AIA North Carolina Eastern Section

Transitions Within Our Section

June 16, 2015 at 2:13 PM


We have new folks on our staff and board to introduce you to: 

  • Myles Gianino is our new Executive Director. Myles is from Greenville and is a graduate of East Carolina University and a person with whom I have worked on various projects for years. I am glad that Myles is with us and know he will do a good job in his various duties.
  • Brandon Love is our President Elect. Brandon is the Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services for the City of Lumberton.
  • Michael Dunn is a principal with Dunn and Dalton and joins us as a director.  He brings the perspective of one of the larger firms in our section and a special interest involving reclaiming buildings in the small towns that characterize our geographic area. 

Michael hosted our first board of directors meeting in Kinston and during that meeting the board decided to  issue a challenge to the membership. This challenge is to convince the state legislature to reinstate the historic tax credits.
House Bill 152 and companion Senate Bill 138 have now been introduced to the state legislature. Copies of the billed are linked, as well as a recent article  on the subject.
While the existing conditions in our geographic area speak to the economic decline over the past decade our political influence has remained.  This map of compares the number of members of the AIA to the number of members of the legislature.

While the Charlotte and Triangle section constitute 2/3 of the membership of AIANC we have almost the same political influence when we decide to use it. Your officers have accepted Michael’s challenge and plan to lobby for tax credits because their reinstatement would generate projects that would be good for both architects and their communities. So our “service” project this year will be to make a phone call or visit with one or more local legislators in support of the restoration of tax credits for restoration of our older buildings. We have not been able to make much progress at the state level in restricting the use of engineering seals on projects that were traditionally seen as the domain of the architect.
News from Grassroots = what a difference a year makes
Updating the website was delayed until changes at the national level could also be explained to you. The annual Grassroots meeting was held in Washington, DC. The impacts ofrepositioning are beginning to take shape. Currently there are 268 local components that serve the 85,000 AIA members. Thirty eight percent of these components are the size of our section or smaller. These components are called PEER GROUP 1:  Volunteer led or part time staff. Last year when I left Grassroots I was concerned that this group of smaller components was in danger of merger or abandonment. However, the political winds are not blowing in a different direction. We were assured, in Washington this year, that components as small as three members (in Iowa) would remain as long as they could provide all the membership services that would be expected by AIA members.
AIANC is now under a mandate to create membership service agreements with all seven of its sections by the end of this year. Planning for this state and local transition plan, with a consultant, will began on March 28, 2015.  At this point, Charlotte and Triangle, and possibly the Asheville chapter, are considering becoming self-sufficient. Their final decisions may not be made until the fall and the final agreements will be signed in December of this year.  If these sections become chapters then that leaves AIANC as a service provider to supplement the services provided by Wilmington, Eastern, Winston Salem and Piedmont Sections. In essence the relationship we have with AIANC might not change much. Services such as lobbying for architects at the state level and providing continuing education services and design award assistance would be “contracted for” from the state.
Other membership services would remain the province of the section as they are now. The items that are unresolved at this point are membership dues at the section level and the distribution of income from sale of AIA documents. It is also unclear how the membership services mentioned in the attached document calledAIA Member Service Plan Tool Kit will be further defined and how the national AIA will define the word accreditation.
The current discussion may result in a loss of dues from the component level of $2,650 in our current budget. There is another loss of income that is already decided. This is the distribution of income from sales of AIA documents. The current scheme would mean larger losses in this income stream to larger sections. For example, the Charlotte Chapter would lose $7,498 in 2016 and 20% less each year after that due to national keeping the receipts for electronic document sales. On the other hand the Eastern Section would lose $196 in 2016 and $393 the following year in the current redistribution scheme. AIANC would lose $13,746 in 2016 which would impact their ability to extend services to our membership.
Two things that were not discussed at any length at Grassroots were:

  1. How to make National more efficient. Currently there is duplication of services in recording membership, and potentially website design and design award formats. For example, the Eastern Section has its own website, the state website is different and national is different AIA as well. To an extent this makes sense, but the websites could be subsets of an overall graphic package. If dues from sections are eliminated then these might be member services that must be provided at a national level. The state level is losing funding based on the current financial plan so it is not reasonable to believe that this level of the AIA will be able to do more with less.
  2. Encouraging architectural graduates to become part of the AIA.  I have attached a graphic that was shared last year that shows membership based on age distribution. 
If we do not solve the fundamental problem of replacing architects who chose to become emeritus or drop their membership entirely then these repositioning schemes become unimportant. 
  • Brandon & I will keep you posted regularly on changes and developments in the repositioning planning that will affect us at home. Please feel free to address any concerns that you have to both Brandon Love and me or to all your officers. Tell us what services you expect for your dues. Right now the discussion of membership services is more related to normalization than customer service. There is discussion of components who do not offer insurance to their officers, or file taxes or have their bank accounts in proper order ; there is not a parallel discussion of what our organization needs to do to improve  services that to encourage our individual or collective prosperity. In summary, it is time to lobby to protect our interests with our political representatives at the state level and within our own organization.
We can shape our future by being involved in these discussions or we can be the recipient of the conclusions drawn by those who we do not approach to express our opinions.

Hunt Mckinnon
Section President