With the start of a new year, AIA Youngstown is in the middle of many significant changes that will change the way the chapter operates, and the way services are provided. While these changes come with a few challenges, the chapter is looking to expand the way we provide services and meet members’ needs.
In 2023, the chapter decided to close the office that we had leased for the last 28 years. While we are now moving meeting locations around the three-county area, this does provide the chapter with added financial resources that were previously dedicated to an under-utilized expense. This also provides us with the opportunity to review the records and documents we have on hand and, when appropriate, to eliminate those that we held beyond the times indicated in our retention policy. Change can sometimes provide you with the needed incentive to make other changes.
While the elimination of the office may have been the biggest physical change the chapter faced, the biggest challenge was the announced retirement of our Executive Director Marlene Mort, Assoc. AIA. Marlene has served the chapter for more years than what most of us can count and we have relied on her for doing the day-to-day work of the chapter while also being a full-time employee of msconsultants. While still around to help the chapter with communications and as our liaison with AIA National, we are adapting to our status as an all-volunteer chapter. Several members are being trained in Fonteva and others are taking a more substantial role in leading our CEU efforts. The chapter misses the many contributions that Marlene has made, and we thank her for her commitment and efforts. In a similar way, the Board also looks forward to adapting to and operating in a different way and we look forward to taking on those challenges as well.
While it may not seem like something that is noteworthy, the chapter board has also experienced a change in its composition. As a small chapter, there has been a strong history of continuing service on the Board. While there remains a balance of youth and experience, the average age of the chapter board members has dropped by 10 years with the election of this year’s board. Not only has the Board composition changed, but so has our leadership. In 2024, the chapter is being led by President Jessica Phillips, Assoc. AIA, Mike Ruscitti, AIA, Greg Struna, AIA and Olivia Slater, Assoc. AIA, who hold officer positions. This is the first time that the chapter has had two Associate Members hold officer positions.
The chapter looks forward to the many challenges and opportunities ahead as we hope to work with other local chapters and those across the state in our mission to best serve the members of AIA Youngstown.