• 04/16/2021 11:05 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Every year, ACRA co-hosts an expo for students with CRM firms from all over the country at the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Annual Meeting. The SAA meeting may be fully online, but the CRM Expo is still happening! 

    Join us TOMORROW, Saturday, April 17 at from 1:00 - 3:00 pm EDT for the annual CRM Expo. Attendees will learn all about how to get a job in CRM, what to expect when searching, and what your first job in the industry will likely entail.

    Attendees will also get to meet with potential employers and have the chance to ask questions. We hope to see you there, and SHARE this post to spread the word!

  • 04/14/2021 4:41 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Want to become a leader in the CRM industry? Becoming a member of ACRA's Board of Directors is one of the best ways do so, and time is running out to submit your candidacy!

    This year there are 5 Executive Committee positions up for election. Joining the Executive Committee puts you and your firm in the best seat possible to make a difference in ACRA and the industry at large. Now is your chance to get a seat at the table!

    Firms that wish to submit employees as candidates for the Board must do so by next Friday, April 23. Positions that are up for election in 2021 are:

    • President-Elect (President 2023-2025)
    • Vice President – Membership
    • Vice President – Diversity
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • 3 At-Large Seats

    If you are interested in any of these positions (even if you aren't willing to commit to running immediately), please contact Kim Redman for more information. Do so ASAP - only just over a week remains to get nominations in!

  • 04/12/2021 11:23 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

    Even though Congress has been out of town the last two weeks for its Easter Recess, Washington has been abuzz reviewing and analyzing President Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan. The proposal, which Biden announced in late March, seeks to provide $650 billion for transportation infrastructure, $600 billion for housing and manufacturing, and $400 billion for home care for the elderly and the disabled and other investments. The plan would be paid for by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

    The plan engendered almost immediate opposition from Congressional Republicans, who charged that little of it was actually for traditional infrastructure and that it raised taxes too much. Some progressive Democrats, meanwhile, said the plan did not go far enough.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told her Democratic colleagues she wants the plan to pass the House by July 4. Although Democrats hold the majority in the House, it is a very slim one, made even slimmer last week with the passing of Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) from pancreatic cancer. With three other reliably Democratic seats empty because their holders joined the Biden administration, Democrats have a razor-thin 218-213 majority. To make matters more complicated, three Democrats announced they would not support the bill unless it allowed taxpayers to deduct more of their state and local taxes on their federal returns – a top priority for states and communities with higher tax burdens.

    As challenging as the math is in the House, getting Biden’s plan through the Senate will be even more difficult. With a 50-50 split, Democrats will either have to find at least 10 Republicans to support ending a filibuster; end the filibuster entirely; or use reconciliation, the same procedure employed for the COVID relief package that requires only 50 votes.

    Any chance of eliminating the filibuster all but evaporated last week when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reiterated his opposition to changing the rules in a Washington Post op-ed. Even getting 50 votes for the Biden plan may be impossible, as Manchin also expressed opposition to the tax increases in the bill. That leaves the third option: getting 10 Republicans to vote with Democrats to end a filibuster. To date, no Republicans have expressed support for the plan, but Biden said last week he is willing to negotiate with the GOP to find common ground.

    Even if Biden and Senate Democrats find 10 Republicans to go with them, the compromises needed to secure that support will almost undoubtedly result in a much smaller bill. That, in turn, could make it harder to pass the plan in the House, where progressive Democrats want a larger package. Threading the needle between a narrowly divided Congress will not be easy.

    Ironically, infrastructure is one of the areas where bipartisanship has traditionally been possible – and there are a lot of lawmakers on both sides who would like to see Congress pass legislation that fixed roads and bridges, makes the electrical grid more secure and provides increased access to broadband. And, as the country continues to struggle with pandemic-related economic woes, the job creation potential of such moves is significant. That goes for the CRM industry as well, which would undoubtedly benefit from increased investments in infrastructure.

