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  • Joe Cangelosi

Hope to see you at A’22


My Talk at A’22

This year I have the great honor of speaking at the American Institute of Architects’ (better known as the AIA) Conference on Architecture (better known as A’22).
I’m giving a talk on maximizing the value of time spent in a design firm, and while I’ll be presenting to the world’s largest gathering of architects, the lessons I hope to provide are relevant for most creative service businesses. The talk is centered around evaluating the inherent value of tasks, deciding which merit human attention and how to automate or obviate the rest.

I hope to empower design leaders to:

Apply “big-picture” thinking about their operations.
Recognize low-value processes and develop strategies to replace or eliminate them.
Choose and optimize 21st century tools that work for their needs and avoid falling victim to marketing hype.
Put people at the center of the change process when transitioning systems and tools.
Measure rescued capacity and apply it for the benefit of the firm.

I’ve written and spoken about this topic before including in our recent whitepaper on automation, and when I saw the A’22 call for speakers I realized this was a chance to put together a practical workshop on techniques I learned and developed over my career in creative service operations.

Why I’m Speaking at A’22


Anyone who knows me is aware of my feelings about design and designers: I believe that whether intentional or unintentional, the difference between wilderness and civilization is design, and by extension designers, architects and engineers define our civilization and even our society through their valuable creative and technical work.


I love designers. I started out my career wanting to be a designer and I quickly learned that I was not equipped with the visual or conceptual DNA required to be a real designer. Instead I became a systems engineer, working closely with designers, some of whom I wanted to murder, some I revered, but all I respected. Later, I went into management and operations where I collaborated with designers and even had the privilege to occasionally select and hire them. My whole professional life has been spent in symbiosis with creative people and the design profession.


Over the years I’ve seen new and mature creative firms struggle with administrative and organizational challenges: technology, finance, compliance, you name it. I started Tee Lex to help solve these challenges and I created this talk and workshop to arm creative leaders with the tools to change their businesses for the better and empower their teams to do their best work.


What being at A’22 Means to me


I grew up near Philadelphia in the 1980’s with an architecture scandal on the nightly news: in a city famous for some of the oldest Federalist and Georgian buildings in the country, a modern steel-and-glass building called One Liberty Place designed by the late Helmut Jahn was being built. And if that wasn’t enough, it was going to be taller than the statue of William Penn on top of city hall, the first building to be so tall!


I didn’t realize it at the time but this focus on the built environment would make me into an architecture nut. As I went through the world, I would marvel at how buildings interacted with plazas, with roads and waterways, slowly coming to understand the distinct but crucial role of the designer, architect, engineer and planner.


Having the opportunity to give back, even in the most minute way, to this noble profession is, for me, at once humbling and exhilarating. I am stoked to be presenting at AIA.

About AIA A’22

Founded as the American Institute of Architects, the AIA is now a global organization with over 94,000 members. From their website:

We advocate for the value of architecture and give architects the resources they need to do their best work. Our work drives positive change through the power of design.

I love that! They have also been a leading force for sustainability and equity in the building professions, and area where, IMHO, much leadership is needed.

Their annual Conference on Architecture (which they claim is the largest meeting of architects in the world), is back in Chicago after a two-year Covid hiatus. In addition to hundreds of hours of lectures and seminars, there are 160,000 square feet of Expo and a slew of offsite architectural events.

I’ll be in Chicago 21-25 June to max out the experience. If you’re going to be at AIA drop me line; let’s meet for coffee and talk about your studio joe@teelexinc.com