Recap: State of the Association Address


On July 21, AIA Colorado leadership provided members its annual State of Association Address. Overall, the Board of Directors conveyed that AIA Colorado is strong with an optimistic outlook for the upcoming year.

The presentation was segmented by: 1) Advancing the Profession, 2) Culture of Belonging, 3) Leadership Opportunities, and 4) Organizational Transformation. Presenters were President Rachael Johnson, AIA; Treasurer Sheva Willoughby, AIA; President-Elect Wells Squier, AIA; Past President Adam Harding, AIA; and CEO Mike Waldinger, Hon. AIA. Here we bring you top-level highlights the completed and upcoming initiatives.

Advancing the Profession

Smart Advocacy. The Architects of Colorado Political Committee (ARCpac) adapted to no in-person meetings and was successful in the elimination of Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) forms and advancing HB21-1303 Global Warming Potential for Public Project Materials to signature and law. These two achievements will have a positive, longstanding impact for Colorado and members.

Building Coalitions. Leveraging AIA Colorado’s partnership with A3LC, a joint program with the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado (ACEC) and Associated General Contractors (AGC) allowed our team to promote awareness with global warming. Reaching outside our industry allows AIA Colorado to do so much more!

Environmental Stewardship. The Colorado Committee on the Environment (C.O.T.E.) will send out an environmental issues survey to establish a baseline to assist with awareness and action. The survey’s response is intended for your firm’s perspective. Be on the lookout for upcoming information on this survey.

Change Agent. A point of progress for our state is the partnership with the Colorado Chapter for The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). This partnership changes everything. Johnson said, “NOMA Colorado started this past year. Our relationship is off and running. It is very, very important.” Already, AIA Colorado and NOMA Colorado jointly hosted a webinar, “Are Firms Ready for Diversity.”

Culture of Belonging

Member Resiliency. AIA leadership values each and every member. Membership is holding steady thanks to your steadfast resolve. Following the numbers for our state. Overall member total by geography: 2,301, Denver: 1558, North: 376, West: 225, South: 142. Membership by type: AIA: 1752, Emeritus: 382, Associate AIA and International AIA: 167. Of note when renewing or for new applications, the dues installment payment plan can be used to help with individual budgeting priorities.

Professional Development. The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program continues to advance emerging architects. The pandemic limited in-person discussions but allowed for national reach with speakers and mentors. As well, the Architectural Education Foundation is continuing and seeking applications for its Licensure Advancement Fund and this year already funded its annual Travel Scholarships. The Career Leadership Task Force is a significant enabler for the future of architecture.

Working For You. This past year has certainly presented its challenges. Challenges bring opportunities to innovate and set conditions for a better and efficient way forward. This fall, AIA Colorado will unveil its new website designed for a better user experience. In an environment mostly void of face-to-face communications, the newsletters, no-charge member virtual events, and social media engagement were ramped up to inform and create connection. Going old school, the safe and effective drive-in theater hosted the 2020 Design + Honor Awards, allowing for recognition of excellence in person. Local Advisory Councils were launched this year to provide connections tailored to regional priorities and conversations.

Purpose and Profit Driven. AIA Colorado is financially sound, even after this past year and half of uncertainty. Great leaders and collaboration allowed for this fortunate scenario to become a reality. To better align with our mission and values, AMG has been selected as the new investment company.

Leadership Opportunities

Regional Changes. The scope of how regions are organized between national and state chapters has changed. A vote at the national level removed the region terminology nationwide in the bylaws and are no longer defined by national. What are the outcomes of this decision? Dues are no longer required for the Western Mountain Region. Every state has a seat at the table for national opportunities. Any member can run for national level positions. Further communication from AIA Colorado will discuss this region change.

Volunteers Make AIA. AIA Colorado deeply appreciates its members. Members can be more engaged with one another by volunteering, and the architectural and leadership skills gained are substantial. Please consider volunteering. This is an invitation and not an obligation. The call for volunteers for 2022 will distribute later this year.

Organizational Transformation

In-person Events. The approach right now for events is a cautious blend of some virtual events and some in-person events, including the Design + Honor Awards. We look forward to safely seeing each other in person. Other events, such as our weekly webinar series, will continue to be hosted virtually. Connecting to each of the regions in Colorado is a priority and makes good sense for member value.

On The Move. The newer normal presented opportunities to re-examine AIA Colorado’s current office location and its lease agreement that will end soon. To better align with our values, vibe and resources, a new office location at The Alliance Center has been suggested. Other tenants at this center share our sustainability and energy-efficient points of view. The synergy of our efforts will yield promising outcomes. Greater collaboration and integration will occur with partner organizations, firms, and the University of Colorado Denver nearby. Upcoming decisions need to be finalized, but AIA Colorado is excited about this transition!

For the full event, please see the recording of the 2021 State of the Association Address.

About the Author

JP Arnold

JP Arnold, LEED Green Associate, APR, is Marketing and Business Development Manager at Bridgers & Paxton. He is an Allied Member of AIA and sits on the 2021 Editorial Committee. He is a retired U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer (PAO) and Signal Officer. As a PAO, he worked over 150 media engagements around the world to include The New York Times, CNN, BBC, Newsweek, NBC News, along with Seattle and Colorado Springs media markets. He worked on the National Army Marketing and Advertising Recruiting Campaign alongside Weber Shandwick PR and McCann Erickson Ad Agency. Arnold is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mass Communication from Ouachita Baptist University and Middle Tennessee State University (Phi Kappa Phi Honors). He has been married for more than 20 years to his wife and they have two children and several pets.

© AIA Colorado 2021