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Business of Furniture - AIS Feature Story

Scrappy and Dealer-Centric, AIS Finds the Right Formula in Leominster

AIS Reopens Renovated New York City Showroom

Leominster, MA – April 11, 2018 – AIS, a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and seating based in Massachusetts, recently reopened its renovated New York City showroom located at 257 Park Avenue South in Midtown Manhattan. .

Redesigned to reflect the evolving ways that people work, the 7,334-square-foot space on the third floor of a 20-story building erected in 1912 showcases the latest AIS products in a vibrant, open, light-filled environment. .

The AIS design team worked with the Boston-based design team at NELSON, a global A&D firm, to create a new showroom that immediately engages guests. A reception area and welcome lounge feature the warmth of wood-grain materials in a pastel-finish palette inspired by new branding colors. Behind the reception desk, a natural moss wall – similar to the 20-foot-high green wall at AIS headquarters – emphasizes the importance of environmental sustainability. LB Lounge seating and Volker cubes and nesting tables – both recently launched AIS products – provide visitors with comfortable seating and collaborative places to work. .

Mounted on a wall in this area is a unique masterpiece created by artist Rob Surette specifically for the new showroom. The wall art represents the energy, motion and innovation of New York and was inspired by the city’s skyline and reflections in the water. The color palette was influenced by the finishes scheme and design elements, while the shape was created from the audio sound wave produced by the letters “AIS” when spoken. .

On another wall near reception, a display features a variety of AIS task chairs, including the latest product, Devens, as well as the Bolton, Natick, Pierce, Stow, Triad and Upton chairs. .

Colorful frames hung from the ceiling showcase some of the vibrant hues offered in AIS’s line of graduated mesh for seating, creating a sculptural 3D feature in the middle of the showroom. .

This area transitions into the main showroom space, which offers a variety of open-office vignettes, semi-private workspaces, a private office and a formal conferencing space. .

“Our renovated showroom is alive and bright – showcasing the gamut of AIS products for all kinds of environments – offices, educational settings, healthcare spaces and more,” said Kait Kennedy, showroom manager. “The look is universal, current – it’s energized, but balanced with a sense of calm.” .

The AIS product lines in the new showroom also include Aloft, Calibrate Series, Divi, Matrix, and Oxygen. Displayed throughout are height-adjustable executive desks and tables. .

Technology plays a large role in the new showroom. The lounge areas include popup power with USB plugs so phones can be recharged in these relaxed environments. Clamp-on power and power-through access doors are also featured. .

The showroom doubles as an actual workspace for Kennedy and AIS’s three New York metro-area sales representatives. The showroom serves as a host site for the reps and for dealers across the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. .

“Being an actual work environment in addition to a showroom, we’re able to engage our customers in meaningful conversation about their own space needs and help them to visualize possibilities,” Kennedy said. .

AIS also has showrooms in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and at its headquarters in Leominster, Massachusetts.

AIS Launches Three New Products for Work and Learning Environments

Leominster, MA – March 22, 2018 – AIS, a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and seating, introduces three new products – Volker™ cubes and nesting tables, the Devens™ task chair and LB Lounge™ seating.

Volker™ Cubes and Nesting Tables

Volker™ is the new town square – a lighthearted, simple, smart design that fits readily into any work or learning space to draw people together. Launching first as part of this new product line by AIS are the Volker™ cubes and nesting tables.

Volker™ cubes are visually and functionally at ease in a variety of applications; they’re equally suited for impromptu gatherings in the office, as guest seating in workstations, in schools and other learning environments, and in casual waiting areas. The 18-inch fully upholstered cubes on casters roll where users need them to go.

The accompanying square-shaped stationary table doubles as a work surface for collaboration and as an “anchor spot” to discretely stow the cubes when not in use. Volker™ is named for one of its product designers, Volker Braun, who is AIS’s plant manager for casegoods.

“We designed Volker to instantly befriend people and to add a touch of levity to spaces,” Braun said. “The practical side of Volker is found in its comfort and flexibility so people can do their best work.”

Volker™ cubes are offered in a variety of fabric options and can be specified easily with a range of materials, including the new Camira Blazer wool upholstery line. Volker™ tables feature 18 laminate finish choices.

“Volker delivers no-nonsense design in a friendly, collaborative solution with an efficient footprint. The simple geometry is comfortably executed for impromptu meetings and social gatherings,” noted Bill Stewich, AIS executive vice president of product development. Stewich collaborated with Braun to design the product line.

Produced at AIS’s Massachusetts-based manufacturing facility and headquarters, the Volker™ cubes and nesting tables can ship three weeks from initial order.

Devens™ Task Chair

The Devens™ task chair embodies intuitive design, robust ergonomics, quality and value for a wide range of needs throughout the workplace – from reception areas to open spaces to private offices.

