NoteworthyAuthor and educator Beverly Russell will conduct the 7th Annual Navigate with the Stars study program at NeoCon 2003. The four-day intensive course, accredited for students and professionals, brings 10 international product designers to Chicago, IL, to speak about their work and tour the Merchandise Mart showrooms to look at their products. The program is sponsored by Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI, in association with IS magazine."This year, for the first time, a limited number of students from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, will join the group, which is restricted to a maximum of 75 people," says Russell. "We are delighted to have this opportunity for Kendall students to interact with New York students while in Chicago."The course runs from Monday, June 16, to Thursday, June 19. Classes will be held at the Institute of Design on LaSalle St., within easy walking distance of the Mechandise Mart. Speakers are:* Ross Lovegrove, from Studio X, London, an outstanding product designer with numerous awards to his credit including the Go chair for Bernhardt.* Giuseppe Lignano and Ada Tolla of Lot/ek, New York, two Italian-born designers whose dedication to sustainable design and recycling material has won them attention at major design museums in this country.* Douglas Ball, from Toronto, Canada, who will discuss his successful Lucy chair for Vecta.* Shashi Caan, formerly with SOM and Gensler, New York, now heading up her own company, will show her products for Lees and other companies.* Don Chadwick, the acclaimed industrial designer from Santa Monica, CA, and a mastermind behind the Aeron chair design for Herman Miller, will talk about future developments of this and other new products.* Martha Burns, Studio of Martha Burns, New Haven, CT, will present her new fabrics for Carnegie and other companies.* William Sklaroff of Ardmore, PA, whose design studio has been in the forefront of office furniture design for decades, will focus on how to renew the office landscape, and show his new products for Harden.* Don Killaby, independent designer for CCN, Rochester, NY, will introduce his latest ideas for office furniture.* Karen Alexander, KKA Architecture, Salibury, NC, wraps up the program with an in-depth look at sustainable design and green products.College credit for the course is available through Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. CEU credit (.2 CEU for each lecture) is also available. Professionals may register for the entire course or for individual lectures. Each lecture is $65. For information and to register by phone, contact Allison Thompson T (800) 676-2787, ext 140, or write Kendall College of Art and Design, 17 Fountain St. N.W., Grand Rapids, MI 49503.Targeted Client Marketing Gets the DollarsBased on the results of the 2002 A/E Benchmarks for the Marketing Professional, PSMJ Resources, Inc. reports that more emphasis is being placed on direct client marketing through presentation.While median marketing spending for promotional activities dropped with respect to last year with levels in the six to 11 percent range, marketing spending for presentations increased into the eight to 18 percentage range. This indicates, says Bill Fanning, director of research at PSMJ, that the design industry decided to allocate more of its available funds to marketing activities that focus on direct client contact rather than to general firm promotion and advertising."There is some undeniably good news in the results," says Dan Daniels, series editor of the PSMJ Resource surveys. "Proposal hit rates reversed last year's decline and improved to 33 percent in 2002, up from 30 percent in 2001."Annual billing rates improved by seven percent last year, reversing a dip in 2001 to about five percent. Even though the median increase in business backlog is only six percent (a drop from almost 15 percent a few years ago), it is still a positive decrease."With the future direction of the economy still uncertain, it is imperative that each firm assess its marketing and financial position in realistic terms and make every decision using very solid numbers. This is not the time to be 'working off the back of an envelope'," notes Daniels.For more information about the PSMJ benchmark survey, call (617) 965-0055; e-mail: [email protected]; visit www.psmj.com. Satellite Managers Lack TrainingVery few architecture, engineering and environmental firms provide formal training for new satellite office managers, reports data in ZweigWhite's 2002 Multi-office Firm Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms. And, although the office manager position carries at least as much responsibility as the project manager role, individuals with the latter title are far more likely to receive the training necessary to do their jobs.Nearly all satellite office managers (91 percent) surveyed for the new report say they also act as project manager on client projects, managing a median of four jobs. And firm leaders in the headquarters office have strong opinions about project managers becoming satellite office managers: 96 percent say a good project manager will not necessarily make a good satellite office manager, citing a visionary or entrepreneurial attitude and leadership and management skills as some of the qualities needed in a satellite office manager that aren't always in a project manager. But, even though firm leaders seem to recognize the importance of specific skills that are necessary to the satellite office manager position, only 22 percent of firms provide formal office manager training, compared with three-quarters of firms (76 percent) that provide project manager training (as reported in ZweigWhite's 2002 Multi-office Firm Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Consulting Firms)."Design and environmental firms typically promote their best project managers to branch management positions—an approach that makes a lot of sense," says ZweigWhite senior vice president Kathryn Sprankle, a management consultant and executive recruiter to the A/E/C industry and manager of the firm's San Francisco, CA, branch office. "But, running a branch office is not like running a project. The qualifications and experiences needed might include strong project management skills, but the branch leader also needs broader financial management skills, strong communication and interpersonal skills, and a solid grasp of marketing principles and current human resources practices. The typical project-focused professional may not bring all these attributes to his or her new role. This is where the right guidance and education can make the difference between a thriving, profitable satellite operation and one that's just bumping along."ZweigWhite provides management consulting, information and education for the design and construction industry. For information, call (508) 651-1559, e-mail: [email protected], or visit www.zweigwhite.com.