Executive snapshot: Randy Lavigne

Randy Lavigne, the executive director of the American Institute of Architects’ Las Vegas chapter is originally from Nashville, Tenn. With a background in marketing, she caught the attention of architects in Las Vegas while she was on vacation. She was asked to become AIA’s part-time executive director and took the job with plans to eventually return to Nashville. That was 20 years ago, and she said she’s still enjoying Las Vegas and her position as executive director.

Q. How does the American Institute of Architects work on legislative issues?

We are a professional organization for architects and design professionals. Part of what we do is monitor legislative issues and things that go on in the community that will impact how the community functions and how architects practice.

We have a lobbyist that works up in Carson City and over the years we have built really good relationships with all of our federal representatives as well. So if there is an issue that impacts architects’ practice, we can take the proper action. For instance, right now we are looking at (the fact that in) most public contracts there is a portion that deals with what is called the duty to defend that puts an unfair responsibility on the architect to pay defense costs no matter the cause of any legal action; but the architect can’t even get liability insurance that covers this. So we’re looking to say, “Let’s make this reasonable, let’s trim this back so that the full duty to defend doesn’t fall on the architect alone…”

The architect has liability for what he builds, and he carries that always, but to defend against anything that goes wrong with the client or any other person involved? That should not be the architects’ responsibility.

Q. What is it that is special about Las Vegas architecture versus other cities?

The first word that comes up is unique because we are a unique city. We operate on a different system. We’re a huge hospitality town and that does make a difference in how we function. The most recognized architecture here is entertainment-oriented.

But when you get out away from the Strip, we are a normal, absolutely American city with all the same kinds of needs as others — fire departments, churches, and hospitals and all of those things that have to be conceived and built to serve the public.

Las Vegas is unique in our basic economy and our basic functionality. I like that and I think the rest of the country doesn’t fully understand that. The image that is projected of our city is that we’re totally just a fun town but there’s a lot that goes behind that and when you boil it down, we’re very much an American city with all the same needs and concerns as anywhere else in this country.

Q. What are the primary legislative concerns to the AIA?

Most architecture firms are small businesses, particularly here in Nevada, so we’re particularly concerned about all legislation that impacts small businesses. There’s an issue with lien rights. The way the law is written now, if an architect isn’t paid for services they have no recourse until after construction is commenced. However, the architect has already provided full services.

Before you get to the construction phase, the architect has already invested his intellectual property and everything necessary for that project. If he’s not being paid, then he has to wait until construction starts and that could be two, three, four, five years or never. One of the issues is that we have to adjust that lien law so that architects have the right to protect themselves and collect for the services they have rendered.

Q. What are your thoughts on the growth, economics and stability in the industry?

I’m very encouraged this year by what has happened. We just came through probably the roughest recession that our industry has been through in many years. It has happened before; back in the ‘80s and before that as well. But this last recession — 2008, 2009, 2010 — the architectural community was down to 73 percent unemployed. It was devastated.

We are now on the way back up. A lot of the firms have changed the kinds of services they offer and their practices to accommodate that and we’re back on our way. A lot of our firms have expanded to other areas and now they have projects all across the country and internationally. I’m very optimistic.

