Our Common Purpose / Moving Forward

Once again we gathered in January to celebrate and honor the firms and individuals who have demonstrated a skillful and thoughtful practice of architecture. I find this event to be a very enjoyable get together, as it brings out about 170 people who have a good time reconnecting with those they haven’t seen for a while. And yes it feels good to share stories and wish each other well.

For many of us, it reminds us of our common purpose of dedicating ourselves to work that can be quite satisfying when it all comes together, the way we knew it could, and hoped it would. It’s always enjoyable to see good-looking, well thought out projects that survived the process. This year we were fortunate to have a jury member, Jack Franzen FAIA, presenting the awards and engaging the recipients with a particular question about some aspect of the project. Sometimes thought provoking, sometimes humorous, it was fun to hear the responses.

One of the themes that comes up year after year in the ‘acceptance speeches’ is a recognition of the caring clients, contractors, consultants, and comrades who have worked together to pull it off. Sure it’s the politically correct thing to say, but the tone and sincerity of the delivery comes across as the heartfelt truth about the profession of Architecture. It really is about many participants executing an acknowledged design vision with a respectful blend of leadership and teamwork.

It is fitting that within our Chapter membership we include Architect, Associate, and Affiliate members who share in the process of delivering the skills and expertise that help make an award winning project. For a small state comprised of many small and medium sized architecture firms, we benefit from this inclusiveness, and continue to thrive as a Chapter even during the lean times of economic downturns. Over the past seven years we have managed to sustain our membership, and this year we are actually showing some modest growth. We are now 377 members strong with 211 licensed Architects, 20 Emeritus Architects, 31 Associate members, 97 Affiliate, and 18 Honorary members. We hope that those who share the values of creating a quality built environment will continue to attend the Chapter events, and participate in the programs and committees of our Chapter.

One of the other very important parts of our Chapter’s success story is the dedication and fine work of our Executive Director, Carolyn Isaak, who has been in this position for 16 1/2 years – yes it does go by quickly. For the past six years of my participation on the Board of Directors, I can say that Carolyn has always carried out her multifaceted duties with a very high degree of professionalism and personable communications, and this has made it easy for the Board members to collaborate in fulfilling their responsibilities to the Chapter.

As Carolyn has made the decision to retire from her position this year at the end of September, we find ourselves beginning the process of looking for the right person to become our new Executive Director. As a Board we know that this is one of our most important challenges this year, and we expect to begin to advertise for the position this month. We are reaching out to the membership to let people know that we will be seeking to fill this position over the summer. If you know of any ideal candidates, let them know we are beginning this process.
As a Board we are extremely grateful for all of the great work Carolyn has provided over many years of service to AIANH. In addition to wishing her the very best in her transition to a less stressful day to day, we are happy to know that she has offered to help transition her multifaceted duties to our new Executive Director over a couple of months. This will allow for a smooth transition of our new Executive Director recruit.

So next year when our January celebration comes around again, we can only hope that Carolyn, Honorary AIANH, may still join us as at the Gala in the audience, tell us a few stories of her new adventures before dinner, and our NH Chapter will continue to thrive.

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