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Wisconsin Architect Magazine
President's Report

November 2014AIAW October 2014 Board  Meeting

Snow is falling. I had the opportunity last week to attend the AIA Wisconsin Fall Workshop, “Talk on Water,” and enjoy a great day of learning and networking in Kohler. A new crop of recruits is being readied to serve our membership as officers, directors and representatives on the Board of Directors. Local Chapter Annual Meetings have been planned and successfully hosted in three of the four quadrants of the state, with one last event at Lambeau Field coming up later this month.  The agenda is being finalized for our annual Leadership Orientation & Training Session in Milwaukee early next month.

All of this can only mean one thing . . . my year as AIA Wisconsin President is winding down. Often, this is a time to reflect on all of the wonderful things that have been accomplished by our members and volunteers over the past year. Although those accomplishments are something we are proud to display for world to see, I cannot help being excited about what is coming down the pike for AIA members in Wisconsin.

On the national front, AIA plans to reconfigure the annual Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, for component leaders from across the country into two separate events starting in 2016 – one focused on leadership training for component officers and the other focused on Capitol Hill visits for members active in government affairs. This will allow our membership to devote our most effective resources on legislative advocacy and create a separate Grassroots learning environment to better foster and grow our leadership.  Ultimately, it is more opportunity for members to get involved in AIA in ways that are most important to them.

Local Chapters are involved in a number of exciting initiatives. AIA Milwaukee leaders have been engaged in a visionary strategic planning process to allow the Chapter to better serve our members in Southeast Wisconsin. The thoughtful ideas developed by these volunteer leaders have been formalized into a plan that has received initial discussion by the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors and will be presented for review by AIA Milwaukee members. Meanwhile, AIA Southwest Wisconsin leaders have been working with state emergency management officials on programs to enable members to provide disaster assistance and with city planning officials on an initiative to enhance public awareness of the value of good design. Although the discussion on some of these concepts has just begun, it is encouraging to see our local Chapters explore innovative ideas and opportunities to increase awareness about architects and provide better services for AIA members. Share your ideas with local and state AIA representatives and keep the conversation going.

The Directors-At-Large on the AIA Wisconsin Board have been evaluating our existing committees and developing recommendations to improve the effectiveness of our committee structure for the benefit of our membership. This was a task that has been discussed by the Board of Directors for several years and reflects a trend that is becoming more common for volunteer organizations like ours. The discussions have involved assuring each committee is effectively fulfilling its mission and actively providing services needed by our membership. Some committees may be sunsetted or combined with others groups with similar goals. The result will be resources and volunteer time being available to address issues and matters most relevant to our members.

Challenge! Planning is underway for the 2015 AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo on April 22 & 23.  I Challenge! you to get involved. I Challenge! you to attend. I Challenge! you to get your colleagues and business partners involved in making this the best Convention & Expo we have ever had.  A big thank you to all of the volunteers on the Convention Committee for stepping up this year and to Kathy Schnuck, AIA, for chairing the 2015 Convention & Expo . . . with a little help from co-chair Josh Johnson, AIA.

The AIA Wisconsin Board recently approved the 2015 budget. It includes support for several items that should be visible to more of our members when implemented. We have established a goal and resources to make our membership and other directories more accessible and useful. Plans are in the works to enhance our website – – to better align with current trends and needs. We also have committed resources to support other initiatives to improve the way in which the AIA is able to connect with our members and reach out to the public.

I have always believed in a simple truth . . . the only thing you can count on is change. Let's embrace it. I hope you agree that the look forward for AIA Wisconsin is a vision with opportunity and improvements for our most important resource – members like you who participate and volunteer valuable time to make it your AIA.

AIA Wisconsin

Jody Andres, AIA


August 2014

Exciting times are abounding at AIA Wisconsin. Our membership is growing as we see activity in the design and construction industry continue to climb. That can be a double-edged sword as our time we can commit to our great organization must be balanced by each of us with our lives and career commitments. That makes the time that each of us can commit to AIA more precious and valuable . . . and I want to again say thank you for sharing it!

AIA Wisconsin recently wrapped up a very successful long-range planning session, "Mixing It Up," at the Aldo Leopold Center in Baraboo. Attendance was diverse; and the turnout was fantastic. Vice President/President-Elect Melissa Destree, AIA, put together a program with a different take on planning for the next year of the organization's life:

If you had 10 hours (or more) to give AIA Wisconsin next year, how would you use it?

This thought was deliberate, not only to recognize the effect that work/life balance has on our organization, but also to foster organic growth of initiatives through collaboration and individual interests and preferences. The retreat also took a step forward in how initiatives will be promoted and followed by utilizing our SharePoint site and by posting and tracking goals on Facebook.

Fall is quickly approaching and that means it’s Fall Workshop time! This year, fellow professionals will be gathering in Kohler at The American Club on Friday, November, 7. The all-day event, entitled Talk on Water, will feature presentations and discussion on one of our world's most precious resources – water. Water and how our built environment utilizes and responds to it could likely be the next major environmental crisis our society will face. I encourage all of you to join me at this very informative continuing education opportunity.

I would also like to take the opportunity to promote our fellow professionals on our western border who undertook the task over the past few years to help us as architects understand how our clients view us – "to get on the other side of the desk" so to speak. AIA Minnesota has published its report on the Architects in Commerce Research Initiative, which surveyed owners, developers, contractors and owner's representatives. The report, which can be downloaded from the AIA Minnesota website,, has some great information, discussions and quotes to help us understand how our profession and the services we offer are viewed by the people we serve.

"...I expect the architect will have visions and ideas that exceed whatever we can come up with. That’s the value added with architects...”

 “Bringing a vision to life.”

"...They’re the hub of the wheel. They provide direction and cohesiveness.”

With quotes like these, it is encouraging to see our clients really do realize the impact architects have on the world. Take some time to review the information. I am confident you will find it useful in your practices and lives.

I leave you with the repeated challenge of continuing your support of AIA Wisconsin by taking advantage of our many and varied offerings and events at both the state and local chapter levels. Remember, that person in the next cubicle or across the table may want to get involved in AIA . . . if only someone were to ask.

AIA Wisconsin

Jody Andres, AIA


May 2014
It is interesting to me that we ask the Presidents of organizations like AIA Wisconsin to give an annual report and talk about all of the great things their organization has done over the past year.  It is interesting because when we gather at events such as AIA Wisconsin's Convention, REvolution,  I should be giving all of our great members an opportunity to stand up and talk about themselves . . . something most architects generally don’t have a problem doing.  I can visualize as I write this, everyone raising their hand to speak, but I should probably discuss a little more about those great things that you all have been doing.

