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Outgoing RAIC Intern rep to successor: “Keep building connections”

As the intern representative on the RAIC Board of Directors, Tyler Loewen, MRAIC, put his passion for supporting emerging professionals to work on a national level. Along the way, he gained career-enhancing skills and a broader understanding of critical issues facing the architecture profession in Canada.

“There’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes to ensure the profession stays healthy and successful,” says Loewen, whose term ends December 31. “All of us have a responsibility to help move the profession forward. For me, it offered a great opportunity to experience all facets of how the profession works.”

The RAIC is seeking a successor for Loewen and invites nominations for the position of Director representing Interns and Intern Architects. The term of office is three years, beginning January 1, 2018. The deadline for nominations is November 1, 2017.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Loewen aged 31, holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design and a Master of Architecture from the University of Manitoba. Before joining the RAIC board, he sat on the council at the Manitoba Association of Architects. Recently licensed, Loewen now works at an architecture firm in Boston.

 “My advice would be to go in with an open perspective, find the things that excite you and see how you can bring value to those things,” he says to those interested in applying for the position.

Among his achievements, Loewen feels fulfilled by helping to establish the RAIC Emerging Practitioners group, called the RAIC-EP, and advance its activities. These include webinars and continuing education sessions focused on issues faced by interns and other emerging practitioners as well as social and networking events.

“I wanted to continue my involvement in connecting Interns in Winnipeg yet broaden the scope to connect the national body of interns,” says Loewen. “We need to continue to build connections and resources using RAIC EP moving forward. The profession is aging, and there’s a whole slate of young talent who want to find their role and their place in how they see themselves practicing architecture.

“Also, my interest was to see how the different levels of the profession operate. I wanted at an early stage in my career to get a broad perspective of the profession, its intricacies, and the identity of Canadian architecture as I approached different opportunities and moved into the practice of architecture,” he says.

“One of the things I found interesting was the politics of policy or the politics of how to approach situations, how to connect with the right people, to ask the right questions. The tactics of how a board discusses and comes to a consensus agreement, I think, is the same that we as architects use with our consultants, stakeholders and the public to build consensus. Those are skills I have developed further by sitting on the board.”

On a personal level, Loewen remarks, it has developed his diplomatic skills. “I’m sometimes quick to offer an opinion,” he says. “I found myself more actively trying to stay impartial until I had heard varying perspectives. There would be a bunch of facets that didn’t come into my first take based on my own experience and exposure to the issue.”

The RAIC, he says, offers a platform for dialogue between interns and established professionals.

“Another thing that’s exciting for me is the Festival of Architecture,” he says. “The opportunity to bring everyone together and have informal conversations is priceless. It happens on multiple levels; with your peers and in conversations with individuals you admire who have been practicing for years and getting insight into their struggles and successes.

“I was very appreciative of the respect and care of my fellow board members, listening to the interns’ perspective on all issues,” he adds.  “The board has and continues to be supportive of the RAIC-EP and what we’re doing. I felt like a complete equal sitting around the table.”

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