Hiller to Head Sustainable Furnishings Council

Former retailer Jeff Hiller has been named president of the green standards group the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

He succeeds former president and SFC founder Gerry Cooklin, who formed the group in October 2006 as a nonprofit coalition of suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and designers.

Cooklin is also ceo of manufacturer South Cone Trading.

Hiller said he will lead the SFC's aggressive plans for growth, member benefits, industry partnerships and educational platforms.

Hiller's goals are to at least double membership in 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. Examples are the variety of staff training programs and customer invitation events the SFC has been rolling out in recent months.

"There remain tens of thousands of manufacturers, retailers, and designers that we have an opportunity to impact, and it is essential that we reach as many as possible," Hiller said in a press release.

He was one of the founding SFC board members and for the past two years has chaired its marketing and education committee.

Hiller began his career at advertising agency Leo Burnett in Chicago before becoming owner and operator of The Arrangement, a furniture retailer that he grew into a chain. He sold the company to work as marketing and creative director for the NBA's Houston Rockets.

He returned to the industry with importer Four Hands as vp of marketing and retail. He left the company in 2007.

Hiller now runs his PROaction Marketing Group in Austin, Texas, doing planning, buying, marketing and sales training for businesses including furniture wholesalers and retailers.

At April's High Point Market, the group will again present a variety of training and educational programs, including the new Greenleaders six-hour green furnishings training and certification course for manufacturers, retailers, sales representatives and designers.

(Reported by Heath Combs, staff writer at HTT sister publication Furniture Today.)

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