Presidents Message – AIANJ Update and Grassroots

March 18, 2015

Spring is almost here in New Jersey, I know many of us are looking forward to warmer temperatures and to see projects delayed by weather move forward.  Though it is only March a lot has been happening in the architecture community in NJ.

We were saddened this week to learn of the passing of two architects who impacted the architecture community in New Jersey.  Paul DeMassi, AIA, and Michael Graves, FAIA.  Graves took architecture and design beyond structures, whether it was a building, a chair or a toaster he taught that Design Matters.   Read more about his life.   DeMassi opened his firm in NJ in 1971, was a past president of NJ Society of Architects  (AIA-NJ) in 1981, and three term past chairman of the Joint Committee of the NJ State Board of Architects and Engineers.   Find out more information.  The AIA-NJ community if feeling a great loss by the absence of these two members.


aiawj_GR15_congDuring the last snow storm here in the northeast, leaders from around the country, and a number of AIA-NJ members were in Washington DC for the Annual Grassroots Legislative and Leadership Conference.  Though some schedules got moved around, and some of us had extended travels back to NJ after the storm shutdown DC, overall your AIA-NJ leaders learned a lot, had productive meetings with a few congressional representatives, and learned many best practices from AIA groups from all around the US.  While there the leadership of NJ even got to have a team building evening of bowling set up by our President Elect Justin Mihalik, AIA.  Thank you Justin.

aianj_GR15_award3Also while at Grassroots, AIA New Jersey, New York Chapter, and New York State jointly accepted an AIA Component Excellence Award for the Resiliency Recovery Working Group that was formed post Superstorm Sandy to focus on recovery of the coastal states and resiliency moving forward.  This has been spearheaded by Illya Azaroff, AIA, and Justin Mihalik, AIA, and has been a great asset to the regional area.  Congratulations to Illya, Justin and all involved.  Look for announcements on future events organized by this group.

Our own AIANJ Jerry Eben, AIA is running for AIA National office for one of the Director-At-Large positions on the reorganized national board.  We were all proud to support Jerry while in DC.  His passion for architecture is clear to anyone who meets him, and his dedication to AIA goes back to when he was a young future architect.  Many of us involved in leadership in AIANJ today can remember our first meeting with Jerry and how he inspired us.  Even today he is one of the first to sign up for a career fair or an event to talk with elementary school students to introduce them to the world of architecture.  Good luck Jerry !

Over the next few months you will hear a lot of things happening at AIANJ from seminars and events that are already in the planning to changes focused around the AIA repositioning.  However we are always looking to hear from you, our members.  Reach out to your local sections, reach out to our AIANJ staff, reach out to me as your AIANJ president.  This is OUR AIA, let us know what matters to you.

I look forward to talking with you.

– Kimberly Bunn
2015 AIANJ President

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