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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

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
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

"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

"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
    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
    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
    tintt

    This is hilarious.

    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
    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
    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

    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
    shellarchitect

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

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

    I remember...

    Sep 10, 19 5:49 am

    This was a good thread

    b3tadine[sutures]

    I think we had good disagreement, healthy even.

    I know, remarkable

    RickB-Astoria

    Just went through the thread. Wow... a good one. I agree with people that volunteering is never about expecting to be rewarded financially or by any means of rewards of financial value. 

    I really have to say to Michael Riscia that just because someone went to a one hour lecture or whatever, it is highly unlikely he or she would remember everything from the presentation but may remember some highlighted points but they may buy the book because they want the resource in their library that they can go back and read. Heck, people listen to music on the radio or youtube and alot of times and if they like it, they get the music into their personal collection. Sometimes I may rent a movie..... (not much different that going to one of these presentations on the book... maybe even get to see the book and look at it) but because I like the movie... I purchase it (like if I like the book, I'll purchase it).

    Point is, some arguments that going to one of these presentation and presenting content from the book would mean they won't buy the book? I say that it is hogwash. You might not show everything. You show a demo version of the content and if they like it, they get the full version.... kind of like giving away a demo version of a video game for people to try and play and if they like it... they buy the full video game.

    I know I am not responding to every point he made. His use of the term "Executive Director".... of what? AIA Portland? AIA Oregon? or AIA (national). Not sure and probably not worth my time to worry about.

    Sep 10, 19 1:05 pm

    Rick, this thread is nearly three years old. Not worth anyone’s time worry about it at this point.

    RickB-Astoria

    Someone else resurrected the topic somehow but yeah.... agree.

    PS: Per ORBAE records, he's (Michael Riscica) in Orlando, Florida but still has an active license. I see conflicting locations as to his location from being in Portland, Oregon and Florida so he could have be in both places and he might have been residing in Florida at time of his most recent renewal but will need to update it before next renewal if he is no longer in Florida otherwise they may send the renewal letter to the wrong address. Anyway, not my problem.



    Sep 11, 19 12:28 pm
    SpontaneousCombustion

    Lots of people have multiple addresses, whether because of business locations/registrations, multiple residences, or having mailboxes/forwarding in various places for reasons known to them alone. Why do you feel compelled to verify the license status and whereabouts of random people?

    RickB-Astoria

    agree with you on the multiple residences but I suspect there maybe work related reasons for moving about. As for verifying status or active level, I was searching the database for determining to confirm whether he is still in Oregon practicing or moved or whatever as inferred in a related topic on TC. The licensing board is as good as any place for information. As it is open access public record to be used for any purpose without question, as required by law, provide it isn't used to commit a crime. Until a crime is made (whether it be a threat on someone or a serious carrying out of a crime beyond a threat), there is no legal basis for anything and anyone questioning why is harassing which is however is not lawful conduct so in other words... STFU.

    The licensing database is as good as any place. The active status of the license was simply noted as that is normal information provided. 

    Per licensing board rules, a licensee is responsible for keeping the information updated if they want to continue to remain licensed so it should be a valid address.

    RickB-Astoria

    His membership in the AIA with the "AIA" following his name (versus associate AIA, hon. AIA, etc.), implies he is licensed so logically it makes sense you start with states you know he was licensed in. Once a license is expired, a person should not use the ",AIA" after ones name unless he/she is licensed in a state somewhere. If he was not actively licensed then it would take a further check of all the licensing boards in the United States to verify licensure. If a person is not actively licensed anywhere for ANY reason, the person should not be using the ",AIA" after their name and that would be reason for licensing boards to possibly issue a disciplinary action as well as the AIA taking some action on the matter.

    However the above paragraph is not the reason I checked. It wasn't the first thing on the mind when checking. It was whether he was in Oregon or not because another thread inferred he had moved.

    SpontaneousCombustion

    I don't think there are a lot of people with expired licenses mis-using "AIA". When you renew your membership every year you have to check a box that asks if you're licensed somewhere, so most people would do a mental check at that point. And if this guy is moving around with no permanent residential address at present, as is implied in the other threads, then the logical thing to do would be to have all his mail go to his business address - which is in Florida - and either have it dealt with there or forwarded. I don't think you need to concern yourself with this.


    As for license databases being "as good a place as any" to verify info: I have to disagree with that.  They're often woefully out of date.  I have an employee who I know for a fact has a valid license in this state (she even has the paper certificate hanging at her desk), and that she got it back around February, but the state has yet to add her to the online database.  I would not take anything on those sites as complete or currently accurate.

    5839

    Every architect in my office has expired license status on our state's website. We've been assured it's just a glitch that will be fixed. One of these months. Or years.

    RickB-Astoria

    Sponty, I don't mean it is perfect. No public database is absolutely up to date in realtime or even close to it. If you want that, you better insert a satellite trackable tracking beacon in the person's ass or something like that. As for any database for tracking, it is a crumb trail. Sure, you can't rely on it absolutely. Yes, a mailing address of one's business or work location would imply the person is likely to live in the area and in his case, he would be living in the area. I didn't say it is perfect but its about as good as any public database. Now, it is always good to have multiple sources to verify. Oregon's database is updated monthly but it doesn't mean every information is updated on a monthly basis. I agree. He probably has residence (rented or otherwise) close by to where his business even though he is probably roaming from place to place for purposes of promoting himself (those YoungArchitect Conferences) but he still has to have some place where he and his wife and dog resides.

    RickB-Astoria

    At this time, I am not interested in going through such an extensive degree of effort to know exactly where he is at at this moment in time. Sure I could with government funded human resource and advance classified technology to do the effort it takes to track down people like bin Laden and others where there is a manhunt. All I was verifying mainly was whether there is probable truth to people saying he had moved out of Oregon. Whether that is obsolete and that he recently returned... don't know yet and sometimes you let people reveal their own locations.

    Given his license in Oregon is not due to expire until the end of 2020... I think his license is probably still active in Oregon but it is entirely possible for architect to have his or her license suspended or revoked and it doesn't yet show up but that is likely because it is new. Oregon is fairly up to date and moderately accurate to within ~3 months or so. Some states are lousier than others... ok.

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