Bellagio Conservatory transformed to celebrate Year of the Pig
The Bellagio Conservatory Team transformed the 14,000 square foot conservatory to commemorate Chinese New Year, the holiday that marks the end of the coldest days of winter. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Intro uses sound to connect people
Intro, a startup that is part of the Future Worlds Accelerator in the UK, has an app that uses ultrasonic sound to find people and companies nearby.
CES 2019 Video: CES wraps up another year
Time-lapse video of the action at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Create your own beauty products
Beauty Mix by BeautyByMe is a product that lets you create your own cosmetics and beauty products. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Picobrew’s home brew machine
Picobrew brings automation to homebrewing. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Surviving CES
What it's like to spend four days working the mammoth tech convention. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Haier’s smart home
Haier presented smart home technology at CES 2019.
CES 2019 VIDEO: Foldimate makes laundry day easy
Foldimate has created a machine that will fold your laundry for you. Just feed it anything you need folded and it will do the rest. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Opte device corrects skin spots
Opte from Proctor and Gamble is a device for correcting spots and freckles from skin. It analyzes the area for spots and then covers them with a serum of matching skin tone. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas unveiled
Derek Stevens reveals Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas. He plans open by the end of 2020. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa, new casino coming to Fremont Street
Casino owner Derek Stevens announces his new property Circa, coming to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dreenk My Oeno makes wine suggestions
At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the Dreenk My Oeno tells you all about wine.
Polaroid One Step Plus camera unveiled at CES 2019
Polaroid has moved into the digital age with its One Step Plus camera with Bluetooth. With the connected app, it turns your smartphone into a remote for the camera, along with filters and features.
Amazon is everywhere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Seemingly everything works with Amazon Alexa
LG Smart Mirror helps you dress snazzy
LG’s Smart Mirror is less of a mirror but more of an assistant to help get you looking snazzy. It takes your image and recommends clothes for you or matches existing clothes with new clothes, which can be purchased right from the mirror. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Underwater robots make waves at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Robosea is a company dedicated to underwater robotics. They produce consumer robots for underwater filming as well as commercial products which can be used for underwater research. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019 - Victrola record players spin in Las Vegas
A new spin on an old favorite, Victrola record players are meeting a demand for retro products. The brand is also making furnitures with built-in speakers.
CES 2019: Slamtec robots ready to serve
Slamtec is a robotics company out of China whose goal is to provide solutions for laser localization mapping and navigation. They have created two autonomous robots that can be used in areas such as bars, restaurants and malls. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mixologiq drink maker appears at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
This is the Mixologiq drink maker.
CES 2019: Veritable smart garden
Let’s face it; not all of us have green thumbs. And herbs are particularly difficult to grow, considering their constant need for sunshine. Enter the Veritable smart garden from Exky, which does it all for you. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas being sold to developer
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas is being sold to a developer, set to close in March. Bonnie Springs, west of Las Vegas off State Route 159 — next to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park — spans more than 60 acres and was on the market for $31 million. The developer and his project partner are under contract to buy the ranch and plan to chop it up mostly into custom-home lots. The plans includes a 25-room motel, a restaurant and a 5,400-square-foot event barn.
Bone-conduction headphones form Aftershokz
Aftershokz offers bone-conduction headphones - headphones that don’t go in the ear.
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Autonomous Cars and Futuristic Aircraft Rule CES
Day two of CES was dominated by autonomous cars and futuristic aircraft in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
TekNekSavr fights neck problems caused by smart phones
Atiya Syverson invented the TekNekSavr to help fight neck and head problems caused by strains while typing on smart phones. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New eyeglasses know if you fall and call for help
The French company Abeye has created eye glasses that will detect if the wearer falls and call for help. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Company that creates vibrator-like device claims genders bias against CES
Lora DiCarlo is a women-run start-up that creates a vibrator-like device designed for female pleasure called the Osé. This year they were awarded the CES Innovation Award in the Robotics and Drone Category, but a month later the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, rescinded the award and their booth. Haddock and her team believe it is a reflection of gender bias and sexism in an industry with a long history of male domination.
CES-Wagz has new pet products
Wagz has three new products to help create better lives for your pets in a digital world. One is a collar with LTE tracking and an HD camera. Also a smart pet door that only lets your pet in and out. Lastly, a device to humanely keep Fluffy out of certain areas of your home. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Varram lats you play with your pet remotely
Varram’s pet robot is designed to let you remotely interact with your real pet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES-Formlabs releases new products
Formlabs, a company that produces 3D printers for professionals, has released two new products that can be printed on their hardware. One is a material to print dentures, and the other is an elastic-like material that can be used for printing various flexible pieces. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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