Tag Archives: IIDA

Q&A with Casey Potash: President, IIDA Southwest

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 2.37.17 PMQ:  Are IIDA Southwest members seeing a trend in a certain type of commercial design?

A: Although this trend has been happening nationally for quite some time, environmentally friendly design is definitely becoming more prevalent in the Southwest. There are more readily available eco-friendly products and clients are starting to embrace the benefits of designing with the environment in mind. Another trend, due to the economic downturn we have experienced, is that designers are definitely getting more creative on a tight budget. Clients have not necessarily reduced their expectations, and they still want to have the same “wow” factor, but they want that with a more conservative budget.

Q: What challenge or challenges are IIDA Southwest members facing, and what challenges do you see them facing in the future?

A: The biggest challenge the local design community is currently facing is stress as a result of the economic downturn. There are many designers that are still in search of job opportunities, and those who fortunately have not lost their jobs are suffering through various other effects of downsizing and are typically experiencing larger workloads. There are definitely signs of improvement, and we are a very tight knit group within the Southwest Chapter. We try to help our members in any way we can with networking, continuing education, and professional development opportunities. We also continually advertise job postings, as we hear about them, in our email blasts. I think the biggest challenge our community will have in the future is the loss of talented and experienced designers who have either moved out of state where the economy has improved more quickly or have moved on to new ventures in their life.

Q: Describe IIDA Southwest activities and share who is involved?

A:  IIDA Southwest is run by a chapter board comprised of volunteers, and our events are coordinated and planned by another group of volunteers. We have won many international awards for the success of our chapter, and this would not be possible without countless hours of dedication from these volunteers and the generosity of our sponsors. Our chapter includes four City Centers:  Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque. We have major chapter events, including the PRIDE Awards (Professional Recognition of Interior Design Excellence) in the spring, a trade fair/networking event in the fall, as well as rotating winter events, which include Couture (a fashion show where the fashion is derived from commercial building products and materials) and Connect4 (a philanthropic event that happens simultaneously in all four City Centers).

Q: The future of a group such as IIDA relies on the education and training of young designers. How does the Southwest Chapter reach out to students?

A: The students are the future of our chapter and industry, and we place a great deal of attention that is specifically targeted to help develop them into the professionals we need to have emerging from our local colleges and universities. We have a VP of student affairs, a director of student affairs, and a committee within the chapter that reaches out to students on a regular basis for design critique sessions. They also plan exciting networking and educational activities tailored to the needs they have. We have special student pricing for all of our chapter and City Center events, so they have more opportunities to meet with design professionals outside of our student oriented events.

Q:  Why is it important for a designer to be a member of IIDA?

A:  I’ve found it to be vital to the success of my career to be a member of a professional organization that fosters networking, educational, and social activities within the community. For me personally, I joined because I wanted to be a part of an organization that not only facilitated growth in my own design career, but also enabled me to be able to give back to the community. I truly believe that “you get what you give” in life. What I have found to be one of the most beneficial parts of my role as the chapter president is that I now have connections around the world in the design industry. I have the resources to be able to easily learn what trends are happening in other parts of the country, and this is invaluable.

Casey Potash is president of the IIDA Southwest Chapter. Prior to moving to the Valley, she received her BS in Interior Design from Indiana University. She is NCIDQ Certified and is LEED APl. She is a sales specialist for KI & PallasTextiles.

IIDA: Making Life Better Through Design

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 2.21.56 PMCommunity. Collaboration. Compassion. Creativity.
Four words that describe what the International Interior Designs Association (IIDA) Southwest chapter — comprised of City Centers Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Albuquerque — represents.
The commercial interior industry is all about creativity. With more than 350 members of all levels, the Southwest chapter — those in Arizona specifically — are the creative minds behind many of the dynamic and spectacular interiors that can be found in financial institution offices, all levels of education facilities and law offices, to name just a few.
Its annual event is the Design Excellence Awards, also known as the PRIDE Awards. It highlights the best work by Southwest chapter designers — both professionals and students.
But the “C” most cherished stands for Community.
This year IIDA Southwest unveiled a new philanthropic undertaking — Connect4 — that promises to make a big difference in the community.
“The meaning behind the Connect4 event is two-fold,” says Cheyne Brown, City Center vice president and an interior designer at Krause Interiors in Phoenix. “It was conceived as a way to bring together all four City Centers and to focus on four C’s. It was important to us that each City Center was able to select a charity to support what was important to their specific community and that it not be a ‘task,’ but something we could all really get behind and make meaningful.”
The 2013 Connect4 Phoenix winner is U.S.VETS Grand Veterans Village in Phoenix. U.S.VETS is the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of comprehensive services to homeless and at-risk veterans. The need for permanent and transitional housing led to the acquisition of an old motel on Grand Avenue. Renamed Grand Veterans Village, the motel is undergoing renovation and will ultimately provide affordable apartments to 130 veterans.
The Phoenix Connect4 committee is renovating eight of the bigger family rooms, and also a meeting room to be used for classes and therapy sessions. Each room/apartment needs new flooring, paint, furniture, fixtures and artwork.
“I have the pleasure of working on a committee with very talented people from the architecture and design community,” says Jennifer Kittoe, Phoenix City Center director and an independent representative at Loop Architectural Materials in Phoenix. “We strive to bring awareness of the benefits of IIDA, and put on programs that are educational, entertaining and philanthropic.
“IIDA members are all creative and, as we learned with Connect4, very generous. We want to give back, and Connect4 provided that outlet. Nearly 100 volunteers showed up on build day. We had two pages worth of sponsors. The event far exceeded by expectations.”
IIDA Southwest is perhaps best known for its Couture Fashion Show The 5th annual Couture event was held March 1, 2012 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Twenty-six teams of designers (including  design students) were randomly paired with a color forecast theme and an industry manufacturer’s material. The challenge: to create and model a fashion garment using only those colors/themes and materials.
“The Couture Fashion Show and Connect4 charity event will alternate each year,” Kittoe says. “Planning is already underway for the next Couture fashion show, scheduled for spring of 2014. A portion of the proceeds from Couture will be used to fund Connect4 remodeling projects in 2015.”
The other City Center Connect4 projects: Tucson, Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Room; Albuquerque, Boys & Girls Clubs Crafts Room; and Las Vegas, Hopelink main office.

Beth Harmon-Vaughan - 50 Most Influential Women in AZ Business

Beth Harmon-Vaughan – 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Beth Harmon-Vaughan – Managing principal, Gensler

With more than 30 year’s experience, Harmon-Vaughan leads design teams in innovation and service for Gensler in Phoenix. Her body of work, encompassing almost every type of commercial and institutional project, is continually recognized for design excellence. As managing principal, Harmon-Vaughan oversees project design development, management and overall strategy. She serves as the client’s advocate, challenging the team to explore all options to ensure solutions are thoroughly developed. Harmon-Vaughan has been recognized and honored by her peers with fellowship status in the IIDA.

Surprising fact: “I’m half Canadian.”

Biggest challenge: “The recent recession, which we have overcome by having positioned for a better market while building our local design portfolio.”

Fifty Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue Arizona Business Magazine features 50 women who make an impact on Arizona business. To see the full list, read the digital issue >>