President’s Letter, October 2019


Yearend always starts a busy time for APDC.  We begin focused planning of our position statement to share with legislators at the upcoming 2020 legislative fly-in.  To support this, our legislative committee led by Mike Rabe and anchored in Juneau by John Walsh, have drafted points that the board will continue to refine at our upcoming annual legislative summit on November 6th in Anchorage.  So far, draft points include support of a minimum capital budget of $2.1 billion, increased funding of maintenance for the State’s transportation facilities, support for maintaining the University of Alaska’s programs relevant to design professions, support of funding for middle school and high school educational programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and support of the efforts of the Alaska Seismic Hazard Safety Commission (ASHSC).  Please plan to participate in the summit to ensure your member organizations thoughts and interests are represented. 

Other upcoming events are Alaska Municipal League’s annual government conference in Anchorage, November 18th through 22nd, and the Alaska State Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors (and Landscape Architects 😊) board meeting, November 7th & 8th in Anchorage.  Remember that AELS seeks applicants for board positions that will be vacated in early 2020. To see a full listing of AELS Board appointments and expiration dates, please see the Board Roster, located on the Alaska Boards and Commissions website.

As I think about APDC’s efforts and recall how the organization retooled itself over the last two years to ensure that it remains of value to its member organizations, I am reminded of how much we all collaborate as design professionals and how a successful collaboration results in positive benefits for all parties concerned.

On the upside, the collaborative process yields a fair distribution of work and responsibilities providing a better understanding of roles and responsibilities for all participants.  It also streamlines decision making and increases effectiveness by bringing each individual’s knowledge and skill to bear on behalf of the group. Lastly, participants know what the plan is and the reasoning behind it. With that, participants have ownership in the solution, new knowledge of their team, and a sense of pride in the effort.

That isn’t to say collaboration is without challenge.  It might be difficult finding a shared basis of understanding for the problem at hand or learning the different participant’s communication style before good rapport begins.  It can also be costly in terms of time and resources, and may produce a result that seems a watered down version of the original concept.  To offset the potential downsides, I’ve learned to be calm at the outset and trust the process.  Collaboration is about the development and completion of a project or an idea.  To that end, patience and positivity will win the day. As with any team effort, be sure to participate and share your thoughts.

All things considered, the collaborative process is a necessary part of the successful solution to a complex issue; one that we as design professionals are uniquely qualified to help with.  I am always grateful to be included and relish the chance to merge skills and experience with others to achieve a common goal.

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