Will the AIA Repositioning Effort Succeed?

small__6456802119On Wednesday morning, I’ll be leaving Westchester County and heading west to Denver, Colorado for AIA Convention 2013.

Will you be there?

The theme for this convention is “Building Leaders” and I expect much of the message from AIA will revolve around their current Repositioning initiative.

AIA National is Repositioning

I am very encouraged after reading the recent article by AIA National President Mickey Jacob, FAIA in the current issue of Architect Magazine. His message, maybe not so surprisingly, is very similar to my message here at Entrepreneur Architect. Things need to change in a big way and the American Institute of Architects is committed to making those changes.

We’ve heard similar sentiments from the profession’s most influential organization before, so I understand when architects roll their eyes in disbelief when reading such promises.

It is difficult to turn a ship as massive as the AIA. It takes foresight, planning, commitment and continuity. Large organizations with revolving leadership tend to start with great intention, but as time passes and new captains take the wheel, arrival at the original destination is rarely achieved.  I am in full support of AIA’s Repositioning effort and will continue to do what I can to assist as they implement the changes… but I remain skeptical.

Incremental Efforts

One thing is different this time around though. Entrepreneur Architect is growing and our influence is being recognized. We have begun our own revolution for change. Architects around the globe see the problems before us. You and I are experiencing the challenges facing this profession everyday as working (and out-of-work) architects.

We are organizing our own efforts, as individual professionals and as members of the Entrepreneur Architect tribe. With or without the AIA, we are working for change in the profession. I believe that when these changes start to happen from the individual architect outward, lasting change will occur and the AIA will respond… to us.

Consistent incremental efforts lead to small changes that result in massive progress (Tweet that).

If you have been following my efforts here on the blog and over at the podcast, you know that I am committed to making change happen. As early research commenced by the AIA to collect data and learn what sole proprietors and small firm architects were thinking and feeling, the organization reached out to our tribe. Several times throughout the past few years, leaders from AIA National contacted me and engaged directly with members of our private Entrepreneur Architect Linkedin Group. They sought to find solutions from the architects directly; AIA members and non-members alike. I am proud that much of the information gathered through Entrepreneur Architect has helped to shape the current AIA National Repositioning initiative.

I believe that the current leadership at AIA National are sincere and are working hard to establish a framework for these changes to proceed even after the next generation of leaders take their positions. The success of the Repositioning program is critical to the survival of the architect as we know it. Entrepreneur Architect is here to make sure the promises made today are carried through to full implementation tomorrow.

Entrepreneur Architect is Becoming an Influential Force

I’ve been invited by AIA National to participate in two confirmed events at the convention.

On Friday morning at 11:50 AM, I will join Stephen Chung, AIA, host of the upcoming TV show Cool Spaces, for a brief presentation at Architect Live! The event will include a series of presentations featuring people making a difference in the profession of architecture. It’s presented by Architect Magazine publisher Hanley Wood, will be located on the expo floor at booth 958, broadcast live online and pushed throughout the convention.

I want you to be there too. I am inviting the entire Entrepreneur Architect tribe to come support our cause for change and show that we are an influential force in the profession. When 100 enthusiastic Entrepreneur Architects show up to watch my presentation with Stephen, people will take notice of what we’re doing here. I hope you’ll spread the word and join me for the interview.

The second great event in which I will participate is the premier of the new documentary film, archiCULTURE .  The film offers a unique glimpse into the world of studio-based design education through the eyes of a group of students finishing their final design projects at Pratt Institute’s undergraduate architecture program.

Following the premier, I will participate in a panel discussion and talk about the film’s many important topics. Joining me on the panel will be the film’s Co-Producer/Director Ian Harris, student-characters from the film, Dionysios and Giancarlo, former University of Texas-Austin Dean Larry Speck, AIAS President Matt Barstow and Architect Magazine Editor-in-Chief Ned Cramer. I had a great conversation with Ian Harris on the current episode of The Entrepreneur Architect Podcast, so I know that this event is going to be fantastic. I hope you will join us.

Immediately following the archiCULTURE event, I will hustle over to the AIA TweetUp planned at the Emerging Professionals Town Square on the expo floor. I hope to meet many of my Twitter Tweeps there, including @BobBorson, @BusinessofArch, @RandyDeutsch and @Renovati. I’ll be hanging out and talking business success in architecture with anyone who’ll listen.

Enoch Sears of BusinessofArchitecture.com and I are planning to organize our own TweetUp while we’re in Denver. The location and time will be announced live on Twitter, so be sure to follow both of us throughout the event so you won’t miss out.

During the convention I will be involved in much more, either in collaboration with AIA or through Entrepreneur Architect. I will be interacting with as many Entrepreneur Architects as possible, seeking their thoughts on the AIA Repositioning effort and spreading the word about our mission here at Entrepreneur Architect.

If you can’t make it to AIA Convention this year, no worries. Stay tuned here at EntreArchitect.com, at Entrepreneur Architect on Facebook and of course follow me on Twitter. I’ll be posting live updates throughout the day and night.

Let me know your thoughts on the Repositioning initiative announced by AIA National. Do you think it will be successful and help to rebuild a profession in crisis? Or, do you think it’s just another well intended plan destined for the pile of failures previously offered by AIA National? I am sure we’ll all have strong opinions following the convention when we learn more about the details AIA has planned for the initiative.

Entrepreneur Architect will be an influential force in the profession and I hope to return from AIA Convention 2013 with enthusiastic optimism for our future.

Let your voice be heard in the comments below. AIA is listening.


photo credit: mclcbooks via photopin cc


  1. Edward Shannon says

    Mark, What changes do you feel need to take place? What is critical to the survival of the architect? How will the profession & AIA best go about this? What are you skeptical about? How do you see your endeavors contributing to a solution to this profession’s dilemma’s?

  2. Mark says


    My mission is to teach and inspire architects to be more successful in business, so that they may be more successful as architects. I have much planned. Stay tuned for details.

    I believe if architects do not change the way we approach the business of architecture, our survival as a profession is in question. Designers, engineers and construction companies will gladly take the responsibilities of the architect and add them to their bottom lines.

    The AIA will be announcing specific details about their initiative at the convention later this week. I am in full support of their efforts, but remain skeptical until I learn more. I have heard much about change in the profession throughout my career. I hope that this time things will be different.

  3. says

    I won’t be in attendance at the AIA National Convention, but I’ll be with you (and Enoch, Bob, Randy and so many others that I know and respect) in spirit and in purpose. I applaud what you and others are doing to save our profession (I chose the word “save” deliberately) and to elevate the practice of Architecture to where it should be in our society and culture.

    I have been encouraged by your work here and Enoch’s work at Business of Architecture; so much so that, after a quarter century of being a faithful employee, I plan to start my own firm. My later career will be as an “entrepreneurial architect.”

    Have fun in Denver and keep us posted on Twitter!


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