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Tri-State Small Firm Symposium (Day 1)

November 3, 2022 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

 2022 Small Firm Symposium: “Embracing Change, Innovating for the Future”
Dates are Thursday, November 3 & Thursday, November 10
Times Detailed Below

Hosted by AIA New York State, AIA New Jersey, and AIA Pennsylvania, the Small Firm Symposium (SFS) is a two-day virtual program packed with information and resources for small

Keynote Speakers
Dr. Lawrence Chatters, Executive Associate AD for Strategic Initiatives at the University of Nebraska, teaches you how to navigate challenges along with strategies to help decrease stress.
Courtney Stanley, President of Courtney Stanley Consulting, provides strategies on how to own your mic drop moment.
Education Station
Sky Factory presents on “The Restorative Impact of Perceived Open Space” where you explore the impact of interior environments on human performance and wellness.
Our sessions cover areas including sustainable design, small firm best practices, marketing, technology and leadership strategies that embrace change and innovate for the future.


Schedule of Events
Thursday, November 3
8:00am-9:00am Education Station Presentation(s)
The Restorative Impact of Perceived Open Space (approved for 1.0 HSW) Sky Factory
In this course, we explore the impact of interior environments on human performance and wellness. We explore the role natural daylight and perceived open space play in modulating cognitive function, and how architects and designers can engage our memories of natural environments to enhance occupant health and productivity in enclosed interiors. The course introduces a cognitive approach to design. It investigates the restorative value of perceived open space which functions as a healing attribute by engaging our biophilic memory.  Two spatial reference frames present in nature, the perceived zenith, the highest point above the observer, and the perceived horizon line, the farthest point before the observer, can be recreated in an enclosed interior space by staging an appropriate illusion to alter our perception of space.  Recreating these fundamental spatial maps through an effective illusion enables a range of wellness benefits normally associated with interiors applying more traditional biophilic design principles.

9:05am-10:10am Keynote Presentation
Designing a Less Stressful Life and Becoming a BUILDER
Dr. Lawrence Chatters, Executive Associate AD for Strategic Initiatives | University of Nebraska
We do not have to look far to find negativity. There are challenges all around us at home, at work, and in our social lives. Navigating these challenges takes a tremendous amount of energy. Dr. Chatters will discuss these  challenges and provide the audience with effective and impactful  strategies they can use to decrease stress and build toward a better life.  This motivational presentation will facilitate introspection and generate hope.

10:15am-11:45am Education Sessions
Marketing and Business Development Basics for Small Firm Architects
Emily Hall, Partner, Charrette Venture Group
Small firm architects seldom have a marketing team. They need to dedicate time to marketing and business development but don't know where to start, what works, or how to be consistent. This program is designed specifically for small firm architects who need to develop a strategic marketing/business development program that they can manage effectively.  When it comes to marketing your small architecture firm, where should you focus your efforts? What tactics yield real results? In this workshop, we’ll cover the basics of building a strong,   differentiated brand for your small firm. We’ll also review how to start a marketing strategy and build an actionable marketing plan that is realistic, budget-friendly, and measurable. Finally, we’ll discuss how authentic business development is separate from marketing but critical to building profitable relationships.

Thursday, November 3
10:15am-11:45am Education Sessions
Preparing for Ownership Transition-It’s Never Too Early
Patricia Harris, Esq., Special Counsel, Zetlin & De Chiarra LLP and CEO, Licensure LLC.  Purchases and sales of design professional practices represent a robust marketplace. We are seeing a significant number of purchases and sales because of aging baby boomers who are retiring, the pandemic opening markets geographically, and earnest buyers. A runway of ten years to prepare for these transitions is optimal.  This course is for any practitioner who is considering buying or selling an architectural practice. We will explain the different transition strategies  including exits, transitions including internal purchases and sales, sales to third parties and mergers, how to get a business ready for sale, and understanding the legal obligations that will arise in the context of an ownership transition.