    That is, as long as lawmakers ensure that projects comply with the National Historic Preservation Act. A number of bills have been introduced in Congress in recent months that would exempt a host of infrastructure projects from Section 106 requirements in the name of “regulatory streamlining.” Although these bills have little chance of passing, ACRA continues to make clear to Capitol Hill that Section 106 consultations do not waste time and money, but help balance the twin goals of improving infrastructure while respecting our nation’s heritage.

    Speaking of heritage, advocates for our National Parks received good news two weeks ago when the Interior Department announced it plans to invest $1.6 billion to the National Park System to address its maintenance backlog on a yearly basis. In particular, the funding will improve transportation and recreation infrastructure in public lands, which Interior has said will lead to roughly 18,800 jobs and contribute nearly $2 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.

    Meanwhile, the White House has taken steps to begin the process of funding the federal government in the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. On Friday, the Biden administration submitted its appropriations request for most federal agencies and programs. Biden's proposal seeks $1.52 trillion in spending, a 16-percent increase over the current fiscal year, with significant increases for education, health research and fighting climate change. It would increase the Interior Department's budget by 16% over the current fiscal year.

    For the CRM industry, ensuring full funding of the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) remains a top priority. Many state budgets have been depleted by the pandemic, even as the demands on State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (S/THPOs) have never been greater.

    ACRA is asking Congress to provide the full amount authorized by law for the fund, $150 million per year. Recognizing the immense economic and cultural value of historic preservation, Congress has increased funding for the HPF in recent years. Despite these increases, the investments have not kept up with rising demand as SHPO responsibilities have increased, new THPO offices are established, and competitive grant programs are created and expanded.

    Even if Congress and the White House can’t agree in a bigger infrastructure bill, the work of the preservation and cultural resource community continues. If you want to help lobby your elected federal officials for this funding, and for other policies that support CRM, click here.

  • 04/09/2021 5:13 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you missed yesterday webinar on digital marketing, it is now available on demand for you to watch on your own schedule!

    Marketing has moved online, and digital marketing includes far more than posts on social media. Few CRM firms, though, take full advantage of the effectiveness, targeting, and cost savings that digital marketing (DM) provides over more traditional methods.

    In yesterday's session, Dr. Christopher Dore went over a number of major digital marketing topics. Attendees learned where each of these can be most effectively used in in-bound and out-bound marketing and the stages of the CRM client buyer’s journey.

    As with the live session, this webinar is available to ACRA members at a discounted price. Members can get the discount code to access the presentation here.

    Watch A Digital Marketing Primer Now

  • 04/08/2021 12:16 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From Heritage Business International, L3C (HBI): 

    Heritage Business International, L3C (HBI) released the results of its U.S. and Canadian Heritage Office Managers’ Sentiment Survey for the first quarter of 2021 today. Each quarter, the survey asks office managers of organizations providing heritage services if their invoices will be less, the same, or more in the next quarter, in six months, and in a year. An index of 50 is the same, greater than 50 is growth, and less than 50 is contraction.

    At the U.S. national level, the next-quarter index is 55.2. In Canada it is an impressive 88.2, the highest in the history of the survey. Six-month and one-year indices are also provided in the report.

    “Office managers at heritage organizations forecast consistent and significant growth in invoicing over the next year” said Christopher Dore, Ph.D., a consultant and the survey manager at HBI. “This is consistent with the record backlogs reported in the environmental consulting industry. Managers will be challenged in hiring the necessary staff to convert this backlogged work into invoice dollars.”

    The full survey report that includes trends, regional data, historical data, and some state data may be purchased and downloaded on HBI’s web site: https://heritagebusiness.org/shop.

    Heritage Business International is an L3C social enterprise venture dedicated to helping heritage organizations increase their value, sustainability, and impact. The HBI Office Managers Quarterly Sentiment Survey for the U.S. began in the second quarter of 2017.

