Board members comment on their involvement in AIA Chicago
Scott Rappe, AIA
Vice president, AIA Chicago
Principal of Kuklinski + Rappe Architects
To me AIA membership, not licensure, has always been what defined an architect. Growing up the son of an architect, those letters after my father's name always seemed distinguished and honorable. They linked his hard work and contributions to those of the other gifted people of his profession.
As principal of a three-person firm I know how easy it is for small practitioners to become isolated from their peers and the profession. Upon joining the board, I gravitated to the role of board liaison to the Small Practitioner Group (SPG). With social events to connect members, the Small Project Awards, which recognize the work of small firms, and renewed public outreach efforts through the Working with an Architect and Ask an Architect programs, I have watched this dynamic group make great strides in a short time. I believe supporting the SPG is crucial to growing our membership, since a large proportion of non-members are small practitioners, and they have the most to gain.
Board service has revealed another crucial, but mostly invisible, dimension of AIA: government advocacy. For the past three years, I have participated in Prairie Grassroots in Springfield, and the Grassroots Advocacy conference in Washington DC. I have personally seen the importance, and the benefits, of speaking directly to our legislators. As small business owners, employers, problem solvers, visionaries and activists, we have a unique perspective that can help our elected representatives make better policy and decisions. Architects are viewed by the public and lawmakers as honest, intelligent, talented and objective; we need to seize upon this goodwill and make our views known. The AIA provides us with the platform from which to do this.
Is there something unique that YOU get by being an AIA member? Let us know.