt service payments on the bond issuances used to support capital expenditures. Therefore, consistent with Governor Kasich’s commitment to restrain government spending, it is imperative that the FYs 2013-2014 capital bill also be restrained in size,” Mr. Keen wrote in the memo, which was part of the budget guidance documents.

“Accordingly, the bill will focus on necessary maintenance and upkeep of the state’s current capital assets with an extremely high threshold that would have to be met in order to fund new construction. Under these circumstances, the bill will contain no community projects. Thus, all state agencies, colleges, and universities should use the preparation of their six-year capital plan and their two-year capital funding request as an opportunity to carefully review their capital needs and only request funding for those projects that are most essential.”

Legislative hearings planned:
Senate President, Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) says that he has yet to read the capital bill guidance but agrees with an approach of fiscal restraint. “We must be cognizant of the fact that we are in very difficult economic times right now and so any spending that we do based on borrowed funds we just need to review carefully,” he said. “But this is a process and this the very beginning of the process and so I’m sure that we will have vigorous debate over the coming months.”

“We have heard from entities around the state that there is a need for capital investment and they are looking for assistance from taxpayers through the state capital bill,” he said. “That’s why we have a process to have the hearings and determine what those needs are.”

Before the fiscal year 2011-2012 capital biennia, colleges and universities alone were receiving roughly $500 million in funding for buildings and improvements every two years.

The only bond-backed capital appropriations approved by the General Assembly during that period, about $1 billion provided under various other measures, went mainly to the Ohio School Facilities Commission, the Public Works Commission, and Development-related projects. Included in that total is $50 million in emergency capital funds authorized in the current state operations budget.

Due to the juxtaposition of economic and political factors, former Gov. Ted Strickland and subsequently Gov. Kasich opted to not seek a separate capital bill in the current two-year cycle. As a result, the $1 billion in total capital appropriations in FY 2011-2012 was far less then the prior three biennia.

Including the capital bill and other measures, the legislature appropriated about $1.75 billion for projects in the FY 2009-2010 capital biennium, $3.46 billion during the prior two years and about $2.48 billion in the FY 2005-2006 period, according to the Senate GOP Finance Office.

OBM said in the guidance documents that all agency capital requests are due to the budget office by Dec. 16. The budget office will spend the next three months or so planning the bill for a spring rollout, with legislative hearings to ensue.

We are the Architects of Our Future… Promoting Architecture as an Economic Engine, 2012 AIA Ohio Planning Workshop

Judson A. Kline, FAIA, LEED AP



AIA Ohio held its 2012 Strategic Planning Workshop on November 7 and 8 at the Glidden House in Cleveland.   Over the day and one-half meeting, 40 members of the state’s component leadership engaged in a process recognizing the challenges the profession faces and how AIA Ohio can address efforts to improve our economic condition, make a significant impact on the quality of our communities and advocate for values we support. In taking an active role in leading the profession by envisioning the future we want for ourselves, our members, our profession and our communities, AIA Ohio members explored opportunities we can implement in being the Architects of Our Future and how architecture can be the economic engine to power it.


In pursuing an agenda focused on the bigger picture of what AIA should be in truly serving the profession, the AIA Ohio Board Strategic Planning Retreat schedule considered the big challenges to address in our efforts to identify our preferred future and explored the pathway to it. If we are to be the Architects of Our Future, we need to look at what we have done well and how those successes can contribute to the future we want for ourselves, our families, our profession and our communities and the role the institute and AIA Ohio, in particular, can have in producing it.


In producing this program, the AIA Ohio leadership engaged the Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School’s Molly McGuigan of the Learning Link to work with the team using Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Process, a strategic methodology developed at Weatherhead based on the power of positive visioning engaging all participants through interviews and discussions. In the application of the AI approach, AIA Ohio identified opportunities to build the agenda for 2012 and discover the Big Hairy Audacious Goals to reach our objectives.


There were several very positive outcomes derived from the workshop. Among these were:


  • Developing a statewide leadership academy to educate architects in developing the skills and recognizing capabilities for community action.
  • Creating a means to promote architects to the role of trusted advisor for clients, communities, businesses and institutions in the development of consultative practices where the problem solving capabilities of architects can provide a recognizable and compensated value.
  • Methods to build trust within the industry.
  • A focus on building outreach, communication and promotion of the profession outside the institute.
  • A series of programs geared towards interns and young architects to provide business and leadership development education.
  • A state-wide program for AIA Ohio to recognize newly registered architects and to celebrate their achievement at the State and local level.
  • Sharing the knowledge we gain through programs provided by the chapters, workshops at the convention and research initiatives by developing a searchable archive connected with the AIA Ohio website. 

