Chair's Message - June 2018

ASID Took On NeoCon

It is nearly impossible to describe the energy and excitement of NeoCon, the incredible industry trade show. As you walk south on N. Wells St. in Chicago and the massive 19-floor, 4,000,000 sq. ft. Merchandise Mart comes into view, your adrenaline begins to pump as you realize the task before you. It’s like conquering Everest, with a designer twist of course! When you enter, you become one with the crowd of tens of thousands of designers, all in search of the latest and greatest in interior design. This year, NeoCon celebrated its 50th anniversary. As the organization representing the full breadth of the interior design profession, ASID has an important presence at many annual design tradeshows, including NeoCon.

Here is my experience at NeoCon 50.

Sunday, June 10

  • Nudge Brunch – Sunday morning, ASID convened a small group of thought leaders to discuss the current landscape of design. I was proud to be part of a two-hour brunch led by ASID CEO Randy Fiser, Hon. FASID. The conversation evolved from a discussion of providing educational content for all specialties of design to our role in responding to humanitarian crises.

  • HiP Awards sponsored by Interior Design – This early evening event honors commercial Industry People and Innovative Products at NeoCon. As a long time subscriber to Interior Design, it was cool to meet much of the editorial and publishing staff of this design industry staple. I was able to congratulate many of the award winners and connect with several ASID Industry Partners to thank them for their support.


The Queue –

Prior to opening, I walked through the ASID immersive installation, “The Queue.” It took visitors through a sensory journey and challenged them to guess five different experiences through sound, smell, and lighting. OK, I was only able to get 4 out of 5 right! The Queue, designed by K&Co. for ASID, demonstrated the power designers have in creating experiences through the use of our senses.

Monday, June 11

  • ASID Illinois Chapter Luncheon – I was honored to be invited to deliver a few remarks at the Illinois Chapter Luncheon. We had a great turnout and it was a joy to meet and connect with ASID members.

  • Interior Design and International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) Health and Wellness Roundtable – Represented by Randy Fiser, ASID was honored to participate in a roundtable to discuss some of the major issues surrounding healthcare and overall health and wellness. ASID Design for Humanity Award Winner, Jane Rodhe, ASID, AIA, CHID, ACHA, LEED AP BD+C, GGA-EB, was a participant along with Sandy Gordon, FASID, LEED AP, and Kay Sargent, ASID, LEED AP. Learn more.

  • Herman Miller Launch of COSM – NeoCon is about people… and of course, the showrooms. While thanking industry partner Herman Miller for their support, ASID attended the launch of their new chair, COSM. So very cool to be there for the unveiling of COSM!

  • Humanscale After Party – Monday evening we attended a huge cocktail party hosted by our partner, Humanscale. A packed house of designers and industry professionals gathered to enjoy a cocktail and some delicious appetizers. Jon and team, you really know how to throw a party!

Tuesday, June 12


Keynote Address

The day began with the ASID sponsored keynote speaker Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED. It was an incredible presentation on the integration of technology and design. He focused on how technological advancements continue to change how we live, work, and play. I had the privilege of introducing Nick to the hundreds of attendees in the theater as well as to the group watching from the Grand Staircase.

  • Walking the Halls – This was a day for me to walk the floors and see what’s next in our industry. As I mentioned, NeoCon is about people as much as it’s about product. It was great to connect with a former college classmate who I hadn’t seen since we graduated from the University of Maryland in 1987. We hadn’t changed a bit – yeah right!

  • NeoCon 50 Future Is Party – This end of the day event brought some serious fun and networking outside the main entrance of The Mart. I talked with many colleagues and industry professionals about the continued integration and influence of design practices on workplace design, including hospitality and residential, which was so evident in many of the showrooms and displays at NeoCon.

Wednesday, June 13


ASID Career Exchange

On this final day, I participated in the ASID event focused on students. More than 50 students and recent grads connected with a variety of design professionals and industry representatives for one-on-one interviews, networking, and portfolio reviews. This incredible opportunity for students has been an annual ASID event at NeoCon.

  • The Journey Home – Lastly, and in typical O’Hare Airport fashion, I was stuck on the runway for an hour and a half after I boarded the plane! That delay gave me an unexpected opportunity to reflect back on my time in the Windy City. We came, we saw, we conquered The Mart and climbed the mountain that is NeoCon. Happy 50th NeoCon!


ASID has a lot to offer when we participate in industry events. Stay tuned to the ASID calendar to review more opportunities to attend and connect with ASID.
See upcoming events

I hope to see and meet you in a few weeks in D.C. at The Leadership Experience and Celebration.