ASID Appoints Gary Wheeler as CEO
Just when Hall of Famer Gary Wheeler was beginning to consider retirement, the world changed. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he took on the role of Interim CEO at the American Society of Interior Designers to help the design community do what they do best in an especially tumultuous year—solve problems. Given Wheeler’s track record of success, ASID recently announced his appointment to a permanent position.
“ASID is fortunate to have benefitted from Gary’s strong and faithful management to guide us through unprecedented times,” said Charles Jewett, chief operating officer at ASID. “Due to his unmatched design career and exemplary leadership abilities, we had tremendously high expectations for Gary when he assumed the role of Interim CEO, and he has exceeded everyone. Because of this, we have complete confidence that his valuable efforts will continue to carry out our vision as the permanent CEO.”
As CEO, Wheeler intends to put his decades of design expertise to use with inclusivity and collaboration top of mind to expand ASID’s reach. “It’s amazing the lack of diversity in the design profession,” Wheeler tells Interior Design. “Yes, we’ve made some headway but we have a long, long way to go.” To address this issue, ASID plans to expand its Ones to Watch program, which currently offers leadership training to mid-career architects and designers with the goal of creating a more diverse and inclusive profession. ASID also is working on several new initiatives centered on supporting BIPOC architects and designers, as well as programs to improve accessibility and equity for underserved groups, such as those with special needs and disabilities.
“Instead of reinventing the wheel, let’s take what we already are doing and make it better and more inclusive,” said Wheeler, noting that these efforts also will shape how architects and designers work with other professions. “It’s not about ticking boxes… that doesn’t change the world.”
In his role, Wheeler also aims to amplify research initiatives at ASID, working closely with newly appointed VP of Research and Knowledge, Dr. Susan Chung. “Research is how we’re going to come out of this,” Wheeler asserts, speaking to the events of the past year. Up next, ASID will unveil a study focused on the impact of the pandemic on architects and designers, specifically. “We’ve studied what’s happening to our clients, but we haven’t really studied what’s happening to us as designers and that’s what this report is about,” he adds. Together, Wheeler and Chung intend to position ASID as an even stronger resource for the A&D community, paving the way for a brighter future.