The American Institute of Architects Colorado Chapter has merged its state chapter and four local chapters into a single entity, AIA Colorado. The move is part of the national AIA Repositioning Initiative, and the Colorado Chapter is a proving ground for the innovative approach.
“This restructuring will cut administrative red tape and free up human capital,” said Cathy Rosset, executive vice president and CEO of AIA Colorado. “It allows us to focus more robust resources on outreach, advocacy and knowledge—both locally and statewide.” Through a newly established Programs Evaluation Committee, more than 200 AIA programs and services are also undergoing a rigorous review to determine how well they meet member goals and priorities.
“These days people are less interested in sitting on committees just for social reasons,” said Harvey Hine, president of AIA Colorado North. “They want their efforts to have real-world impact.” Having hosted the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver, AIA Colorado is leveraging that momentum to establish an example for best practices nationwide.
“Realigning our own professional culture is the best hope we have to build a preferred future,” said Helene Combs Dreiling, 2014 AIA National president. “And that means being open to change.”
Other AIA components around the country are looking to AIA Colorado as they explore similar business models in their own states. The repositioning is aimed at engaging wider audiences, including future architects, clients and governing entities, advocating for public policy that affects the profession of architecture and the spheres in which architects practice and advancing a culture of education and innovation.
AIA officials say the merger promises to provide greater benefit to AIA Colorado’s diverse membership of architects, engineers, contractors and other leaders in the built environment. Local chapters (now designated as sections) will maintain their identity and programming according to regional needs, but will be empowered with greater resources to do so. Member volunteers and staff will focus less on governance and more on other services.
“We believe board meetings should be strategic in nature and not managerial,” said Chris Green, a past president of both AIA Colorado West and AIA Colorado. “Now we can concentrate on what really matters, on moonshots: eliminating blight, stabilizing energy, reducing water waste.” “There’s a palpable sense of energy across the state,” said Timothy J. Stroh, president of AIA Colorado South. “Through the repositioning, I think we’ve found that next gear.”
Kevin Eronimous, 2014 president of AIA Colorado, said, “We’re seeing greater involvement from emerging professionals and experienced practitioners alike. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the AIA.”