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Why Now? - My Full Candidacy Statement

Updated: Feb 14, 2021

The AIA has made consistent progress the past few years, enacting policies that take a stance on our profession’s role on Climate Action, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Likewise, we must acknowledge that to meet these challenges head-on effectively. Our organization must make deliberate efforts to come to terms with practice disruption.

I’m confident it might seem strange for an architectural professional, who had the privilege of spending over a decade in traditional practice, to veer into an architecture-adjacent path. My passion for advocating for the immense value of an architect’s perspective brings to the table, which I share with my 95,000 esteemed peers, requiring me to shift my approach. I’m committed to putting my expertise as a global AEC tech leader at the Institute’s service in ensuring our members obtain access to the resources, partnerships, and tools needed to best position their architectural business practices. This sense of duty towards our profession and the leadership skills honed through service motivated me to declare my candidacy for the Director-at-Large National Board position.

In this role, I intend to support the Institute in empowering members in:

  • Elevating the strategic and business importance of fostering innovation

  • Streamlining access to the resources & services needed to navigate change

  • Bridging the gap in digital education across experience levels

  • Advocating for inclusion of new voices and external partnerships

Ricardo presenting on CKLDP at AIA's Inaugural Leadership Institute
Ricardo J Rodríguez, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, ACI


Focus on People & Relationships

We should acknowledge that our people are at the front lines of transformative change within our industry. It is thus of utmost importance to bridge the gap of tech illiteracy across experience levels. We can leverage our extensive network of resources, rethink the way we engage in our traditional relationships. By providing access to relevant education in business innovation and the framework to gain access to the resources needed to implement transformational change, technology implementation should be inclusive, fair, and transparent.

With the advent of remote & hybrid work models, we now have the potential to look beyond our industry. Our profession needs to develop new ways of onboarding forward-thinking talent to tip the scales. Diversity & inclusion efforts should also reach out to those voices we have marginalized because they were once “alternative.” Expanding the definition of practice and empowering architecture professionals at every level with the knowledge, tools & resources to operate in new contexts and engagement channels

Unconformity with systems that devalue or isolate us

The uncertainty of traditional practice has not allowed us to successfully address climate change, diversity, inclusion, and bridging architectural education. Though fueled by the novelty factor, tech leadership is directly related to market relevance and tied to sustainable business practices. The tech revolution, and market disruption that comes with it, are now upon us. Design professionals are needed more than ever to navigate this uncertainty,

We cannot sit idle as even more trained architects are needed at the table to transform policy and negotiate progress with social responsibility. Still, while we commit to acting on global trends, we should also be cautious of not reproducing the same disconnected approaches we are determined to overcome. Designers are experts in crafting a vision, adding value, and creating consensus. The AIA is crucial in this undertaking. We must define a more precise role in our relationship with emerging technology. Empower our members with the means to access our intellectual resources efficiently and a talent base comfortable with working “outside the box.”

My current role has provided me with the opportunity to work with multidisciplinary professionals across the globe. Expanding the definition of practice and empowering Architecture professionals at every level with the knowledge, tools & resources to operate in new contexts and engagement channels. In a world where the digital context now has a significant impact on the physical one.

Leverage smart & agile resources to stop the guesswork

The historical ambivalence to the digital fields has snowballed into a significant problem. Virtually every big tech firm could supplant our services. We must adapt to this change by enhancing business agility and embracing the tools to provide more excellent value to our members and communities. The global pandemic has accelerated our market into being the most receptive to business innovation than its been in decades. This rapid transition is an opportunity to welcome change and establish new forms of practice, combined with the accelerated market transition. As we rethink legacy processes, we will also achieve more with the mountain of untapped data that firms already produce. Digital transformation is not a one-size-fits-all issue. It must be custom-tailored to a myriad of business needs. Yet, it is a path toward enhancing our voice’s relevance and influence. This move will allow our experts to find innovative ways to value work, recognize new customer interactions/segments, streamline their expertise, and deliver more personalized services.

Our profession is at its most pivotal point in a century.

We need to take back agency through our expertise. Together we can elevate our collective voice and enact meaningful change.

Governance week at AIA|DC's DAC
AIA Strategic Council - At Large Representative '20-'21

I'm curious to read your feedback. Leave me a comment below!


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