Contributed by:
Mike Arbour

Talk About It

About 8 years ago: D. Michael H.

Nicely said, Mike. We at OMNIPLAN have a very similar attitude toward involvement in the AIA at the local, state, and national levels. As you say, it can be a very rewarding experience.

Why AIA Matters

The practice of school this seems like a fairly straight forward phrase—it’s simple and easy to understand. However, one soon learns that the practice of architecture isn’t as straightforward as originally thought. It is an ever-evolving profession with many different layers and encompasses a diverse group of practitioners.

I have always thought of the AIA as an invisible spine that supports and holds our profession together. And even when the day-to-day demands of an architectural practice seem to be overwhelming and the AIA is far from your mind, it’s always there carrying out its mission. The AIA informs the legal environment through the publication of standard documents, works tirelessly to protect the profession from legislative harm, advocates for a better built environment, and is the face of architecture for members of the public. Performing these valuable services would be impressive enough, but the AIA is so much more than that. For me, it’s my professional home where there is also fellowship, inspiration, and fun.

A professional home shouldn’t be reserved just for firm leadership or professionals of a certain age, but should be and is open to all with a passion for architecture. Of course, from a practical standpoint, there are also the very real issues of time and money – especially for younger members of our profession just starting out. At JHP, we have always believed that involvement with the AIA equates to both a stronger firm as well as to stronger professionals. To this end, we believe it is important as a firm to pay both Associate and AIA dues for all our employees with the provision that they participate in some way. And yes, participation does matter. However, AIA Dallas makes it easy to participate with numerous activities and programs so that there is something for everyone. For those in our firm who participate in a more formal way, as a member of a committee or in some other capacity, JHP offers the support of time away from the office. JHP gets more well-rounded professionals by doing so, but also motivated and inspired employees—employees who believe they are part of the greater profession and who believe that with support that they can make their communities stronger through the power of good design. It’s good for our firm and for the profession that our employees feel that they belong to something greater and that they, too, have a professional home.