Speaker Bios

Yves Béhar is the founder of Fuseproject, an integrated design agency dedicated to the development of the emotional experience of brands through story-telling and the use of innovative technologies. Béhar’s designs, including those for products, environments, graphics, packaging, apparel, and strategy, contribute to areas as diverse as technology, furniture, sports, lifestyle, and fashion. Some of Béhar’s clients include Herman Miller, Cassina, Nike, Microsoft, and Target. Béhar’s work can be found in the permanent design collections of numerous museums, including the Musee National D’Art Moderne/Centre Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Prior to founding Fuseproject in 1999, Béhar was the design leader at Frogdesign and Lunar design in Silicon Valley, developing product identities for clients such as Apple Computers and Hewlett Packard.

Douglas De Nicola is Director for Design Merchandising for the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, NY. There, he is responsible for the worldwide licensing and distribution of Isamu Noguchi-designed furniture, lighting, and other objects. Mr. De Nicola has pursued graduate studies in design and art history at New York University and Hunter College.

Fritz Haeg works variously between his architecture and design practice, Fritz Haeg Studio ; the happenings and gatherings of Sundown Schoolhouse , an alternative educational environment based in his Los Angeles geodesic dome; the ecology initiatives of Garden Lab , which includes Edible Estates ; and his role as an educator, teaching in university architecture, design, and fine art programs. His work has been exhibited at numerous museums, including London’s Tate Modern and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Tanu Kumar is the Director of Business Services at the New York Industrial Retention Network, a non-profit economic development organization committed to strengthening New York City’s manufacturing sector in ways that promote economic diversity, environmental justice and sustainable development. She is responsible for implementing the Green Manufacturing Initiative, a sectoral initiative aimed at growing the market for local green products and helping manufacturers green their products and processes. Focusing on urban economic development, Ms. Kumar also worked with several NYC planning and community development organizations. She has a Masters in Urban Planning.

Tzipora Lubarr is the Project Manager of Sustainable Initiatives at the New York Industrial Retention Network. She manages the RenewableNY program and works with green manufacturers on issues related to energy conservation and green product development. She has worked in the field of corporate responsibility and environmental management since 2002. Ms. Lubarr has also worked with international environmental non-profit organizations and community education programs. She has a Masters in Family and Community Education.

Eric Olsen is an architect whose interdisciplinary practice focuses on the appropriation and creative application of fabrication technologies as both an instrument for testing ideas and a vehicle for expanding the realm of construction possibilities. He received his Master in Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. His practice is currently based in San Francisco, where he also serves as a Senior Lecturer at the California College of the Arts. Eric’s academic and professional history is characterized by an ongoing engagement with the issue of emerging paradigms in the design and production of architecture and infrastructure.

Emily Pilloton is both the Founder of Project H Design, a charitable organization supporting humanitarian product design initiatives, and the Managing Editor of Inhabitat, a weblog that tracks innovations in technology, practices, and materials that push architecture and home design towards a more sustainable future. In both of these pursuits, Emily champions industrial design as a tool to address social issues, a vehicle for global life improvement, and a catalyst for individual and community empowerment. Trained in architecture, she has written for GOOD Magazine, Innovative Home, and ID, and has also taught design theory in Chicago.

Cameron Sinclair is the co-founder and ‘eternal optimist’ for Architecture for Humanity, a charitable organization founded in 1999 to develop architecture and design solutions to humanitarian crises and provide pro-bono design services to communities in need. Currently the organization working in fourteen countries on projects ranging from school, health clinics, affordable housing and long term sustainable reconstruction. Sinclair and Architecture for Humanity co-founder Kate Stohr have compiled a compendium on socially conscious design titled Design Like You Give A Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises (May 2006, Metropolis Books). He serves on advisory boards of the Acumen Fund, Detroit Collaborative Design Center and the Institute for State Effectiveness.

Ron Sheldon serves as Vice President of Development & Construction for the Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group. Based in the company’s New York City office, Ron started with Kimpton in 1995 and has worked in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Washington, DC & New York. With over 25 years of experience in project development, the majority in the luxury resort, hotel and hospitality sector, Ron has played a key leadership role in the development of Kimpton’s premier brands, the Hotel Monaco and Hotel Palomar, and has been responsible for the award-winning preservation of historic properties throughout the country.

Nina Smith is the Executive Director of RugMark USA, an international nonprofit organization launched in 1999 that works to combat exploitative child labor in the handmade rug industry in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Nina was formerly the Executive Director of The Crafts Center, a nonprofit organization providing marketing and technical assistance to indigenous artisans around the world. As President of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF), Nina launched FTF’s consumer awareness campaign and devised the organization’s first fair trade screening process. In addition, she has consulted for the fair trade company The Tibet Collection in Dharamsala, India, where she oversaw the development of new market-driven products, quality control mechanisms, and artisan training programs.

Ronald L. Vlasic is the Regional Vice President for San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group. Mr. Vlasic joined Kimpton in 1999 when he was brought on board as general manager of its historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel in 2001 he transferred to the Hotel Allegro Chicago the company’s largest property. He is the spokesperson for Kimpton’s Eco Initiative and under his initiative and direction, a number of unique programs and partnerships have been launched and are flourishing at the hotels within his region. Active within industry organizations and the local community, Mr. Vlasic is a member of the Chicago Convention and Visitors Bureau, and is active in obtaining political support from local and State Legislators in support of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association.

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