Rick Koehler, AIA, Co-Founder, President, and then CEO of Architects Plus (now retired)

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

I have two accomplishments that I am proud of, while I was on the AIA Cincinnati Board. I designed and initiated the Title Sponsor program which effectively gave the Board recurring revenue each year that they could depend on to underwrite their ongoing efforts to support local AIA architects. This has continued to this day, and obviously the Sponsors feel that they are being well represented by our members.

The second accomplishment, in conjunction with Jeffrey Sackenheim, AIA, was locating the space for the Cincinnati Center for Architecture + Design. We also developed the financial model of incorporating the allied services to AIA (ASLA, ASID, IIDA and SEGD) to help supplement the rent structure. Those efforts spanned almost three years, but we got it done and now AIA Cincinnati has a space they can call their own.

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture and looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today?

With the advent of email and texting, I see younger architects struggling to actually make a phone call when it becomes necessary. Communication is extremely important in our business and certainly emails and texting have made that easier, but there are times when actually talking to the person you are emailing and texting becomes the smart move, and all too often that is overlooked in my opinion.

How has AIA membership benefited you?

By being a member of AIA, especially AIA Cincinnati, you have an instant group of like-minded people who are there to assist you in whatever way they can. I called on friends from time to time, and without fail, they always came through for me. It takes a very large organization and makes it manageable.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?

Push boundaries, even if it makes people somewhat uncomfortable at times. People do not like change, so it takes them time to get used to your new idea/concept/way of thinking before they will embrace it. Nonetheless, go for it!

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