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Struggling With AIA Portland

You could at least make it difficult, Ken.

"[...] you fail to demonstrate an instance [...] where the local is concerned with promoting one member, over the full membership it represents."

Here is one member; all of AIA MN came together to promote him at a dinner earlier this month (you might have even attended). Here is his firm using the distinction to distinguish themselves above their competition. Here is the University of MN who hasn't updated the webpage yet to reflect the distinction ... but they probably will to promote their school (they've already included the accolades AIA MN gave his firm in 2011). 

One member not enough? Here are a few more (one of them a member of Bob's firm). Single members not enough? Here is a firm (different from Bob's which was recognized back in 2011 ... it can't always be about Bob). 

I'm not trying to pick on Bob (or any of the other architects and firms linked above).* I'm sure he is a really great architect and a benefit to his community, the profession, and the organizations he is a part of. However, if it was really about the full membership and not individuals, why do we need to pat a select few on the back by holding a dinner and giving them an award? What is the purpose of an award if not to recognize and promote someone? Where are the awards for all the other AIA MN chapter members and their firms?

*TBH, I really don't even care that AIA gives out awards (my point is not about the awards). I've even been included in some of them locally. I've gone to the parties, rubbed shoulders with the jurors, I even used one of the gifts that came along with it as recently as a week ago.

Dec 30, 16 3:09 pm  · 
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As a professional, I care about the profession. I care that members and non members are not represented adequately by the profession.

This is close to something I can get behind. However, please explain why representation in the profession needs to be broken down into categories of members and non members of the AIA.

Why wouldn't you just simply say that you care about the profession and representing all aspects of the profession (full stop)? Why does membership have anything to do with it?

Dec 30, 16 3:19 pm  · 
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EI, you're raging against awards? Really? Other members nominated Bob, I know Bob. Bob is a good guy. Bob does good things for the community, and the profession.

If awards are the measure by which we do things, or not do things, then 95% wouldn't do dick.

Come on. You know that's not what I was referring to. What I am specifically referring to, so I make this clear, is the mindset that because I do good things I should get good things, and no back talk. Doing good things doesn't guarantee you a spot in the AIA HOF, or heaven, expecting that it does is a problem.

The reason we do volunteer our time is because it's embedded in our own values, and not because we're some Colonel Jessup.

"And my existence while grotesque and incomprehensible, to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you talk about parties; you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall! We use words like honor, code, loyalty, We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something, you use them as a punch line. I have neither the time,or the inclination, to explain myself to a man, who rises and sleep under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner, in which I provide it. I'd rather you just say 'thank you' and go on your way."

I don't do the things I do for a pat on the back, or for acknowledgement, I am doing those things because I believe that they have value to others.

I do this in my practice as well.

Which leads to my next point. We need more representation in the profession; black and brown people are not represented in the numbers that we need, gender equity sucks. LGBTQ issues suck. As a member of a professional organization, one that I am often critical of, for these very same issues, I fervently believe it's my responsibility to also use my privilege to change the makeup of the organization that represents the profession.

Perhaps if the AIA changes, then the outreach and dynamics at play in the profession change as well.

But Bob, he's not your Huckleberry.
Dec 30, 16 5:20 pm  · 
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"EI, you're raging against awards? Really? Other members nominated Bob, I know Bob. Bob is a good guy. Bob does good things for the community, and the profession."

First, no ... not raging. Second, no ... not about awards, it was just a simple illustration of the fact that the AIA is not 100% about promoting all its members equally. Third, I believe Bob is a good guy and does good things. Oh wait, I said all those things the first time. Here they are again if you're too lazy to go back and read (not sure how you would have missed them the first time). 

  • "I really don't even care that AIA gives out awards (my point is not about the awards)."
  • "I'm not trying to pick on Bob (or any of the other architects and firms linked above).* I'm sure he is a really great architect and a benefit to his community, the profession, and the organizations he is a part of."

"What I am specifically referring to, so I make this clear, is the mindset that because I do good things I should get good things, and no back talk."

I do not think this is the mindset of the AIA membership. I doubt that Michael has this mindset either. You seem to have taken issue with Michael and this situation in Portland because you feel he was looking to gain an advantage from it. He claims he wasn't. In fact, he claims he is doing it for the same reasons you do what you do:

  • Your words; "I don't do the things I do for a pat on the back, or for acknowledgement, I am doing those things because I believe that they have value to others."
  • Michael's words; "In all my lectures I share a significant amount of research, intellectual property and insight that is only available through the paid channels on Young Architect. [...] I have done myself a disservice by doing this several times and frankly I don’t even care. I just want people to pass their exams. [...] I honestly don’t care about marketing my products to the AIA Portland audience at my lectures, but I care EVERYTHING about helping my community be more successful."

