Public Announcements


President's Farewell Message

I want to thank you - the Newark and Suburban membership and the board - for allowing me to serve as your President for the year 2020. This year will long be etched in our history books as a global event altered our everyday life. That global event would be COVID-19, a virus that showed no mercy as it affected almost every human being on this planet. To those members whose families were affected by this terrible virus, either directly or indirectly, my heart goes out to you.

I was looking forward to seeing our members in person, face to face dialogue on our detailed programs and our informal discussions during our meetings. Instead, our laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones became our gateway to seeing and interacting with each other.

I need to thank a couple of our sponsors Pella and Anderson, for stepping up and setting up webinars that offered CEUs for our members. I thank Loewen Windows for offering webinars during the year to keep our members engaged. My appreciation also goes out to MaGrann Associates for offering our first webinar in April 2020 to our members. My thanks go to Julie Pagnotta our Section Administrator, Trustees Frank Truilo and Ron Weston for helping to organize the webinar event and CEUs for our members.

Our board members stepped in, and thanks to First Vice President Christy DiBartolo and 2020 Trustee Ronald Weston, to organize our mini-roundtables during the summer months to keep our members engaged. Thanks to Past President Paul Tiajoloff, Board Secretary Francisco Grimaldi and Victor Angulo for re-thinking our CANStruction event and making it part of a food drive which during the pandemic was greatly appreciated.

This year we did a “virtual” Design Awards run by Past President Alex Gotthelf who did a phenomenal job in a short amount of time in setting up an event that for the first time included students from Kean University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

This year was not an easy one but as your President it was my duty to serve the membership. Thanks to John Fallon Newark and Suburban Treasurer, who in addition to running his firm during the pandemic, with board member Elizabeth Pacheco, kept an eye on our finances and made sure we would fiscally viable in the upcoming year.

As racial inequality became a major platform in 2020 I was glad to see AIA National and AIA New Jersey step up to address the issues. I hope to see more diversity and more opportunities for everyone through AIA Newark and Suburban. In the beginning I spoke of “Citizen Architect” which focused on the responsibility of architects to interact with local government but also discovered how architects use their voice and spoke up and acted on behalf of racial injustice.

The year, 2021, there will be a new path and new leadership. I welcome Brandon Warshofsky, incoming President, an active member of our section and at the state level, through his work with EPiC and engaging young architects. I hope and pray that as the vaccine and treatment for this pandemic take effect, our venues will be open, our masks can be taken off and we can once again shake hands and give that much needed hug to our members.

I ask you that as the year comes to a close, please do not forget to renew your AIA membership.

The board and I actively worked to make sure that we are accountable to you but also we need the membership to give us their feedback and thoughts so we can be an active and relevant voice in the profession. If you are interested in serving on a committee, have a suggestion, or something you would like see, we look forward to hearing from you at [email protected] .

Andrew Thompson, AIA