  • 04/05/2021 5:55 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP):

    The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) today released a report presenting the findings of the Leveraging Federal Historic Buildings Working Group, which spent the last year identifying ways to advance utilization of the nation’s historic federal buildings through outleasing.

    The Working Group focused on the leasing and use by nonfederal partners of federal historic buildings not needed in the near term by federal agencies, known as “outleasing.” The buildings that were the focus of this report are those that are included or eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

    The Working Group assessed the status of outleasing, identified obstacles to increased outleasing, and developed recommendations for overcoming those obstacles. The three major recommendations—foster interagency coordination and administrative efficiencies; expand marketing and education; and, incentivize outleasing policies—are each accompanied by a series of action items. The ACHP will carry out these items to implement the report’s recommendations in cooperation with federal and nonfederal preservation partners over the coming months. The report also highlights agency outleasing successes nationwide.

    “The ACHP’s Leveraging Federal Historic Buildings Working Group developed a blueprint for how the agency can assist federal agencies in making productive use of their underutilized historic buildings,” ACHP Vice Chairman Rick Gonzalez said. “Outleasing gives new life to these buildings, improving public access, contributing to local economies, and even transferring maintenance and capital improvement costs to partners in certain circumstances. This report serves to advance the ACHP’s larger mission of promoting the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of the nation’s diverse historic resources.”

    Former ACHP Chairman Aimee Jorjani established the Working Group in late 2019. It includes representatives from six key federal agencies that manage significant and complex property holdings (General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs [VA], and U.S. Postal Service) as well as leadership from two nonfederal preservation stakeholders (National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and National Trust for Historic Preservation), which are ACHP members.

    Accompanying the release of the report, Vice Chairman Gonzalez spoke with an agency representative and business leaders in the ACHP’s podcast Preservation Perspectives to highlight a successful public-private outleasing partnership at the VA Medical Center in Leavenworth, Kansas, where they have adaptively reused 38 buildings within a VA-owned National Historic Landmark.

    The ACHP encourages federal agencies that own such buildings, private entities that may benefit from leasing them, and any stakeholder interested in the use and retention of such buildings to read this report and support the recommended actions that will help facilitate the leasing of these important buildings.

    Go to the Leveraging Federal Historic Buildings web page to learn more.

  • 04/02/2021 10:11 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP):

    Revised National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations from the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) went into effect on September 14, 2020. While the relationship between NEPA and Section 106 reviews remains fundamentally the same, the ACHP developed this Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) flow chart in coordination with CEQ to serve as a reference for how the two reviews align. It includes updated NEPA citations and definitions of key terms in NEPA and Section 106.

    This chart serves as a supplement to NEPA and NHPA: A Handbook for Integrating NEPA and Section 106 (Handbook), jointly developed by CEQ and the ACHP in 2013. More thorough updates to the Handbook will be carried out in the future. For additional information on NEPA and Section 106 review integration, please visit the ACHP's website: https://www.achp.gov/integrating_nepa_106.

  • 04/01/2021 3:01 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    CRM Virtual Advocacy Week
    April 19-23

    ACRA members across the country will be meeting with their members of Congress during the week of April 19 to discuss the most pressing CRM issues. Will you join us?

    There is still time to sign up for CRM Virtual Advocacy Week, but you need to do so soon to participate! You won't even need to leave your desk - all meetings will be happening over video conference.

    ACRA will arrange your meetings and provide training beforehand. Meetings will be scheduled throughout the week to accommodate your schedule and those of congressional offices.

    Just because you can't make it to DC doesn't mean that you can't make an impact. ACRA needs time to get your meetings scheduled, so sign up now here before it is too late!

  • 03/31/2021 2:34 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Editor’s note: All of us at ACRA were sad to learn that Nellie Longsworth passed away recently. Nellie was a champion in the historic preservation field, and was an integral part of growing ACRA’s presence in Washington, D.C. Below is a message remembering Nellie written by some of ACRA’s co-founders: Chuck Niquette, Loretta Neumann, and Tom Wheaton. It is followed by an afterword from current ACRA President Nathan Boyless.

