Government Affairs

2018 accomplishments – NATIONAL 

  • Chapter was represented at “Grassroots Leadership Conference” in San Diego, CA in March. Participating were Charlie Abrams, Rob Walker, Rhea Williams, and Bruce Herrington.
  • Chapter was represented at the State Government Network (SGN) conference in July. Bruce Herrington participated.
  • In July and August, members visited with Congressmen Palmer (with Legislative Aids), with staff member for Congresswoman Sewell, and with staff member for Senator Shelby. Participating (on 1 or more visits) were Ross McCain, Richard Simonton, Topper Parham, Rhea Williams, and Bruce Herrington.

2018 accomplishments – STATE

  • Prison Bill. Monitored during Legislative session for bill introduction.  Was ultimately issued as an RFP.
  • Bill Whitaker was appointed by Governor Ivey to represent Alabama’s architects on the Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board.
  • Nolanda Bearden was appointed by Governor Ivey as a member of the Alabama Board of Architects in the spring.
  • Angela Nash, Emily Coe, and Anne Marie Ellis were nominated by the Birmingham district as candidates for the Alabama Board of Architects in the fall. Emily Coe was appointed by Governor Ivey.

2018 accomplishments – LOCAL

  • Birmingham’s proposed “Character-Based Zoning Ordinance”. Review and consideration of this Ordinance via a public ‘committee’ began again in late 2017.  One or two meeting s were held, then (to our knowledge) further meetings were not scheduled.
  • Met with Cedric Sparks, Chief of Staff to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on April 11. AIA attendees were Charles Williams, Charlie Abram, Ross McCain, Rhea Williams, and Bruce Herrington.
  • Resiliency Stakeholder Summit. Numerous members (10+ ?) attended the City of Birmingham’s Resiliency Stakeholder Summit on August 15.
  • Expanded awareness and involvement. In the past few years, team members have met with Mayors and other leaders of Birmingham’s suburb cities, to inform them of how Birmingham AIA can assist their municipalities. Members reached out to the following cities:
  • Trussville – mayor
    1. We received … “some feedback from him for a follow up with him and one or two members of his staff with our group.”
  • Shelby County – its Manager, Alex Dudchock, and 2 staff members.
    1. He is … “looking into some ideas that he wants to further look into with our group.”
  • Alabaster
    1. When we reached out to him, the Mayor had been “out on vacation and work travel.”
  • Pelham
    1. When we reached out to him, the Mayor had been “out on vacation and work travel.”
    2. Keith Starnes headed up this initiative.
  • Hoover
    1. AIA Birmingham Alicia Pughsley, Danny Trotter, Keith Starnes, Scott Heywood and Rhea Williams met with Mayor Brocato, Sharon Nelson, City Landscape Architect and city planner.
    2. AIA Birmingham will assist with design review criteria.
  • Vestavia
    1. AIA Birmingham Robert Thompson, Rhea Williams and Keith Starnes met with the Mayor and city planner to offer our resources.
  • Mountain Brook
    1. AIA Birmingham Rob Walker, Phil Black, and Rhea Williams met with the mayor and city planner to offer our resources.

Association representation.  Bruce Herrington continues to represent AIA Birmingham in the Birmingham Business Alliance’s ‘Government Affairs Committee’.

 2019 probable targets/initiatives

Have representatives attend Grassroots Conference / Washington DC (March).

Issues on the AIA National website:

  • Building codes – Help communities prepare for natural disasters; “resilience”; promote form-based codes; IGCC, model permit review processes
  • Business of architecture – Help small firms thrive; promote preservation of public buildings and spaces; promote financing for energy efficient buildings; protect businesses from tax increases
  • Career issues – Relieving student debt (National Design Services Act); resisting encroachment into the practice of architecture
  • Communities – Invest in our nation’s infrastructure; promote livable communities
  • Design – Oppose the use of “stock” or standardized plans for schools
  • Global practice – Promote American architects abroad
  • Procurement and project delivery – Reform procurement laws that stifle competition
  • Sustainability – Oppose Federal repeal of energy-saving goals; promote financing of energy-efficient buildings; etc.
  1. AIA will monitor bills / initiatives surrounding the following topics during 2019. Larry Vinson (Executive Director of AIA Alabama) and Don Brown (and others) represent AIA well at the State level.
    • Certificate of Merit
    • Mechanics Lien Law
    • CM at Risk and/or Design/Build – Bill(s) not expected to be introduced.

Continue with the above-described initiatives, plus:

  • Need to strategically approach the Mayor’s office at City Hall, to initiate and grow contact with the administration.
  • Cultivate expanded awareness and involvement via visits to mayors of surrounding cities.
  • Distribute our IgCC review (take this review as a “helpful message” to Mayors of surrounding cities)
  • Promote IECC (International Energy Conservation Code), which works hand-in-glove with the IgCC.
  • Innovation Districts / Ecodistricts
  • Continue participation in review/response to Birmingham’s Character-Based Zoning Ordinance.

