STEVE TATGE, Architect, LEED® AP, DBIA Western Washington Chapter President

As DBIA NW Region President Brian Aske noted in his message in the Spring Newsletter, it’s an exciting time for design-build in each of our chapters and in the region as a whole. We continue to be one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, and the second-largest overall. I believe that the primary source of our strength as a region is our openness to learning from each other and a mindset that we can always apply that learning to improve how we do our work.

While the chapters foster this learning primarily through their education programs- monthly breakfasts with speakers on a variety of topics, for example; I believe we have barely scratched the service of what’s possible for learning at the region level. There are many owners and practitioners who are not yet ‘in the room’ and consequently may not be at the level of best practices, or even practicing design-build at all. One venue in recent years that has attempted to broaden this learning has been Washington State University’s Design-Build Forum, held each July in Pullman. This has been an important setting for the DB community to share ideas and discuss the many very real issues that can impact project teams and their successful delivery of projects. At this year’s forum, I floated the idea of a companion event on the West side of the mountains, alternating between Seattle and Portland, that would seek to bring additional owners and practitioners together to share their approaches and concerns. We may also look to increase DBIA’s presence at the Pullman event and have started that discussion with our Cougar colleagues. The inaugural West side conference is slated for the early spring, likely in Portland, and Oregon Chapter president Jon McGrew and I are already starting to bounce ideas back and forth. We’ll be reaching out to many in the coming months (looking at you, U of O / Portland State / OHSU / WWU / Bellevue College / City of Seattle and many, many more) to seek ideas and participation in what I think can be a powerful forum for getting us all to a ‘best practices’ level while still accommodating variety in DB delivery approaches.

I’m very excited by the potential of this event and how it can help us all raise our game. Doing projects well is hard work and avoiding mistakes that others have already made while adopting the practices that have led to success is critical for us all to get to a place where our projects are predictable, high-value, profitable, efficient, and yes, at least a little bit fun. I welcome your thoughts on all this and invite you to share them with me at