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AIA Michigan Newsletter
December 2013 

In This Issue
President's Message and Executive Director's Message
New Members!
Special AIA MI Edition Motawi Tile: Select Few Available!!
A.R.E. Forum
The Grapevine
RIP: Harold Varner, friend of AIA Michigan
Upcoming Events
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President's Message:
Tamara Burns reduced retouchedDearest members,

It is a dark and stormy night.  I am on my way north.  I am riding shotgun and have my iPad perched on my lap trying to get my last President's message finished for the newsletter before we arrive in Mack City at midnight. 


I was born and raised in Ann Arbor.  I have been back now for 15 years after two escapes, the second being a 13-year period in the Bay Area (that's California...).  I had a firm in California, met my husband, married him twice and had a kid.  I was not a member of the AIA because my then partner thought it was an old boys club and I didn't care or know enough to even question him.  I arrived back here and decided I wanted to find out what the AIA was all about.  I went to the Huron Valley President's picnic and about a week later agreed to become Vice President of the chapter after one of those "Who me? Yes, you!" conversations.

And this is how I came to understand the value of belonging to the AIA.  Both the absence and presence of something in your life - in this case the AIA - can make you understand the value of it much more deeply.

On the one hand, the void or absence resulting from not being exposed to an opportunity; not having someone say you should do this; not having the opportunity to say "who me"?  And on the other hand, the presence of the AIA in my life as the result of someone reaching out to me, the amazing power of saying yes, and the opportunities that saying yes opened up to me.   I am connected to the profession and have the opportunity to impact it, I have met many people and have the opportunity to make friends and develop relationships, and I have the opportunity for lifelong learning and the inspiration and knowledge that brings. These are all things that I experience as a member now and missed the opportunity for before.   The Mackinac Bridge is in sight and I need to wrap this up.  This year has been an incredible journey leading AIA Michigan into our future.  It has been an honor to serve you and I am appreciative of the trust you put in me.  If I've learned nothing else this year it's the importance of architects stepping up into positions of leadership in our communities and of collaborating with our partners in the built environment.  We are better together.


So reach out and ask people to step up, or simply ask them to join you at an AIA event, and hopefully they will say yes, but if they say "who me?" make sure you say "yes you"!


Bye for now!

Tamara Burns signature  

Tamara E. L.Burns, AIA
Executive Director's Message:
Cathy HeadshotHappy Holidays!

This month I want to inform all of you that AIA National has produced a Repositioning progress report. It summarizes where they are at with the Repositioning initiative relative to the original priorities identified by the members. (The priorities fell into four areas: 1. Connect, 2. Engage, 3. Lead, 4. Innovate). You can view the report, which includes graphs depicting the progress percentage of each undertaking under the four priority areas, by clicking here.


I also wanted to make you aware of two new updates from AIA National. The first update is that the Emerging Professionals Companion, an online resource for intern architects to gain IDP experience, is now available online in an interactive PDF form. You can download the whole guide or individual chapters to help you navigate NCARB's IDP process by clicking here.


The second update is about the newly designed Careers in Architecture Toolkit. We've all had questions about pursuing a career in architecture from students or even parents and this toolkit has all the answers. Inside you'll find information from how to become an architect to resources for sharing architecture in your community. Whether you're a student, parent, school counselor, architect, component, or civic leader, this is your one-stop shop for all things architecture. Click here to check it out!

Although the Health Facilities Planning Seminar is not until March 20-21st of next year, planning for this huge event is already in full swing! We have already confirmed a dozen sponors so if you or your company are interested in this marketing opportunity, please contact me ASAP as sponsorship availability is limited. There is also a Call for Project Presentations currently active so if you would like a project featured at the event, click here for the submittal criteria and regisitration information. 
I wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons and I will see you in the New Year! 
New Members!

Welcome to our new members who joined, rejoined or transferred to AIA Michigan in November 2013:


John E. Dingens, AIA; Michael Krebs, AIA; David P. Huizenga, Assoc. AIA; Allison N McCarty, Assoc. AIA; John Nowacki, AIA; David J. McDade, AIA; Harold D. Oliver, AIA; Herb Blackstock, AIA; Peter Morais, Assoc. AIA; Bruce E Roberts, AIA; Gintautas A. Gaska, AIA; Alexander M. Hathaway, AIA; Randall A. Reeves, AIA; Scott D. Koch, AIA; Patricia H. Yulkowski, AIA; Laurie Frey Borer, AIA

Welcome to AIA Michigan and we look forward to meeting you at future events!!
Special Edition Motawi Tile - Only A Few Left!
Motawi Tile photo 
These tiles were produced specially for AIA Michigan, in fact, the blue background color was a custom mix just for this design!  You might remember seeing one of these tiles at the Holiday Open House, it was auctioned off for over $100 to benefit our Holiday Open House charity, so we are offering the last few of these tiles at a bargain of $75! If you are interested in purchasing one or more as a gift or for yourself, contact Cathy immediately. The owners of these tiles will be the proud owners of a beautiful piece of AIA Michigan history! 
A.R.E. Forum: January 23, 2014
ARE Forum 2014
If you have any questions about the Forum or to RSVP, please contact
The Grapevine:
  • Tom Mathison, FAIA has formed a new firm, Mathison|Mathison Architects, with his son, Evan Mathison. The firm, located in Grand Rapids, can be reached at 616.920.0545 and on the web at Tom can be reached at:
  • Gensler's new address is: 150 W. Jefferson Ave., Suite 1700, Detroit, Michigan, 48226.
  • Najahyia Chincilla, Assoc. AIA, has joined Gensler as a Project Manager and can be reached at
  • Dima Daimi, Assoc. AIA, has moved to dPop Design and can be reached at
  • Waverly Community Schools in Lansing, has selected Fanning Howey to provide design services for district-wide building renovations. The focus of the $2 million bond program is to improve student instruction through the use of technology. Proposed renovations to existing building will create 21st century collaboration spaces, upgrade media centers and improve technology and security infrastructure.
  • Fanning Howey has also announced the appointment of Misty Raatz as market leader for Fanning Howey's Novi, Michigan office. Raatz is an active member of the AIA Michigan Government Affairs Committee and volunteers her time as a member of the AIA's Detroit Building Code and Regulation Committee.
If you have changed firms, won an award, or have something to tell AIA Michigan,
please email!
RIP: Harold Varner of Sims Varner & Associates

A notable Detroit architect, Harold Varner, passed away this week. A founder of Sims Varner & Associates, Harold Varner played a pivotal role in his firm's design of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Varner also was an American Institute of Architects Fellow. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughters Kimberly Varner Tandy and Stacy Varner Jackson; two sisters and a brother.


If you would like to join in the celebration of Harold's life, a visitation is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Swanson Funeral Home in Detroit. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the museum. Click here to read the Detroit News article about Harold.

Upcoming Events

- January 23, 2014: A.R.E. Forum at Harley Ellis Devereaux 

- January 31 -February 1, 2013: AIA Michigan Leadership Retreat, Detroit

- March 20-21, 2014: AIA Michigan Health Facilities Planning Seminar, Traverse City

Is there something new you want us to know about you or your firm? 
Is there an event or project you want to share with the AIA Michigan Membership?
Email and check out our calendar for the latest events!