ARIDO honours (March 12, 2010)

The Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) announced three Honorary members and one Fellow at its Annual General Meeting, held on March 11 in Toronto. Honorary and Fellow Memberships are the highest honours ARIDO can bestow on an individual and are reserved for those who have truly excelled in their contributions to the profession and/or the Association. This year George Smitherman, Sheri Craig, and Sholem Prasow became Honorary members, while Joyce O’Keefe was named an ARIDO Fellow.

George Smitherman is a well-known and respected politician in Ontario and a strong supporter of ARIDO. For 10 years he represented the constituency of Toronto Centre in the provincial legislature, serving in various ministerial positions and as deputy premier. Smitherman is well known for his advocacy in such areas as housing, heritage preservation, community economic development, protection of pension rights, efforts to combat guns and drugs, and human rights issues. Late last year, he resigned his cabinet post and announced his candidacy to become Toronto’s next mayor.

From the day he entered politics in Ontario, Smitherman has been one of ARIDO’s biggest supporters. In 1998, when ARIDO began lobbying for its Titles Act, Smitherman championed the cause to numerous bureaucrats and politicians. Over the years, he has demonstrated his unwavering support for ARIDO by attending many of the Association’s events, and providing its management with much appreciated counsel.

Sheri Craig is the former publisher of Canadian Interiors and Building magazines and a strong supporter of the interior design industry. A graduate of journalism from the University of Western Ontario, she took over both magazines in 1993, during a recession in the interior design and architecture industries. During her tenure at the helm, these magazines flourished. In 1997, she introduced the Best of Canada Design competition for Canadian Interiors and in 2001 the Outside the Box competition for Building. Craig sold both magazines to Business Information Group in 2007.

Early in her career, Craig worked as a reporter for the Toronto Telegram before moving with her husband and daughter to Ghana with the UN. Upon her return to Canada, she worked for Marketing Magazine at Maclean Hunter as a broadcast columnist. She later worked in communications and public relations for Maclean Hunter Cable, the Ontario government and Ontario Hydro. She then returned to Maclean Hunter as editor of Canadian Jeweller until 1993.

Sholem Prasow is vice-president, business development and strategic planning, for Teknion Furniture Systems. He is a respected authority on sustainable design, a LEED Accredited Professional and a National Charrette Institute Certified Charrette Planner. He is also member of the LEED for Healthcare Core Committee of the US Green Building Council, and a past member of the Canada Green Building Council Technical Advisory Group.

Since 2004, Prasow has given presentations on LEED, green building practices, and integrated design to more than 5,000 industry professionals in North America. He also delivers continuing education courses on sustainable design and conducts LEED accreditation coaching courses for the interior design community and clients around the world.

A graduate of the University of Toronto Engineering Science program, Prasow has published numerous articles on LEED in the past three years. His book Designing Performing Workplaces: Now and in the Future, which he co-authored with Dr. Jacqueline Vischer, is scheduled for publication later this year.

ARIDO’s newest Fellow is Joyce O’Keefe, recently retired Director/Chair of the Interior Design Program at the Academy of Design/RCC. O’Keefe has been with the academy since 1993, when it was known as the International Academy of Design. Her leadership, commitment and contribution to the profession of design education are remarkable. She is credited with the program’s stellar reputation.

O’Keefe is a graduate of Interior Design from the University of Manitoba. She also studied Management of Design Firms at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and has kept current her knowledge of changes to the profession through numerous continuing education credit courses. She held staff positions with both the Royal Bank of Canada and United Aircraft as a facility planner in Montreal, and with Office Specialty as an interior designer in Vancouver prior to co-founding Design Planning Associates in Toronto in 1978. The firm was a successful mid-sized consultancy, which provided award-winning designs to multi-national corporations. She has served several terms on the ARIDO Board of Management and as vice-president and treasurer of the Interior Designers of Canada Foundation (IDCF).