I recently attended the ASLA mid-year meeting in Washington D.C. and can report that it was productive and meaningful. On Wednesday, April 26th there was a training session preparing us for Advocacy Day followed by an evening reception. Afterwards I attended a dinner for the newly elected Trustees, hosted by ASLA President Vaughn Rinner and Executive Vice-president Nancy Somerville, and was briefed on the structure and function of the executive committee and the role and responsibility of the Trustees. The next day, April 27th, I was joined by our Public Awareness representative, Om Khurjekar, ASLA of Hord Coplan Macht Inc. and ASLA Student Advocacy member, Brad Diese of Morgan State University as we visited the offices of Congressman John Sarbanes, Senator Chris Van Hollen and Senator Ben Cardin. We presented our support for the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program, the Land Water Conservation Fund and The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and asked the legislators for their continued support. Go to ASLA.org to learn more on the specifics of these and other relevant issues.
On Friday, April 28th I had the honor of addressing and introducing myself to the executive committee and being sworn in as the Maryland Chapter Trustee by President Vaughn Rinner. Friday evening also included a tour of the newly renovated ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture. At the meeting on Friday and Saturday we received the candidate speeches for the office of, and election to, Vice-president for Education, Lake Douglas; Vice-president for Communications, Haley Blakeman; and Vice-president for Government Affairs, Eugenia Martin. We also heard speeches from President-elect candidates Robert J. Golde and Shawn T. Kelly. I encourage all members in good standing to vote in the election for our next president before the deadline of June 2, 2017. The remainder of the meeting we discussed our SWOT analysis as we continue to update our strategic plan. I ranked the following as priorities in each category from lists generated by the membership:
Please list your choice of ASLA's top five strengths
environmental systems thinking; trained as generalists; ability to communicate both visually and graphically; make a difference in the world; synthesis complex issues
Please list your choice of ASLA's top five weaknesses
recruitment; diversity; public lacking knowledge; too quiet; advocacy
Please list your choice of ASLA's top five opportunities
global environmentalism; leadership in addressing climate change; social media; allied professionals working in union of LID issues; center for design and complete street demonstration project
Please list your choice of ASLA's top five threats
deregulation; project creep from allied professionals; lack of connection and synergy with academic programs; limited scope of practice in some states
Thanks for your support and please continue to bring to my attention matters of concern and opportunities to explore.