Q&A with 2014-2015 NCARB President Dale McKinney

Amanda Pica

Amanda Pica

Manager, Marketing, NCARB

2014-2015 President/Chair of the Board Dale McKinney, FAIA, NCARB, reflects on his years of service for NCARB.

What did you focus on during your year as NCARB president?

First and foremost was appointing an internship titling task force chaired by last year's past president, Blake Dunn, to address whether or not we need to call interns, interns any longer or if we should come up with a new name. In the end, the task force recommended removing the term “intern” from NCARB’s Model Law and programs and not replacing it.

We also started discussions related to adding benefits to the NCARB Certificate. Those discussions will continue into the next fiscal year, but in February we made our Monograph and Mini-Monograph Series free for Certificate holders.

Why did you want to become a leader of the organization?

I was on the Internship Committee when it recommended that NCARB allow candidates early access to the exam before they'd finished IDP. It was a contentious discussion at the time, but it was something that needed to happen. It was overwhelmingly supported by the membership at the Annual Business Meeting when it was brought forward. That's really what got my juices flowing. As I moved on, I could see bigger and better opportunities—and it got to be fun.

What were some of the other pressing issues you worked on throughout your service?

I think being able to wrap our arms around change and understanding what it means for the organization. One of the most recent topics is the concept of the integrated path to licensure. The ability to integrate internship and examination during your collegiate time, and either have a license when you graduate or shortly after, will be a huge improvement. I’d also add all of the changes we've made to IDP, taking a realistic look at what the core requirements should be. Those are probably the big ones.

What did you find most rewarding about volunteering?

I think staying ahead of or catching up with the profession has been one of the top accomplishments during my service. Past President Ron Blitch was a big proponent of blue-sky thinking, and the Board of Directors has really embraced and carried on that approach to our discussions.

We recognized that NCARB hadn't changed much over the last several decades. It was an opportunity to really look at what we do and ask how we could do it differently. How can we keep pace with the changing environment, and how can we just take a step back and reevaluate every program we administer? I really liked being part of some of that change and movement forward.

What was your favorite committee to work on?

Probably the Internship Committee. It’s always been a priority in my office to see that those who were working for me received a valuable internship and were prepared for licensure. In 2004, my firm and another small firm in Sioux City, IA, decided to work together to train some of the interns in town. We succeeded in helping six people get through the internship program and get licensed. We were given the IDP Firm of the Year Award for our work. It was extremely rewarding.

I am pleased to say that I have three mentees—who I took from right out of school through to licensure—that are now CEOs in their own firms. I take a lot of pride in having helped them reach their career goals.

What areas of the licensure process did you enjoy learning more about?

Past President Andy Prescott appointed me years ago to the ARE Research and Development Subcommittee because my ARE involvement had been pretty limited. I attended three meetings with my mouth open, just in awe of some of the conceptual things that the committee members were dreaming up for the exam at the time. Now, with ARE 5.0, I'm going to see some of that become reality in the next year. I really think where we're going with 5.0 is going to allow us to do bigger and better things at a cost that still remains affordable to us and our candidates.

What areas or topics did you become more involved with when you became president?

The international discussions have been interesting. We had a couple of meetings with the European Union, a couple of meetings with Brazil, some really interesting discussions with Australia and New Zealand, and met with the Pacific Rim countries. All of those discussions are in the early stages and it will be interesting to see where they head.

Also, I enjoyed interacting with AIA and getting the two organizations to work closer together. We have different roles and responsibilities, but we can still work together for the betterment of the profession of architecture.

Did anyone encourage you to get more involved or mentor you during your service with NCARB?

Yes, he was a Member Board Member from Ohio named Gerry Hammond. He'd been on his licensing board for a long time. At regional meetings, I was the outspoken one, and I probably should have been quiet more often. But Gerry took me off to the side a couple of times and said, you need to continue doing this, you need to be the chair of a committee, you need to be a regional director, you need to work your way up, you have potential to do that. Unfortunately, Gerry died before he could watch me get there, but I am really grateful for his encouragement.

What’s next for you?

I am enjoying being back in the office. I think I can almost throw a dart to when I want to retire and slow down. Thanks to NCARB, we have a lot of friends across the country we would like to keep in touch with and visit.

I still plan to serve my local community—I am on the historic preservation commission and I serve on a board for a center that provides some much needed social programs in Sioux City. I will also stay in touch with NCARB. I am currently serving as the chair of the Ethics Task Force, and I look forward to seeing where our discussions go.

To learn more about Dale McKinney’s year as president, read the FY15 NCARB Annual Report and watch his address at the 2015 NCARB Annual Business Meeting.

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