As director of engagement, Matthew DeGeeter focuses on our greatest asset — ASID membership. Before DeGeeter became a LEED AP ID+C, he became a member of ASID. He has been engaged with ASID since he was a student at Ball State University, volunteering with the Indiana chapter. He continued his service when he moved to Washington, D.C., to join Perkins+Will, where he worked for more than five years specializing in healthcare design. He participated in the Washington Metro chapter, served as chair of the Emerging Professional Advisory Council and sat on the ASID national board of directors. Years of dedication to ASID turned out to be prescient training for his new post. DeGeeter is ready-made to take on member engagement, recruitment and service. He responded to a few questions, sharing his insights and priorities.
What do you do at ASID?
I help manage and develop our member experience, which really means looking at our programming. How are we engaging our members, getting them into the conversation, networking with them, working with the design community, and also with the design industry overall? It is not just about designers. It’s about everybody working together, the whole field of design. This ranges from the student level when you are just beginning to figure out what you want to be doing for a career, all the way through the principal level, if you own your own firm or you’re leading a design team within a large firm. We want to make sure all of our members see value in their ASID membership.
What are your goals and priorities?
My main goal is to build a broader community of the design profession and industry actively participating with ASID through programs, events and education.
When and why did you join ASID?
I joined ASID as a student member. I got involved essentially as soon as I began my design career and started learning more and more about the interior design profession. I was student chapter president at Ball State University, and I was also the student representative to the chapter board of Indiana. It was through ASID that I was able to develop a more robust network and have some great references. I also met some very valuable mentors who helped me shape my career, and that’s generally what led me to stay involved. While I was at Ball State, I had an internship in Chicago that helped me gain entry into the healthcare design field. My network from school and my volunteer roles helped me land a job at Perkins+Will in Washington, D.C. It was interesting because the person who hired me was also the incoming Washington Metro chapter president. I have followed ASID throughout my career — from student membership all the way through the professional level.
You meet design professionals who are not yet members of ASID. What is your quick pitch for why they should join?
I would tell them they should join ASID to differentiate their careers through leadership and volunteering with the Society. Those who join and actively participate in the Society have the opportunity to make a real contribution to the field, help groom the next generation, advance their business and make their careers stand out from the rest.
Were you already considering making a transition from being a practicing designer to doing something else or was the decision spurred by this position opening up?
A little bit of both — I was becoming more open to opportunities. I was at Perkins+Will for five years, and that was also my first job out of college. So I sought to differentiate and utilize my skill set in a new way, find a new way to re-engage myself in my career. And as I started to be become more open to other opportunities and get to know more people, I started to recognize that I wanted to pursue something that was much more different than I originally anticipated. My first thought was a different size firm or a different type of work instead of healthcare. Maybe going into something focused on corporate or commercial interiors. But I realized the type of impact or the type of work that I wanted to be doing was a lot different than that even — especially if the opportunity presented itself to be doing something wildly different, like I am doing now.
None. I just started in September, but my work is still related to the profession and the industry that I have a deep love for. I absolutely love design. And so I am still working with design, but in an entirely new way.