    Remembering Nellie Longsworth
    March 29, 1933 – March 1, 2021

    ACRA co-founder Loretta Neumann introduced Nellie Longsworth to ACRA at the first national conference in the Fall of 1995 in Washington, D.C. Nellie was the founder and executive director of Preservation Action (PA), a preservation advocacy group that worked with all branches of the federal government to promote historic preservation. Under Nellie’s leadership, PA’s support and efforts were critical to the passage of Rep. John Seiberling’s 1980 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which included so many important additions to the law. The Amendments, among other things, codified the federal historic preservation program, included the first specific programs addressing archaeology in the Act, included new authorizations to bolster state historic preservation programs and, again for the first time, include local communities through the certified local government programs.

    Congress enacted the first historic preservation tax credits in 1976, the first federal tax incentives for the rehabilitation of historic buildings. Nellie traveled to 20 cities in a two-month period, mobilizing grassroots support and securing revisions to make the tax-credit program even more effective. The bill would not have gotten out of the Conference Committee had Nellie not made a critical phone call to Rep. Seiberling. Nellie knew that Seiberling was close friends with Rep. Charles Vanik, the key subcommittee chairman on the House Ways & Means Committee who had jurisdiction over the bill in the House. As Nellie requested of him, Rep. Seiberling called “Charlie,” who didn’t know anything about historic preservation. In response, Rep. Vanik told Rep. Seiberling that if he (John) thought it was important to keep the tax act provision in the bill, they would—and they did. The House accepted the Senate-approved provisions. This is Nellie Longsworth at her best – Wonder Woman for the national historic preservation program!

    In 1992 she again coordinated efforts to enact the Amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act. In addition, she successfully lobbied for provisions to benefit archaeology and historic preservation in the transportation enhancements programs. Nellie and PA were also integral in the efforts to save the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) in 1995 – that effort led, of course, by ACRA with Loretta’s staff at CEHP Incorporated working on our behalf.

    A few years later, when Loretta sold her firm to work for President Clinton, Loretta recommended that ACRA engage Nellie as her replacement for our government relations specialist. Nellie proceeded to inaugurate a yearly meet-your-Washington-representative day (now CRM Day on the Hill), including helping members learn how to find offices in the Capitol – no small task!

    Nellie guided many members through the intricacies of how the federal government really works, and also provided members with a Washington update on preservation issues for our newsletter that was better than we had seen from other sources. She successfully fought off proposed changes that would have hobbled Section 106 in 2007 and led the efforts to add archaeology and historic preservation in the Conservation Reserve program of the USDA Farm Bill.

    The Society of Professional Archaeologists (SOPA) established the John F. Seiberling Award in 1986 in the name of Rep. Seiberling for his many legislative efforts in support of historic preservation. For SOPA, and now the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA), the award is intended to recognize significant and sustained efforts in the conservation of archeological resources by an individual or group. Seiberling himself received the first award, and Nellie was bestowed with the Seiberling Award in 2010.

    Loretta Neumann, John Seiberling and Nellie at a
    Preservation Action party at Loretta’s house around 1980

    Nellie also became a friend to many ACRA members, touching many lives within the historic preservation community and beyond. Many reported often running into people unrelated to ACRA who knew and had worked with her. She had contacts and life-long friends on both sides of the aisle, and by some unwritten rule we never really talked partisan politics. She was an indispensable addition to ACRA, and gave us a legitimacy at the national level that we might otherwise have lacked. ACRA would not be what it is today without Nellie’s guidance, and we are forever thankful for her efforts on behalf of the organization and the larger CRM community.

    Afterword by ACRA President Nathan Boyless

    While I never had the opportunity to meet Nellie Longsworth, her name and presence are felt every time we gather for the annual ACRA conference or for Board of Directors and Committee business. Her loss strikes at the heart of ACRA and will be felt for many years to come. Join us in celebrating her amazing life and passionate career as remembered by some founders and friends.

