A Talk with KBB’s 2023 Person of the Year and Praiseworthy Picks

Published: March 21, 2024

In our most recent From the Tap podcast, we got up close and personal with our 2023 Person of the Year and eight Praiseworthy Picks.

A big reason our overall winner, Nureed Saeed, owner and creative director of Nu Interiors in California and New Jersey, was chosen for the award is because of her efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion in the design industry. The designer told us how her interest in that started and what some of her accomplishments have been.

We also spent a day in her life as an NKBA chapter president. Our 2023 Person of the Year won the 2023 Star Award for best president out of 71 chapters – quite an accomplishment! Saeed also told us about her voice to end residential segregation and that is important to her.

Praiseworthy Picks

Sophia Amiano, lead designer, Amiano & Son, Design-Build in Southampton Township, N.J., was chosen as our “Go-Getter” since she has taken the industry by storm since her arrival just five years ago. She told us about designing one of her showroom locations from start to finish and the challenges she overcame. She also talked about her involvement on the first Moen Designer Council, whose aim is to better meet the needs of design professionals through feedback and insight.

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Jared Chevraux, EVP, JTEK Solutions Group in North Canton, Ohio, was chosen as our “Accessibility Advocate” for his blending of compassion and compliance with his charity works and commitment to universal design. He talked about how he achieved the Certified Environmental Access Consultant designation and conceptualized his group’s Home Access Design Studio – a mobility-centric showroom. Chevraux was also recently named a member of the KBB Editorial Advisory Board.

Mark Conacher, director of Liberty Fitting Service Ltd. in the U.K. was named our “Skilled Trades Champion” because he walks their talk in the K&B industry. He told us about how his passion for this pursuit originated and what some of his accomplishments have been.

 Wendy Glaister, principal of Wendy Glaister Interiors in Modesto, Calif., was chosen as our “Connector” for her creation of the Interior Design Society Designer Experience at KBIS in 2021, an initiative that is still going strong. She told us what made her decide to create this designer experience, what its goals are and what the experience was like at this year’s KBIS.

 Jessica Hannesson, owner of Hannesson Home Interiors in Billings, Mont., is the “Business Buff” because she has been pivotal in the success of her kitchen and bath-turned full-service interior design firm. As an alternative revenue stream, she and her husband started a ready-to-assemble business that provides designs and cabinets to multifamily projects. She also built an app to help organize the firm’s inventory process.

Karen Hockley, owner of Kitchens by Karen in Enola, Pa., was chosen as the “Curriculum Star” because in the last year alone, she has written and presented more than 20 classes for her peers. She talked about why she decided to give back to the industry in this way and went into detail about her two Facebook groups dedicated to the kitchen and bath market.

 Glenn Kross, COO of Coastal Countertops Group in Bridgeville, Del., is our “Agent of Change,” as he has completely rebranded his company through operational changes and upgraded product offerings, which resulted in a drastic increase in revenue. He gave us some background on how he completed these initiatives and told us about his company’s Ugly Kitchen Contest that went viral.

 Michael Menn, president, Michael Menn Ltd. in Northbrook, Ill. Was named our “Peer Favorite & Industry Pillar,” having received more than 10 nominations. The architect has spent his career mentoring colleagues and being a coach to small business owners. He told us how this started and about his opportunity to do this at KBIS 2024.

To learn more about our 2023 Person of the Year and Praiseworthy Picks, listen to the podcast on SpotifyGoogle PodcastsApple PodcastsPandora and other outlets.

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