The core of what we do on the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors is to create opportunities for our members to participate in making the profession of architecture better.  We are simply the conduit for you to make meaningful contributions.  Over the past year, some of the notable opportunities included:

  • There has been continued excellent efforts of our state government liaison committees who continue to work with the Division of Facilities Development in the Department of Administration, Department of Health Services, and Department of Safety and Professional Services to revise and improve requirements, guidelines, rules and statutes that impact architects in the State of Wisconsin.
  • There has been a resurgence in the use of Qualifications-Based Selection.  Implementation, and in some cases, reintroduction of QBS in the state is being led by our members.
  • AIA Northwest Wisconsin received a national AIA Innovation Grant to document how geographically challenged components can harness technology to stay connected with members.
  • State Capitol Day – Following the Board of Directors meeting earlier this year, state and local AIA Wisconsin leaders visited the State Capitol in Madison with ideas on how their state legislators could help build Wisconsin’s future. These AIA members outlined legislative initiatives to protect our investment in state buildings, streamline building plan review and permitting, stimulate creative economic development, and encourage redevelopment of local communities.
  • Grassroots Advocacy – As part of the AIA Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, AIA Wisconsin leaders visited Capitol Hill to meet with members of the state’s congressional delegation. The AIA advocacy agenda included initiatives to extend important federal tax incentives to encourage greater energy efficiency in commercial buildings, invest in public buildings by improving the federal project delivery process, and support the next generation of architects with student debt relief through community service.
  • Deep Energy Retrofit Workshop – A half-day workshop was held at UWM SARUP and videotaped for use by national AIA to promote these emerging business opportunities for architects.
  • We are very proud to have two members selected to the national AIA initiative called the “Culture Collective.”  Thomas Cox, AIA, and Thomas Hirsch, FAIA, both recipients of AIA Wisconsin's highest honor, the Golden Award, have been chosen from over 200 members involved in the national effort to reposition the Institute as part of the Change Network.  In order to realize its full potential, the AIA needed a core group of colleagues to help connect, coordinate, and unleash its members, allowing everyone in this growing Network to optimize their contributions, passions and time.
  • All of the fantastic accomplishments by the four local AIA Chapters, AIA Wisconsin committees, Wisconsin Architect Foundation, and other groups that continue to happen and grow through the dedicated efforts of volunteer members.

The Board of Directors looks forward to continuing to facilitate and help develop the great ideas and goals you, our members, want for AIA Wisconsin.

As much as I appreciate the accomplishments of the past, I really like looking to the future.  One goal I have tried to talk about when the Board gets together is to look to those around you for our future as an organization.  AIA Wisconsin continues to thrive because you, as members, volunteer your time.  I encourage you to continue your support through the contribution of your most valuable asset.  I encourage you to support those who contribute their time.

Speaking from experience, a personal invitation or welcoming gesture can make a big difference in getting our members involved.  There is a good chance that the person sitting next to you at the table or in your office could be a future leader if they were simply asked.  And by the way, past leaders . . . you don’t get a pass because past leaders are too excellent of a resource not to be involved.  You can always be recycled back into a leader again.

AIA Wisconsin


Jody D. Andres, AIA

Walter Wilson, FAIA, and Jody Andres, AIA with scholarship recipient Lida Guizado


February 2014
Before my term as AIA Wisconsin President began, a colleague shared with me a short and appropriate article that I have referenced many times because it summarizes well my thoughts about this great opportunity I have been given.  In 100+ Tips for the Incoming President, the authors compiled some great "nuggets of presidential advice."  I thought one tip in particular was appropriate for my first report to our members.

"Contact a new member to serve on an important project, program or committee; you’ll be surprised years later when they recall that you were first person to ask them to take a leadership role." 

As simple as it sounds, that is my story.  I vividly remember when I was first asked to participate; and I must say, I could never have imagined where it would lead me.  What is much more exciting to me than the nostalgic story, though, is the adventure of seeking out the potential leader in each of our members.  I believe that one of the most important roles we have as today's leaders is to develop future leaders.  We should not forget that the AIA is a professional organization that survives because our members care enough to volunteer their personal time to better the organization, better the profession and, ultimately, better themselves.

As we look forward to 2014, we will work towards continuing the goals that have been established as our strategic initiatives:  working closely with allied organizations, increasing public awareness and appreciation of design, advocating for members through legislative action, and engaging emerging professionals and encouraging greater participation by our diverse membership.

The public face of AIA Wisconsin for many is our website,  Because of the importance of this valuable resource to the members and public, a small task force is revisiting the image and content of our website as well as other associated avenues of communication.  Our goal is to assure these resources remain current and effective.

March traditionally is an important time for advocating for members through legislative action.  AIA Wisconsin leaders are gearing up to make our annual government advocacy trip to Washington, DC, for Grassroots 2014 along with officers of other AIA components across the country.  Meetings with members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation have been scheduled to discuss how the federal government can work to help improve the design and construction industry.  Added this year to our advocacy action plan will be visits with our state legislators at the State Capitol in conjunction with the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors meeting in Madison.  The meeting is scheduled mid-week to provide a better opportunity to talk with our State Senators and State Representatives.

I would like to thank all of the AIA Wisconsin officers and Board members in advance who will be dedicating their time in 2014 to continue to help make architecture the greatest profession of all time.  I also would like to thank Dave Peterson, AIA, for his leadership and dedication as 2013 President.  Most of all, it is with great appreciation that I thank our entire membership for allowing me to serve all of you in this year.

As a final thought, I would encourage all members to look to the people around you every day.  If they are not AIA members, invite them to join.  If they are members, invite them to the next AIA event.  Most important, see if you can catch a glimpse of that future leader hiding in full sight.

AIA Wisconsin

Jody D. Andres, AIA



December 2013

Although I turned over the gavel to incoming AIA Wisconsin President Jody Andres, AIA, at the Leadership Appreciation Luncheon in Milwaukee earlier this month, I wanted to issue one final President’s Report for 2013.

At the luncheon, I presented my year-end report. While I encourage you to review the month-by-month summary of AIA Wisconsin’s accomplishments this year, the following are some of the highlights for me.

Leading off is the state of AIA Wisconsin. When I began my tenure on the Executive Committee several years ago, we were in the midst of the Great Recession. Our profession was losing members. The AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors was up to the task and kept our expenses under control while continuing to provide member services. Now, our membership is growing again and our finances remain healthy. As a result, we are in a position to expand services and more effectively meet the needs of our members.

New this year was the way we conducted our Board meetings. Three board meetings were conducted using videoconferencing. The goal was to increase participation while reducing meeting costs and saving some time and money for the volunteer Board members.

Another change has been our long-range planning strategy. We limited our strategic initiatives to just four – two short-term and two longer-term objectives. Current planning initiatives include:

- Engage diverse group of members
- Leverage relationships with allied organizations
- Promote the value of architecture and design to the public
- Increase business and employment opportunities for members

A big highlight for me is government advocacy on behalf of the profession through legislative action. State and local AIA leaders attended the national AIA Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference last March in Washington, DC. We met with members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to present our case to support legislation to get America building again by making the tax code work for small firms, extending and enhancing the tax deduction to promote energy efficient commercial buildings, creating jobs by investing in our building infrastructure, and providing student loan relief for architecture school graduates in exchange for public service.

Following the AIA Grassroots example, as part of our meeting this spring in Madison, AIA Wisconsin Board members visited the State Capitol and delivered our State Legislative Agenda packets to their State Representative and State Senator. We will continue to advocate for the profession with similar State Capitol visits in the future.

To me, legislative advocacy is really at the heart of a licensed profession. Our talents, our education and our dedication to designing a better society are enhanced by the license we hold to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our clients and the public. Do not take it for granted. AIA Wisconsin continues to advocate for our profession and guard against legislative proposals that may harm it. As “citizen architects” we can make a difference by actively participating and contributing wherever we can.

This year’s AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo was well attended and received great reviews. I have always been amazed at the quality of the presentations each year and expect the 2014 Convention & Expo to be better than ever. We all need to talk up the value of the Building Products Expo and the opportunities it creates for valuable face-to-face discussions about new products and services. It’s all about building relationships – and Wisconsin’s Convention & Expo is one of the best in the country because of the participation by members like you.

