“Advocacy is to politics as marketing is to practice,” said the Society’s Senior Advocate, David Lancaster. “If you don’t actively do it, your profession and your business suffer.
“If you’re going after a project, you want to know as much about your potential client as possible,” he continued. “If you want to convince a public official on the merits of your argument, it’s easier to sell a friend than a stranger. Remember the old saw, ‘Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start digging a well.’”
Over 200 members assembled in Austin January 25, 2011, for the first Advocates Day, and Lancaster says that with the high turnover in legislators since 2009 (50% of the state Representatives will be serving in their first or second session), architects would benefit from having double that number in 2013.
Texas Architects enjoyed perhaps its most successful session ever in 2011. Virtually every item included on the ‘We Support’ priority list passed, and nothing on the ‘We Oppose’ list did. Among the programs passed were an “A/E Peace Accord” measure, High-Performance Building Standards, the consolidation of multiple codes dealing with Alternative Project Delivery into a single chapter of the Government Code, and a bill limiting overly broad indemnification clauses.
“Consider that this is one day in the life of an architect — maybe for only two or three 15-minute meetings — but it can pay a lifetime of dividends to share with legislators the value of design, and the importance of architects and architecture to the public.”
David Lancaster is the Senior Advocate for the Texas Society of Architects.