News & Press: CHAPTER NEWS

President’s Welcome to 2019

Friday, January 18, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Ress

Greetings to AIA Silicon Valley Members and Friends,

It is with great pleasure that I take on the leadership duties of AIA Silicon Valley. Our immediate past-President, Michael Dern, the 2018 Board of Directors, and staff led our chapter through a year of accomplishments and challenges with dedication, thoughtfulness, and unflagging good humor. Among the many successes were the launch of the inaugural Architectural Intelligence conference - AI.18, another well attended Home Tours event, and a brilliantly executed Design Awards program at Stanford in the fall. Challenges included a search for a new Executive Director early in 2018, an expiring lease for the chapter office, and the once-every-three-years AIA reaccreditation of the chapter. All were resolved expediently and successfully, as we welcomed Amy Ress to AIA Silicon Valley as the new Executive Director in March, negotiated the lease renewal for the chapter office soon thereafter, and navigated the complexities of the reaccreditation process.

I look forward to Michael’s guidance over the next year and wish to personally thank him as well as the outgoing Past-President Michelle Ney, Secretary June Yip, Director Carisa Nakano, and Student Representative Seyed Hamed Hooriaband for their contributions and service in support of the chapter’s mission. Sadly, the Board was faced with the unexpected and tragic loss of two of its own in 2018, Director David Orozco in May, and incoming 2019 Board member Brad McCurdy in November. Their contributions were very much appreciated and they are greatly missed. Our thoughts continue to be with their families as they struggle through a particularly hard time.

In 2018 the chapter enjoyed the support of a number of sponsors, including wonderful special event and in-kind sponsorships. The list is too long to include here, but I want to acknowledge the chapter’s corporate partners in particular: Blach Construction, Bay Print Solutions, One Workplace, Platinum Builders, and Walters & Wolf. We can’t thank our generous sponsors enough for their continued support of AIA Silicon Valley and its membership over the years.


In 2019 AIA Silicon Valley will continue to be in excellent hands thanks to the continuing service of Vice President Keith Blaine, Treasurer Noel Cross, Secretary Missy Mirkovski, and Directors Leah Bayer, Karissa Patel, and Joe Vela, as well as incoming Board members Caroline Kwak and Angshupriya Pathak. In addition, Irene Cardona will be joining us as the 2019 Student Representative. The chapter’s indispensable staff, Amy Ress and Chris Burnham, will continue to support us all in so many ways, big and small. I hope you will seek out and get to know some or all of this wonderful team over the course of the year, especially if you have ideas or concerns about AIA Silicon Valley that you’d like to share.  

In addition to some chapter housekeeping related to reviewing and updating committee directives and proposing bylaw updates to keep the chapter’s governance practices up-to-date, in accordance with the AIA Silicon Valley’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and Mission Statement, the 2019 Board will be looking for opportunities to “..advance its members and the profession and to enhance the community and the built environment.” We will be looking for local and statewide opportunities to participate in community dialog, advocate for our profession and environmental best practices, and make the public more aware of the value that we as architects bring to the table. For those of you interested in making your own voices heard on national topics critical to our profession, AIA national has created a site specifically designed to inform its members and streamline their ability to reach out to their representatives on Capitol Hill. Please visit the new Architect Action Center, where you can learn more about the issues and be able to directly message your members of Congress. 

The Programs Committee began planning last fall and is working on a number of exciting programs for 2019 including a tour of First Community Housing’s Modular Housing Project in downtown San Jose in March and a pre-Home Tours Meet-the-Architect event in April. WIA (Women in Architecture), COTE (Committee on the Environment), EPC (Emerging Professionals Committee) and CRAN (Custom Residential Architects Network) are all planning additional opportunities to learn, network, and earn CEUs during the year. Lunch-and-Learns covering a variety of topics, including ADA seminars applicable towards license renewal, will also be part of the offerings during the year.

2019 Special Events include: AI.19 (Architectural Intelligence conference 2019), the annual AIA Silicon Valley Home Tours, a SAP Training (Safety Assessment Program), and the ever popular Golf Tournament. Building on the strong success of the AI.18 conference and with crucial staff support, the current AI.19 Co-Chairs: Annalee Groner, Karissa Patel, and Donna Musselman are intentionally creating a program that pushes the boundaries of what we as architects think about in our already broad ranging and ever changing careers. This one-day conference will include tracks on Sustainability, Innovation, and Equity + Leadership and be worth 6 HSW CEUs. The keynote speakers are Julie Eizenberg, FAIA, RAIA of Konig Eizenberg speaking on their user-focused design approach and public architecture and Antwi Akom, PhD speaking on social justice and equity, and how it can manifest itself in culturally responsive, human-centered design. So, please save the date – March 1st – and join us at AI.19!

In addition, we are working on a new AIA Silicon Valley Community Awards program that will recognize both the contributions of our chapter members and those of community members and organizations that advance the mission of the chapter. If you are interested in helping to develop the program or already have ideas about worthy candidates, please contact me.

We hope to see you at some or all of these events over the course of the year.

Finally, I know I speak for the entire Board and staff when I say that we feel privileged to be the current stewards of this chapter, founded in 1950 – nearly 70 years ago. We invite you to take an active part in the chapter by attending some of the terrific events that are being offered, getting to know the wonderful people who make this organization hum, participating in committees that pique your interest, and letting us hear from you! Please feel free to speak to any of us about what’s on your mind.

Thank you for this opportunity to lead AIA Silicon Valley in 2019. I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

Here’s to a great 2019!

Sharon Refvem, FAIA, LEED Fellow

Hawley Peterson Snyder

AIA Silicon Valley, 2019 President