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Chair's Message - December/January 2019

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

A few weeks ago, I visited the ASID headquarters office in Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings. You know the office – the first WELL Platinum and LEED Platinum space in the world. It is a constant reminder of the power and impact of design. As designers, we often must communicate that significant portions of our work, and benefits thereof, are aspects of a project you cannot see. In the ASID office, I was benefiting from the air quality, the circadian lighting, the biophlic design elements and of course, the healthy snacks! All attributes valuable to my well-being, but not immediately apparent.

As I sat in the ASID headquarters in our nation’s capital, I was reminded that much of our advocacy work is the same – the benefits are not always obvious.

ASID is constantly advocating on behalf of the interior design profession and our businesses, with positions on issues at the federal and state levels. One of our most important battles happens at the state level and involves the recognition of the interior design profession through support of licensure, registration, and certification. In some states, we are actively proposing and supporting legislation that provides interior designers with the rights we need to fully execute our jobs and protect the health and welfare of the individuals within the spaces we design. In other states, ASID is combating efforts to deregulate established laws that recognize interior designers through licensure, registration, and certification.

I have experienced this first-hand in one of the states where I practice, Tennessee. In the 90s, a Title Act was passed and we’ve been working toward a Practice Act. The journey has been a long one for many of us. However, the leadership ASID has provided coupled with the relentless energy of our members is creating sea change that has taken root and will benefit our profession for generations to come. Unless you are directly involved in the day-to-day grind that is government affairs, you may not be aware of the benefits of daily advocacy work.

Here is a quick list of states where we are actively engaged in government affairs efforts that benefit interior designers.

  • 1. North Carolina
  • 2. Ohio
  • 3. New Mexico
  • 4. Alaska
  • 5. Wisconsin
  • 6. Florida
  • 7. Louisiana
  • 8. Virginia
  • 9. Nevada
  • 10. Massachusetts
  • 11. Utah
  • 12. Georgia
  • 13. New York
  • 14. Pennsylvania

ASID is not working alone in these efforts. On advocacy-related issues, we have partnered with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and also collaborate with non-affiliated designers. We engage the local community to help support legislation that enables them to practice and prosper in their chosen profession. These are some of the most passionate and committed designers I have encountered during my many years with ASID. You can get involved on the local level, too. Sign up to receive alerts concerning government action that impacts your business.

The ASID impact extends far beyond the state level. Led by our Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, Bryan Soukup, Esq., we have been involved in and have taken stances on building codes, taxation issues, accessibility policies, energy efficiency standards, and even tariffs. We have already begun to see the impacts of tariffs on our industry, and ASID is bringing this issue to the attention of our elected officials.

I can certainly understand reluctant responses when we ask our members to get involved in advocacy work – especially if they’re apolitical. However, as design professionals, we can’t afford not to get involved in the advocacy that impacts our profession and businesses.

We can all participate in the defense and advancement of interior design. Even if we are not aware of the work that is happening, the advocacy efforts of ASID are lifting the entire profession.

I’ll reach out with the next Chair’s Message in March, about the time the mountain wildflowers start to wake up in the Appalachians.