Since May 2017, Grimm + Parker Architects has partnered with the AIA Potomac Valley Chapter to offer monthly First Tuesday Lunch & Learns via webinar. In September 2017, Torti Gallas + Partners joined in by offering monthly Last Wednesday Lunch & Learns via webinar. This innovative technology collaboration with the Chapter's two largest firms has brought more educational opportunities to all Chapter members. "Members in smaller offices or more remote locations that don't get regular vendor visits have really appreciated the wide range of CEU topics they've been able to learn about from their own desk, without the need to travel," said Pam Rich, AIA Potomac Valley Member Services Manager, who coordinates the program.


The webinar collaborations were prompted by declining attendance at in-person educational seminars, which cost time, money and organizational effort on the part of both the Chapter and the presenters. The online events eliminate the risk of no-shows for the presenter because they "piggyback" on in-office Lunch & Learns already taking place for the benefit of the sponsoring firm's associates. Because these firms have state-of-the-art videoconferencing and recording equipment in place to facilitate participation by their own satellite offices, it's easy for them to allow a dozen or more (depending on the firm’s resources) AIA members from outside their firms to participate and earn credits as well. With presenter consent, most webinars are recorded for later reference and archived in the Educational Video Library on our Chapter's website (please note that the recorded versions are not approved for on-demand credit).

"We're so grateful to Kendall Storm and Larry Curcio at Grimm + Parker (above left), and to Danny Ching and Omer Mushahwar at Torti Gallas (above right). Each pair has integrated the AIA Potomac Valley webinar component into one of their respective firms' Lunch & Learns each month," Rich said. "It takes some effort on their part: scheduling topics that will have wide appeal for that date, confirming the attendance of the outside participants and working with me to ensure that their CEUs are properly reported. These firms are doing the Chapter a real service and helping us provide a unique and valuable member benefit."

Rich added, "There are two weeks in the month with no regularly scheduled webinars, so we'd welcome other firms that have this capabilityand would like to support the Chapter to join the program!"

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