Hi RHS Alumni—
Wish you all a happy and fun 50th reunion! What an epic journey it has been—so far.
Although I won't be joining you in person—just back from one long trip and prepping for another—dear friend John Johnson asked me to write a brief progress report.
So I'll keep it short! I'm writing from a patio overlooking some tall trees about 50 miles North of NYC, where I've lived and worked for almost 30 years.
We've got deer, foxes, coyotes and the rare bear, so we keep our 3 cats and small dog close at hand. The mighty Hudson River is just down the block, which affords some wonderful sunsets for the evening dog walks.
Since we last met on the steps of our old school, our kids Zach and Saskia have grown into strong young adults—he a chef in New Orleans and she, an antiquities curator—soon to be in Ann Arbor. It's amazing how our paths have criss-crossed back on one another. Wife Karen is still a photostylist when the work comes her way, and recently began jewelry-making at the side of a well-known local artist. She's a Temple grad, so after all these years she is finally getting back to her fine arts side. We're all pretty OK health-wise, with a few scares and plenty of complaints of course!
My Rooseveltian sisters are fine too—Maryann lives in Dexter, MI, running HR for the area ambulance service and Pamela's in Richmond, VA, busy with writing about entertainment and cuisine and keeping husband Gene on his toes.
A bit about my curious career(s)…it started in publishing, which moved into special projects for publishers, evolved into conference production for publishers and—at last!—to my favorite career of all, the Spark Design Awards, which I founded 11 years ago. The Spark Awards recognize the design skills of students and professionals in the design communities: architects, product designers, graphic artists, car designers, aircraft designers, web designers—the whole archipelago of creatives who design our lives. Great people—an innovative, fun, demanding crowd.
The intention for Spark was to be international from the get-go. And that's where I go when I go. So far this year it's been to Milano, Seoul and Tokyo, with Vegas and San Francisco on the side, and next up, Seoul, Copenhagen and London. We'll end the year in San Francisco, Hong Kong and back to Korea, with most of this travel to big design expos, conferences and visits to designers and their organizations. Travel is my main marketing outreach—hope I can keep it up for a long time.
We have 12 competitions, each of which are judged by a VIP team of design-professional jurors. We hold most of these in San Francisco, but 3 take place in Asia. Interestingly, almost half of our entries come from Asia, which gives me a great excuse to travel there often. New this year is the Spark Design Salon, which gives our exhausted jurors a stage to discuss the works they've just judged.
So, nothing much to gripe about, much to be happy about, and lots more to do. Retirement? Don't have time!
All Best Wishes for Your Great Journey—