A’19 Conference on Architecture Recap

By Kyle Solyak

As AIA Members we are part of a large community of like-minded individuals that share a passion for the built environment. Our organization provides seemingly endless opportunities to connect with members and continue to bolster our education. None better than the annual convention.

This year President Rob Beal and President-Elec Kyle Solyak attended the 2019 National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. There they got the opportunity to discuss national issues facing the architectural community,  vote for national office candidates, and listen to presentations from visionaries such as Reshma Saujani – founder of Girls who Code,  Ryan Coogler – Co-Writer of Blank Panther, and Roman Mars – host and creator of 99% invisible one of the world’s most popular podcast about architecture and design.   Along with that, they were able to tour the Grand Canyon Skywalk, behind the scenes of the renowned Bellagio Resort, and walk the expo floor to learn about new building products.

We join our fellow members in welcoming our newly elected officials.
 Peter Exley, FAIA, of AIA Chicago/AIA Illinois as the 2020 first vice president/2021 president-elect
 Evelyn Lee, AIA, of AIA San Francisco/AIA California as the 2020–2021 treasurer
 Britt Lindberg, AIA, LEED AP, of AIA Silicon Valley/AIA California as the 2020-2022 at-large-director.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference in Los Angeles, May 14-16th and hope to see you there!

Save the Date for the Fall Lecture Series | Nature of Circumstance

– Lecturer/ Peter Bohlin
– Date/ November 7, 2019
– Location/Keystone Building Harrisburg

Click here to look through our past Lectures!

Register for the Conference, Expo & Design Awards:
– Rock Lititz
– Thursday, October 3rd
– 12pm-9pm
– Including:
– Lunch
– (2) CEU Seminars
– (1) CEU Building Tour
– Vendor Exhibit Happy Hours
– Keynote Speaker
– Design Awards Presentation
– Click “here” to Register

Submissions due for Architects Conference and Expo Excellence in Design Awards

– August 8th due date.

Registered Architects and Intern/Associate Architect members of the chapter are highly encouraged to submit their best built and unbuilt work for review by a jury of peer architects.
Eligible work includes architecture, interior architecture, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, renovation, and restoration projects as well as planning and urban design projects.

Winners will be announced and all work celebrated at the Conference, Expo, and Design Awards event, to be held the evening of Thursday October 3rd and Rock Lititz, Pod 2.

Click here to submit your work

ACE Mentor Program of Central PA Fundraiser Breakfast Update

The ACE Mentor program of Central PA held its annual Fundraiser Breakfast on May 15, 2019 at the Conference Center at Central Penn College.  A total of eight $1,000 scholarships were distributed at the event to 8 local students from the Central PA region. Through the financial support of sponsors to date has provided over $90,000 in scholarships to local students across the region.  This year AIA Central PA and AIA PA donated at total of $2,500 to the program.

To learn more about the program and find out how to be a mentor, please plan to attend the upcoming Mentor Networking event sponsored by Keystone Contractors Association on Wednesday, August 21 from 5-8pm at Duke’s Riverside Bar & Grille.  Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/construction-mixer-ace-mentor-appreciation-night-tickets-63063945960 

Additional Program Information:

The Central Pennsylvania ACE program began in York County in 2004 with the support of firms like yours. Our affiliate has grown to offer quality programs in four counties (Dauphin, York, Cumberland, and Lancaster).  The ACE Mentor program’s mission is to “enlighten and motivate high school students to career opportunities in Architecture, Construction and Engineering and related areas of the design/construct industry through mentoring”.  

AIA Small Firm Exchange Update

Local AIA Central Pennsylvania member Chris Dawson, AIA, Named AIA Small Firm Exchange Regional Representative


Every 3 years, each of the 19 AIA regions selects a small firm practitioner to join the Small Firm Exchange (SFx) to advance the mutual interests of all small firm practitioners in their region. Chris has been selected as the AIA Pennsylvania regional representative to the AIA national Small Firm Exchange (SFx). Gwen Dakis, AIA, Principal of dragonARCH out of Pittsburgh will be stepping down after serving her term. Gwen is currently lending her volunteer hours to the formation of the AIA Pennsylvania Small Firm Exchange (SFxPA).

Mr. Dawson is an active member of the AIA at the state and local levels of the Institute. He currently serves on the AIA Pennsylvania Board of Directors and the AIA Central Pennsylvania Board of Directors as Chapter Representative and Lecture Committee Chair. The AIA Pennsylvania region welcomes Chris as the current representative to the AIA SFx.

Chris Dawson founded his firm, Chris Dawson Architect (CDA), in 2009 on the heels of 15 years of experience in Central Pennsylvania. He is passionate about architecture, and holds a deep seeded belief that architecture is art.

