John has over forty years of professional design involvement including global manufacturers, international architectural and design firms, foundations and board positions on art & design schools and professional organizations. He is a public relations and communications strategist, implementer and coach. He advises on brand and reputation management, internal and external communications for corporate clients, design offices, associations and non-profit organizations. His background includes senior level leadership positions and advisory roles with major manufacturers in the contract furniture industry. His cross-functional design experiences bring an inter-disciplinary approach to projects.
John developed and led the IGS Division (Interiors, Graphics & Signage) of Smith Hinchman & Grylls (now The Smith Group) an architectural, engineering and design firm based in Detroit, Michigan. His award winning projects include work with NASA, John Deere, Owens Corning Fiberglass and Caterpillar as well as numerous airports, hospitals, universities, and corporate clients.
In the absence of a professional organization that bridged industrial, architectural and graphic design, he founded SEGD, the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers. This professional design association based in Washington D.C. recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and continues to be the voice of signage, graphics and color in the built environment.
He was Vice President of Corporate Communications for Herman Miller with responsibilities including internal and external marketing communications, events, corporate archives, architectural and design programs, building and managing the public relations capability. John led the media introductions of major innovative products such as the Aeron chair. He was the liaison between Herman Miller and the Eames Office and speaks nationally and internationally on the work of Charles & Ray Eames and George Nelson. He continues his relationship with the Eames Office today serving as publicist and liaison back to Herman Miller. His recent book, ‘Herman Miller: The Purpose of Design’ published by Rizzoli has received positive reviews both domestically and internationally and is the basis for a traveling exhibit.
John has been an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University teaching ‘Design for Non-Designers’, is the guest lecturer for the Kendall College Art and Design and Ferris State University MBA certificate on design and innovation management. A board member of the Michigan Humanities Council, past board member of the OxBow art and artist’s school affiliated with the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, and a current member of the national advisory committee for Cranbrook Academy of Art.
John is the Executive Director of Design West Michigan that promotes design as an economic building block for the region and brand West Michigan as ‘Design Centric.’ He assembled and directs an advisory group of over 50 leading regional and national designers with a membership of over 750 designers. .
John has a Masters of Fine Arts in Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art, a BA in Design and Spanish from Indiana University with related studies at DePauw University and La Universidad de Nacional de Mexico