Combining the latest in comfort and intuitive functionality, Devens™ has a weight-activated synchro-tilt mechanism, which in combination with its well-thought-out ergonomic design provides optimal seated support.

“Once properly adjusted, the Devens chair offers a task seating experience so comfortable and natural that users don’t think about the chair and how it works – the chair simply and intuitively works for them,” AIS Vice President of Seating Kees Breeuwsma said.

The chair comes standard with rich ergonomic features that make it easy to adjust to fit each user, regardless of task or preference. These features include the weight-activated synchro-tilt mechanism (automatic tension) with multi-position back-lock, armless or 4D arms, pneumatic seat-height adjustment, 2-inch seat-depth adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. The chair has been designed to comfortably accommodate 95 percent of the diverse worker population.

In addition to superior fit and functionality, Devens™ offers universal style with a number of fabric and finish options. With three mesh colors, two frame finishes, three base finishes and a variety of seat upholstery options, the Devens™ task chair can be easily configured to reflect personal style preferences. The chair is BIFMA-level certified.

Named after Fort Devens in Massachusetts, and produced at AIS’s Massachusetts-based manufacturing facility and headquarters, express models of the Devens™ task chair can ship just three days from initial order.

“Perfectly balancing price and performance, Devens delivers in comfort, quality, value and style,” AIS President and CEO Bruce Platzman said.

LB Lounge™ Seating

The new LB Lounge™ seating by AIS creates naturally sociable seating for a variety of settings, including corporate, healthcare and educational environments. Available in two- and three-seat configurations with multiple widths and back heights, the LB Lounge™ offers generous dimensions and clutter-controlling open storage.

The storage base is available in a multitude of Grade A laminate choices. Fabric options for the seat and back cushions include many graded-in materials, and the LB Lounge™ readily accepts many COMs (customers’ own materials).

LB Lounge™ is scaled to integrate with Calibrate®, Matrix, Divi® and other AIS product lines.

“The seat’s bold, solid profile helps to define spaces, and blended finishes can be specified for a custom look,” Stewich said.

Produced at AIS’s Massachusetts-based manufacturing facility and headquarters, LB Lounge™ seating can ship within three weeks after the order is entered.



AIS is a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the furniture industry. Founded in 1989 and incorporated in 1990, the company is known for offering market-relevant, feature-rich product lines that entice designers and support the diverse needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time performance and manufacturing flexibility. AIS has over 600,000 square feet of manufacturing space and operates in Leominster, MA. For more information, visit the website at

AIS Welcomes New Regional Sales Managers, DC Showroom Manager

Mallory Hoobler AIS has hired Mallory Hoobler as the company’s Midwest territory manager. Based in Chicago, Hoobler serves as the liaison to AIS dealers in the Midwest region. Before joining AIS, Hoobler was a project manager for Corporate Concepts where she helped to expand the dealership’s downtown Chicago location and assisted with several national accounts. Prior to working for Corporate Concepts, she served as an assistant showroom sales manager and project manager for Katonah Architectural Hardware located inside The Merchandise Mart in Chicago. “AIS is built on an ingenuity that’s shaken up the office furniture industry. The company is a leader in lean manufacturing and, by utilizing our award-winning processes and product designs, we produce high-end systems, casegoods and seating at attractive price points. I’m excited to help our Midwest dealers and their customers learn about AIS’s solutions,” Hoobler said. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Illinois State University. Justin Brzostowski AIS has welcomed Justin Brzostowski as the territory manager for northern New Jersey where he’ll serve as a liaison to dealers in the region. Prior to joining AIS, he worked as a sales and marketing associate for The Holder Group, a commercial general contractor, and, before that, in sales and management roles for a sporting-goods company. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from William Paterson University and is a member of CoreNet and IFMA. “I’m excited to join a progressive and growing company that provides quality products with short lead times. I hope to bring additional energy to the northern New Jersey market and to help our dealers uncover new opportunities to grow their businesses,” Brzostowski said. Allison Barnett AIS has hired Allison Barnett as manager and designer for the company’s Washington, DC-based showroom. Active in the office furniture industry for more than five years, she most recently managed the design department at Omnifics, a dealer in Alexandria, Va. Before Omnifics, she worked for Ethan Allen. “During my time as a dealer-designer at Omnifics, I collaborated a lot with the AIS team in specifying AIS products, so I’m very excited to be joining the family. With my existing knowledge of AIS products, I’ll assist our customers with their AIS needs and blended solutions,” Barnett said. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interior design from The Art Institute of Philadelphia and is a member of IIDA.

