T minus 11 days, and excitedly counting.

building leaders

It’s almost here! With 11 days until the AIA National Convention, things are really kicking into high gear. Offices and their staff are cleaning up, making sure their spaces look great for anyone who happens to walk in; the AIA staff is putting in some long hours (no, seriously, you have NO idea who much of their lives these people have dedicated to this event over the last year); and the crew from AIA National is drifting into town over the next week to make sure we are ready for the 20,000 or creative types dressed in black with killer eyewear that will be descending on our city.

And of course, there is all of the last minute training. Training for speakers (that’s me). Training for those that are giving tours (that’s also me) and training for those of us that represent our local AIA community on our various state and local chapter boards (once again, that’s me), making sure we know all that we need to know to showcase Denver’s architectural community at it’s best.

While registering for continuing education classes a few weeks ago, I was reminded how insulated we can be given our professional roles in our respective offices. While my office functions in many markets, it seems that people generally follow the same theme. For my 5 years of professional practice, my work has been dedicated to NetZero Federal Facilities, and more recently, build-to-suit corporate office. Sure, there has been the odd design exercise thrown in there, but I find it frightening that I can sum up my professional experience in a single paragraph.

The other writers of this blog have their expertise as well. Adam is a multifamily guy, something I know nothing about. Heather did everything but live in hospitals for years, a subject I also know nothing about. Beth, Kevin, and David? The same story, three more times.

As a region, Denver is a bit insulated as well. We are the only large(ish) city for miles, and unless you have the money and the time to travel for pleasure or are lucky enough to occasionally travel for work outside of the Rocky Mountain Region, it can be hard to keep up with what is going on around the country. Denver is on a tare right now (10 construction cranes dot the downtown skyline alone!), but other areas are still struggling through the worst of times.

What I find myself increasingly excited about with respect to the convention is not what I have to share with the rest of our profession, but what they have to share with me. Yes, it is selfish, but it is also necessary for my continued professional development. I look forward to meeting people from other cities, from practices larger and smaller than my own, and from markets that I have never worked in. I look forward to keynote addresses by such national figures as General Colin Powell and smaller more intimate venues on the specifics of material specifications. I look forward to a robust discussion concerning the current state of the Emerging Professional in our profession (SA 216, I look forward to seeing you there!).

The profession is coming to Denver. What are you going to do to take advantage of it?

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