Government Affairs Team. As much as possible, government affairs initiatives and efforts are being spread between numerous AIA Bham members.  This process broadly encourages the refining of abilities that will be useful in general leadership roles and in further government affairs roles.  It also identifies persons interested in a more global role in government affairs.  The Team that has contributed time and talents to government affairs includes the following (and I’m certain I left at least 1 person out):

  • Charles Williams – Charles Williams & Associates
  • Topper Parham – KPS Group
  • Richard Simonton – Goodwyn Mills Cawood Architects
  • Rob Walker – Rob Walker & Associates
  • Keith Starnes– Stephen Ward & Associates
  • Ross McCain – KPS Group
  • Charlie Abram – Birchfield Penuel Architects
  • Phil Black – B Group Architecture
  • Lauren Gwaltney – Williams Blackstock Architects
  • Alicia Pughsley – Birchfield Penuel Architects
  • Roman Gary – CCR Architecture
  • Danny Trotter – Rob Walker & Associates
  • Scott Heywood – Ghafari Architects
  • David Blackmon – Blackmon Rogers Architects
  • Robert Thompson – Thompson Architecture
  • Jim Griffo
  • Michael Mann – Turner Batson Architects
  • Carey Hollingsworth
  • Marshall Anderson – Design Initiative
  • Nolanda Bearden – Studio 2H Design
  • Emily Coe – Nequette Architecture
  • Bruce Herrington, Chair – Herrington Architects

AIA Birmingham members meet with Mountain Brook Mayor Stewart Welch.

2017 accomplishments – NATIONAL

  • Representatives attended “Grassroots Leadership Conference” in Washington DC (March 8-10). Participating were Lauren Gwaltney, Ross McCain, Rob Walker and Bruce Herrington.
  • Ross McCain attended “SpeakUp!” workshop in Denver (July 12-14).
  • Attended the State Government Network (SGN) in Bruce Herrington participated.

2017 accomplishments – STATE

  • Prison Bill. Monitored bill during Legislative session; proponents did not mount a serious effort for
  • Historic Preservation Tax Actively supported passage of the Historic Tax Credits bill
  • “Anti-LEED” Bill. Monitored any activity on this potential bill; ensured the Birmingham Business Alliance maintained this initiative on its “Monitor Agenda”. Bill was never introduced by allies of the timber industry.

AIA Members meet with Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato.

2017 accomplishments – LOCAL

  • Birmingham’s proposed “Character-Based Zoning Ordinance”. The City has established a public comment period for the proposed Ordinance changes/additions, and is holding scheduled meeting approx every 2 weeks for review. The Character-Based Ordinance appeared to be overreaching and  too specific; it appeared to dictate design rather than provide parameters for design.  Richard Simonton, Mike Gibson, and Alex Krumdieck attended meetings in the spring to discuss the proposed verbiage. Richard was/is heading up AIA Bham’s official response. The City took a months-long hiatus to modify the proposed changes to be more in keeping with the design & development community’s stated desires. This issue “began again” during the last week of November 2017.
  • Expanded awareness and involvement. Team members met with Mayors and other leaders of the following suburb cities, to inform them of how Birmingham AIA can assist their municipalities:
    • Vestavia – Mayor Ashley Curry, City Manager Jeff Dunn (April)
    • Mountain Brook – Mayor Stewart Welch, City Mgr Sam Gaston, GIS Mgr Hunter Simmons (May)
    • Hoover – Mayor Frank Brocato, City Administrator Allan Rice (June)
    • Meetings with Homewood and Tuscaloosa elected leaders were proposed by AIA Bham; unfortunately meetings did not materialize
  • Association representation. Bruce Herrington continues to represent AIA Birmingham in the Birmingham Business Alliance’s ‘Government Affairs Committee’.
  • Richard Simonton, Marshall Anderson, and Bruce Herrington met with Mayor Bell on 4/12 to review the results of the review of the International Green Construction Code, a joint effort between AIA Birmingham and the City’s Planning, Engineering & Permits
  • Met with Mayor William Bell Sr. (and 2 members of his staff) on April 11. AIA attendees were Lauren Gwaltney (2017 President, AIA Bham), David Blackmon (2017 President, ACFA), Bruce Herrington;  also Rhea Williams and Kathryn Moore.  Meeting held at the ACFA, specifically for Mayor Bell to review the Center’s “Living Small” exhibit.
  • Ecodistricts / Innovation District. In 2016, the “ecodistrict” initiative transformed into an “Innovation District” initiative REVBirmingham headed up an effort known as “Innovate Birmingham”, which actually had a broader target aimed at recruiting innovating companies to Bham.

AIA Advocacy & Relations – 2017 Tax Reform Legislation (1.2.2018)

State Government Network Meeting Notes: 7.11.16

Speak Up: AIA’s Advocacy Converence Notes: 7.13.16

Archi-PAC

Archi-PAC was established to strengthen the collective voice of architects in Alabama, the political action committee for members. Contributions to Archi-PAC are strictly voluntary and funds collected through the PAC are earmarked for financial support for those candidates who are supportive of the design and construction industry in Alabama.

Support your profession by contributing to Archi-PAC Alabama. To make a contribution contact Larry Vinson at 1-800-239-5545, or mail your check payable to:

Archi PAC Alabama
Post Office 240757
Montgomery, Alabama 36124