The work groups formed during the conference developed these ideas and investigated how they could provide an economic impact for the profession and the community. At the conclusion of the workshop, each idea generated was fleshed out with basic plans, goals, success measurements, resources identified and next steps recommended. These ideas will now be reviewed by executive committee to determine the programs to pursue and how to pursue them.


In addition to the planning workshop, attendees were informed of the state of the Ohio political landscape by David Field, reviewed and acted on by-laws updates facilitated by Bruce Sekanick and were informed of the Opportunity and Chapter Advocacy Grants programs by Elizabeth Corbin Murphy. At the end of the first day’s work, the entire group adjourned to visit the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative of the Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Dean Doug Steidl, past Dean Jim Dalton and Director Teri Schwarz informed the group on the role the UDC plays in the Northeast Ohio community in educating, visioning and creating opportunities for the region. The visit offered ideas AIA Ohio could share with the other communities of Ohio.


I want to thank Kate Brunswick for all her work in organizing and supporting the preparation for the event. I also want to recognize Molly McGuigan from the Learning Link providing the facilitation, preparing material we used during the workshop and keeping the group focused on a very intense agenda. The work and commitment of the attendees is also appreciated. Their downfield vision and commitment to the process resulted in successfully providing outcomes AIA Ohio can deploy while building relationships we can all benefit and enjoy.


We are the Architects of Our Future and we have begun to build an economic engine driven by architecture.

Ohio Architects Board Update
Amy M. Kobe, CAE, Hon AIA
Executive Director, Ohio Architects Board

Your Ohio Architect license renewal application for 2012-2013 is in the mail! If do not receive your renewal notice, it may be because your mailing address has changed and you need to notify the Board.


The deadline to renew is December 31, 2011. The cost is $125.


Below are some tips that will make for a smooth renewal:


  • If your contact information needs to be updated, use the Change of Address form, which is available on the Forms page of our website at Forward the completed form to: 
  • In order to renew your license to practice in Ohio, you must have earned 24 hours of Continuing Education between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011. Sixteen hours of the 24 hours must be in the areas of Health, Safety, and Welfare.  
  • Do not renew your license until you have completed all of the required CE hours. Random audits will be conducted. Keep copies of Certificates of Completion on file in case you are audited-they will be requested. 
  • Do not send any Continuing Education documentation with a timely renewal application, which is postmarked on or before December 31, 2011. 
  • Sign and date your renewal and enclose the correct fee. 
  • Online renewal is not available (due to the cost of bank fees and technology development.) 
  • Renewals postmarked after December 31, 2011 cost $156.25 and must include proof of completion of the Continuing Education requirement. 
  • If you do not wish to renew your license, check the appropriate box on the renewal form and return it to the Board in the enclosed envelope.


If at any time, you have any questions about the Continuing Education requirements or Ohio Architects Law, please do not hesitate to contact me at or by phone at (614) 466-1327, or Chad Holland at or by phone at 614-466-1476.


If you have general questions about the renewal process, billing, or a change of address, please contact Licensure/Certification Examiner, Stephanie Happ at or by phone at (614) 466-2316.


Please feel free to pass this email along to other architects in your office in case they did not receive original message.


If you are receiving this email as a pass-along and you did not receive the original email or renewal notice, please send the Board your updated contact information.


PS: Ohio has a new commercial Building Code effective November 1, 2011. For more information, please visit our website at

Board Adopts Revisions to Continuing Education Rules

The Ohio Architects Board has adopted new Continuing Education rules, effective January 1, 2012. The changes will greatly simplify compliance for Architects.  The new rules do not apply to the current renewal period (1/1/09 through 12/31/11. You may download a PDF copy of the rules from the Board’s website at

As a result of adopting the new regulations, the state will be in alignment with the new Continuing Education Model Regulations adopted in June 2011 by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

Currently, nearly every state has different requirements and deadlines for completion of their Continuing Education requirements. When the majority of states have adopted the new NCARB Model Regulations, as they are widely expected to do, architects will find it much easier to track and fulfill the more uniform requirements.

Under the new rules, the fulfillment of Continuing Education will take place on an annual calendar year basis, rather than the two-year renewal period. Instead of completing 24 hours every two years, architects will now complete 12 hours per calendar year.

In addition, all 12 hours must be Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) hours. This will also make it easier for architects licensed in multiple states, as there are several significant jurisdictions that accept only HSW hours. All states accept HSW hours; many states do not accept non-HSW hours.

The definitions of Health, Safety and Welfare have also been updated. Architects will find many practice-related courses still qualify for HSW hours, including codes, zoning, ethics, insurance to protect owners and the public, documents and construction administration.