Another opportunity to get together and learn is the AIA Wisconsin Fall Workshop. This year’s workshop on “The Business of Design” received a lot of positive feedback. Next year, we will continue to look for topics that are relevant to members and help position our profession for the future.

Immediate Past President Henry Kosarzycki, AIA, has now begun his term as one of the AIA Directors for the North Central States region. Along with Steve Fiskum, FAIA, Minneapolis, Wisconsin members will continue to be well represented on the national AIA Board.

Repositioning the profession and the AIA for the future is a major initiative in which all of us as members need to become involved. To me, it is still a work in progress. The good news is that AIA Wisconsin Executive Director Bill Babcock, Hon. AIA, has been invited to join the AIA Advancement Team to help push the important repositioning initiatives forward. As a result, AIA Wisconsin remains in a strong position to help influence these efforts, about which we will be hearing more in the coming year.

Before I conclude this report, I want express my thanks to our AIA Wisconsin staff at the Stoner House – Bill, Brenda, Mary, and Tracy. After three years on the Executive Committee, I’ve gained a greater appreciation of what they do for us and how strong their commitment is to AIA Wisconsin, not to mention how well they are regarded nationally.

My final observation of this year is not reflected in the month-to-month accomplishments. It has to do with the change I’ve witnessed in the composition of the organization’s leadership over the years I’ve been involved. The Institute, at all levels, is fortunate to have more women serving in leadership positions. While some would call this greater diversity, I call it good business and a welcome change. More needs to be done to encourage and support this positive trend.

Earlier this month in Milwaukee, my final official duty was to turn over the leadership of AIA Wisconsin to our incoming 2014 President Jody Andres, AIA. I have enjoyed Jody’s consul and friendship; and I know he will be an effective leader. Serving as AIA Wisconsin President has been a pleasure and a reward.

AIA Wisconsin


David G. Peterson, AIA


November 2013

It’s hard to believe that it’s already November. This report provides a recap on the recent Fall Workshop, an update on valuable state historic tax credit legislation and a look ahead to next spring’s AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo.

Fall Workshop
This year’s Fall Workshop in Elkhart Lake centered on “The Business of Design.” AIA Wisconsin Secretary/Treasurer Melissa Destree, AIA, chaired the workshop, which featured presentations by three great speakers. Close to 100 members participated.

Architect and attorney Chuck Heuer, FAIA, Esq., with The AIA Trust, presented sessions on basic legal principles and intellectual property law. He reviewed business structures, contract law, tort law, real property law, copyright law and labor law. His comments on copyright and protecting our instruments of service were well received. “Don’t give it away.”

Yolanda Cole, AIA, a principal of Hickok Cole Architects, gave an inspiring presentation titled “Thinking Strategically about Your Firm – and Doing Something about It!”  Cole explained how her firm set about to be the BEST architectural firm.  She discussed the specific business and marketing strategies we all can use to achieve the goals we establish for our own firms.  The background pictures in her presentation illustrated the firm’s efforts, which were great. Everyone in the firm can have an idea and present it.

Over lunch, Secretary Dave Ross and Deputy Secretary Bill Wendle of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services presented an update on licensing, plan review and building code development issues being addressed by DSPS. They encouraged architects to apply for appointment to licensing boards and code councils as well as to suggest ideas for improving the electronic plan submittal process.

Attorney and financial advisor David S. Cohen, Esq., presented an excellent session on building the value of your firm and planning for ownership transition. He emphasized the importance of timing and bringing younger professionals into the transitional path to ownership. Having gone through this myself a few years ago, I know how valuable this presentation can be to all of our members. Cohen was an engaging and witty speaker who drew many laughs on what could have been a dry topic.

Legislative Advocacy
A variety legislative issues have popped up this year. AIA Wisconsin has monitored and weighed in where we can be effective.

The good news is that both the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate have voted overwhelmingly to approve increasing the state historic tax credit. This special session legislation is now on its way to the Governor to be signed into law. AIA Wisconsin supported this legislation because it will provide important incentives to rehabilitate historic buildings and redevelop our communities, creating jobs for members and economic opportunities for our clients.

Working state legislators and state agencies is a valuable service that AIA Wisconsin provides for our members. Sometimes events move very quickly and require on-the-spot action. AIA Wisconsin has positioned itself to move swiftly and successfully in several areas affecting our profession.

AIA Wisconsin Convention
While the snow is just barely starting to fall, the 2014 Convention Committee, chaired by Tom Cox, AIA, is already hard at work assembling an outstanding program of speakers and special events. I won’t give the theme away, but it will be an exciting program.

The Convention & Expo is successful because of the excellent participation by AIA members and allied professionals as well as the strong support of companies that provide products and services for Wisconsin’s design and construction industry. It is a great place for emerging professionals to meet “face-to-face” with the leaders of our profession and knowledgeable product representatives. It’s all about making connections and building strong relationships.

So, it’s not too early to start thinking about next spring and the 2014 AIA Convention & Expo on May 7 & 8 at Monona Terrace!

AIA Wisconsin


David G. Peterson AIA


August 2013Denver

I can’t believe that it’s August already!!!! A successful AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo in May, an informative national AIA Convention in June, our annual Long-Range Planning Retreat in July, and the always popular AIA Wisconsin Fall Workshop coming up in October . . .  not to mention regular Board of Directors and Executive Committee meetings. For me, this year is flying by fast. And, it has been great fun.

AIA Convention – Denver
Denver for me was a treat. My hotel was two blocks from Larimer Square, the beginning of the rehab of downtown Denver. My first Army assignment was the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, where I worked in the nerve gas laboratory. My wife and I married one week before this assignment; and Larimer Square was one of our first shopping trips together.Denver Convention

The AIA “Repositioning” initiative was a major topic of discussion at the national convention. After all the presentations and studies, my take on Repositioning is that we are a member-driven organization. Each of us as members and every AIA chapter have an obligation to provide direction to the Institute to help position the profession for our future. What I can say is that AIA Wisconsin and our four local chapters appear to be ahead of the curve. Over the years, our AIA Wisconsin leaders have been actively engaged with our region’s AIA Directors on the national AIA Board, sharing member feedback and forwarding our ideas. 

I took advantage of one of the many professional building tours offered at the AIA Convention to visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s newest lab. It is a net-zero high-performance energy-efficient type structure. Seeing many of the designs that create a truly energy efficient building was a highlight of the national conference. The presentation by the architect, the contractor, and the users was superb.

Long-Range Planning RetreatAIA Wisconsin Long-Range Planning Retreat
Every year since I have been involved, AIA Wisconsin has hosted a summer planning session to develop strategies and initiatives for the coming year. My first planning retreat was in 1982, I believe. There is NO better way to meet our leaders from around the state and to get involved. It hooked me!! AIA Wisconsin was one of the first components to use the AIA’s so-called “weave” strategic planning framework at its 2010 planning retreat under the guidance Tom Hirsch, FAIA, and Kevin Connolly, AIA. Last year’s retreat yielded two short-term initiatives and two longer-term initiatives.

Last month, over 30 members met at the Aldo Leopold Center near Baraboo to review and discuss the future direction of AIA Wisconsin. These leaders came together with a “passion” for our profession and its future in Wisconsin. We reviewed and built upon last year’s successful strategic initiatives, which focused on discussing AIA business at regular local chapter meetings, establishing stronger relationships with allied organizations, promoting the value of design to the public and increasing business and employment opportunities for members through legislative action.

