President’s Message – 2016 Highlights

January 4, 2017

JAM_headshotHappy New Year to all of you and I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!  With the New Year comes a new president, Ben Lee AIA, who is very excited and has some great initiatives that promote the goals of AIA-NJ’s Strategic Plan.  I called Ben over the holiday weekend wishing him the best of luck and he knows he has my full support.  For me this has been a fabulous year as president that just went by all too fast.  As members you can rest assure that those serving on the Board of Trustees have you in mind as they represent you better then can be expected.  Without them I could not have accomplished my goals as president and I thank them for their support and their continued support for Ben Lee.  Some of our accomplishments in 2016 are as follows:

• Creation of the AIA New Jersey Center for Architecture– as a result of meetings with the six AIANJ Sections a Committee has been formed and is working toward a schedule of events to be hosted throughout the state with the Center as a “pop-up”.  I will remain closely involved as the idea of a Center has been near and dear to my heart for more than five years now and I believe this is the best vehicle for outreach to the general public.
• Resiliency/Disaster Assistance– AIANJ had its first Training of the Trainers for Disaster Assistance Training.  We now have five certified trainers here in NJ that will continue to provide training to NJ professionals.  We also held our first Hurriplantraining that provided more than twenty architects with the tools to prepare a community for a hurricane.  We will continue to work with the State Police in order to have the AIANJ Post Disaster Assessment team members registered so that in time of a declared disaster, they may be activated by the Governor.
• Lightweight Construction Materials – we continue to work with our legislators through our Task Force to educate them as to the proper use and protection of lightweight construction materials in multi-family construction.  We are committed to working with DCA on improvements to the building code as outlined in the Whitepaper issued by the Taskforce with the potential of seeing our recommendations considered in the International Building Code.
• AIANJ Large Firm Roundtable  We will continue to develop a Large Firm Roundtable so that the large firms here in NJ can discuss the issues that are unique to them.  All those firms interested in participating that have a staff of 25 or more, please contact me.
• AIANJ Scholarship Foundation  I will continue to work with the Scholarship Foundation on the formation of a new foundation to be the AIA New Jersey Foundation that will have a broader mission and be more closely aligned with AIANJ.  The Scholarship Foundation has been committed and provided thousands of dollars over the years in scholarships to NJ students attending a school of architecture and we want to see this continue as well as other programs and events that will be beneficial to members and the public.  Much thanks to the past and current Scholarship Foundation Board!
• AIANJ Governance  The Board of Trustees in our last board meeting of the year voted in favor of a new governance structure that will reduce the number of board members as well as open board seats up to individuals from the public.  In order for AIANJ to remain relevant it is important that we see and understand the public’s viewpoint on architects.  This is a big step for AIANJ and one that will allow the organization to grow and provide more for its members.

In closing, my experience over the last twelve years being involved in AIA has been priceless.  My motivation has always been to make our profession a better place to practice and to mentor and to continue to promote the profession to the public.  I like to believe that I have left my mark on my work thus far with AIA Newark & Suburban as well as AIA New Jersey, and I will continue to do so.  In the meantime, it is now up to you to get involved and make this AIA your AIA!

Sincerely,

Justin_sig

Justin A. Mihalik AIA

2016 President

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