Turn Up the Volume!

The stage lights were warm and welcoming, not at all the petrifying event conjured in my subconscious. The butterflies and wobbly knees were not present as I ascended the stage steps to address the standing-room only crowd of 1400 colleagues gathered from across the breadth of our state’s boundaries. The audience faces were those of friends, new and old, that had journeyed to Austin for the Texas Society of Architects 73rd Convention — to be educated by those sharing their resourceful knowledge, to tour the vibrant energized city, to reminisce with classmates, and … to be influenced.

Yes, the year’s INFLUENCE theme resounded and was reiterated through each element of this extraordinary convention. And as it should, INFLUENCE had been integrated into every aspect of our Society’s work, thought, and direction over the course of 2012. At the November 2011 Leadership Retreat, the Board had set a course to influence and be influential. From the Executive Committee, to the Board, to the ‘Council of Chairs,’ our mission to be the Voice of Texas Architecture mandated us to restructure, retool, and rethink how to achieve our charge. With the significant accomplishments of my predecessors, we had the groundwork in place to further build Texas Architects as the Voice for Texas Architecture and to do so required your Society to crank up the volume on the ‘Voice.’

What were this year’s accomplishments?

Through effective collaboration, the Society created more opportunities for engagement by more members in the state. Whether on the Board or as part of the Texas Architects committees teaming with the staff, our members served with enthusiasm and determination. More than 200 participated, many for the first time engaged at the state level, giving their days, energy and resources to accomplish the objectives we collectively set forth at the Retreat.

With that collaboration:

  • Our Texas Architect magazine was redirected to be influential by telling the stories of our profession — how our work can and is positively impacting our communities, work places, and schools.
  • Through our committees, your Society’s role was defined in supporting the roll out of the new IGCC and the objective to influence our civic leaders to think and consider the need and benefits of sustainable policies.
  • Our committees and the Austin AIA established a new standard for our annual state convention (and the envy of our large state peers), evolving the demographic of attendees and providing more opportunities for CEU’s and tours of impactful planning and architecture.
  • Our committees, staff, and lobbyists have continued dialogue with legislators, building on the success of last year’s session and preparing for the 2013 session (Advocacy Day – January 29), making our Voice relevant to their constituencies.
  • We publically celebrated and raised awareness by recognizing the continued high level of quality design in many communities and the stellar accomplishments of honor awardees, new Fellows, and new architects.
  • The committees’ and staff’s development of print and electronic media to communicate with membership and to reinforce and broadcast our Voice was escalated and metrics were established to validate the success of reaching our audiences.
  • The Texas Architects staff has continued to be refined and restructured to better address the Society’s mission and direction through collaborative leadership of their wide-ranging and expanding talents and abilities

What does the Texas Society of Architects do for me?

Texas Architects is on track to magnify the Voice. Besides being at the forefront of legislation that defines our role and purpose, we are developing the communicative content, tools, and events to strategically reach our legislature members, civic leaders, institution administrations, and news media on a regular basis. It is our aim to present and articulate the value architects provide to their communities and capital projects. This obviously requires education and a willingness to receive the information. Through our ongoing process, we are learning how to deliver the message effectively in this technological age.

2012 brought a refreshed outlook and renewed optimism as the economy continued a slightly perceptible improving trend. Certainly only sheer determination will provide the impetus for our profession to return to its own level of sustainability.

Two years ago when I was asked to assume this presidential role, I did not completely fathom what would be expected or how to accomplish the charge.  With faith you leap, knowing others before have survived and knowing enumerable number of peers were equally determined to ensure success.

One sincere last thank you to the 2012 Executive Committee, Board, Committee Chairs and Members, Component Presidents and Execs, Texas Architects staff, and those Presidents that came before. The friendships and memories will be warmly treasured.

Raise your glass once more; to you and yours and the best for 2013!

Craig S. Reynolds FAIA
President, Texas Society of Architects

“We make a living from what we get and make a life from what we give.” – W. Churchill