At the end of the day this summer, a strong consensus emerged to continue, with a few minor tweaks, the strategic initiatives related to working closely with allied organizations, increasing public awareness and appreciation of the value of design, and advocating for members through legislative action. In addition, the assembled AIA leaders supported an important new initiative to engage emerging professionals and encourage greater participation by our diverse membership. A “champion” has stepped forward for each of these strategic initiatives and work plans are being developed to effectively address the major objectives identified.         

Fall Workshop – October 18
“The Business of Design” is the theme of this year’s one-day nuts-and-bolts practice-oriented Fall Workshop. Chaired by Melissa Destree, AIA, the workshop will be held on Friday, October 18, at The Ostoff Resort in Elkhart Lake and feature sessions on firm planning, practice management, intellectual property and ownership transition. With a great professional development program and a relaxed atmosphere, this is one Fall Workshop that you will not want to miss.

Mark your calendar now and plan to participate. More information will be coming your way.

AIA Wisconsin


David G. Peterson AIA

May 2013President Peterson at the AIA Wisconsin Annual Meeting

This is the written report prepared for the AIA Wisconsin Annual Meeting. It highlights a few key  items related to our membership, our finances, and our long-range planning initiatives.  It also reviews the issues addressed at this year’s AIA Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference in Washington DC, the benefits of staying involved in state and local government affairs, the importance of our Convention & Expo, and, lastly, the return on service to the profession.

The good news is that AIA Wisconsin membership increased in 2012 and continues to climb so far this year. The growth is coming from new AIA Architect and Associate AIA members as well as from former members who are re-connecting by reinstating their membership. This is a positive sign that the state’s design and construction industry is starting to recover . . . and that there is value in AIA membership.

In spite of the Great Recession, I am pleased to report that our finances remain healthy because of the sound decisions made by the Board of Directors and the prompt response by staff.  We established a small, but hard-working, special task force that took a hard look at the new economic realities and changes occurring in the profession in order to develop short-term and longer-term recommendations for improving operations and ensuring a sustainable financial future.  In addition, we’re testing the recommendations of another task force by holding half of our Board meetings this year by video conference in hopes of increasing participation and reducing expenses for volunteer leaders and AIA Wisconsin.

Strategic Planning
Consistent with the theme for this year’s Convention, local, state and regional AIA leaders started laying the FOUNDATIONS for the future at our long-range planning retreat last July at the Aldo Leopold Center.  Using information collected from the AIA Wisconsin membership satisfaction survey and firm roundtable sessions . . . plus the initial feedback from the national AIA repositioning initiative . . . volunteer leaders generated many ideas and suggestions focused on  supporting members.  At the end of the day-long retreat, four strategic initiatives emerged – two short-term and two long-term.  Perhaps even more important, volunteers stepped up to champion each initiative. 

The two short-term initiatives include talking about AIA business at local chapter meetings and establishing stronger liaisons with allied organizations.

  • The first recognizes the need for increasing the dialogue between chapter officers and chapter members to share information about AIA programs and to conduct more open business-oriented meetings.  Dean Von Tersch, AIA, and AIA Southwest Wisconsin are leading the charge on this initiative.
  • The second initiative focuses on leveraging relationships with allied organizations to strengthen the AIA and increase opportunities for members.  AIA Milwaukee leaders Lyssa Olker, AIA, Kurt Zimmerman, AIA, and Matthew Edwards, AIA, are the champions for this initiative.


The two longer-term strategic initiatives involve promoting the value of design to the public and increasing business and employment opportunities for members.

  • The promotion of architecture and design to the public is a reoccurring theme. The major objectives of this initiative include developing communications strategies, increasing the visibility of the design awards and increasing participation at public lecture series on architecture.  This year’s Golden Award recipient Josh Johnson, AIA, is driving the bus on this one . . . and those of you who know Josh know what I mean.
  • The objectives of the final strategic initiative include advocating for more public projects for AIA members and expanding the value of the architect credential.  As the champion for these efforts, Mark Herr, AIA, already has organized several workshops on federal contracting opportunities for architects . . . and is working with members of our AIA/DFD Liaison Committee to develop recommendations for improving policies and procedures for the state building program.

I believe these are important strategic initiatives that will enhance our position as architects and expand our role and influence.  I encourage you to stay tuned and get involved.

Grassroots – Repositioning & Capitol Hill Visits
This leads right into this year’s AIA Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, this past March. As many of you may recall, Robert Ivy, FAIA, talked with us year ago about the launch of the “repositioning” initiative to determine the future role of architects and the AIA . . . and the opportunity for members to provide input into the process.

This year at Grassroots the recommendations coming out of the repositioning effort were outlined by the consultants from LaPlaca Cohen and Pentagram.  In a nutshell, part of the answer was to let the members decide the priorities. Our breakout sessions at Grassroots reminded me of our long-range planning retreat . . . first present and discuss a lot of ideas, and then begin the process for ranking and realizing the top priorities.

Of course, my favorite part of the annual Grassroots conference always is visiting Capitol Hill and meeting with members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation.  Your state and local AIA officers met with their own U.S. Representative and the staff of both U.S. Senators.

We advocated for initiatives to help small business create jobs, repair and strengthen our buildings, build resilient and vibrant communities, reform government to build better with less, and invest in the next generation of design leaders.  In our meetings on Capitol Hill we talked about making the tax code work for small firms, extending and enhancing the tax deduction to promote energy efficient commercial buildings, creating jobs by investing in our building infrastructure, and providing student loan relief for architecture school graduates in exchange for volunteer community service.

Government Affairs
These federal AIA agenda items match up well with our strategic planning initiatives and AIA Wisconsin’s state legislative agenda.  It’s been my good fortune to attend several Grassroots conferences over the years . . . and this experience has taught me how effective AIA advocacy efforts can be and how important it is for architects to be involved in government affairs at the local, state and federal levels.  It can have a big effect on the built environment and our professional practices.  This is where the action is and where we can make a difference.

After our most recent AIA Wisconsin Board meeting in Madison, Board members walked over to the State Capital to visit with our State Representatives and State Senators. As we did in DC, AIA leaders demonstrated that architects are a valuable resource and a trusted advisor on a host of public policy issues shaping the future of our state and local communities.

AIA Wisconsin executive director Bill Babcock, Hon. AIA, also is our registered lobbyist.  He keeps the Board informed on various issues that could change our profession.  Sometimes a very quick response is required.  We continue to be vigilant and also put forward ideas that will advance the practice and our ability to be a positive force.  You can be proud that AIA Wisconsin is active in government affairs. 

AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo
This brings us to this year’s AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo and its theme FOUNDATIONS. This gathering of our fellow AIA members from across Wisconsin promises to help set the foundations for our future in a world that constantly evolves and presents challenges for our role as leaders in the built environment.

So, get ready to visit with your fellow members . . . and enjoy the variety of programs and presentations, both upstairs and downstairs.  The companies and organizations that support the Expo are the financial life blood of the Convention that makes possible the continuing education programs and other special events. Engage them.  If you are an emerging professional, get to know as many of the sales representatives as possible. In my experience, these have proved to be very valuable relationships that have helped my clients and improved my projects.

This year we are continuing the “Knowledge Center” in the Expo. You’ll find Board members, Chapter officers and committee members ready to answer questions and gather your suggestions on almost any AIA-related issue. It’s informal . . . and a great way to offer feedback and get a conversation going on any topic.

