Wisconsin Chapter ASID Design Gala  - March 21, 2019

President’s Message- Bill Beaudreau, ASID President, Wisconsin Chapter of ASID

Good evening. Welcome and welcome back to many of you. It is my privilege, as a member of the Wisconsin chapter of ASID, to be here this evening to once again celebrate the accomplishments, incredible talent and all that you bring to this profession of interior design. How many here are returning guests tonight? How many are first time guests?  Again, welcome!

I want to take a moment to set a framework for the award winning projects we are about to see. That is, we are part of an amazing world of expertise, rigor, and passion aimed at impacting and improving the human experience. The work of an interior designer, an educator, representatives who share products and services with us, manufacturers, researchers and consultants, all contribute to the creation of place.

That means home, a place for health care, your favorite restaurant, an assisted living facility, a community library, the office, a place of worship, a place of learning and more.

At a recent conference, I learned from Liz Ogbu of Studio O, about stories and the human experience. How our deepest connections and the creation of community occurs in physical space.  How elevating the stories of the underserved through spatial justice can occur in physical space.  How human life, from the youngest to the oldest, and in the realm of the physiological, the emotional, the spiritual, or the psychological, is impacted by physical space.  This is human experience.

So let’s take it a step further by legally recognizing interior designers in the state of Wisconsin through government legislation so we can practice to our fullest ability.   

Let me explain a little bit more. The interior design profession, as we know it today, is actually less than 100 years old and continues to evolve.  As professional interior designers, many of us work on projects where the public’s safety, health and well-being is at stake. Not only do we design beautifully crafted and functional interiors, we conform to fire and emergency safety codes, ADA guidelines, prepare construction documents and manage projects.

For the past 2 years, interior designers and our allies in this state have been advocating for this legal recognition to move beyond the current title act. Both ASID and IIDA have been at the table fighting for our right as interior designers to practice as design professionals.  To this end, we believe this legal recognition will create equality of entry into the marketplace, Encourage lower construction costs, and Promote positive growth in interior design jobs, small businesses and partner industries. 

This is what we can do to make a difference. Legislators and their staff really don’t know about us. My conversations and stories have told them how I just don’t whip it together….like on HGTV…but instead ask unbiased questions, consider behavior patterns, materials, and lighting, and use codes, all in documented form to create complete interiors. My advocacy mentors shared with me the importance of repeatedly telling the story for this important ‘ask’. That means talking to and emailing legislators AND their staff, more than once, attending events, and not being afraid to simply share the importance of what we do.

I ask for your help to advocate for this legal recognition.  You can learn more at the chapter website under the Resources tab and…you can join us at this year’s Day at the Capitol in June.

Understanding that we are all connected as design professionals, the chapter in 2014 started a new approach of assembling a diverse pool of jurors from across the nation. I want to acknowledge their time and contributions as they were a tough group that pored over the project statements and dove into the details. But I also want to help us understand the depth of our professionalism and know that we make a difference.  Notice some of the comments…

….remarked on the diversity of chapter projects

…the work was very high quality – lots of interesting ideas and high impact spaces

…Wisconsin did not fit their preconceived idea or stereotype of our state

This is a testament of what we’ve achieved here.

It is now my pleasure to share with you a special moment of recognition. But first, I thought I would start with a little bit of a glimpse into the past. By the calculations and checking with a long term member, we as a chapter have been recognizing members for exemplary projects for 40+ years.

The predecessor organizations, (AID), the American Institute of Interior Designers and (NSID) the National Society of Interior Designers had already begun this practice of recognition before the merger of these two groups into ASID in 1975.

As you can see from the images I am sharing, and these are only from the 21st century, this event is focused on people and the celebration of their accomplishments.  Through a process that continues to examine and refresh in conjunction with dedicated volunteer members, this Design Gala….has evolved to become one of the best in the whole of the nation.

The chapter itself bestows upon certain individuals its highest honor called The Crystal Star Award. It recognizes significant and long term contributions to the chapter. Per the guidelines, ‘nominees must have substantial service to the Chapter including chapter enrichment, enhancement, and/or development at the local and state levels.’

During my first term as president starting in 2010, Carole and Jim stepped up and said…we’ll lead the Design Gala committee. Since then, over the course of multiple years, they’ve co-chaired the committee that produces this event.  Strings of meeting, so many emails and phone calls, coordination of details, and one time, even a venue change 5 weeks before the event….the lawyers said ‘no’ to a contract after months of negotiations…very little deters these two. Their incredible spirit, leadership and complete dedication to the profession led the board to grant the Crystal Star Award to Carole Syse and Jim Olson.  Congratulations!

Here we are at the thank you. Without all of you, whether you’re an ASID member, a student as the future of this profession, one of the incredible sponsors who dedicates themselves to this organization year after year, a guest, and finally if you serve on the Gala committee or the Board of Directors as adedicated volunteer who takes many hours of your time to help create the success of this chapter, it is time to turn to the people you know and say thank you.

With gratitude, I say… Thank you and enjoy the rest of your evening!