2020 January Newsletter

A Message from our 2020 President:


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

First, I want to thank you for trusting me to be your president.  I am among many talented and committed colleagues, so it is an honor. I recognize that each of you makes a huge difference in our chapter.

I went to Grassroots last year and came away with the knowledge that our work and profession is very diverse, very complex and very personal. Each of us has our own ideas, our own “way” of  doing things. The AIA challenges us to put aside that and to look for what is the “best” way for our chapter and profession. I applaud all of you and our members that put aside their personal issues and step forward to meet this challenge.

Grassroots also made me recognize, what I am sure you all know, that there are no simple answers to the problems our communities face across the country face.  Many architects shared what they are doing, and what ideas have been generated.  But it all is a work in progress, and it generates a lot of questions.

So, my questions are:
1.) How can our AIA serve our members best?
2.) How can our members serve our community best?

I propose that both answers are the same: to help our members be better architects through Knowledge, Awareness, Tools, Support, Learning, Networking, and especially Friendship!

It is exciting to hear and see ideas and energy I have witnessed in many of our meetings.  I know change is often good, but I want to emphasize so much of what we have is golden.

Our Loyal Sponsors.
Our Members.
Our Office.
Our Management: Rhea Williams, our Executive Director and her Karma staff, Katie and Savannah.
Our Programs:
1. Chapter Meetings/Continuing Education
2. Design Awards
3. Government Affairs
4. Disaster Relief
5. Emerging Professionals (EPs)
6. Women in Architecture

I hope that 2020 can build on our work from 2019 under Richard Simonton’s leadership. We undertook a member survey which was very informative. It has been a great source of suggestions to make our chapter better. We drafted a 5-year strategic plan which will help guide our focus. We have hosted 26 events, reaching approximately 1,200 individuals.  Our finances are healthy.  I believe 2019 was a very good year.

My personal hope is that in 2020 we will have the opportunity to become better members of our community. I think most of you know that my son is in his 5th year at Auburn University. Since he started, he has shared with me his work and lessons, and it has reminded me of what so many of us embraced in college: the belief that we can and should try to make the world a better place.

With that in mind, (and because you can’t do everything), I want this year to focus on AWARENESS. Specifically, awareness of Birmingham: its challenges, problems, and opportunities. Its make-up, its neighborhoods, its history. I am very selfish in that I want the focus on our local issues, because it is personal. We can know the location, know the people and know the impact. It is not abstract when you can see and touch it.

How can we raise awareness?
1. By listening
2. By inviting speakers & leaders
3. By sharing members’ work & knowledge of what they are doing

Will this make a difference?
I don’t know, maybe. Maybe by making the issues known, the many talented, bright minds, and good hearts of our members might create a few good ideas in response. They might share these, and it could grow. By reminding us as architects of what so many of us embraced during our education: that we should try. We are a passionate group, and I am hoping some of that passion can be harvested to make a very meaningful 2020.

I look forward to the year,

Lissy Frese, AIA – 2020 AIA Birmingham President
CCR Architecture & Interiors

Sponsor Survey

We want to hear from YOU, our treasured Chapter Sponsors! Take this opportunity to provide feedback about AIA Birmingham can better serve you. We have decided to incentivize the survey by offering a FREE pair of AIA Birmingham Design Awards tickets ($100 Value!) to ONE lucky participant! Sponsors of all levels are encouraged to complete the survey.

If you are one of the few that took the survey prior to 1/28, please email Katie Parker to have your name added into the drawing! If you have not taken the survey yet, what are you waiting for?! 



Contact Katie Parker to renew for 2020, so you can take advantage of this FREE new perk for our highest level supporters.

Registration – No Tickets Necessary! // FREE for Platinum & Gold Sponsors

RSVP by 2/26 – katie@karmamanagementinc.com

Thank you to our 2020 AIA Birmingham Chapter Sponsors!
A full list of Chapter Sponsors is listed on the right column of this page.


If you do not see your company listed, please contact Katie Parker at katie@karmamanagementinc.com to renew your Sponsorship for the new year!

Want to pay for your 2020 Sponsorship? Click here!


Check out the 2020 sponsorship brochure here!

February Chapter Meeting

Join us on Friday, February 21st at the Alabama Center for Architecture (ACFA) from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM for a Civil Rights District Update from our friends at Urban Impact, Inc.
This event will be catered by Chicken Salad Chick; please email Katie Parker with any special dietary requests!

Interested in learning more about what our speakers will be discussing? Click the links below for more info:
1. Next City – Freedom Walk
2. NW Downtown Plan Request for Proposal
3. 4th Avenue Main Street Update

Urban Impact Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) local place-based community and economic development agency that advances asset building, economic opportunity and revitalization of the Historic 4th Avenue Business District and the Civil Rights District. They strive to lead, build and grow traditionally underserved and historic African-American commercial districts and communities.

Registration  – $15 for Members // $30 for Nonmembers
RSVP to katie@karmamanagementinc.com before February 18th to ensure a spot!

Sign up early, because there is limited space!
No tickets will be guaranteed at the door.

February Chapter Meeting Speakers:      

Elijah Davis
Strategic Growth Manager, Urban Impact, Inc.
An ecosystem builder, Davis coordinates the administration of new programs that support small business retention, expansion, attraction and policy. Elijah holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Ivan Holloway, MURP
Executive Director, Urban Impact, Inc.
Ivan Holloway, a community economic financial services veteran, serves as the Executive Director. Since 2016, he has led the re-branding and repositioning of the agency. He holds a Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.

AXP Study Sessions are BACK!

Need an AXP Study Buddy? Join us every Monday at The Lumbar from 6:30-7:30 PM for FREE study sessions.
Our AXP Liaisons on the EP Committee will be present on the first Monday of the month to answer questions and provide support! They are also available to answer exam-related questions anytime Monday-Friday via email. Please allow at least 24 hours for a response from our volunteer liaisons.

We have both Brightwood ARE 5.0 and Kaplan ARE 4.0 in the AIA Birmingham library. Email katie@karmamanagementinc.com to see if your set is in stock. If your set is not in stock, we will add you to the waiting list! The wait should be no longer than two weeks (typically much less!)

AIA Birmingham members: $50 CASH deposit (returned to you when all materials are checked in)
Non-members: $50 CASH deposit ($25 returned to you when all materials are checked in)
Check out period: 2 weeks (no exceptions if there is a waiting list)

Late Fees:
ARE 5.0: $2 per day for every day past 7 calendar days (high demand)
ARE 4.0: $1 per day for every day past 14 calendar days

Click here for the details about AXP Resources & test taking tips!

Click here to learn more about what AIA Birmingham offers to Emerging Professionals!

Site Visits

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Working on an interesting project? Our Emerging Professionals are ALWAYS looking for site visits, especially those that could help with exams!
Click here to download our Site Visit Form! Fill it out and send it to katie@karmamanagementinc.com at least two weeks prior to proposed site visit date.

Jobseekers – we have many jobs listed on our website! Don’t miss AIA Birmingham’s Career Page for the latest local opportunities.

Attention Employers! Post your job openings on the AIA Birmingham website. It is FREE for local member firms! Email katie@karmamanagementinc.com for more details.

AIA National Career Center

Check out the AIA National Career Center for all the hottest jobs and access to the Career Learning Center, which encourages an integrative career and professional development process that enhances your skill set.

Contract Documents from AIA Birmingham

Click here for information on contract documents!