AIA + NAHB: Two Professional Associations with Many Issues in Common

Late last week, Ryan Taylor of RTA facilitated a meeting of staff members from the national offices of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Washington, D.C.

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Pictured in the image above, from left to right, are: Bruce Bland, AIA’s Director of Knowledge Community Operations; Terri Stewart, AIA’s Managing Director of Practice and Knowledge Resources; John Ritterpusch, NAHB Director; Ryan Taylor of RTA; Andrew Goldberg, AIA’s Managing Director of Government Relations and Outreach; Billie Kaumaya, NAHB’s Federal Legislative Director (in front); and Kevin Morrow, NAHB’s Program Manager for Green Building Standards.

The AIA has a community of architects focused on residential projects and the NAHB is focused on residential projects so both professional associations have many issues in common. The challenge is that members of professional associations tend to stay in silos. For many professionals, there’s just not enough time to be active in more than one association – especially when we’re getting updates and invitations from three levels in one association: local, state and national.

The result is redundant (or very similar) events, advocacy, communication and other efforts that compete against one another. That keeps us fragmented and causes us to waste our resources in competition rather than investing them in collaboration.

We think it’s important for professional associations to pursue two goals: 1) Plan some portion of your association meetings as collaborative events to introduce your participants to the members of other professional associations. There are very few professions that don’t interface with other professions so it shouldn’t be difficult to find other associations with which you can collaborate. 2) Plan to gather the staff or leadership of the associations with which you collaborate a couple of times each year to share your efforts, goals, schedule and resources.

Sincere collaboration makes better associations with better members. We’re thankful for the time and effort the AIA and NAHB staff members invested in last week’s meeting. We’re excited about the list of collaboration opportunities that includes issues like building codes, voluntary green building standards, professional certification/accreditation, credit issues, appraisals and more! We look forward to helping both organizations serve their membership because we all benefit from that work.

If you’re a member or staff of a professional association related to the construction industry, please feel free to contact us. There are already lots of great models for collaboration among professional associations at the local, state and national levels so we may be able to help you get involved. We’d be happy to speak with you!

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