2015 Year in Review

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AIACC Year in Review

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How does AIACC membership make a difference? How does it have value?

These are very good questions, and ones that are frequently asked. Though there are many ways to respond, one way is to view membership in the AIACC as being similar to membership in a fitness center. Having a fitness membership can be a good thing, but you need to use it to get the most benefit. Attending, participating, volunteering, serving, leading, etc. are all forms of involvement and using one’s membership that can directly result in realizing value – not only for oneself, but for others as well.

During the past year, countless members have gotten involved and helped advance the mission of the AIACC as the voice of the profession in advocating, collaborating, leading, and applying our unique talents to create the most livable, sustainable communities and best buildings of the future.

The list of accomplishments below is only a summary of highlights from this past year. It is categorized into sections corresponding to either being a core function of the AIACC or one of our four strategic initiatives during the last two years, in order to help you quickly find the topics of most interest to you.

Though the following sections are a summary of highlights, if there are areas that you would like to learn more about, or perhaps even get involved in, please note the contact information below. Because learning more, getting involved, volunteering for a committee, and other forms of participation, are great ways to “use” our membership and increase the value we receive, for ourselves and for others.




Proactive legislation highlights:

  • SB 704, proposed by the AIACC, makes it easier for architects and others to serve as volunteers on local advisory bodies, such as design review boards. The bill enables architects to recuse themselves instead of resigning, to avoid issues with a potential conflict of interest. Governor Brown signed this bill.

Reactive legislation highlights:

  • Sales Tax on Services – the AIACC continues to work with a broad coalition to oppose this effort. Currently the coalition is watching Senator Hertzberg carefully to see if this will become a ballot issue in November 2016.
  • AB 1200 – The AIACC successfully sought changes to protect architects by suggesting language to avoid causing more people to need to register as lobbyists. The future of this bill may lead to statewide initiative in 2016.
  • AB 1236 – The AIACC supported expedited permitting of electric vehicle charging stations, which was signed into law. During the process we requested revision of the bill to not exclude the importance of design standards, which was accepted in the bill’s final language.
  • SB 251 – The AIACC supported striking a balance between the rights of people with disabilities and small business owners, by identifying technical violations that could be resolved fairly. Unfortunately Governor Brown vetoed this bill owing to the tax credit provision for small business owners, as the Governor vetoed all bills with tax credits.
  • The AIACC wrote a letter to the California Architects Board (CAB) opposing the re-classification within State employee classification system that would have placed licensed architects subordinate to unlicensed staff designers.

The AIACC also continued to work with the Governor’s office to recommend AIACC members for appointed positions.



  • The annual Design, Residential Design, Urban Design, and Council Awards were very successful and recognized excellence in these diverse areas.
  • The Monterey Design Conference was sold out and standing-room-only for the first time in its 40-year history. More attendees than ever before and most, if not all, reported obtaining high levels of satisfaction having based on attendee feedback.
  • Relevance, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, was refined to enhance its effectiveness as a key communication vehicle to inform members about ongoing efforts of the Council and upcoming events.
  • Via the AIACC.org website, we maintained useful resources for members such as the Handbook on Project Delivery, online continuing education resources, Disaster Preparedness Handbook, and various publications on Integrated Project Delivery.
  • Social media activity and number of followers increased, including providing real-time communications at live events.
  • The AIACC has begun an effort to create summary points and highlights from Council Board meetings for Board members to share at local chapter meetings.


Government Affairs

  • The AIACC maintained focus on our core values to advocate for architects, architecture, and the value of design.
  • Board Commissions were formed corresponding to our four strategic initiatives in an effort to improve continuity during the year and increase Board member participation in these efforts.
  • We continued to increase Board interaction during our three in-person Board meetings with hot-topic discussions, commission meetings, and strategic initiative round tables.
  • We updated our Strategic Plan, building on our past strategic goals and values, corresponding to National’s strategic plan, and integrating our strategic initiatives.
  • The AIACC will end this year under budget, creating a reserve for next year, and eliminating the need to increase dues.
  • We continue to have an outstanding group of volunteer leaders on the Executive Committee to provide leadership, energy, and continuity into next year and the future.


Advocating for Energy, Water, and Resource Efficient Design


  • California is the national leader in Zero Net Energy (ZNE), both in terms of policy and the number of ZNE buildings created. The State is poised to expand this leadership and help to drive change as the AIACC was invited to take the lead in implementing three different programs associated with furthering ZNE leadership in California.
  • The AIACC co-participated in the PG&E ZNE program and Architecture at Zero competition, as well as the Division of the State Architect’s 7x7x7 initiative.
  • Through increased governmental relationships, the AIACC is growing in influence and involvement in public policy formation, with both the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Public utility Commission (CPUC) activities.
  • The annual Design Awards program included energy saving performance metrics for the second year to emphasize sustainability and high performance as integral to good design.

Resourcing Firms

Design is Good Business

  • To proactively elevate industry awareness, the AIACC created Design is Good Business client communications, which describe the value creation that architects bring through planning, design, and construction in a variety of settings, and are sent to a broad spectrum of clients – more than 10,000 building owners, facilities managers, and clients of architectural services.
  • Design is Good Business articles are archived and searchable on the AIACC website, and can be used in conjunction with firm communications to their own clients.
  • The AIACC hosted large and small firm roundtables, as well as client roundtables, to discuss and identify issues critical to the design and construction industry, in order to work towards solutions.
  • Continuing education topics and opportunities were expanded in the areas of liability, risk, starting own firm, accessibility, and other topics.

Empowering Emerging Professionals

AEP Newly Licensed

  • The mission of the AIACC’s Academy of Emerging Professionals (AEP) is to influence and encourage emerging professionals at all levels in all regions.
  • The AEP supported local chapters by facilitating the sharing of mentoring programs with one another.
  • The AIACC conducted the AEP Awards program to acknowledge outstanding achievements of Educators, Associates, Young Architects, Chapters, and Firms.
  • Newly licensed architects were individually acknowledged throughout the State, by the leadership of the AIACC, as well as being published in chapter websites.
  • Leadership opportunities for Emerging Professional were encouraged and supported at the local, state, and national levels of the AIA.
  • And meaningful discussions continue with CAB, NCARB, and others on Intern titling.

Improving the AIA in California

  • Component Alignment Focus Groups were facilitated in Northern and Southern California, in order to explore how all Chapters could meet the AIA Core Member Services initiative.
  • Component Alignment strategies are being developed to benefit members and ensure all have access to core member services.
  • The AIACC is working with local chapters to determine how to best assist local components with respect to local executive director compensation and employment practices.
  • Our Executive Vice President, Paul Welch, Jr., Hon. AIA, was invited to speak at the AIA National Practice and Prosperity Board Committee and meet with AIA CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA to propose the concept of a “Center for Design Innovation and Project Delivery” that could possibly be located in California.

For further information or to get involved with any of the efforts of the AIACC, please notify the staff here.


Lee Salin, AIA

Lee Salin, AIA is the 2015 President of the AIACC. He values the opportunity to advocate for our profession, communities, and environment in partnership with members and Council staff.

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