AIA Minnesota President's perspective

Architects in Commerce Initiative
With this Task Force, AIA Minnesota continues the important work started two years ago by the AIA Minnesota Recovery Task Force. More information will be announced on this initiative in the near future.

AICI Mission Statement:
Research and document perceptions of the architectural profession and the aspirations of AIA Minnesota Architects in order to develop strategies and tactics that will better enable AIA Minnesota architects to provide higher-valued services and be more impactful in business and commerce.

Steve Fiskum, AIA
2011 President of AIA Minnesota

On June 15, 2011, Finance & Commerce shared a report from Steve Fiskum, AIA.
It referenced:
Summary of Points from Carson School Report (pdf)

January 2011
As we begin the New Year, recent economic reports encourage our holiday cheer’s afterglow to linger. The recent upward revision of third-quarter GDP to an annualized increase of 2.6% bodes well for recovery in the design profession. While some indicators such as home sales continue to lag, other statistics give economists reasons to be hopeful.

Economic events have a way of changing how business is done. While it’s too early to predict how the practice of architecture might change in the years ahead, we know there will be new ways of collaboration and partnership with others in the building industry.

As it fulfills its mission of service to members, AIA Minnesota is striving to understand this change and to provide relevant information to members. Recent work of our Recovery Task Force under the leadership of Rich Varda, in partnership with the Carlson School of Management, provides constructive insights that are receiving national attention. In response, several of AIA Minnesota’s committees have begun to focus on continuing education and skill building for architects in a new practice paradigm. Also, in the near future we will learn about the work of the Integrated Project Delivery Case Study Advisory Group – a joint effort of the College of Design and AIA Minnesota.

Architecture Minnesota’s Videotect upcoming competition promises to be an exciting and fun way for us to deliver on another imperative of the Recovery Task Force – to effectively communicate the architect’s value to the public. This video competition, open to both architects and the public, will stimulate community-wide dialog about architecture. The focus of the Videotect competition is an unpretentious and yet predominant Minnesota archetype – the Skyway. Check out Videotect on the AIA Minnesota website, including an announcement of a preeminent film director and producer who will serve on the jury.

While there may be continued uncertainty in the year ahead, there are reasons for optimism. AIA Minnesota, through our many active committees, will continue to help members build new skills and spread an enthusiastic message to the public about the value of good design.

-- Steve Fiskum, AIA, AIA Minnesota President

Rich Varda, FAIA
2010 President of AIA Minnesota


Dec 2010: A Look Back at 2010

2010 and my year as your AIA Minnesota President are coming to an end. Looking back to the start of the year, it was a time of change and uncertainty. We have all learned, adjusted and continued on despite tough economic challenges, and AIA Minnesota has had a successful year with a strong convention last month. Our finances and activities have followed plan, allowing us to enter 2011 in solid condition. Many thanks to Beverly and her staff who have worked hard, watched expenses and still provided great support to our members. Also many thanks to our past President, Renee Cheng, Secretary Ann Voda, Treasurer Steve Patrick and President-Elect Steve Fiskum. Steve was always ready to help and provided many thoughtful ideas. 2011 under Steve’s leadership will be a great year.

2010 was a special experience for me. I learned many things through participation, so my recommendation to all for our members is to do the same thing. Participate in your communities, with your clients, with the College of Design and with AIA Minnesota. You will learn that architects embrace change and can provide value in many ways. As the economy improves in 2011, it will be a changed environment with new challenges. By participating and learning, we can be successful as a profession and as an organization. This will be a year of change for AIA national as they name a new CEO, and our strong AIA Minnesota component can help lead that change – but only if we all participate. - -Rich Varda

Recovery Task Force

The 2010 Recovery Task Force met monthly for a year between September 2009 and September 2010. In October 2010, The Task Force completed their research and analysis and formalized their recommendations in a report (see below).

The Task Force worked with a team from the Carlson School of Management to examine the current status and future opportunities for our profession. A Town Hall Forum, attended by Chris McIntee, AIA national CEO, was held to review the AIA Minnesota Strategic Plan and the AIA National Strategic Plan, review the results of the Carlson School report, and to hear from our members their thoughts and ideas regarding the future of our profession. Lastly, the Task Force Report completed in October 2010, will be presented in a panel discussion at the AIA Minnesota Convention, November 2-5. The Task Force ideas will then be forwarded to the appropriate standing committees of AIA Minnesota for review and action. Ideas for national consideration will be drafted and forwarded to the appropriate contact person or committee at AIA national.

AIA Minnesota Recovery Task Force Purpose Statement

Purpose: To assist AIA members with information and ideas that can help reduce expenses, expand services and obtain work during the recovery from this severe economic downturn. The task force will collect and refine ideas and information in these areas:

  • Economic Information – Obtain and organize historic and current information on economic recoveries in the design and construction industries.
  • Resources – Consolidate information on resources within the AIA and other sources that can assist individuals and firms overcome economic distress and return to growth.
  • Promotion – Articulate the unique value of architects, and the AIA, to our corporations, communities and institutions in the context of economic recovery.

FINAL Recovery Task Force Report: October 2010 (pdf)

Recovery Task Force Observations: June 2010 (pdf)

Firm Principals Survey Results (12-pg pdf)

Town Hall Summary (pdf) of observations and ideas from roundtable discussions at the Town Hall Forum

CARLSON School Reports

Carlson School Report (ppt)

Summary of Points from Carson School Report (pdf)

Carlson School Report: Contractor Results (ppt)

Reports from Sources Outside AIA Minnesota

Congressional Research Service Report on Available Energy Incentives Nationwide (pdf) This report contains numerous web links to all the important publications regarding incentives

EcoTrends (pdf)
This report contains specific pages of detailed data and trends for construction industry sectors (pages 14-19)

IBIS Report on the Architectural Industry (pdf), This was identified by the Recovery Task Force as a valuable report to share with AIA members

Memos to the Membership

January 2, 2010 (pdf)

February 1, 2010 (pdf)

May 1, 2010 (pdf)