  • 03/29/2021 1:50 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

    As the country grapples with multiple emergencies, from the ongoing pandemic to a border crisis and two mass shootings, President Biden remains focused on a more longstanding challenge whose solution has eluded his predecessors: addressing the nation’s dilapidated infrastructure. For the CRM industry, the effort offers both opportunities and risks.

    The White House is preparing to unveil a massive legislative package that could spend as much as $4 trillion on infrastructure, while also addressing climate change and equity. Although the details of the plan are still not set, the plan could include hundreds of billions of dollars for projects to build or repair roads, bridges, rail lines, ports, electric vehicle charging stations, schools, energy efficient houses, schools, rural broadband and more.

    In addition to the physical infrastructure provisions, the plan could include a number of social programs, including universal pre-kindergarten, free community college, expanded childcare support and increased subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. To pay for the plan, the White House is considering a number of tax increases, including raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent and increasing taxes on wealthy investors, although Biden has pledged to not raise taxes on individuals earning under $400,000.

    What does this plan mean for the CRM industry? If the plan is enacted, it would lead to a sizable number of new projects subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, creating demand for CRM firms. However, the desire to “streamline” regulations could pose problems. Although there is no indication from the White House that the plan would try to exempt projects from Section 106, there are a number of bills before Congress to do just that, particularly for telecommunications and electrical grid projects. ACRA is making clear to policymakers that short-circuiting the Section 106 process does not save time or money, and threatens our nation’s heritage.

    Of course, all of this is moot if the plan cannot pass through Congress. With Democrats holding razor-thin margins in both the House and Senate, Biden has little room for error if he wants to gain support for his plan. To that end, there is talk of splitting the proposal into multiple parts, keeping the infrastructure provisions that may gain bipartisan support separate from the more contentious provisions around climate and social programs. But, as the Democrats-only COVID relief bill that was enacted a few weeks ago showed, getting the two parties to agree is not easy these days. Even if Senate Democrats try to jettison the filibuster, there is no guarantee they can win over the 50 votes they would need to approve legislation with the Vice President’s tiebreaking vote.

    That does not mean that bipartisanship is dead. Congress took steps on two important issues last week that impact businesses, including CRM firms. First, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation last week to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline from March 31 to May 31. Under the bill, the SBA also will have an additional month, until June 30, to process applications. The bill, which passed the House the week before, now goes to the President for his signature.

    Second, House members took the first steps to address an issue that has been a particular concern to CRM firms. The House Small Business Committee's Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure held a hearing last week on the impact of forgiven PPP loans on firms that seek contracts from federal agencies and state DOTs. Under federal rules, firms that have PPP loans forgiven need to credit the value of the loan back to agencies when they contract for projects, potentially leaving CRM firms in the position of losing money on government contracts. ACRA wrote to the Committee two weeks ago to raise concerns about the problem. 

    At the hearing, lawmakers from both parties expressed a desire to make sure that small businesses that received forgivable loans and contract with federal agencies and/or state DOTs are treated fairly, while ensuring that taxpayers still received good value. Committee members agreed to work on the issue.

    This issue is an example of how advocacy by ACRA and its members can have results. As Congress gets ready to discuss a major infrastructure bill and begin debating budget levels for the upcoming fiscal year, it’s more important than ever for CRM professionals to engage with their lawmakers.

    That’s why ACRA is holding its first-ever Virtual Advocacy Week April 19-23, where CRM professionals can meet via phone or Zoom with their elected representatives to talk about the issues of greatest importance to the industry, including support for Section 106, funding for the Historic Preservation Fund, and policies that help firms recover from the pandemic and economic crisis. ACRA will set up the meetings for you and provide all the information and support you need for a successful engagement.

    If you are interested in taking part in ACRA’s Virtual Advocacy Week, click here to register.

Become an ACRA member to get exclusive benefits including vendor discounts, premium access to online learning opportunities, and much more.

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