Service to the AIA
In closing, I’d like to offer a few comments about service to AIA Wisconsin. Like many of you, I have participated at the local chapter level on and off for several years. When I was asked if I was interested in serving on the AIA Wisconsin Executive Committee, the invitation was completely unexpected. Serving AIA Wisconsin has been my greatest reward as an architect.  I have great respect for our members and our staff. 

From my first Grassroots experience where AIA Wisconsin introduced our model QBS facilitator program to AIA leaders from across the country through the most recent conference where the “repositioning” recommendations were presented, I have felt AIA Wisconsin is ahead of the curve.  While I may be a bit biased, I believe we have one of the best AIA components in the country. We know where we are heading, we have been very active in government affairs, and we care about our members.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve. I know that I’ll get a positive return on my investment.

AIA Wisconsin

David G. Peterson, AIA



February 2013

During his term as AIA Wisconsin President this past year, Henry Kosarzycki, AIA, continually advocated for the important role of the “Citizen Architect” in our society and highlighted the true value of an architect as the “Trusted Advisor” for public officials and building owners.  Listening to President Obama’s recent inaugural address and recalling the famous speech by President Kennedy about asking what we could do for our country, I was reminded of how Henry encouraged us all to get involved and make a difference by seeking out leadership opportunities in our communities.  

Shortly after I began my career as an architect, my employer gave me advice that still rings true today:  “Give to your community and it will give back even more to you.”  Following this advice, I joined the local service club, worked with the Boy Scouts and served on the city parks commission.  At the same time, I also pursued my hobby interest in steam locomotives by helping operate a small railroad in our city’s largest park, which has been a passion of mine for 35 years and counting.

The result of all of this was that I became known not only as an architect, but also as someone who was involved with my community.  And, when my partner and I formed our own firm, work came to us because we were recognized as leaders in our community.  Our opinions also were sought out on a variety of local issues as we continued to volunteer on community initiatives.

Within a year of starting our firm, I was asked to join the Wisconsin Society of the American Institute of Architects.  It wasn’t long before I found myself elected as an officer of the local AIA chapter.  This gave me the opportunity to attend my first AIA Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, where I witnessed firsthand another important aspect of our profession – advocacy.  It is vital for architects to be ever vigilant by keeping our eye on laws that will advance our profession as well as those that may hinder our practices.

As AIA Wisconsin President, I am once again going to the national AIA Grassroots Conference next month.  I will enjoy meeting with members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation on Capitol Hill to advance the AIA’s federal issues agenda to get America building.  The AIA agenda includes initiatives to help small business create jobs, repair and strengthen our buildings, build sustainable, resilient and vibrant communities, reform government to build better with less, and invest in the next generation of design leaders.

Now, getting back to President Kosarzycki’s admonition, I am confident that we can all become a “Trusted Advisor” as long as we first get involved as a “Citizen Architect.”  We can have influence if we are involved.  Recognizing that it takes time, effort and persistence, I encourage AIA Wisconsin members to begin this year with the resolution to become community leaders.

Paying it forward, you will get back more than you give. I know that has been true for me.

  David G. Peterson, AIA





December 2012

I can’t believe how fast 2012 and my privilege to serve the members of AIA Wisconsin as President went by.  Let me also begin by telling all of you that it has been a privilege to work with a remarkable group of state and local AIA leaders as we’ve taken care of the business of the state Society and developed recommendations for a sustainable future, offered members a broad array of educational and networking opportunities, and made an effort to listen to our members and respond with appropriate strategic initiatives.

Looking back at 2012, we reflect on a year during which we not only took a hard look at our organization and the way we do things, but also examined the trends shaping the future of the our profession and redoubled our commitment to supporting our members.  Thanks to the dedicated service of many members who have volunteered their time and expertise, I’m pleased to report today that we have been able to effectively seize opportunities and accomplish a great deal this year.  We remain financially sound and poised to tackle whatever awaits our members as the profession repositions itself for the future.

However, our profession continues to face many challenges.  These challenges also create opportunities for architects because of our unique and valuable combination of problem-solving and visioning skills.  Using roundtable discussions and online surveys, AIA Wisconsin reached out and listened to members and member-owned firms this year to gain a better understanding of the issues they are facing and to gather their ideas for how the AIA could help architects prepare for the future.

Membership is growing again; and we had great participation at this year’s Convention & Expo as well as the recent Fall Workshop at Lambeau Field.  The four local AIA chapters are active, providing a host of valuable programs for members across the state.  AIA Wisconsin continues to demonstrate the power of collaboration and how much architects can accomplish by working together to achieve common goals.

I also want to remind all of our members that AIA Wisconsin would not be the outstanding organization representing our profession without the experienced and dedicated AIA Wisconsin staff.  It is the tireless and focused work coming out of the Stoner House that helps us achieve our goals.  I heard a long time ago that member driven organizations are only as good as their supporting staff; nothing could be truer.  The revolving door of all the great leaders and volunteers that continue to move through AIA Wisconsin benefit from a staff that keeps our organization on a true course.

We look forward to the leadership of next year’s AIA Wisconsin President Dave Peterson, AIA.  He chaired  this summer’s planning retreat that focused on four important strategic initiatives.  The two short-term initiatives include talking about AIA business at local chapter meetings and establishing stronger liaisons with other allied organizations.  The longer-term initiatives involve promoting the value of design to the public and increasing business and employment opportunities for members through legislative action.  These are important strategies that address the issues identified by our members and firms.

Let me conclude by thanking all of you for your support.   Serving as the 2012 President of AIA Wisconsin has been a humbling experience – an  experience that would not have been possible without the mentoring, guidance, leadership and friendship of so many great Wisconsin Architects!

AIA Wisconsin


Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA


October 2012

Let me begin by thanking and congratulating our members who responded to the call and stepped up to serve as a Director-At-Large on the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors.  Unfortunately, we had four outstanding candidates and only two open positions.  At the Board meeting last week, I announced the election results, with Walter Wilson, FAIA, and Daryl Dean, AIA, elected by the membership to two-year terms. I would like to thank Robert Wheat, AIA, and Chad Ulman, AIA, for their interest in serving our members.   Just as our Director-At-Large candidates, please consider getting more engaged with your AIA and stepping up, as well.  Your talent and leadership is always needed and appreciated.

In 2007, AIA Wisconsin organized a “Firm Roundtable” discussion that focused on issues facing member-owned firms.  The hope at that time was that the dialogue would generate ideas on how the AIA could better prepare our profession for the future.  The suggestions coming out of that discussion helped chart the course of the organization.  Our practices have continued to change, from some perspectives faster than we ever could have imagined.

This year, AIA Wisconsin engaged in roundtable sessions that were designed to offer an opportunity to discuss the various trends affecting the environment in which our members practice.  These trends involved issues such as:

                  • Emerging technology tools like building information modeling (BIM),
                  • Greater collaboration across disciplines within the AEC community,
                  • New approaches to project delivery,
                  • Impact of globalization,
                  • Increased interest in sustainability and LEED accreditation, and
                  • More sophisticated clients with different expectations.