There are a lot more similarities between you two than you are willing to admit. I'm not sure why you've taken such issue with him, and frankly I don't care. 

I do think there are aspiring architects, emerging professionals, and ARE candidates in Portland who are members of AIA so they can benefit by having support through the committees and programs that AIA Portland has (if my local chapter offered a lecture series like they have, I might have joined myself a year or two ago). It seems like the leadership is not willing to support those programs as much as those members might have originally thought. Michael is no longer affiliating himself with the chapter and I think that is a disservice to those people he could have helped. Instead of being outraged that he mentioned a $20 gift card, maybe show a little feeling for those candidates in Portland that won't get to benefit from Michael's volunteering (regardless of whether or not you feel it is disingenuous). You know, "members helping the profession, helping members."

Dec 30, 16 7:03 pm  · 
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"First, no ... not raging. Second, no ... not about awards, it was just a simple illustration of the fact that the AIA is not 100% about promoting all its members equally. Third, I believe Bob is a good guy and does good things. Oh wait, I said all those things the first time. Here they are again if you're too lazy to go back and read (not sure how you would have missed them the first time)." 

  • All members have equal opportunity to be nominated for awards. 
  • Awards are typically what private organizations offer, it's not to benefit of some, and to the detriment of others, unless there is a competition, then yes, winners and losers.
  • I was agreeing with you about Bob, perhaps I should've been clearer in my agreement with you. 

"However, if it was really about the full membership and not individuals, why do we need to pat a select few on the back by holding a dinner and giving them an award? What is the purpose of an award if not to recognize and promote someone? Where are the awards for all the other AIA MN chapter members and their firms?"

  • You seem to be suggesting that recognition - awards, FAIA - is a form advertising, marketing?
  • I am saying recognizing an individual, or firm, to the members of the professional organization does not violate any by-laws, and is only a benefit because there are architects and firms not in AIA, and those non-members are not eligible for AIA awards.
  • There is no tangible financial gain from getting an award from your peers. Either an FAIA, or an award from the professional organization.
  • Any member of the AIA MN can submit their work, no fee required, for display at the AIA office. 
  • Members pay fees for advertising in the magazine.

My chief complaint, and in a few of your early posts is yours as well, is that we are only getting one side of the story, we're not getting the whole picture. If the ED is making shit up, and no one has witnessed the specific allegations, then I am wrong. But, typically when someone makes a specific accusation, and on AIA letterhead, then there seems to be some smoke. If the ED lied, then fuck him, he's an asshole.

I think I'm failing to articulate my point clearly. The AIA gives awards, not monetary prizes, the members that win these awards, are not typically marketing services to other architects. So, the benefit is the acknowledgement, the recognition, not in the direct, unequal opportunity to win clients, because architects are not where the clients are. What Michael offers is a service, to other potential and future architects. Now, it seems that if I were to write a book, about the ARE and was a member in the Portland chapter, I might be able to make a claim against the local chapter, that they were unfairly providing someone access to potential clients, and would then demand equal time. Provided I could prove that Michael was marketing his site, and services to those in attendance, or on social media.

That is the essential difference between a recognition of a member, and allowing a member to market his/her service. Which is the stated claim of the ED.

This from someone that's witnessed what Michael's being accused of;

"..coming at this from an outsider I would say you have marketed your services in these lectures indirectly. It's the difficulty of being a great resource for those attempting to complete the ARE's, but on more than one occasion I've heard you mention the success of your bootcamps, and directed people to your website. This is advertising. It's a good business practice, but it's still directing potential customers to your business. This nuance is the nature of the situation and I don't believe you've fully acknowledge that you have done this. The merits of such a ban is very open for discussion, but I would agree that you have, even unintentionally, advertised your services during presentations and posts in this group."

Having said all that. I want to say after reading the website, and Michael's response here, I find it repugnant that the Portland Chapter charges any associate-aia member, or non member, a fee for this class, without explicitly telling the attendees what the fee is going towards. Because, if I look at it one way, it appears to be an interest free loan; I mean they plan on refunding the fee? I should've noted that. The Minnesota chapter offers ARE prep classes for free, and I should've noted that too.

