2012 AIA National Grassroots


March 7-9, 2012

Stivers Capitol 

Last week, Executive Director Gwen Berlekamp, AIA Columbus President Sandy Bresler, and AIA Columbus President-Elect John Kelleher attended the 2012 AIA Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. This year's theme - LEADERSHIP ADVOCACY COMMUNICATION - as described by Mickey Jacob, FAIA, First Vice President and 2012 Grassroots Chair, "was designed to advance our skills to increase the public awareness of the value of architecture and the important role we play as architects as stewards of the built environment."

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AIA Columbus executive leadership went to Washington, DC in March for the annual AIA Grassroots 2014 Leadership and Legislative Conference. The conference brings together component leaders from around the country to lead AIA’s advocacy effort in shaping a regulatory environment in which members and their communities can prosper by design, to network and connect with AIA leaders and colleagues, and to engage the ideas and trends transforming the architecture profession and the AIA.

AIA Columbus visited the offices of Congresswoman Joyce Beatty [OH-3]; Congressman Steve Stivers [OH-15]; and Congressman Pat Tiberi [OH-12] to urge Congress to:

  • Support the extension of 179D – the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction which expired at the end of 2013. This provision allows for building owners to claim a tax deduction of $1.80 sf of building to offset the initial design and construction costs associated with better building systems that reduce the total energy and power costs by 50% or more when compared with a reference building. The deduction applies to nearly all commercial, high-rise multifamily residential, health care, institutional, public, and educational facilities
  • Amend the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Acts (HR2750) to require agencies to shortlist no more than five teams for federal design-build projects unless they receive approval from the head of their agency, thus ensuring that design-build competitions prove more opportunities for shortlisted teams to win.
  • Pass the National Design Services Act, legislation drafted by the AIA, that would enable architecture students and recent graduates to work with non-profit community design centers for a set period of time in exchange for student debt relief. The bill would revitalize underserved communities while relieving the financial burdens on the next generation of architects.

The conference was presided over by AIA First Vice President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, and AIA President Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, and included keynote addresses from Judy Woodruff, co-anchor and senior correspondent of PBS NewsHour, and Roy Spence, co-founder and Chairman, GSD&M and co-foundation and CEO of The Purpose Institute. The conference also included Plenary Sessions and Component Operations Sessions were held throughout the three-day conference, an Institute Open House, a Member Congress detailing the proposed Bylaws Amendments which will be presented at the national convention in June, an introduction of candidates for national office, and a Repositioning update from Robert Ivy, FAIA and Executive Vice President and CEO of AIA.

While the conference itself is important, the opportunity to connect and network with colleagues and peers from around the country is equally significant. Expertise, values, knowledge and ideas are shared freely among attendees during sessions, over coffee and in social situations. Bold and visionary leadership of the AIA is needed to ensure a prosperous future and to inspire architects to create a better world for all people. Grassroots is an exceptional forum for AIA leaders and those attending each year leave with a clearer vision and understanding of the value and relevance of the Institute.