Online as well as in-person courses are accepted.

The new Health, Safety and Welfare definitions are as follows:

(a) Legal: laws, codes, zoning, regulations, standards, life safety, accessibility, ethics, insurance to protect owners and public­

(b) Building systems: structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, communications, security, fire protection­

(c) Environmental: energy efficiency, sustainability, natural resources, natural hazards, hazardous materials, weatherproofing, insulation­

­(d) Occupant comfort: air quality, lighting, acoustics, ergonomics

(e) Materials and Methods: construction systems, products, finishes, furnishings, equipment

(f) Preservation: historic, reuse, adaptation­

(g) Pre-design: land use analysis, programming, site selection, site and soils analysis, surveying

­(h) Design: urban planning, master planning, building design, site design, interiors, safety and security measures

(i) Construction documents: drawings, specifications, delivery methods

(j) Construction contract administration: contracts, bidding, contract negotiations­

Medical, military and emeritus architect exemptions are still available upon request to practitioners.

The board recognizes courses and programs offered by providers pre-approved by NCARB, the American Institute of Architects, universities and many other organizations related to the built environment.

As with the current policy, there is no carry-over of credits from year to year. Architects are responsible for keeping accurate records, including certificates of completion or transcripts from professional associations. Records must be maintained for six years.

The Board will continue to conduct random compliance audits. Architects who are found to have falsely attested completion of the requirement on renewal applications are subject to a variety of penalties, ranging from fines to license suspension or revocation.

As regulators of the profession of architecture, NCARB exists to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the public through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects.

Of NCARB’s 54 Member Boards, currently 85 percent have a continuing education requirement for registration renewal and 93 percent of those require that all or a portion of the requirement be in health, safety, welfare.

The prevalence of health, safety, welfare requirements among its Member Boards, in combination with NCARB’s mission, supports NCARB’s efforts to promote standardization of health, safety, and welfare continuing education requirements among Member Boards through recent modification of NCARB Model Regulations.

For more information about the new requirements, please contact Amy Kobe at 614-466-1327 or or Chad Holland at 614-466-1476 or

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Technologies Evolve

by Stephanie Aurora Lewis, NCARB R.A., LEED AP BD+C


As a freelance writer specializing in green building topics, I am often asked about which technologies I most recommend. At one time, geothermal heating and cooling was on the top of the list because of its facile ability to regain energy loss and because of its geographic versatility. This summer, I attended a full-day seminar on geothermal technologies provided by HalfMoon Seminars to satiate my enthusiasm for this simple yet powerful system. Though the seminar covered the basic mechanics, materials, scientific theory, and example installations of geothermal, it also presented some of the environmental risks associated with the system that must be in check for each project.


Energy savings is one of the best aspects of geothermal heating and cooling systems due to its ability to divert fossil fuel depletion by using the Earth’s stored energy. As a rule of thumb, for every kilowatt-hour used, the geothermal system delivers four to five times more alternative energy. Indeed the stock of fossil fuels in the U.S. are quickly vanishing at rates faster than most of us acknowledge. According to the ASPO International, American soil can produce coal for up to the year 2112. Even more astonishing is the fact that coal is predicted to be the only fossil fuel left after the year 2042.


While geothermal was once believed a sustainable solution for only a few buildings that had just the right (large) site for it to work, it can now be installed for practically any new build including small urban residential projects. While retrofitting an existing building can be tricky because of the amount of land that will be excavated, the good news is that vertical tubing uses a much smaller plot of land. Bear in mind, however, that the costs associated with geothermal are most dependent upon the expenses of the installation itself. Vertical piping is more expensive to install than the horizontal spiral organization.


Both interesting and ugly, geothermal can penetrate through any substrate including dense rock if needed in order to get the required length of tubing needed for a large project. Therefore, it is conceivable that vertical geothermal tubing can pass through or come uncomfortably close to the water table in any given geographic location. Since antifreeze chemicals are flowing through the tubing, this system could cause damage to the eco system if the tubing erupted into the water table and into the environment unchecked. Old age, accidental punctures, and seismic activity can cause the tubing to erupt. The tubing is designed to endure for at least a hundred years, but take caution that there are reports of leaching.


Despite the environmental risks associated with using geothermal heating and cooling, it can be a wonderful sustainable solution. While planning a new installation, it is important to conduct significant unbiased research (perhaps like that provided by HalfMoon Seminars) to find out how the water table and the precious eco system can be protected against an accidental product failure. Geothermal would be perfect if a water-only system could be invented. To the credit of the geothermal manufacturers, they are looking for ways to invent such systems that do not have hazardous chemicals flowing through their product designs.



