Partner Members

 headshot_jerrod_webJerrod Smith, Principal Designer

Jerrod has worked as a designer in entertainment, business and automotive worlds for over 20 years. He launched Designsmith Collaborative® to create a network of skilled freelance designers that work together using an organized collaborative process. Before launching Designsmith Collaborative®, Jerrod was on the staffs of leading New York City design firms, including Hotopp Associates, Creative Production Resources Group and Castrigno and Company. Versatile and dynamic, Jerrod’s work encompasses a wide range of project types: Corporate and Government Meetings, Car Shows, Exhibits, Fashion, Television, Interiors, Mobile Marketing and Theater.

Jerrod is the lead designer for a majority of the company’s projects. Designs include John Deere’s North American Divisions Meeting, sectional furniture for the Oprah Winfrey Show, DIRECTV’s Revolution Meeting, CNN’s Elect to be Fit Tour, Heisman Trophy Awards (ESPN), Architectural Digest’s Home Design Show, Google Partner Forum, The Gap Fall Photo Tour and car show designs for BMW, General Motors, Ford and Saab. Various other projects include work for A&E, Advance Auto Parts, Audi, Bell South, Cartoon Network, Clinique, Discovery Channel, Proctor and Gamble, Showtime, Sprint, Target, Texas Instruments, Verizon, Victoria’s Secret, Vogue and Xerox.

Jerrod has been published numerous times in both Live Design Magazine, Event Design Magazine and Lighting and Sound Magazine. He was the content editor for Freelancer’s guide to Corporate Event Design by Troy Halsey and has contributed drawings for Scene Design and Stage Lighting by W. Oren Parker, R. Craig Wolf and Dick Block.

Jerrod received a Bachelor of Fine Arts for Scenic Design at Carnegie Mellon University where he graduated as an Andrew Carnegie Scholar and received the George Kimberley Set Design Award. Jerrod is a Scenic Design member of the United Scenic Artists, Local 829. His designs have received two Ex Awards and a Telly Award for Best Production Design and Corporate Image Design and an Exhibitor Magazine Corporate Judges Choice Award.

203-745-0080, Extension 81 / LinkedIn / Email Jerrod

Andy Warfel, Production Designer/Creative Director

For nearly three decades, Andy has been designing environments for live events and immersive experiences of every stripe, from Broadway and national musicals, to international concert tours and globally-televised events. With a background (and two degrees) in live performance and broadcast design, Andy has created spectacles ranging from stadium-filling opening ceremonies at Chicago’s Soldier Field, to a private concert featuring Ray Charles and The Rolling Stones (an intimate affair for 5,000 people in a custom tent on the shores of Hawai’i); from subterranean and street-level broadcast studios (for an upstart 24-hour news network called Fox News Channel), to an open-air exhibition basketball game played in a custom-built arena on the deck of an aircraft carrier broadcast on ESPN.

His work in retail and museums has been seen from the high desert of Nevada (at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s visitor’s center) to the pulsing center of Tokyo (at the iconic Isetan Shinjuku flagship department store), while his installation work for corporate clients includes Citibank’s lobby in Manhattan, Panasonic’s upcoming customer experience center in Denver, and countless pop-up shops, stores and outlets for Vera Bradley. Curently based in Portland, OR, Andy has DJ’ed events for friends and clients from Liverpool and Birmingham UK, to Dusseldorf and Munich, Germany, as well as an annual Oktoberfest in his original hometown of Champaign, IL.

203-745-0080, Extension 85 / Email Andy

Steve Dennis, Production Designer

Steve enjoys exploring the potential of a brief and the dynamics of a venue in order to craft experiences that enable clients to share their stories.  Originally from a mountain in Wales and with a degree in Theater Design he moved to the US to marry and has since split his time between NYC and Chicago. With over ten years of experience he has designed retail interiors for Birkenstock, unleashed Pokemon into Europe, taken the nation Inside TV magazine and most recently allowed visitors to stand in Ferris Bueller’s footprints.

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Managing Members

Blane Friest, Production Management / Technical Director

Blane joined Designsmith in February of 2017.  He has past experience as Executive Producer of DDM Productions, Senior Multimedia Event Producer for Morgan Stanley and as a Technical Director for Creative Production Resource Group.

His responsibilities include: interfacing with event planners and hosts, venues, vendors, and presenters. Scenic and conference design, presentation design, multimedia technology, satellite communications, audio and video conferencing in highly secure environments for Senior Management and Board level meetings, webcasting, and video production.

Since joining the Designsmith team he has Managed Projects for Xerox and Panasonic.

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David Warfel, Lighting Designer

Our newest member. David is Designsmith’s Lighting Advisor. His full bio coming soon.


Greg Barron, Office Manager

Hardworking, dedicated and dependable with 20 years of business experience Greg is Designsmith’s new Office Manager.  His diverse skill set makes him an adaptable contributor to every project.  His areas of expertise include office administration, training facilitation, software support, customer support and business development.

203-745-0080, Extension 82 / Email Greg


Supporting Members

Emily Nichols, Design Associate

Since joining the freelance team seven years ago, Emily has become an essential part of the design process.  Working on CAD design and renderings  she has completed projects for Proctor and Gamble, Chrysler, Target, Covidien, Pepsi, John Deere, World Cyber Games, Morgan Stanley, Buick/GMC, Mary Kay and Ford to name a few.

Emily also works as a scenic designer for the theater. Her recent designs include You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Lend Me a Tenor, and A Life in the Theater for the Barnstormers Theater. Her designs have also been seen at such theaters as the Stoneham Theatre Young Company, Actors Shakespeare Project, Apollinaire Theatre, New Repertory on Tour, Whistler in the Dark and Brandeis Theater Company.

Emily received a Masters of Fine Arts in Scenic design from Brandeis University and a Bachelors of Arts in visual arts from the University of Chicago.

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Hallie Stern, Design Associate

Hallie has worked on projects for Designsmith for ten years.  She is active in developing design ideas, drafting, and rendering.  Since joining Designsmith Collaborative®, Hallie has worked on projects for many corporate clients including as manager for the Vera Bradley account, where she has helped to develop a series of retail spaces for Vera Bradley in Japan in addition to supporting bi-annual Vera Bradley Premiere events.

Hallie’s recent experience comprises art direction and coordination for television, live events, and attractions in Los Angeles and New York, for clients including Warner Bros., Telepictures, CBS, ESPN, Fuse, and Sea World Parks and Entertainment among others.

Hallie is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in scenic design where she graduated an Andrew Carnegie Scholar. She received the Lloyd Weninger Award for Stage design and the USITT W. Oren Parker Award for Scenic Design.

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Warren Stiles, Design Associate

Warren is super busy working on projects right now.  We hope he can get to updating his bio soon.

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Maya Bern, Graphic Comps & Sketch Art

Maya enjoys creating a dynamic visual impact through graphics and illustrations.  Since joining Designsmith she has created many treatments for Dell, IBM, Bayer, Hubspot, Hyundai, Cisco and many other companies.

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Silvia Berg, Print Graphics

Silvia first worked with the Designsmith team in early 2012.  She has designed many stunning graphics for Procter & Gamble, Morton Williams, and Vera Bradley, contributing to designs for wallpapers, posters, and many store graphics.  Silvia has been an independent graphic designer since 1994.  Before then she worked at major advertising agencies in Germany.

Silvia holds a BA in Communication Design from the Technological University Wiesbaden, Germany. She also studied art and design at the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany, and at the UPB, Medellin, Colombia.

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