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President's Message
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Michelle Acosta, AIA
2016 President


Happy Holidays AIAPF members! As 2016 comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on some of the highlights of the past year.

We started the year by passing AIA National's accreditation process with flying colors, achieving a renewal of our charter for 3 years. This goes to show that we have a solid chapter in good financial health that can undoubtedly offer core membership services. Our membership numbers are holding steady in the 350-400 range, and our Associate membership is up by 10%!

Our theme this year was "Building Bridges" which looked to address the shortage of licensed architects in our post-recession industry. We held three successful panel discussions, organized by our Director of Programs, Fariba Shantiyai, AIA, and moderated by Karen Compton of A3K Consulting. The topics examined the multi-generational workplace, mentoring, and diversity & inclusion. Stay tuned for follow-up on these discussions early next year.

First Friday Forums were successfully executed by our Director of Advocacy, Jay Zapata, AIA, and included guest speakers such as Councilmember Laura Friedman and William Huang, Director of Housing and Career Services for the City of Pasadena, who talked to the group about homelessness and affordable housing initiatives in the area.
The Emerging Professionals Group is stronger than ever, just having received their second AIACC award in three years! Congratulations to Mason Ng, Assoc. AIA and his committee for putting on award-worthy programming, notably the "Bridge the Gap" program with NCARB, RestauranTours, and outreach to the local AIAS chapters.

Thanks to board members Pablo LaRoche, Assoc. AIA and Erica Im, Assoc. AIA, our chapter hosted a presentation about carbon neutral design at the PLEA conference in DTLA over the summer. Our presenters and attendees came from all over the world to engage in this very important dialogue, and the turnout was quite impressive.

Our Citizen Architect committee, headed by Mark Gangi, AIA, has also been busy organizing three different programs with the help of our members. Mitch Sawasy, AIA has created a partnership between the chapter and Habitat for Humanity and is currently planning a build day in Glendale. Rita Carter, AIA has been working on a Disaster Preparedness and Resiliency template for firms which will be released next year. Lastly, Mark and Joe Catalano, AIA are in the middle of our first mentoring program with Woodbury students, overseeing their design work for upgrades to our local Humane Society.

I also want to recognize my Executive Committee, Harry Drake, AIA, Farzin Torbati, AIA, Amy Chang, AIA, and our Executive Director, Zelda Wong for keeping the chapter humming along this year and supporting all of our programs and initiatives. Job well done!

Lastly, thank you to all of our members who welcomed me into your chapter as its leader. I consider everyone here part of my AIA "family" and will miss you all after I move back to Arizona in a few weeks. Best of luck to Harry and the rest of the board next year!



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