Intern Development Program Updates: IDP 2.0

Melissa Sieg, AIA

Columbus Chapter Associate Director


IDP was created in the 1970s. Understandably, some of the very original requirements needed to change and reflect the current practice of architecture. Through a lengthy implementation plan and timeline, a three-phase IDP 2.0 addresses those issues with significant updates to their program:


  1. You are eligible to start counting IDP credits as soon as you enroll in an NAAB accredited program.
  2. You can work a minimum of 15 hours a week for 8 weeks straight to make your credits count.
  3. Some of your IDP experience time can be virtual, a portion of your direct supervision time can remote via electronic communication tools such as email, teleconferencing and Skype.
  4. Your supervisor no longer has to be licensed where he or she is located, but licensed in a U.S. jurisdiction, and your mentor can also sign off on Training Units from the Emerging Professional Companion.
  5. You can get additional credits for not just working through NCARB-supplied supplemental education, but also through credits for passing the LEED exam, CSI certificate programs, working on a design competition, etc.


These changes acknowledge the wide array of experiences from which interns learn and benefit, the technological advances that have reshaped the way we do business, and the current economic state which continues to affect the profession. While IPD 2.0 offers many more benefits to complete the program, the amount of required hours remains the same, 5,600 hours total. Even as a licensed architect who (thankfully) does not have to worry about the IDP anymore, you can appreciate the improvements and support your colleagues.


The first phase of IDP 2.0 was implemented on 1 July 2009, allowing interns-employed or not-to earn training units in more ways. Phase 2 went into effect in January 2010, switching training units to training hours and permitting for some of your direct supervision to be remote. The last phase of IDP 2.0 will be implemented in April 2012, offering a user-friendly electronic submission interface and early notification of program updates. You can read more about these changes and other rollover rules here,

AIA OVR Unconvention 2011

September 16 & 17

Brian McAlexander, Assoc. AIA

             The Unconvention began with a simple premise, “get Emerging Professionals to convention”. First, we brainstormed possible reasons why they would not attend. These reasons ranged from personal to educational interests: time away from work and home, cost of registration, cost of stay, transportation means, and relevant programming. Then, we developed solutions to each possible issue.


            We scheduled the event for a Friday & Saturday keeping the time away from the office to just one day and giving up one day of the weekend. To address costs we applied for and won grants from the AIA College of Fellows Emerging Professionals Grant and the AIA Trust. Kaplan and NCARB provided in-kind donations with two complete ARE learning systems and five ARE vouchers. AIA Ohio, AIA Kentucky, and AIA Indiana all provided funding as well. We sent out a survey asking what topics were of interest to Emerging Professionals and developed programing around survey results.


            After Friday morning’s Convention Keynote by De Leon & Primmer, the Unconvention kicked off with “The Road Less Taken”… Is That the Road to Fellowship?” This program looked at what Fellowship is and how one can get there. This was a career planning guide for Emerging Professionals and a great introduction for Saturday morning’s Ask a Fellow Roundtable Breakfast. The breakfast had a number of FAIA members in the audience as we discussed the changes that have occurred in the profession and our feelings about the future of the profession.


            Having the Convention and Unconvention together allowed us to have nine reviewers for the Speed Portfolio Review. These were not job interviews but rather critiques of portfolios and resumes. You may remember how helpful critiques were in school, but when was the last time you had a honest critique of your portfolio? There was also discussion of paper or digital. While some liked the embrace of technology, others wanted paper to flip through while talking to the interviewee.


            Overcoming Millennial Stereotypes: How to Champion Your Project as a Young Designer looked at EP’s leading a project and some of the different values of generations working in architecture firms. They used a actual project, a school for Beavercreek, as a study of the dynamic interaction of different generations.


            Friday night was capped off by Dinning by Design Tours, two of which ended at the Neon Movies for Pecha Kucha Night. The Unconvention wanted to reach out to the public, connecting them to the architects and introducing the convention to the locals. PK Night seemed a great way to end the night and bring in a wider audience. We teamed up with Pecha Kucha Night Dayton and provided five of the eight speakers. Two of those speakers were Unconvention speakers and one was a Convention keynote speaker, Dan Maginn AIA, of El Dorado Inc. His hilarious take on the installation of the Ikea PS Pendant lamp will long be remembered. If only we could forget what he said about Porky Pig not wearing pants.

