30 May 2008
7:00PM — Embassy of Finland - Washington, DC

Integrated Design Think Tank

The School of Architecture + Design invited Advisory Board members, sponsors, and corporate affiliates for a discussion with leading design professionals at the Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C. on May 30, 2008. Four featured speakers followed a welcome by Ambassador Pekka Lintu. Speakers included, Jim Cramer of The Greenway Group, who moderated the discussion, Mike Hughes of the Martin Agency, Craig Schwitter of Buro Happold, and Robert Zahner of A Zahner Company. Participants from fields that ranged from creatively promoting products to innovative means of fabrication discussed contemporary issues affecting their practices and the role of inventive thinking in their approach to those issues.

Jim Cramer
Principal and Chairman
Greenway Group, Atlanta GA

Cramer has authored several books, including Design + Enterprise, Seeking a New Reality in Architecture. Jim is currently the president of the Design Futures Council, and the former CEO of The American Institute of Architects.

Since 1982 the Greenway Group has become a principal source of information on the built environment in the United States. It is one of the country’s leading strategy consulting and business networking firms for the design and construction industry.


Mike Hughes
President and Creative Director
The Martin Agency, Richmond VA

Hughes is known for his outstanding strategic ideas and brilliant creative executions that go beyond traditional media. Adweek calls Mike one of nine best creative directors in America.

The Martin Agency’s work embodies the power of inventive thinking. Ideas that consumers talk about, clients prosper from and the people who work there are proud of. Authors of the “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan and Wrangler logo, they created the GEICO gecko and the UPS “Brown” ads.


Craig Schwitter
Buro Happold, New York NY

Schwitter is recognized for his innovative work in specialized structures that entail the creative possibilities of engineering. In 2001 Craig was named the Bedford Distinguished Chair at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

Buro Happold’s approach is holistic, combining different disciplines into one, integrated team. Dedicated to research, they continually explore new methods of construction, materials and thinking that address the changing needs of our time worldwide.


Robert Zahner
Senior vice-President of Operations
A. Zahner Company, Kansas City MO

Zahner and two of his siblings are the fourth generation to run the company. Robert has been instrumental in adapting management practices to match the changes in fabrication.

For over a century, A. Zahner Company has pioneered advances in the architectural metal industry that combine new technologies with its expertise in sheet metal. Renown for their creative engineering and innovative fabrication, they play an essential part of the most complex buildings in the world.




Jim Cramer Greenway Group

Mike Hughes The Martin Agency

Robert Zahner A Zahner Company

Craig Schwitter Buro Happold John O’Mera Häfele America

Brian Lee Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Gary Fisher Skanska

Gaylon White Eastman Chemical

Sally Wilson CB Richard Ellis Pekka Lintu Embassy of Finland

Pekka Hako Embassy of Finland

Anita Honkanen Embassy of Finland

Vernon Mays Architect Magazine Steven Carlidge Shore Point Architecture

John Crouse CMSS Architects

Allan Kehrt KSS Architects

Jim McCalla Moseley Architects

Robert Reuter Reuter Design

Kevin Sullivan Payette

Jane Wright Hanbury, Evans, Wright, Vlattus & Company


School of Architecture + Design

Scott Poole Director

Kathryn Albright Assistant Director & Foundation Program Chair

Robert Dunay Industrial Design Program Chair

Michael Ermann Architecture 2/3 Program Chair

Brian Katen Landscape Architecture Program Chair

Terry Surjan Architecture 4/5 Program Chair

Steve Thompson Graduate Program Chair

Jaan Holt Director, Washington Alexandria Architecture Center Allison Ransom Architecture Undergraduate Student

Meredith Baber Architecture Undergraduate Student