The Board of Trustees met in Chicago IL, on November 5th and 6th, before the Annual Meeting. Included is a synopsis of the proceedings.
President Dick Zweifel presented his activities since the midyear meeting and noted that combined leadership visits since midyear includes 17 chapter visits, 20 student chapter visits, and 9 allied professions meetings and conferences. He highlighted his trips to the APA annual meeting in Seattle; the CSLA annual meeting in Mexico City; the IFLA World Council and Congress in Moscow and St. Petersburg; the Florida Chapter annual meeting; the leadership meeting of AIA, APA, and ASLA; the University of Georgia Student Chapter visit; the Indiana Chapter annual meeting; and the Arkansas Chapter annual meeting, among others.
Executive Vice President Nancy Somerville presented an update on the Center for Landscape Architecture to reflect the design cuts and proposed add and deduct alternates to stay below the budget goal of $6.3 million. Lisa Delplace, principal of Oehme, van Sweden, presented the exterior features of the design. Discussion and questions among the trustees included topics on exterior lighting, the cistern, center programming and revenue generation, use of SITES principles, budget concerns, product donations, importance of messaging in design of building, rebranding the Society, need for placemaking, and timeline for fundraising. The Center is our renovated Headquarters building in Washington DC. If you are ever visiting DC, please call ahead and stop by. They welcome visitors during the workweek, when the office is opened for business.
President-Elect Chad Danos 2016 Annual Operating Plan and explained that the program and budget in 2016 continues a conservative approach and factors in the costs and opportunities related to the Center for Landscape Architecture. Danos explained there are no reductions in program areas as a result of the Center. Danos described the most significant program changes and additions for 2016: addition of a non-voting associate member representative to the Board, creation of Student and Associate Advisory Councils, a pilot leadership development program to be held in conjunction with Advocacy Day at midyear, a five-year stepped dues program for emerging professionals, and an online library of practice questions for LARE prep.
ASLA is on a path to break attendance records for emerging professionals at the Annual Meeting. More are signing-up for membership and being assigned to National committees. This reflects our own experiences within the California Sierra Chapter.
Vice President of Finance Jeff Townsend and CFO Michael O’Brien reported on the Society’s activities through August 31, 2015, and cash and reserves as of October 1, 2015. Townsend highlighted that ASLA had a decrease in net assets of $.8 million; revenue was $5.4 million or 99 percent of the budget, and expenses were $6.2 million or 97 percent of the budget. He then explained the ASLA operating cycle to begin with strategic priorities and program review at midyear to inform the annual operating plan, the budgets, monitored by monthly financial reports and the quarterly program and operations report.
National Student Representative Chelsea Keith, of Cal Poly SLO, discussed her goals including improving student communication, supporting student chapter success, and mentorship. She reviewed the student chapter presidents’ survey that she created and distributed which focused on topics of membership, student chapter operations, and mentorship. She plans to develop student webinars for portfolio design, software tips and tricks, and networking as well as a student chapter guide.
Lastly, ASLA gained a major advocacy victory on November 4th. The U.S. House of Representatives was scheduled to consider a multiyear surface transportation bill. During the bill’s consideration by the full House, Representatives Vicky Hartzler (MO) and Richard Hudson (NC) planned to offer an amendment that would eliminate federal funding for all vegetation management projects on the nation’s highways and roads. Working with the American Society of Civil Engineers, ASLA succeeded to add vegetative management provisions to the final 6-year transportation bill.
The Board of Trustees will convene again on May 20-21, 2016, in Washington, DC, for their midyear meeting.