AIS Hires Nick Haritos as Executive Vice President of Sales and Distribution

Leominster, MA – Jan. 18, 2018 – AIS, a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and seating, announces the hiring of Nick Haritos as executive vice president of sales and distribution. Haritos, who joined AIS in early January, will lead all sales and distribution efforts throughout North America. His appointment will support the company’s ambitious growth plans, according to AIS CEO / President Bruce Platzman. Haritos’ career spanning three decades in management and business development includes more than 25 years in contract furniture, including 16 years with Haworth, most recently as vice president of sales and distribution covering a five-region territory stretching from New England to the Caribbean. Before Haworth, he served as senior vice president of sales for Office Environments of New England. “Nick’s extensive experience in sales and distribution builds on AIS’s strong industry presence,” Platzman said. “He is a relationship-driven leader whose experience as a dealer and manufacturer will help us on multiple levels.” The native New Englander earned a bachelor’s degree from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire and a master’s degree from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. He earned a certificate in mediation from Woodbury College in Vermont and completed additional post-graduate work in alternative dispute resolution at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. “I’ve been associated with AIS for 25 years at some level, and I’m very excited to be part of this team. The energy, spirit and ‘can do’ attitude is infectious, and I’m looking forward to helping the team get to the next level,” Haritos said.

AIS Announces the Addition of Mid-Atlantic Territory Manager, Amy O’Brien

Leominster, MA – August 18, 2017. Amy O’Brien joins AIS as a Mid-Atlantic Territory Manager. O’Brien brings with her almost 20 years in the contract furniture market. Throughout O’Brien’s career, she’s held multiple senior level and executive positions with dealers in the DC and Virginia regions. Her strong ability to plan and present solutions for her customers has contributed to continual sales growth year after year. O’Brien’s expertise of account and sales strategy with dealers, along with building relationships with A&D and industry contacts, will continue to strengthen AIS’ presence in the region. “Amy’s expertise in customer relationships and business development, along with her experience working with the dealers in the Mid-Atlantic, will be a winning combination. We look forward to Amy’s leadership in this market as AIS grows,” commented Mark Facciani, Vice President of Sales – Mid-Atlantic.

AIS Hires Dennis Jackson at Northern California Territory Manager

Leominster, MA – August 17, 2017. AIS is excited to announce the hiring of Dennis Jackson as Northern California Territory Manager. Jackson joins AIS with a vast amount of experience in the contract furniture industry throughout the Northern California region. “Dennis has a proven track record for performance in Northern California. His broad knowledge and strong relationships with dealers, architects and designers will contribute to AIS growth in this area. We’re excited to have him on board,” commented Brian Gerdes, Western Regional Vice President. Jackson has held account management and leadership positions with a variety of dealers in Northern California. Specifically he has driven areas of new business development and global account opportunities. Jackson will work with dealers in the region to continue to strengthen and build relationships with end-users and the A&D community.

The Scranton Group, Now Representing AIS

Leominster, MA – July 7, 2017 – AIS is pleased to announce The Scranton Group will now be representing AIS in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. Brian Scranton, Principal of The Scranton Group, has over 20 years of experience in the contract furniture industry. The goal of The Scranton Group is to simply represent a limited number of quality and value driven manufacturers. “We’re excited to have The Scranton Group representing AIS in the Rocky Mountain Region. Brian Scranton’s knowledge of AIS, commercial design and his relationships with our dealers and industry partners will continue to boost market share throughout the territory,” commented Brian Gerdes, Vice President, AIS.

AIS Announces Addition of New Sales Representation for Michigan, Workplace Resources, Inc.

Leominster, MA – June 26, 2017 – AIS is excited to announce the hiring of Workplace Resources, Inc. to represent AIS in Michigan. Principal of Workplace Resource, Inc., Lisa Hulbert has 29 years of experience in the commercial design and contract furniture industry. Her knowledge of owning a dealership and working for CBRE and Dow Chemical give her a breadth of knowledge in the industry that will help in maintaining and developing a customer base for AIS. “Workplace Resource, Inc. is an outstanding addition to the AIS representative team. Lisa Hulbert’s knowledge and relationships within the state of Michigan will provide additional strength in the market,” commented Ben Maxwell, Senior Vice President, AIS.

Kamran Nafissi hired as Manager of Business Development of the New England Territory for AIS

Leominster, MA – June 26, 2017. AIS announces the addition of Kamran Nafissi as Manager of Business Development for the New England Territory. Kamran has had an extensive career in the contract furniture industry with 30+ years of experience, including Account Management for major corporations and education organizations throughout New England. Prior to joining AIS, Kamran was principal owner of his dealership for 17 years. Most recently his previous position was business development director for a large dealership in Boston. Kamran has his Master’s degree from Columbia University. “Kamran’s experience and knowledge of not only the contract furniture industry, but also strong relationships with various New England organizations make him ideal for this new position as Manager of Business Development,” commented Courtney Pirosko, Vice President of Sales – New England & Mid-West.