I have a lot to complain about, regarding the AIA, but I'm not leaving, I'm staying and going to work harder to make them change. I've had my share of slights within the local, and it stings, but I'm going to step up the next time it happens, and speak my peace. If I get to Orlando next year, and those dopey Truthers are there, on the expo floor, I'm going to be a delegate, again, and speak to the leadership about their failure to lead. I'm going to encourage younger members, members of color, LGBTQI members to run for offices. 

I'm going to try. I'm not going to quit.

    Dec 30, 16 11:30 pm  · 
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    MasonDomino

    After reading the website blog and his subsequent post, Mike Riscica's case seems about as cut and dry, conflict of interest, as it gets.  The director's actions do not seem heavy handed to me.  There was no attempt at censorship or barring of any kind, simply a disclaimer (which as others have send, if anything, would generate traffic not preclude it).  

    I can understand why an AIA chapter would want to impose limits.  I don't understand why Riscica or others would not want those limits in place and applied equally whether you are selling windows or study guides.  

    It seems that Riscica feels the director's action has somehow diminished his altruistic goals -- helping architects, or as it were, soon to be architects.  So the question is-- is/was Riscica helping the profession in some new way that lends itself to a AIA policy rewrite?  Are his materials revolutionary as compared to Ballast, Dorf, and others?  IS the goal to produce more architects, better architects, or simply more architects better at passing the ARE?  Has his 'research" included any follow up to examine pass rates and is there any evidence of more, better, or mo' better architects?  

    If there is an altruistic goal here I'm not exactly sure what it is -- helping people help themselves, maybe.  I don't know.  Mr. Riscica obviously takes personal offense to the director's concerns--which to be honest, in the context of his posts seem more an admission of guilt than anything else.              

        

    Dec 31, 16 1:54 am  · 
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    MasonDomino

    After reading Riscica's posts, I thought maybe there was an altruistic angle here (although probably not as alluded to above).

    After closer examination of youngarchitect.com,  I find very little.  In fact, very little about architecture at all.  

    It doesn't really matter what the topic is, every post starts with an appeal.  I'm your buddy, I'm a great guy, I'm a victim, etc.  And then oh by they way, click on a link to my book, No?  Then how about some gear then, No?  Look a hoodie with "architorture school" emblazoned on it...that's hilarious, right? oh wait wait wait, you got a kid right ?!?  Check this out...a onesie with "future architect" on it...OMG!!  No.  Leggings? sloth apron? Robot Sticker?  Oh man, Come on, I'm your buddy right?  Look I'm gonna help you pass that exam right?  Just put a little sugar in my bowl friend, we're all in the same boat here.

    My absolute favorite is the quote from the mentor/employer/whatever advising him not to go to grad school for arch., but to learn something that makes money.  Sage advice, but It's not about the money, right ?

    Sure its not.  This dude is looking to sell you anything out the truck of his car... 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

       

         

    Dec 31, 16 3:15 am  · 
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    tintt

    This is hilarious.

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    b3tadine[sutures]
    Mason, it does kinda read like a Dave DelDotto pitch. Dating myself here. Or one of those real estate seminars? I want everyone to be well off, like me.
    Dec 31, 16 9:55 am  · 
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    Ken, I see your points. I don't necessarily agree with all of them, but I think I get where your coming from and that's fair enough. Thanks for engaging in some dialogue.
    Dec 31, 16 10:34 pm  · 
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    b3tadine[sutures]

    EI, you too, I thought that was spirited, and we ended well. I was reading the PDX EP Facebook page, boy, that is one messed up AIA Chapter. That guy needs to get going.

    Dec 31, 16 11:12 pm  · 
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    Here you go, All: Be heard on AIA chat with Michael Ford today:

     

    Please join us 1/4/17 at 3PM EST for our January . will facilitate our chat about hip-hop and architecture!

     

    (I'm really sorry I can't figure out how to embed a tweet.)

    Jan 4, 17 9:05 am  · 
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    shellarchitect

    awesome, i went to udm with mike - great guy!

    Jan 4, 17 1:01 pm  · 
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    b3tadine[sutures]

    I remember...

    Sep 10, 19 5:49 am  · 
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    This was a good thread

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    b3tadine[sutures]

    I think we had good disagreement, healthy even.

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    I know, remarkable

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