Two Firm Roundtable sessions were held, the first in March and the second in June.  Both sessions were held in various locations around the State to accommodate member participation.  The Firm Roundtable report along with the Member Survey Operations & Finances Task Force, Membership Satisfaction Survey and AIA “Repositioning” Initiative were carried forward to the Long Range Planning Retreat.  The following two short-term and two long-term initiatives emerged:

Short-Term Initiatives

  • Chapter Business Meetings
  • Liaison with Other Organizations


Long-Term Initiatives

  • Promotion of Design

Legislative Action Task Force

Your AIA Wisconsin Board met last week at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning; and I am pleased to report on a number of great things coming from your leadership.  First, it is important to say that, thanks to our membership numbers remaining strong and a very successful AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo, our organization anticipates finishing the year in a sound financial position.  We continue to focus on our carbon footprint – not only as a profession, but also as the AIA Wisconsin leadership – and are preparing to conduct more meetings through webcasts and teleconference.  Our local AIA chapters are gearing to begin 2013 with new leadership and an exciting array of valuable programs.  We also are looking forward to continuing the “roundtable” discussions at the chapter level as part of the chapter business meeting initiative.

Have a great fall season and thank you for your commitment to our profession.

AIA Wisconsin


Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA


AIA Wisconsin Planning Report – Member Support

The 2012 Long-Range Planning Report approved by the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors focuses on four strategic initiatives to support members and enhance the value of membership. The two short-term initiatives include talking about AIA business at local chapter meetings and establishing stronger liaisons with other allied organizations. The two longer-term initiatives involve promoting the value of design to the public and increasing business and employment opportunities for members through legislative action. This year’s planning retreat was chaired by AIA Wisconsin Vice President David Peterson, AIA, Eau Claire. Please contact AIA Wisconsin for copy of the complete report. For a quick overview, here is link to a one-page summary.


September 2012

Successful Projects through Collaborative Review, Permitting and Inspection

by Henry Kosarzycki, AIA | AIA Wisconsin President

Throughout the country, it’s no secret that state and municipal governments are facing hard times. Some have filed for bankruptcy protection. Others have been forced to raise taxes or cut services dramatically in order to remain solvent.

The American Institute of Architects [AIA] believes that there is another better option – a strategy called “expedited permitting.”  The AIA believes that expedited permitting can help increase tax revenue for local jurisdictions and reduce costs for the design and construction industry, while also providing an incentive for public officials to promote sustainability and other beneficial land use policies.

Delays in building permit approvals not only affect the project stakeholders, but also result in lost municipal revenue as projects take longer to come on line and be added to the tax rolls. In addition, since these days most building projects have fixed budgets, every dollar saved through an expedited permit approval process can be moved to the construction phase, resulting in better quality buildings that are often more sustainable. Moving projects into the construction phase sooner also generates local jobs and provides a boost to the local economy.

An AIA report, “The Economic Impact of Accelerating Permit Processes on Local Development and Government Revenues,” shows that communities with a more efficient building permitting process can gain millions of dollars in tax revenues and significantly bolster their economic development. The study examined the relationship between building permit processes, local economic activity, and government tax revenues. The study concluded that the implementation of a more responsive permit process over a five-year period could result in a 16.5% increase in property taxes and a 5.7% increase in construction spending. Additionally, expedited permitting is one of the most popular green incentives among developers.

Based on my practical experience, I believe that expedited permitting can result in significant benefits compared to the current standard project review process. The building design and construction industry has evolved dramatically over the last three decades, while the regulatory model has remained relatively unchanged. From traditional design-bid-build to integrated project delivery, the buildings in our communities are the result of a sophisticated matrix of stakeholders that come together under complex contractual relationships to design and build commercial, residential, industrial and other facilities.

This performance-based model often is missing one chair at the initial planning and pre-construction meetings – the regulatory official. I recently had the good fortune to be involved in a successful healthcare facility that benefited from expedited review and permitting. It involved all the stakeholders early in the planning process, including state and local building officials.

Engaging the regulatory agencies early is a key component to a successful review, permitting and inspection process. This coordination of state and local building officials along with the architect and other members of the design and construction team can contribute significantly to a successful project – a building that meets expectations of its owner and users while continuing to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.

Whatever specific approach is used, the AIA strongly urges government officials to support expedited permitting and implement programs that incorporate this policy. In Wisconsin, we have the administrative rules in place to help our municipalities realize the benefits of working in cooperation with state regulatory agencies. This tool is also valuable from a strategic standpoint to encourage green and sustainable buildings in exchange for a streamlined review process. Wisconsin has the opportunity to meet the challenge and offer this much-needed public service. A number of successful healthcare projects in Wisconsin already have been realized through this process of engaging the regulatory model early in the planning and pre-construction phase.

AIA Wisconsin, the state society of the American Institute of Architects, represents 1,300 individual members, including architects in private practice, business, industry, education and government.



August 2012

It’s hard to believe that two thirds of 2012 already is behind us. That being said, I’m excited to tell you about the great work your AIA Wisconsin leaders have been doing.

In June, we held simultaneous Firm Roundtable discussion sessions in all four local chapters. The timing of this second round of roundtable sessions with firm principals coincided with our online membership satisfaction survey. The information and ideas shared by members like you from across the state was key to this year’s successful AIA Wisconsin long-range planning retreat.

“Reweave – The Future is our Members” was the theme that carried Vice President/President-Elect David Peterson’s message forward at the planning retreat as we looked forward to 2013 and beyond. This year’s planning session involved a single intensive day of discussion, analysis and programming. Shaped by the national AIA “weave” strategic planning model, initial observations from the “repositioning” initiative, firm roundtable suggestions and member feedback, two short-term and two longer-term initiatives emerged. These initiatives are related to discussing AIA business at chapter meetings, establishing liaisons with other allied organizations, promoting the value of design and helping members through legislative action. I can’t stress enough the importance and value of all AIA members engaging with your local chapter in any one or more of these initiatives. Remember AIA Wisconsin is you.

Before you know it the heat will come to an end and we’ll be enjoying another Wisconsin fall season . . . and that can only mean one thing – the 2012 AIA Wisconsin Fall Workshop. All I’ll say at this point is the planning committee once again has met the challenge by creating an exceptional full-day professional development program. Believe me, over so many years that challenge to keep improving the workshop continues to be harder and harder to achieve. And, just like the recent Olympics, we continue to break records and exceed expectations. Block your calendar for Friday, October 19, and look forward to a great workshop at Lambeau Field.

Finally, let me remind all of you that it is never too early to start thinking about the 2013 AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo. The Convention Committee already is hard at work planning for next year’s conference. This is AIA Wisconsin’s primary event and provides the resources that enable us to offer quality programming for our members throughout the year. Please contact the AIA Wisconsin office with your speaker and program suggestions and ideas for building strategic alliances with our partners on the Expo floor.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

AIA Wisconsin


Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA



June 2012AIA Wisconsin

It’s halftime. AIA Wisconsin Board members are in the locker room discussing what they can do for members in the second half.

It’s halftime for the AIA Wisconsin membership, too. Architects are out of work; and we’re hurting. And, we’re all wondering what we’re going to have to do to make a comeback. We’re all scared . . . because this isn’t a game.

OK . . . we need Clint Eastwood to finish that thought.  But, let me keep that serious tone and remind you that it really is halftime for 2012 and, in a recent article by AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, he states:

      “A rebound in commercial activity will lead to stronger growth in 2013.”