The mission of the Small Firm Exchange (SFx) is to advance the mutual interests of architects practicing in small firms. SFx representatives are integral to AIA communications, connecting small firm leaders in their local, state and regional components to the national organization. AIA members practicing in small firms are encouraged to reach out to Chris to discuss how the AIA could better support their practice. Find more information about the SFx at aia.org/sfx.

SFx Pennsylvania Regional Representative
Chris Dawson, AIA

AIA National SFx (Small Firm Exchange) Quarter 2 Update


Influence – Advocacy & Leadership Development

  • Firms are struggling to afford healthcare. SFx is working with AIA Trust, following the models of AIA Kentucky and AIA Portland, to create state-component healthcare groups. Current legal issues are slowing this down.
  • Vendor Discussions – MasterSpec, AIA Contract Documents, AutoDesk / Revit – requesting “small firm” pricing.
  • SFx is advocating for Small Firm Recognition at local and regional Design Awards.
  • SFx Lien Rights Awareness Initiative: with the help of state components and their local lobbyists, SFx will create a customized lien rights awareness presentation for webinar or conference for the benefit of architects within that state.
  • AIA National Leadership Development Program – 3-year combination of gatherings, webinars and coaching calls to support individual leaders on firm, community and/or professional leadership growth. Nominations open. First weekend tentatively scheduled for late January 2020.
  • We want to hear from you! If you have small firm advocacy issues, reach out to Chris.


  • SFx is seeking feedback on its Business Plan Beta Template for Small Architectural Firms. The results of the SFx / SPP / CRAN survey can be found here: Business Models for Small Architectural Firms.
  • SFx is working with other Knowledge Communities to create Curated Collections for Small Firms: TAP, COTE, CRAN. With AIAU, SFx is working on a Small Firm Series.
  • SFx is working with the AIA Center for Practice to look at small firm issues such as electronic seals, software/hardware technologies.

Sign up for the SFx Newsletter and follow SFx on Social Media via the following links:

  • AIA Small Firm Exchange Website – Newsletter Access and Sign-Up
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Emerging Professional Corner

Palm/Emerging Professionals Update – ARE Study Sessions

If you’ve been putting off taking the AREs, now is the time to start studying! AIA Central PA is hosting a group and individual study session where candidates can meet and discuss the ARE study material with their peers. Come with a group, meet new candidates studying for the same exam, or use these sessions as a monthly reminder to study on your own at Midtown Scholar.

AIA Central PA volunteers will be at the session and will try to help provide direction on exam material, the new ARE 5.0 test format, and the currently study guides available, but these are intended to be self-directed study sessions. Materials from the AIA Central PA library will also be available for use (but are not able to be checked out at the time of the session see – https://aiacentralpa.org/emerging-professionals/lending-library/ for more information).

Study Sessions will be held every other Sunday at starting August 25th from 1-3:00pm at Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, PA.

Please RSVP to emikkelsen@cra-architects.com or check in on our Facebook page if you intend to join us!

Gearing up for the ARE? You could be 1 of 3 Paula Maynes ARE Grant Recipients

Established in 2015, the AIA Pennsylvania Emerging Professionals (EPiC) ARE Grant is dedicated to the remembrance of Paula Maynes, AIA. This year, AIA Pennsylvania will be awarding up to three (3) architecture graduates with a grant to cover the cost of three (3) divisions of the ARE! Applications are due by 11:59 PM on Sunday, September 1, 2019.

Learn more & apply

Nominate an AIA Central Pennsylvania Emerging Professional or Associate Member for the 2019 AIA PA Special Awards

AIA Pennsylvania is accepting nominations for the 2019 Special Awards. These awards recognize significant achievements by members, non-members, civic and government leaders, allied professionals, and member firms who contribute to the built environment and the advancement of the profession in the Commonwealth.

Nominations close September 3rd 

By James Mehaffey,

Recently, my wife and I were fortunate enough to visit the set of This Old House, which is to say, the active work site of a home renovation in Westerly, Rhode Island.  I won a contest as a member of what they call the “Insiders”.  We were extraordinarily excited to put it mildly. This was a peek behind the scenes of a show we have watched together for over 20 years. In that time, the crew has become a part of our Saturday morning ritual, so it was a real treat to see what goes into the production, and construction, of the projects we see.  Though it was not easy for us as working parents of two teenagers to disappear for 36 hours in the middle of the week, it was worth the effort.

To read the rest of the story, visit Lessons Learned from the Yeoman Architect

June 25 | Harrisburg
August 13 | Manheim
October 3rd | Lititz
October 16 – October 19 | Albany, NY
Breaking Ground!