professional practice through continuing education, networking, and building
up ASID, first as a member and then as a leader. Over the years, she has served in
a variety of leadership roles with the Society, including serving on the national
board. She also is a past national president of the Healthcare Specialty Network.
“We have this phrase, that you should use and abuse the ASID,” she notes.
“Find like-minded designers, share resources, create buying power together.
It’s the place to get your professional development.”
She also leveraged the organization to further the field, commissioning
studies and white papers on the physical and economic benefits of well-
designed healthcare and workspaces. Not only did she make the case for the
value of interior design, she, and ASID, anticipated the shift from creating dis-
ease-centric facilities to designing for prevention and wellness. “The health
design field really grabbed onto evidence-based design,” she recalls. “We were
able to show that the built environment was contributing to patient deaths.
“Now, the healthcare companies, the university hospitals, they call us. We
can change your outcome.”
The trend toward designing for wellness will only increase under the
Affordable Care Act, according to Cama, which will improve treatment and
also create opportunities for interior designers in that sector. “This is the time
for interior designers to kick down the door and take a place at the table,” she
urges with characteristic enthusiasm.
Cama is grateful for the support she receives from the Society and mentors
along the way, a spirit she passes on to younger colleagues. “How do you end
up in the right place at the right time?” she asks. “My career wouldn’t have been
possible in the 1950s.”
No doubt patients everywhere have benefited from Cama’s mother happen-
ing upon that ad for a hospital draftsman, and from Cama taking a chance on
herself and kicking down the door for others.
GARY WHEELER, FASID:
Gary Wheeler knows big firms. He also knows
how to adapt to the times and his own creative needs. His résumé includes leadership
roles at some of the largest and most successful architecture and design practices in the
United States, including Perkins+ Will, NBBJ,
and Gensler. In each role, Wheeler has been
involved with dozens of projects and has
developed a particular expertise in the field
of workplace design during a time of rapid
change in how, where, and with what people do their jobs. While managing partner at
Perkins+Will in Chicago, he also became the
first interior designer to run a major office of
an architecture firm.
As a designer, Wheeler has had a front-row seat to observe and shape the
evolving office environment. “We have a philosophy that no part of a workplace has just one function,” he says. “Even the partner’s office has to double as
a conference room.” Designing for flexibility and collaboration has become the
standard, but so, too, is the need for aural privacy and individual work areas.
And, Wheeler strives to stay ahead of the curve in terms of workplace thinking. “If I get too comfortable, I know something is wrong,” he concedes.
Such was the case when he left Chicago to work at NBBJ in New York City,
which didn’t feel like enough of a change after 10 years at Perkins+Will. Arthur
Gensler sensed his moment and lured Wheeler to London to work with his interiors group there. “I could sense immediately that the British and the Europeans
were more open to new ways of working,” says Wheeler. After a few years with
Gensler, he decided it was time to take another leap, starting over with a small
firm of his own.
CAMA, Incorporated interior design at the lobby of Bridgeport Hospital.
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Gary Wheeler, FASID