In response to national and regional advances in disaster preparedness, AIA South Dakota had begun to develop a Disaster Assistance Program by connecting with AIA National and other State components to create the protocols for our volunteer architects to respond in case of a major event (tornado, floods, forest fires, and winter storms) in our State. The first step in creating these protocols included charging the South Dakota AIA Past-Presidents Committee with finding an appropriate Disaster Coordinator to lead the charge with coordinating, developing and implementing these new protocols.
This committee has named Mr. Thomas Baffuto as our first AIA SD Disaster Coordinator to form a South Dakota AIA Disaster Response Team.
Thomas Baffuto, AIA, originally from New York City-Long Island area, attended and graduated from Montana State University Architecture School seeking new life adventures.
Over the course of 37 years, Mr. Baffuto became licensed in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. Co-founder of ARCHINETICS, Inc. in Montana, and is currently the Principal Architect/Owner of Baffuto Architecttura since 1998. A member in good standing of the American Institute of Architects since 1981, he is also a member of the U. S. Green Building Council National Council and the National Counsel of Architectural Registration Boards.
Mr. Baffuto, AIA has been involved with the AIA National, AIA Montana and AIA South Dakota. Specifically serving on the Board of Directors of South Dakota A.I.A. from 1997-2001, Secretary -Treasurer 2001-2003, President-Elect 2003-4, South Dakota A.I.A President 2004-5, and finally another term on the Board of Directors from 2005-2014, where he received a Special Award for Contributions to the Support for the Improvement to the South Dakota A.I.A.
In recent correspondence with Mr. Baffuto, he states,
“The aim is to set up with the assistance from the National AIA and other State components, to create the protocols for our volunteer architects to respond in case of a major event (tornado, floods, winter storms, aka Atlas) in our State. Ultimately, we will create and put in place a Disaster Assessment Plan and Procedures. Taking action during time of disaster is our highest call.
Getting involved with Disaster Assistance, our hope is to do the following:
Before the Event to get connected within the AIA, coordinated our local Chapter volunteers, develop relationships with State officials and build a broad geographic network of volunteers.
During the Event, to confirm State authority request, learn what certification and training required, protect our personal safety and professional liability, and compare SD Good Samaritan law-legislation.
After the Event, understand local recovery challenges and community needs, prevent the next hazard from becoming a disaster, renew our community to chose to repair, rebuild, retrofit or relocate.
Anytime, reduce risk by evaluating how vulnerable we are, participate local community planning and policy efforts to create a sustainable community. And get involved in our community regarding adoption, application and enforcement of building codes and standards.”
We look forward to the great work that that will comes from expertise of this Disaster Response Team to better serve and protect our communities in their time of need.
Allison Dvorak, AIA, CPHC, is a member of the AIA South Dakota Board of Directors, liaison to the Emerging Professionals and Communication committees, and an architect in Sioux Falls. She received her M.Arch from North Dakota State University and continues to develop her Master’s thesis of researching and implementing design theories focused on human centered design through speaking engagements, design practice, and one-on-one client education. Allison lives in Sioux Falls with her husband, son and daughter.