In the article, he goes on to further explain:

“The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is projecting very modest growth overall for 2012. Total nonresidential activity is forecast to increase just 2 percent in 2012 over 2011 levels, with somewhat stronger growth in the commercial and industrial sectors, but no growth in institutional activity. The hotel market is expected to see the most growth in the commercial arena, bouncing back from a steep slide in 2011. The healthcare market is expected to be one of the strongest institutional construction sectors. A modest recovery in 2012 is projected to turn into a stronger upturn by 2013.”

Our role as architects in service to the profession and to society is also part of who we are. Economic recovery is part of that role. It’s not only project or commission specific work that defines us and repositions our profession for the future. It’s also the foundation that we lay today that will establish the rules and parameters that define our profession tomorrow.

Being a “Citizen Architect” is key to that future. For example, over the last three years the AIA has worked hard to position the Architect as the trusted advisor and primary resource to the industry regarding the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). This is our opportunity as Architects to provide all stakeholders in the built environment with leadership in understanding, adopting and engaging a comprehensive and equitable model sustainable building code.

In addition, the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) has put out the call for all interested individuals to submit their applications to serve on a variety of state code advisory councils. These DSPS councils and committees advise the department on issues and rules relating to various professions and programs. Please consider representing AIA Wisconsin on one of the code councils that may be related to your area of expertise. You would be representing over 1,300 AIA Wisconsin members as the voice of the Architects while serving your profession as a Citizen Architect. These are the kinds of opportunities that we as Architects must embrace to serve both the profession and society by utilizing our unique knowledge, skills and training.

We’re looking forward to a successful and prosperous second half. Best wishes to you and your family for a great summer.

AIA Wisconsin

Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA


May 2012

Thank you!

Thank you to all of you who attended the 2012 AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo . . .  FORWARD.  Thank you to the Convention Committee, which was chaired this year by Tate Walker, AIA, for assembling an outstanding schedule of speakers and special events. Thank you to the sponsors that make the AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo one of the most successful and dynamic conferences year in and year out. Thank you to our exhibitors who are a big part of our Convention’s success and really make possible the high quality programming we’ve grown to expect.


Congratulations to Tom Cox, AIA, the 25th recipient of the AIA Wisconsin Golden Award! Tom has served AIA Wisconsin above and beyond any expectations from local chapter leader to state officer and now as our region’s representative on the national AIA Board.  His leadership, mentoring and commitment to our profession have resulted in significant and positive changes to our profession that will benefit us for years to come as we adjust to future challenges and opportunities. His remarks on design innovation and expanded project responsibility were right on the mark. Thank you Tom!

Congratulations to the architects, owners and contractors receiving 2012 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards! Through the power of design, Wisconsin architects have established themselves as leaders in developing design solutions that not only meet today’s challenges, but also realize and enhance the value of architecture in and beyond our built environment.

Finally, the national AIA Convention is May 17-19. Please contact your local chapter officers to let them know of any questions or comments you may have about the officer elections or proposed bylaws amendments that will be voted on.  Your message is important as the delegates from Wisconsin participate in the national AIA elections and annual business meeting in Washington, DC.  

AIA Wisconsin

Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA

April 2012

Five years ago, AIA Wisconsin hosted a Large Firm Roundtable discussion focused on issues facing member-owned firms.  The hope at that time was that the dialogue would generate ideas on how the AIA could better prepare our profession for the future.  The suggestions coming out of that discussion helped chart the course of your organization.

Our practices have continued to change, from some perspectives faster than we ever could have imagined.  In a response to our evolving profession, I am excited to tell you that last month AIA Wisconsin hosted Firm Roundtables in Madison and Milwaukee.  We will be rescheduling the initial session in Green Bay.  The meetings were targeted to provide a convenient location for all to participate.  The roundtable sessions had great representation and featured candid observations on a variety of important issues.  We look forward to moving ahead with this initiative.

So, what did we ask . . . and what did we learn?  Taking the script from the initial roundtable meeting, the sessions were all about providing our member-owned firms the venue and platform from which to communicate with each other while telling AIA Wisconsin what their needs and expectations are today and in the future.  What issues face your firms today and in the future?  What is the biggest challenge facing our profession today and in the future?  What is the most important thing that AIA can do to help firms face current and future challenges?  What is the most important thing that AIA can do to support the advancing of our profession?

I want to thank all of the participating members for taking time out of their schedules and participating in the roundtables.  Based on the positive feedback following the sessions, I believe that the participants not only appreciated the opportunity to communicate with each other, but that they also provided invaluable information that AIA Wisconsin can use as we chart the course to exceed member expectations.  New business models, collaboration, determining the fine line of resources based on current and projected workload are examples of the issues firms are facing today.  In addition to these practice issues, encouraging licensure, the relevance of the profession and initial as well as long-term return on investment based on comprehensive design solutions were highlighted by participants as challenges facing the profession in the future.

As a member, you represent an amazing resource for improving and giving back to our communities and profession as we all work together to achieve these goals.  We’d like to hear from you about how the AIA can continue helping members succeed.  I look forward to seeing you at the 2012 AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo.  Your participation at the Convention enables us to provide valuable member services throughout the year.  Also, remember to visit the Building Products Expo. It is a big part of what makes the AIA Wisconsin Convention one of the most successful in the country.  Please reserve time to tour the Expo on May 2 & 3 at Monona Terrace and thank the exhibiting companies and organizations for their support.

AIA Wisconsin

Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA


March 2012

On Capitol Hill

Leadership Advocacy Communication . . . these cornerstones of our profession were the focus of last week’s AIA Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Specific to politics and the direct influences on our profession, we all recognize the current extraordinary times.

When AIA Wisconsin leaders representing all four local chapters visited Capitol Hill for meetings with our state’s congressional delegation, we reinforced a well thought out agenda for economic recovery that includes removing barriers to private sector lending, saving energy, creating jobs, helping small firms thrive and revitalizing our communities. It offered a valuable opportunity to meet with our elected officials and focus on a strong message about the importance of getting the design and construction industry back to work rebuilding our country.

First was the message that the AIA supports government policies that open doors for small design firms to create jobs and economic opportunity in every community in the country. The AIA strongly opposes policy proposals that discriminate against small design firms and place barriers in the way of their survival.

The second message focused on ideas that not only improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, but also create jobs. Every $1 million invested in the design and construction of buildings yields 28.5 full-time jobs. The AIA believes that governmental policies, programs and incentives should encourage energy efficiency, especially as it relates to the built environment.

The design and construction industry, which accounts for one in nine dollars of U.S. of economic activity, is experiencing significant hardship and job loss. A recent survey conducted by the AIA found that nearly two-thirds of respondents reported projects that were stalled due to lack of financing. Millions of dollars in construction projects are ready to go in every community, but cannot move forward because lending is not available. Restoring and sustaining financing for development is vital to economic recovery. The AIA supports policies that will ensure credit is available for worthy commercial and residential development projects that create jobs and rebuild our communities.

Finally, our current transportation system is broken. Crumbling infrastructure and rising congestion have hurt our nation’s competitiveness, reduced safety and increased greenhouse gas emissions. This system has resulted in less livable communities. The AIA supports reforming federal transportation policy to help the country develop and improve transportation systems that promote economic vitality and create vibrant, prosperous communities.

In addition to developing stronger relationships with our elected representatives and their staff, we also had the opportunity to thank and recognize Senator Herb Kohl for his 24 years of distinguished service to the citizens of Wisconsin and the profession of architecture. 

