Kickstarting Your Architecture Career with Alex Alaimo

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On today’s episode of Young Architect, Michael talked to his friend and architect, Alex Alaimo, about the importance of growing your professional network early on in your career. Discover why it’s so important to join extracurricular activities and organizations to not only help grow your career, but your community as well.

You can also listen to this podcast on YouTube by clicking here! 

Architect Alex Alaimo

Alex first became aware of the world of architecture when he won a free American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) membership in a raffle while attending Roger Williams University. However, he didn’t realize the potential he had to become an architect until he transferred to the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and became more involved in AIAS.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the USA in 2012, Alex and several colleagues took the initiative to help restore New York City through Operation Resilient Long Island. This experience led Alex to realize that even architect students or young professionals have the capability to do amazing work and grow their network by getting involved with extracurricular activities, projects, and organizations.

Today, Alex continues to advocate the importance of students becoming more involved in different opportunities to expand their careers. By writing articles as well as attending and presenting at both conferences and forums, Alex is highlighting the potential that he sees in the new generation of architects. As Co-Chair of the Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) organization, he’s helping young architects begin something amazing their careers.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode

  • How Alex became involved in developing the AIAS chapter at NYIT.
  • Alex’s personal successes with AIAS and his ability to network in New York City.
  • How Alex and Operation Resilient Long Island were able to help New York City when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012.
  • What you can do during your free time when the 9-5 work day is done and why you should value that time.
  • You will make the best connections when you’re open to meeting people.
  • Alex’s experience participating and leading different extracurricular organizations and ARE workshops.
  • What Alex is doing as part of the National Associates Committee (NAC).
  • How Alex is helping to transform the AIA for the future for young architects.
  • Alex’s involvement with AIA NAC and helping people on a higher level.
  • Why it’s so beneficial to network and make connections with people while you’re still in school.
  • How younger generations need to step up and take on new leadership roles.

Key Takeaways From This Episode with Alex Alaimo

  • You don’t have to be a fully licensed architect in your community to make a difference. Alex and his AIAS chapter at NYIT took the initiative to help rebuild Long Island after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 with Operation Resilient Long Island. Volunteering and taking part in extracurricular activities can help make a difference in the world and how you start your architect career.
  • You have to value your personal time. If you work overtime, but you’re not even being paid for those hours, then stop. The time that is available to you is important. Especially during the first 5 years of your career, you should value your free time and take advantage of new opportunities. You should be focusing on developing yourself and making connections with other people by taking part in extracurricular activities or attending events.
  • Network and find a team with a wide variety of interests when you’re young and just beginning you career. You don’t even have to wait till you’ve graduated. Join an organization or attend events and conferences. The earlier, the better because as you grow older, there will be fewer opportunities to meet new people.

Alex Alaimo’s Advice for Aspiring Architects

“Value and make the most out of your early career. That’s so critical. If you spend your nights at work, you’re basically going to miss that opportunity.”

Favorite Quotes

“Finding the right team of people who have the same interests is so important. What’s even more important is that everyone should try to find those people early on in their career because those opportunities are less frequent as you go through life.” – Alex Alaimo on the importance of networking and meeting new people

 “It’s just a matter of time, but we need to get the younger generation to take on leadership roles and get the skills they need to successfully take over the next phase of their profession. This is the challenge that we are faced with because of the gap between generations.” – Alex Alaimo on the differences between generations in the architecture workforce.

 “There’s nothing between you and what you think is preventing you from getting to the next level. There’s nothing between older and younger generations. There may be experience, connections, and business, but all of that will happen over time to younger generations.” – Alex Alaimo on younger and older generations.

 “Don’t be afraid to just ask to talk someone and ask questions. Just say, “Hey, I want to come down to your firm and talk with you for an hour.” They’re more than likely to say “yes.” – Alex Alaimo on connecting with experienced architect professionas.

Resources Mentioned in the Show

About the author

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect who lives in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever. He is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. In his free time, Michael likes to take very long bicycle rides across America. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.


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