|Vaughn B. Rinner ASLA|
Vaughn B. Rinner ASLA
The recession of the past few years continues to be very challenging for our members and for ASLA. We are in the black. This tightening of our belts has offered opportunities to reassess programs. Rather than considering what the organization was doing before the recession, I believe we should continue to take a fresh look at what our members need now and to become even more flexible in recognizing opportunity and responding to challenges. Significant initiatives are under way, and increased membership and funding will allow existing and new initiatives to be more robust. Most important are:
Chapter and Member Support. There is a great need for more direct interaction between the chapters and national staff and leaders. Some of the greatest benefit to chapters is when members from the different states come together around an issue. Licensure, advocacy, and public awareness gatherings have had a great impact, spreading ideas. Budgets to provide for increased chapter and school visitation should also be expanded as funds become available.
Sustainable Practices. The work that ASLA and its partners have accomplished in the development of SITES has kept landscape architecture in the forefront of sustainable practices. It is important to continue to be leaders, and funding for our work in this area will need to be continued and increased to accomplish this goal.
Advocacy and Public Awareness. The ASLA advocacy program is one of our great strengths, and public awareness of our profession is constantly increasing. Continuing our advocacy efforts not only helps with funding for work that we do, but also increases our visibility. We need to continue to ramp up our assistance to advocacy at the state level.
Communication. We have vastly improved our communications, using electronic methods and social media to be more effective, as well as renewing LAM and getting it in front of more people. We need to continue to upgrade our technology and respond to opportunities.
We have been the strongest of organizations throughout the recession, and greater resources will help us to expand leadership as we move forward.
|Mark A. Focht, FASLA|
Mark A. Focht, FASLA
As the economy recovers, ASLA’s membership and financial resources will reverse trends of the past few years and grow again. Now is the time to plan for that growth. It is very important that the Society’s leaders thoughtfully evaluate options to determine how best to allocate increased resources.
Increases should reflect input from Society members, leaders, and staff. A starting point should be the Annual Operating Plan. Leaders and staff should also undertake a review of the Society’s employees, functions, and initiatives that were curtailed or eliminated since the beginning of the economic downturn. The results of this review will do much to inform decisions.
I believe it will be critically important to restore staff positions and capacities that have been eliminated or unfilled. The Society has a committed and hard-working staff, but they can only do so much. Increasing staff and growing their capacity will allow the Society to undertake a number of new and expanded initiatives. Relative to staff, reestablishing employee benefits that have been reduced or eliminated over the past several years should also be a priority. Washington, D.C., is a very competitive job market, and we need to retain our best employees.
Additionally, the Society should focus resources to:
- support chapters and the Chapter Presidents Council, including providing resources to enhance membership and leadership development programs
- increase visibility on Capitol Hill and continue to expand the Advocacy Network
- continue to build key media relationships and support the Public Awareness campaign
- maintain strong communications with all constituencies, allied professions, and organizations with shared interests
- defend licensure and support chapters’ advocacy efforts
- update and expand electronic communications
- support IFLA and ASLA’s international presence.
The Society’s leaders and staff need to proceed cautiously when deciding how to allocate additional resources. However, it is an exciting opportunity and one that would be welcomed after several years of difficult and impactful decisions.