Introducing Paul Preiss - CEO & Founder, IASA

A Conversation with Paul Preiss - CEO & Founder, IASA

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Seth Adler

What is IASA, and what is your role?

Iasa is the worlds most inclusive and comprehensive architecture professional body. It includes individual membership, chapters, corporate excellence, training, certification, events and much more. The vision of the association is to make architecture into the worlds greatest profession. Started in 2002 Iasa has accomplished a great deal, from the most comprehensive competency model and certification model for architects to building out a global community.

I am the CEO and founder of Iasa. My role is to help innovate and drive programs which are good for all architects everywhere. I balance between working on new programs for architects and leading a team of truly exceptional staff members to create a long-lasting professional body with programs in use by the worlds largest consulting, product and end user companies.


How has the pandemic affected your work?

Like most the pandemic created roadblocks to anything that depends on face to face meetings. This impacts our training, events and chapter activities. However, in the end it also highlighted how important good architecture is in organizations. This awareness is helping to drive growth in the architecture sector again.


What are its major initiatives for 2021?

2021 is actually a really big year for us. We are launching the ITABoK 3.0 this summer which is a major update. In addition we have developed the Corporate Excellence program which is a significant tool to develop and launch a practice based architecture organization in large companies including Architecture Led Consulting which has been very well received so far. We launched our new video interview series and podcast, The Architect and the BIL-T conference series. Finally we have created the Architect Academy with a complete set of courses for architects from entry to professional.


What AI trends do you expect to see in 2021?

That really depends on the bounding box of AI. I expect 2021 will be a growth year for AI but also will start to see some serious questions being faced. Some areas of AI will grow significantly, smart cloud, smart IT will help pave the way for smoother more frictionless development and delivery. I think we will see significant numbers of developers and architects begin to understand use cases and business cases where AI could be applied and will attempt to enhance serious numbers of processes with it with mixed results. The number of AI capable staff will remain low and there will be some disillusionment in some of these communities. Also ethical applications and the current lack of ethically driven techniques in the IT industry (not just related to AI) will make corporations hesitant to fully embrace the more powerful and robust elements of AI.


What has been your path?

That is a long and winding road with lots and lots of turns. From a degree in Japanese to chief architect of Dell in Pan Asia, to developing and architecture practice with a theoretical physicist. 19 years of shepharding, growing, discussing and building with architects from all over the world, has led to some very interesting stories for sure.


Was there anyone in particular who was instrumental in your career in technology, a mentor?

Early on the most influential people in my views of architecture were Cris Ross and Steve Demuth, CIO and Chief Architect at Mayo Clinic. At the time I worked for them in Minneapolis and I learned a lot. Angela Yochem, CDO of Novant, who I have had the pleasure of knowing for a long time has probably taught me the most about leadership and true passion for your people and your work. She is probably also one of the greatest architects I have known. Otherwise I really learn the most from the day in day out conversations I have with our members and thought-leaders. They are truly at the heart of what makes Iasa successful and it has been a lifetime of joy getting to know architects from all over the world… Hmmm I should also give a nod to Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Ursula Le Guin and all the other guilty pleasures I get from reading sci-fi authors.


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