Executive Director’s Corner Summer 2017

Executive Director’s Corner


It’s July so all of you political aficionados know what that means, right?  Of course you do, it means that Pennsylvania has a spending plan and not enough money to pay for it.  Don’t be discouraged, our legislators will figure it out.  🙂

Joking aside, the legislature presented Governor Wolf with a nearly 32 billion spending plan but no plan on how to raise the money needed to fulfill it.  As it stands, the Commonwealth will be about 2 or 3 billion short by the end of next year.  What’s a few billion among friends anyway?  I apologize for being snarky, but a sense of humor goes a long way in Harrisburg these days.

On a positive note, AIA Pennsylvania continues to build relationships and have a strong seat at several tables for important discussions including a building codes update, introducing a bill for an improved statute of repose, continuing education, practice protection, and a host of other important ideas.  We find ourselves frequently called up for our opinion which is a very good sign that AIA Pennsylvania, always respected, is now more of a political force.  Granted, we have come a long way thanks to our hard work (kudos to Director of Legislative Affairs, Amal Mahrouki and Manager of Communications, Olivia Perry) and our dedicated volunteers, but we have a much more to do.

Several positive and tangible signs of our success include a very prominent role at the AIA National State Government Affairs Conference (Former Government Affairs Chair and current President-Elect Scott Compton and Amal Mahrouki participated in multiple educational panels) and a recent debate we organized about the antiquated Pennsylvania Separations Act.  AIA Pennsylvania brought together representatives from both sides of the contentious debate for a very informative and civil discussion on how to deal with the separations act.  The result of the talk (attended by legislators, the administration and many staffers) were several ideas that could possibly improve delivery methods and save tax payer money.  Stay tuned for a link to the video-taped debate that you can see for yourself.

Over the course of the past year or so we have greatly increased our volunteer engagement (approximately 40%) but there is always room for more help.  We need your ideas and your expertise to further or values and policies.  We have remained true to not only our ideals, but those of AIA National as well.  In fact, haven’t deviated from them.  We represent a diverse constituency and must take into account many different viewpoints while balancing the needs of many members, but rest assured that the leadership of AIA Pennsylvania and the positions we take come directly from our membership ranks.  Therefore, if you have some opinions, please let them be heard by joining a committee or task force.  This is your organization and we work for you.

As always, we urge you to participate and help us become THE voice of the construction industry.

— Stephen Swarney, J.D. Executive Director, AIA Pennsylvania – sswarney@aiapa.org