Beyond the Boardroom: TxA Board Meeting Held in Vancouver

The Texas Society of Architects Board of Directors met in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 26-27 with a full agenda!

President Larry Speck, FAIA, opened the meeting and congratulated Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, on her recent election as AIA President-elect. He reviewed the Society's progress this year, discussing committees; the Design Conference success; Advocates for Architecture Day at the Capitol and the successful 83rd Legislative Session; the improvements in Texas Architect and kudos on the most recent issue; and ever-increasing traffic on

Aerial view of Downtown Vancouver's waterfront. The new convention center on the right with Canada Place front and center. – photo by istockphoto; dan_prat

The board received reports from all standing committees providing updates on the progress of their work on behalf of the Society. These reports may be found on each of the committee pages.

Two chapters were invited to make presentations to the board about their activities. Chapter Director Troy Secord, AIA, presented for AIA Wichita Falls (view presentation slides), and Chapter Director Fernando Brave, FAIA, presented for AIA Houston (view slides). It was instructive to discuss the differences in perspectives between the smallest chapter in the state and one of the largest, and how each contributes to improving the local climate for architectural practice in their areas. 

Michael Malone, AIA, in his role as vice president for outreach, presented reports for the Young Public Awareness Committee (YPAC), chaired by Andy Vernooy, AIA, and the Publications Committee (PubCom), chaired by Filo Castore, AIA.

This is the first year for YPAC, and its primary goal is to expand architectural education at community colleges. The effort is twofold: first, to assist in starting an architectural survey class to meet elective criteria at selected community colleges; and second, to provide improved links between fledgling architectural programs in community colleges to accredited university degree programs. 

In the PubCom report, Michael noted that our July/August 2013 Texas Architect, themed “Light,” was a stellar effort, and he complimented editor Catherine Gavin on this issue. While his comments focused primarily on the quality of the editorial content and its approach, he also noted the expansion of the magazine’s “Portfolio” section.

Detail of sail anchor at Canada Place – photo by James Perry

Paul Dennehy, AIA, chair of the Fort Worth Convention Committee, provided updates about our upcoming 74th Annual Convention and Design Expo, which will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center on November 7-9. 

Treasurer Charles John, AIA, presented his Financial Report to the board, and most discussion centered around the CDARS program — an effort to diversify the cash holdings of the Society. 

I presented an update on our government relations program and gave an overview of our legislative work and outcomes during the 83rd Legislative Session. For more information, see our legislative wrap-up by TxA Senior Advocate David Lancaster, Hon. AIA. 

Larry presented reports from the Nominating and Honor Awards committees — the result of those will be presented soon on this website. Donna Kacmar, FAIA, presented on behalf of the Career Building Committee and the outstanding work they have done in building a mentoring network.

A major initiative for the Society is an investigation into the process for licensure, and in a previous meeting, the board authorized the creation of the Licensure Task Force. Larry reported about the group’s first meeting which included representatives from Illinois (in-person) and from California and New York (via phone). He related that a researcher has been engaged to provide a comprehensive overview of how the present licensure process has developed, the costs associated with it, and how the exam developed. All of those findings are to be presented at an August 21 meeting of the task force in Austin. Ultimately, the findings and any recommendations will be taken to the Large States Roundtable (an annual meeting of NY, CA, TX, PA, NJ, FL, and MI leadership) in October. 

The green roof of the Vancouver Convention Centre – photo by James Perry

AIA Directors Elizabeth Chu Richer, FAIA, John Nyfeler, FAIA, and James Nader, FAIA, brought information about the progress of the AIA Repositoning effort. It was noted that Texas Architects has responded to AIA requests for opinions, and that our letter to the AIA should be made public for members. Here it is.

Having spent a good deal of time on the business of the Society, the members of the board toured the Vancouver Convention Centre with architect Mark Reddington, FAIA, and chief operating officer Ken Chetney. Chris Macdonald, FRAIC, provided a subsequent walking tour of the downtown area. 

Upon ending the business meeting Saturday, Larry Beasley, FCIP made a presentation to the board about the development process for projects in Vancouver and provided a walking tour. Members also had the opportunity to visit Patkau Architects, to tour their studio see a presentation of selected projects by John Patkau, FRAIC