Posted on Feb 26, 2019
President Steven Utroska presided over today’s meeting. Marc McMillian gave today’s invocation. Michaela Harper led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Mark Killingsworth and Shane Germany who served as our greeters today.
Brandon Hodges thanked those who helped with today’s meeting. There were no visiting Rotarians and no guests.
Steven encouraged members, especially newer members, to sign up for the Rotary/Christian Services Meals on Wheels program. Two volunteers are needed every Thursday throughout the year. He also noted that we need volunteers each week to help with the meetings. You can sign up to help via the club’s website. He also noted that new committees will be announced soon. Newer members are encouraged to get involved in one or more of the committees. If you have a good speaker recommendation, please let Steven know.
Shane Germany then introduced today’s guest speaker, Amber Lombardo, Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects in Mississippi. Amber says Architects do more than just design buildings. They believe that community planning is an important part of what they do, and they also believe that consequences matter the most. She used the Mid-Town project in Jackson as a good example of community planning. The Architect firm involved in the project brought together the residents, government and civic leaders and other stakeholders. They re-developed a community designed to restore safety, security and a sense of community.
The AIA National was founded in 1879. Its primary mission is to create more valuable, healthy, secure, stainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. There are 309 AIA Mississippi members, however, there are 1,879 licensed Architects in the state. Less than 20% of those reside in the state. They are helping to create a part of the state’s brain drain, according to Amber. Mississippi ranks 50th in tech wages and we have the lowest population growth of any other state in the union.
To combat that, developed a project utilizing the Boy Scouts to help promote community restoration projects. The program was recognized nationally. Congress has been convinced to continue funding for the National Heritage Trust which helps offset the costs of these community restoration projects.
Statewide the AIA of Mississippi continues to try and get Good Samaritan legislation passed which will protect Architects from legal liability when they volunteer to help in natural disasters. Mississippi is one of 18 states that does not provide that protection.
Amber noted that the 48th Annual AIA Mississippi convention is scheduled for Biloxi in September 2019. If you’d like to learn more about AIA Mississippi you can call Amber at 601-360-0082 or email her at
Steven thanked our speaker and then adjourned the meeting with our motto, Service Above Self.