The continued relevance of our profession depends on our engagement as trusted advisors and leaders within each of our communities. The messages carried to Capitol Hill by your Board leadership should not stop there. Hopefully, they will reinforce and strengthen your dialogue as an Architect with other leaders of your community.

Thank you for your service to the profession.

AIA Wisconsin

Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA
2012 President


February 2012

I’m excited to report that the 2012 AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors is off to a great start and focused on meeting the needs of members in all four local chapters. At its recent meeting in Madison, Board members were asked to share their goals for the year . . . and advocating for the profession, supporting members and enhancing public awareness of Architecture were consistently mentioned as primary objectives. After listening to what these truly inspired AIA Wisconsin leaders hope to accomplish, I am confident that we will achieve our goals by working collaboratively with members like you.

Coming out of our most recent long-range planning retreat, your state and local chapter AIA leaders accepted and embraced the challenge of providing opportunities to more effectively serve members, the profession and society. Achieving our goals will involve advocating for members, sharing knowledge, telling our story and collaborating with others. Local chapters have an attractive mix of programs and events on tap for the months ahead, including quality continuing education presentations, study sessions for emerging professionals pursuing licensure, competitions for creative design solutions to vexing community issues and public lectures on the power of design. Please be alert for programs in your area of the state and make sure to recognize the efforts of local volunteer AIA leaders by attending and participating in chapter events. Remember, your participation also includes suggesting and assisting in the development of future programs.

“Reach out to our members
and provide them with a
conduit to the
AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors,
in order to provide them with
service and information
to help them advance the
profession of architecture.”

– AIA Wisconsin Board Member

Of course, you’ll want to reserve May 2 & 3 for the state’s largest design and construction industry event . . . the AIA Wisconsin Convention & Building Products Expo. This year’s Convention & Expo features the opportunity to earn continuing education hours required to renew your state license, reconnect with friends and colleagues from across the state and re-energize your creative spirit. The Expo offers a unique opportunity to learn about the latest products and services available from the leading companies in our region. Please encourage the companies and consultants you work with to participate in the Convention & Expo . . . and thank them for their valuable support when they do. 

The value of your AIA Wisconsin membership is directly related to your participation and expectations. The opportunities and potential are unlimited. Share your story with fellow architects; and, if they aren’t part of AIA Wisconsin, invite them to the next event.

Thank you for your leadership and service to the profession.

AIA Wisconsin


Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA
2012 President AIA Wisconsin

January 13, 2012 Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA

Thank you for your membership and commitment to our profession . . . and best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2012. By coming together as members of AIA Wisconsin, we become the voice of the architectural profession and a resource for each other in service to society.

Our profession faces many challenges. These challenges create many opportunities. For example, there is a critical need for strong leadership to solve complex problems and provide vision and direction for our communities. This challenge creates an opportunity for architects because of our unique and valuable combination of problem-solving and visioning skills. In fact, I believe this has remained a constant that has helped to bring most, if not all, of us to this place we define as architecture. The AIA enables us to accomplish more than we can as individual architects in addressing issues of importance to members, the profession and society.

Let me take this opportunity to capture your architectural spirit. As described in the AIA’s “Leading Your Life as a Leader” journal, the stages of leadership include: initial spark, first engagement, active engagement and lifetime engagement.

Last year at the national AIA convention, AIA Wisconsin was recognized for celebrating 100 years of leadership through design and advocacy. Our members were congratulated for being respected stewards of the state’s architectural heritage, partners in the classroom where students are introduced to the ways in which design affects our lives, and a trusted voice that informs and influences public debate.

At our long-range planning retreat last summer, state and local AIA leaders made a commitment to a model structured to support and promote the architect in service to our communities, the profession and fellow members. The foundation for this structure is cast in four cornerstones: Knowledge, Advocacy, Communication and Collaboration.

  • By sharing knowledge, we help ensure that AIA members are leaders in the profession, the industry and our communities.
  • Though advocacy, members advance policies about design through political outreach, education and engagement that are responsive to the public and the profession.
  • Utilizing effective communication tools, the AIA elevates the voice of architects to promote the value of design and to enhance the public’s understanding of the importance of architecture.
  • Our collaboration skills allow us to better align resources and empower networks of members and allied professionals to build teamwork and embrace a comprehensive vision.


Let me conclude my first letter to you as 2012 AIA Wisconsin President by emphasizing the value that you bring to your community, profession and fellow members. It is important that all of us be responsible designers, stewards of the environment, citizen architects and active participants in the political process. It’s been said that all politics is local. Well, leadership begins at the local level, as well. Make a resolution to get involved in AIA activities, exercise your leadership skills and engage your community. Let’s make 2012 the year of the Architect!

AIA Wisconsin


Henry A. Kosarzycki, AIA
2012 President AIA Wisconsin


December 4, 2011

As my term as AIA Wisconsin President winds down, I look back on the busy and productive year our organization has had, serving our members with a plethora of continuing education and networking opportunities at both state and local chapter levels. Meanwhile, the winds of change continue to blow strong; and we should not expect to practice and provide our professional services in the same way in the future.

As part of our centennial celebration, AIA Wisconsin has promoted the fact that architects provide leadership through design and advocacy. Every building is a social statement – an implementation of values in a social setting – and for that we, as architects, are uniquely responsible.  Now, more than ever, I believe it is the time to put those words into action. We all are responsible for improving the built environment – not only through our building designs, but also the decisions about land use, energy conservation, materials and myriad other components that form the framework for those buildings. 

  • Be a Responsible Designer – Practice sustainable design and educate our clients about real sustainability and not just “greenwash.” 


  • Be a Citizen Architect – Serve on local boards and commissions that provide venues for public policy decisions and participate in volunteer activities that address homelessness, hunger and other important issues in your community.


  • Participate in the Political Process – It is important to remember the adage that “if you’re not at the table, it’s likely that you’ll be on the menu” as you communicate regularly with your state legislators and congressional representatives about issues of importance to you and our profession. I encourage you to become more active in AIA Wisconsin activities and amplify your voice by supporting the voluntary and independent political action committees that have been established by AIA Wisconsin [WSA/PAC] and national AIA [ArchiPAC].


Best wishes for a joyful and prosperous 2012.

AIA Wisconsin


Thomas Hirsch, FAIA
2011 President



February 10, 2011

KohlI have just returned from Washington, DC, after attending the annual AIA Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference – Design | Voices. It was the best Grassroots that I have attended.

  • Lots of opportunities to meet and get to know architects from North Central States region as well farther parts of the US, including Washington, Pennsylvania and the southern tip of Texas;

  • Got to meet with national AIA government affairs staff and discuss issues of particular interest to me (affordable housing finance) and obtain their commitment to work with me to try to increase the Low Income Housing Tax Credit;

  • Visited Capitol Hill and had good thoughtful sessions with members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation;

  • Attended several relevant and well presented workshops on component communication strategies and techniques and also board-staff relationships;

  • Took pride in the numerous “kudos” given to AIA Wisconsin staff for the exemplary work they do and how it helps other components;

  • Did a lot of walking and managed to step into a few Smithsonian museums along the way; and

  • Had a great dinner with fellow AIA leaders from Wisconsin plus a national AIA officer and key AIA staff with whom we work closely.

Regrettably, a snowstorm prevented some local AIA chapter officers from getting to DC this year. I hope the weather cooperates and that Wisconsin is able to field a full complement of state and local AIA leaders for next year’s AIA Grassroots Conference.


Thomas Hirsch, FAIA
2011 President AIA Wisconsin


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