BIFMA names new CEO, board
Deirdre Jimenez

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –  BIFMA has appointed Deirdre Jimenez as its first president and CEO. She will succeed Tom Reardon, who is retiring after 22 years as executive director of BIFMA, the not for profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers.

Jimenez will be responsible for leading BIFMA and partnering with its Board of Directors, membership (regular, supplier, service, and international), and staff by connecting and advancing the industry’s common interests through a period of disruption and growth.

Jimenez is an architect and interior designer with more than 25 years of leadership experience serving in executive and ownership roles in corporate real estate and national AE consulting firms. Most of her career focused on the workplace environment, where she developed an understanding and appreciation of the role furnishings play in the emerging practice of workplace strategy. She is a registered architect in several states, earned the NCIDQ certification, and numerous professional industry awards, the association stated.

“Deirdre’s strategic drive and her distinguished career in workplace architecture and design make her the perfect choice to lead BIFMA in support of the industry,” said Hank Menke, BIFMA’s Board Chair. “We’re thrilled to welcome Deirdre aboard."

“At this pivotal stage in the commercial furniture industry, I’m very excited to join BIFMA,” Jimenez said. “Building on the organization’s historical focus and growth-oriented initiatives, I look forward to collaborating with the board of directors, members, and team on telling BIFMA’s story and broadening its outreach.”

The search was conducted by association and non-profit search experts Vetted Solutions.

BIFMA announced Reardon's upcoming retirement in January.  In making the announcement, Reardon noted, “It’s been an honor to lead and serve BIFMA through a number of growth-oriented initiatives, including the development and expansion of our standards program, creation of a sustainability certification brand (LEVEL), and evolution of the leading industry conference.” He added, “During that period, we’ve been able to expand the ways in which BIFMA serves the industry and supports its members.  I’m very grateful to have led those efforts with critical support from countless volunteers, the Board of Directors, and our staff.”

“Tom has dedicated himself to advancing the commercial furniture industry and BIFMA’s members and has played a major role in shaping BIFMA into the respected organization that it is today,” said Hank Menke, BIFMA president.  “Tom’s tireless service through years of both growth and challenge has positioned our organization for continued success going forward. We thank Tom for his long and dedicated service and wish him the best in the next chapter.”

BIFMA elects new board members

In related news, BIFMA has announced the election of Kristie Juster, CEO at Kimball International, and Matt Schad, CEO of Nucraft Furniture Co. to its Board of Directors.

They join current board members: Chris Baldwin, president & COO of Knoll; Rebecca Boenigk, chairman & CEO of Neutral Posture, Inc.; Dan Byrne, CEO of Byrne Electrical Specialists, Inc.; Joel Feldberg, president & CEO of The Global Furniture Group; John Fellowes, CEO of Fellowes Brands / ESI; Julio Enrique Hirschfeld Mereles, executive director of PM Steele S.A. de C.V.; James Keane, president & CEO of Steelcase Group, Steelcase Inc.; Andi Owen, president & CEO of Herman Miller; Max Verkamp, president & CEO of Indiana Furniture; and Kyle Williams, president of Leggett & Platt Work Furniture Group.

Officers for BIFMA are: chair - Hank Menke, president & CEO of Office Brands; vice chair - Jeff Lorenger, president & CEO of HNI Corp.; treasurer - Franco Bianchi, president & CEO of Haworth Inc.

“The furniture industry is fortunate to have leaders with diverse backgrounds willing to offer their vision of the future, especially as we all address the profound challenges in the workplace and world today,” Reardon said.

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and founded in 1973, BIFMA has been the industry leader in developing furniture safety, durability, and sustainability standards that ensure product performance and inspire confidence. BIFMA educates the stakeholder community on the importance and proper use of these standards; provides industry statistics and forecasts to members and the public; and advocates for regulatory conditions that enhance value and foster innovation.

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Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at [email protected]