John Held, New ACA National President

John Held , 21 September 2018

John Held, long-time ACA – SA President, is the new ACA National President. He introduces himself and plans for the future.

I am pleased to take on the role of ACA National President, following Kieran Wong’s decision to step down. This has led to a number of changes in the National Executive Committee. Agi Sterling (NSW President) is now also National Vice President and Robert Wesener has taken on the role of National Treasurer. Robert is the new Queensland President, replacing Mark Williams in both roles. We also welcome Malcolm Jones as new WA President.

I’d like to thank Kieran for his contribution to the next phase in the life of the ACA, and Mark Williams for his steady hand as Treasurer. We have a new strategic plan, enthusiastic committees and support from a committed team of executive officers, editors and coordinators. The ACA is well positioned to address the opportunities and challenges facing our profession, and we trust that many members will join us in this endeavour.

A brief introduction to those who don’t know me: I am President of ACA – SA and co-director of Russell and Yelland, a small to medium architectural firm in Adelaide undertaking mainly education, health and social housing projects.

I’ve been involved with ACA for many years. I have been SA President since 2011 and later also took on the role of National Vice President. Through the ACA I have become active in many other organisations, such as the Australian Construction Industry Forum, and have worked hard to advocate for architects to government and industry bodies at state and national level. At ACA – SA we also seek to build and strengthen relationships with other sectors of the built environment professions through our round table discussions, and to help support people in varied roles and career stages through initiatives such as the Practice Managers Group and the Keith Neighbour Study Group. I bring these commitments to advocacy, mentoring and community building to the National Executive Committee, and look forward to continuing these efforts in the new role of National President.

It’s clear the whole construction industry has many challenges, and my hope is that architects can be at the forefront of solving some of the issues confronting it, such as improving quality, safety and design.

Managing an architectural firm can be a complex and sometimes frustrating occupation. The ACA not only provides resources, education and representation on business and industrial matters, but a way to meet, share and discuss issues with our peers. They may be our fiercest competitors, but they are still happy to share information and experience, and we can work together to improve our businesses and the quality of the architecture we produce. We must also aim to be exemplar employers to attract and train the next generation of architects.

Five years ago I visited every state to talk to ACA members and other professionals about ACA’s future as we prepared our first strategic plan. Since then, we’ve achieved many things, providing education, tools, resources and support for the business of architecture. I’d like to do the same thing again over the next year, to ensure ACA is meeting your needs. In the meantime I’d appreciate feedback on what we should be doing to help you and how we can help each other improve the business of architecture.




For more from John Held on the issues and opportunities facing the profession

Step Up, Don’t Step Back

Research in Practice

Building Confidence: The Shergold-Weir Report and its Implications for Architects and Building Confidence: Shergold Weir Report Update

The Gap Between Authority and Expertise – BIM and Government Procurement

Do We Need a Construction Happiness Index?

I’ve Looked at Clouds From Both Sides Now …

Deskilling and Reskilling