           Saturday while the Convention was wrapping up and heading out to tours, the Unconvention was deep into its programming. The much anticipated Alternate Career Paths in Architecture was moderated by Lee Waldrep, who has moderated several panels on the topic including one at AIA National Convention in New Orleans. The panel was quite large and included those who had specialized within the profession and those who had taken their knowledge and training and applied it to other fields like home inspections and comic strip writing. The authors of Architext ( provided some much needed comic relief and strangely appeared in silhouette form whenever photographed.

             Martin Smith AIA from NCARB and Sandra LaFontaine AIA, AIA Ohio State IDP Coordinator discussed with attendees the IDP and the licensure processes and participated in a lengthy question and answer session.


            At the EP Roundtable Lunch Emerging Professionals from the region had an open discussion about their past, future, and the changes that are occurring in the profession.


            The Architecture as Business session provided EPs with a chance to hear from a panel on the business decisions firms face on a daily basis. The three panelists, from a variety of backgrounds and from firms of different sizes participated in a moderated, open discussion. It was great chance for attendees to hear about some of the non-design related issues critical to a firms vitality and growth in today’s market. Topics covered included setting strategic goals, marketing, contracts and client retention among others.


            What else is on the minds of EP’s? The ARE of course! Which section in particular? Structures! So we held a 4 hour study session lead by not one but three Structural Engineers. The amount of information presented caused overload in many attendees. Our thanks to Shell + Meyer Associates for blowing our minds.


            We wrapped up with presenting prizes, Kaplan study guides and five ARE vouchers. Thanks to everyone who stayed to 3:00PM on a Saturday afternoon! We hope everyone learned something, met new people, and had a great time!


            This event did not come out of nowhere; what developed sprang from an existing program, the AIA Ohio Emerging Professionals Retreat. This retreat had come out of an earlier program the AIA Ohio Associate Director Summit. Where the Summit was restricted to the Local Associate Directors and State Associate Director, the Retreat opened up to all EP leadership. The Retreat then opened to all EP’s and became the Unconvention. It was an evolutionary process.


            Although the OVR Unconvention was an evolution of programming, we believe it can be produced much more quickly in other regions with the help of the forth coming Best Practices Template. What took us several years to evolve you can engineer in a single year. In the next few months we will dissect the Unconvention using actual attendance, expenses, and attendee survey to determine our successes and not so successful outcomes. Learn from us and go out and produce your own Unconvention!


Unconvention team:

Brian McAlexander, Assoc. AIA

Greg Spon, Assoc. AIA

Jack Baumann, AIA

Melissa Seig, AIA

Michael Neureither, Assoc. AIA

Kate Brunswick, Hon. AIA, CAE

Janet Pike, Hon. AIA

Jason Shelly

Jane Treiber

Terry Welker, AIA

New Vendors Selected for the ARE

Washington, DC-The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has signed long-term contracts with Alpine Testing Solutions, Inc. and Prometric, Inc. for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). These two vendors were selected for their unique strengths that will allow NCARB to continue to provide the profession with the highest quality licensing exam, enhance the candidate experience, and position the ARE for a more agile future.

“The scope of services to deliver the ARE is vast and complicated. Rather than limiting ourselves to a single vendor, this best-in-class approach allowed us to focus on the individual services and assemble the best team to carry the ARE into the future, and move toward an enhanced and more friendly candidate and Member Board experience,” said Erica J. Brown, AIA, NCARB, Director, ARE.

The selection process for the new vendor(s) began in fall 2010 with a request for information. Following initial responses and evaluation, requests for proposals were sent to all qualified vendors in spring 2011. Qualified vendors were evaluated based on proposals submitted for one or more of three categories of service: content management, candidate management, and site management.

Alpine Testing Services, Inc. was selected to manage both the content management and candidate management services. This comprehensive effort includes support for the exam committees, creation and maintenance of all multiple-choice and graphic content, management of all candidate records and testing eligibilities, score reporting, and statistical analysis. Prometric, Inc. was selected to continue as a long-term partner with NCARB as the site management consultant focused on delivering the ARE to candidates in their extensive test center network.

“NCARB approached the selection of the next ARE vendors carefully and rigorously. The process, which took more than a year, will ultimately serve all of our stakeholders as the profession, NCARB, and the exam evolve,” said NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong. “I’m excited about the opportunities this new team provides.”

Partnering with these two vendors will enable NCARB to build, maintain, and continuously improve testing programs. Among the benefits that this change will bring to ARE candidates is an enhanced experience in terms of communication and scheduling. Continuing to provide a high quality test environment for candidates, with unparalleled access to test centers across the Unites States, was a critical component in the vendor selection process.

More information on future enhancements to the ARE program will be released throughout the migration process, which is anticipated to be complete in 2013.


The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.


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