Data Driven Design: Preparing for the Hybrid Future of Work
Melissa Marsh, Executive Director & Founder, PLASTARC
Amy Rosen, Sociospatial Designer, PLASTARC

Though architecture's impact on the social and psychological well-being of humans has been recognized for millennia, less has been done to infuse the myriad insights of the social sciences into the practice of architecture. To be sure, some of the nationally known organizations in the field of sustainability have expanded their programs to address aspects of well-being, or have split off separate programs.  Measuring well-being can be elusive; whether physical, emotional, or environmental. There are more and more research-based approaches that have taken on this challenge. Learn how quantitative and qualitative tools, from national systems to ethnographic research, are being deployed to integrate the role of the social sciences into the practice of architecture.  This session will explore what has been done, what is in the works, and what gaps remain in the important effort to elevate the role of the social sciences in the practice of architecture. Participating organizations will hear emerging best practices, research findings, and case studies from a range of clients including technology, financial, and design firms who are  focusing on the intersection of workplace, social sciences, and technology design as a catalyst for transformative change They will be able to apply key strategies (space, tech, and policies) to theirs and their clients' organizations.

11:45am-12:30pm Lunch Break
Architect Jeopardy

12:30pm-2:00pm Education Sessions
Progress Though Storytelling: How to Win Approval for Innovative Design
Joshua Zinder, AIA, Managing Partner, JZA+D
Pablo David, Vice President of Government Affairs & Community Relations, AJ Capital Partners Derek Bridger, Zoning Officer/Assistant HP Officer, Zoning Department, Municipality of Princeton, NJ.  Small firm practitioners often start a firm with the desire to promote innovative design and to have positive impacts locally and regionally. Understanding what approval-granting authorities are looking for and want to hear from proposals will assist architects who are striving to complete with big firms who bring name recognition and well-developed  communication strategies to bear in every proposal and presentation.  Telling the compelling story behind your design will present an opportunity to zoning boards and historic preservation bodies, to opt for a small local firm because they want a project team that is invested in the
community.  Various stakeholders often zealously guard against new development to protect and preserve what they believe makes their community special. Requests for permits and variances are often rejected by preservation commissions and local planning and zoning boards, even if the proposed design harmonizes with the architectural and historical context, and even when the development is not only appropriate, but badly needed.  In this session, a practicing architect is joined by a development executive and a zoning board official to discuss successful  applications of the principles of storytelling to making cases for approvals of plans for important and innovative adaptive reuse, expansion, and new-build projects to decision-making bodies. The presenters invite attendees to contribute their experiences and challenges, helping identify the “story” behind the proposed development that effectively communicates the benefits for the officials and their city, neighborhood, and home residential units as appropriate density increases.

12:30pm-2:00pm Education Sessions
Hiring, Retaining and Developing the Next Generation of Firm Leaders
Jarvis Cook, Associate & Talent Acquisition Manager, Perkins Eastman Trevor Harrison, Managing Principal, HBT Architects Ian Smith, AIA, Principal, Ian Smith Design Group Peter Margittai, AIA, Principal, Margittai Architects NJ architect
Do you struggle with how to hire, retain and develop your staff? This session is packed with useful information provided by a panel of small firm architects who will share the development and implementation of an employee review process, how the HR landscape has changed, how to create a company vision, culture fit, the hiring process, retention, leadership training and more.

Streamlining the Small Firm Workflow Process
Nate Rozzi, AIA, Principal, Rozzi Architects Michael Anderson, AIA, Owner, Abstract Architects Seth Amman, AIA, AIA, Principal and Founder, Arch &amp, Ian Toner, AIA, Principal, Toner Architects, Mark Sullivan, AIA, Partner, JZA+D, Alyse Makarewicz, AIA, President, AMB Architects & AIA Texas SFx Representative
As a small firm, what does it take to tackle a project from concept to completion, and what are your system’s
strengths and weaknesses? As new technologies and best practices emerge each day, the job of streamlining
internal operations in AE is never fully complete. Listen to a panel of architects present a case study that
illustrates how small firms can use workflow software to promote productivity and efficiency across an entire
project lifecycle to increase ROI.


November 3, 2022
8:00 am - 5:00 pm




Tri-States AIA PA, AIA NY and AIA NJ