Stephen Lyon, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

March Madness makes way for summer at AIA Monterey Bay

As the wind and rain of the first quarter pauses, at least momentarily, we find temperate weather fast approaching and the sound of chainsaws in the background receding. Regardless of your views on climate change, both physical and political, there is no doubt today’s world is full of change and uncertainty. Our Chapter remains a constant in a world where ‘normal’ is needing re-definition, although we are not immune to the changes happening around us.

A recent study of Chapter demographics reveals that nearly 60% of our membership is 60 years of age or older. How to stay relevant, and helpful, as the ranks of local architectural service providers are re-invigorated by younger talent will be an item of consideration and action by the Chapter this year. Establishing or maintaining successful practices within the boundaries of our Chapter’s geographic footprint, either through sole-proprietorship, or through combined effort as a firm, is no easy task given the cost of doing business around here and the environmental and jurisdictional limitations imposed on our ability to do good work. At a January open house, long-time member Rick Fedelem recounted how the practice of Architecture wasn’t always like this, the sense of ingrained instability, the sense that everything seems to be happening faster and faster, is a relatively new phenomenon. It is encouraging to see nearly half a dozen emerging professionals in our ranks making use of Chapter study materials as they work their way through tests, and seek mentoring and the establishment of group study sessions. Those of you with time and interest to engage with our less experienced colleagues are encouraged to contact our Executive Director as we attempt to match needs with resources.

Change is also a keyword when describing work the Chapter needs to accomplish to keep up with State and National AIA components and initiatives. We recently sent in our updated ‘core member services’ outline to assure continued accreditation, and as you will soon see, our Chapter is preparing to finalize an AIAMB Strategic Plan in an effort to stay focused on big picture ideas that will guide the Chapter now and in the future. Board members have started the process with a draft that will be broadly circulated for membership review and comment shortly.

Another area of change relates to an overhaul of our website. A decade-old platform used to drive the functionality of our site was obsolete and unsupportable, so we’ve engaged an outside consultant to re-engineer the site using a newer, more user-friendly platform called WordPress. Once adjusted, the new site should be easier to navigate and maintain, and we’re hopeful the new site will seamlessly replace the old site by the middle of summer.

Lastly, we encourage you to regularly visit and make note of upcoming events that are posted via our website’s calendar. We’re committed to populating a mix of social gatherings and continuing education seminars on the 4th Thursday of each month. Other traditional events, like the Monterey Design Conference that starts October 13, and our Holiday Dinner/Design Award Presentation on December 7 are also shown on the website’s calendar so we can all save those dates and plan accordingly.

Here’s hoping we continue to keep pace with world around us as we enjoy the camaraderie that come from membership in the American Institute of Architects.

Stephen Lyon, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP