Reflections on 2017

January 13, 2018

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Today marks the formal installation of the new AIA-NJ Board at the 2018 Awards Gala at Clark’s Landing in Point Pleasant.

As we prepare to celebrate, let’s take a moment to reflect on our progress over the last 12 months…

2017 was a very productive year!

  • AIA NJ pledged our commitment to AIA’s Values: equity and human rights, architecture that strengthens our communities, a sustainable future, protecting communities from the impact of climate change, economic opportunity, investing in the future, and speaking up to policymakers.
  • We empowered our professional committees to provide programs to support those values: East Coast Green for Health, Wellness and a Sustainable Environment; Community Resilience/ Hurriplan Seminar for Resiliency and Homeland Security;  Responsive support of the NJ State House and Bell Labs for Historic Resources; Wellness programming at our Emerging Professionals Event and the Women in Architecture Networker to encourage Diversity.
  • AIA NJ welcomed our newest fellow, Jerome Leslie Eben, FAIA.
  • Architect members Bob Cozzarelli, AIA, and Kim Vierheilig, AIA, were appointed to the NJ State Board of Architects.
  • Under the guidance of incoming president, Verity Frizzell, AIA, we passed the bylaws changes to allow for AIA NJ to adopt a new governance model.
  • AIA NJ’s Strategic Council Regional Representative, Bruce D. Turner, AIA, and incoming Regional Associate Director, Megan Pritts, Associate AIA, orchestrated our first-ever, statewide, outreach program achieving regional meetings with NJ’s congressional delegates to communicate our position on current legislative affairs.
  • QUAD States Conference Chair, Seth Leeb, AIA managed our participation in a most successful and profitable design and education conference in Albany, NY.
  • Communications Chair Kim Bunn, AIA facilitated the roll-out our new website.
  • EPiC, through the joint efforts of our Young Architect Regional Director, Jessica O’Donnell, AIA, our outgoing Regional Associate Director, Brandon Warshofsky, AIA, and their dynamic committee, hosted more programs, events, and socials than any other AIA NJ entity.

We have achieved all of this through the volunteerism of our fellow AIA members, with the consistent support and guidance of our legal counsel, Larry Powers, Esq, our executive director, Joseph Simonetta, Hon. AIA, CAE, his able staff at PSI and under the leadership of our 2017 president, Ben Lee, AIA.

According to Regional Representative Bruce Turner, AIA, “It was wonderful working with Ben this past year. As a managing principal of a mid-sized firm, Ben brought a businesslike approach to the operation of the organization. Furthermore, with his knowledge, experience, and expertise in healthcare, he was able to help us expand our understanding of health and wellness as prime factors in 21st-century architectural design.”


Closing remarks from Ben P. Lee, 2017 President:

I would like to thank the AIA NJ members for the opportunity to serve as your President. During my time as an officer, I learned the values of AIA and the importance of continuing our professional efforts as part of our local, state, national and international communities.

In the past year, we have anticipated adverse changes from the U.S. President misguiding the country in many directions that do not represent our professional values. We are blessed with strong leadership at national AIA and the support of our local Sections. We were able to prevail over most of these challenges:

  • Diversity, Equality and Human Rights
  • Sustainability and Protection of our Environment
  • Resiliency, Natural Hazard Risk Mitigations, and Climate Change
  • Our international stands with world communities in Paris Accord
  • Historic Preservation and Protection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

I hope my initiatives in Health & Wellness were able to redefine the word “Health” beyond the fundamental HSW responsibilities as Architects. I would like to thank East Coast Green for the WELL Building Standard training, NK team in the Health & Wellness Presentations at ALNNJ and QUAD State events.

The year went by quickly with the support from the EXCOM, Board of Trustees and all the Committees. Especially thanks to Joseph Simonetta our new Hon. AIA and PSI staff. My years of service would not be possible without the support of my wife Diane. My “AIA NJ Architect of the Year” award will be dedicated to her.

I will continue my responsibilities as Immediate Past President. Looking into the future, I am fortunate that I have my nieces Anna Chang recently graduated from SCI-ARC working at NK and Ada Chan continuing her work/study in Architecture at Cornell University. It is important for us to build a strong AIA for our future generations because our AIA professional values are very important in building a healthy, sustainable and resilient environment for the future of the world.


Thank you from AIA NJ to all of the individuals that have made 2017 a success. 

By | Posted in AIA-NJ News, Associates, Business, Continuing Ed, Disaster Response, Emerging Professionals, Environment, Historic Resources, Legislative & Government Affairs, Members & the Community, Uncategorized, Women in Architecture, Young Architects Forum | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments (0)



Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment.

414 Riverview Plaza, Trenton, NJ 08611
(609) 393-5690