17 Aug Past President Profile: Michael Mauch
Michael R. Mauch, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal, RWA Architects, Inc.
Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?
I was President in 2009. Firms were laying off in mass. The market had just crashed and AIA Cincinnati lost about 20% of its members. Many Architects were out of a job wondering what to do. I knew my year wasn’t about me, it was about them. Keeping the Chapter members who were left engaged through their committee work by empowering the Chairs of those committees to lead, gave those members who remained something to focus on. My most proud accomplishment was being able to encourage and support those young leaders to lead their committees during one of the Chapter’s darkest hours and come out on the other side. I was quite proud of those folks and what they accomplished keeping the Chapter engaged. Many of those Chairs went on to become leaders on the Board.
In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture?
How we convey information and the medium used is the biggest change since I started in this profession. I started out in school with bum wad. On co-op I started out using lead on vellum. Press type. And 2080 Xerox copies. Then it went to ink on mylar. With LeRoy lettering. Then plastic lead on mylar. Then pin bar. Then digitizing. Then came the Apple computer and digital 2-D drafting. Then 3-D modeling. Now virtual reality. I am currently waiting for my brain chip.
Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today?
There are many but the one that worries me the most is the challenge of holding on to our slice of the pie. Everyday, some other group or organization is trying to take away our piece of the pie in the design process. Our relevance and value is slowly being eroded away and Architects seem to be too passive to resist.
How has AIA membership benefited you?
I have benefitted tremendously in being an AIA member by giving me the opportunity to meet so many talented people across the country. And I mean really good people, great Architects. It seemed the more I got involved in AIA, especially through the AIA’s Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), the more I grew as an Architect and as a person. The benefit wasn’t about getting more work, it was about being better. I like to say that the AIA doesn’t make you an Architect, the AIA makes you a better Architect.
What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?
It is simple really. Get licensed as soon as you can. Licensure is not the end, it is the beginning. Get involved in the profession you made a choice to be in. Get engaged with your Chapter.