Monday, March 16, 2009

Jeff Hiller named new President of SFC

The Sustainable Furnishings Council recently named Jeff Hiller as their new President. Congratulations to Jeff on his new position and to the SFC for a fine choice!

(AUSTIN, TX) – March 13, 2009 – The Sustainable Furnishings Council announced this week the promotion of Jeff Hiller as the new President of the leading green organization in home furnishings.

The SFC was founded by Gerry Cooklin in October 2006 as a non-profit coalition of suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and designers. It was the first of its kind in the industry, and gained the early support of prominent board members including one of the two co-founders of the U.S. Green Building Council, ranking staff of the World Wildlife Fund and Rainforest Alliance, and prominent organizations from all points in the supply chain including Four Hands, Room & Board, and World Market Center. The SFC has since grown to become the #1 organization in green home furnishings.

Going forward, the SFC has very aggressive plans for growth, member benefits, industry partnerships, and educational platforms, and has called on Jeff Hiller to lead the charge as the new President based on his extensive background in the industry, his marketing expertise and his past contributions in growing the organization, where he was one of the founding Board members and for the past two years has served as Chair of the Marketing & Education committee.

Hiller began his career at Leo Burnett in Chicago, one of the largest individual advertising agencies in the U.S. where he became the youngest VP/Account Director in the company’s history. He left to become owner/operator of The Arrangement, a furniture retailer that he grew into a thriving chain before selling to take on a “dream job” stint as Marketing/Creative Director for the NBA’s Houston Rockets franchise. He returned to the industry as VP/Marketing & Retail for Four Hands, a noted home furnishings importer and 3-time Inc 500 Fastest Growing Company. He now runs his PROaction Marketing Group in Austin, TX doing planning, buying, marketing and sales training for a variety of businesses, including many furniture wholesalers and retailers, a business he will continue in addition to his new responsibilities with the SFC.

“The prospects of the SFC are virtually limitless,” says Hiller. “I am assured by Mike Italiano, one of the USGBC co-founders, that we are miles ahead of where they were as an organization at a comparable point, and that is fast company to keep. Even so, there remain tens of thousands of manufacturers, retailers, and designers that we have an opportunity to impact, and it essential that we reach as many as possible.”

Hiller’s goals are to at least double membership over each of the next two years. At the same time, he wants to continue to develop programs that provide immediate benefit to members in improving the sustainability of their operations while helping them make sales now such as the variety of staff training programs and customer invitation events the SFC has been rolling out in recent months. A critical component will be developing closer partnerships with major companies and organizations throughout the home furnishings business that mutually further their own aims and those of the SFC.

“The time is now,” Hiller adds. “By 2011, sustainability will become the dominant topic of the day, as the worldwide economy settles down, the US administration focuses its efforts, and the next UN report on climate change is released. Companies will be scrambling all over themselves to get under the green umbrella then, and those that are doing the work now will be best able to capitalize on the shift. This is not only a moral imperative, but a business imperative as well.”

Next up on the SFC’s busy agenda is High Point Market, where they again will be presenting a variety of training and educational programs, including the new “GREENleaders” 6-hour certification course for manufacturers, retailers, reps and designers who want to gain more meaningful differentiation as expert in the area of green home furnishings.