OVERCOMING WEATHER, DESIGNERS ATTENDED AIA LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE AND ENGAGED WITH MONTANA LEGISLATORS
In March, architects Karen Kelly and Shannon Peterson from CTA’s Billings office braved the cold and snow to visit Capitol Hill as part of the American Institute of Architects‘ (AIA) Grassroots 2015 Leadership and Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Kelly, Billings Architectural Association’s (BAA) president-elect, and Peterson, Young Architect Regional Director for the AIA Northwest and Pacific Region, joined two board members from AIA Montana to meet with staff from all three offices of Montana’s Congressional delegation.
Despite many congressional offices and the federal government being closed due to the threat of up to six inches of snow, Sen. Tester, Sen. Daines, and Congressman Zinke’s offices were all open and continuing with normal business. The group discussed the AIA’s advocacy agenda with each office, which included support of the federal historic tax credit, the National Design Services Act for student debt relief, and promoting the Safe Building Codes Incentive Act to encourage the adoption of the most recent building codes.
In addition to visiting the Hill, Kelly and Peterson listened to keynote addresses by Jonah Berger, author of the book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On”; and Liz Ogbu, designer, urbanist, and social innovator from University of California-Berkeley. They also attended breakout workshops, enjoyed the AIA headquarters’ open house, and squeezed in a tour of the White House early Friday morning.
The four architects attending AIA Grassroots weren’t the only Montanans around the Hill that week. As noted in The Flint Report and CBS News, Montana natives sneaked past police to get in a few sledding runs down the actual hill at the Capitol. (It was rumored a few conference attendees slipped in a couple runs as well.)