A group that’s used to planning things for others is looking at redesigning the way its members do business during its annual fall convention. John Darveau is the chair of the Iowa chapter of the American Institute for Architects. Darveau says dealing with the down economy is the top focus as they try to help members cope.
He says they’ve set up speakers and workshops that are different from the traditional talk about building, to focus on different ways to deliver services, different ways to do the things they do, and ways to enhance leadership skills. Darveau says the economy has hit all architects in different ways.
“Some of us are still busy, some aren’t, and we need to adapt as with every business out there,” Darveau says. “the world out there is changing and it’s changing fast, and we’re having to adapt our businesses just like everyone else. And that includes…delivering the way we do things in different ways.”
Millions of federal recovery dollars have been spent on building projects, but Darveau says those type of “linear” projects don’t create as much business for architects. He says the road projects focus on a few companies as lot of the projects are designed in-house by the government and don’t include a lot of outside work.
Darveau says they’ve sought more stimulus money for “vertical” design projects that would involve more architects. The conference also includes students, and Darveau says he will tell them there is a future in this profession. Darveau says this business has always been cyclical, and he says he tries to focus on the fact that it will change and architects will be busy again.
He says it was the same kind of market when he got out of school 22 years ago and things will change and the prospects for architects will go up again. The convention is meeting today and tomorrow at the Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines.