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AIS Earns BIFMA levelTM Certification

Hudson, MA – October 5, 2012 – AIS has attained level certification from Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) for Divi, Matrix, Mwall and Calibrate furniture lines. This sustainability milestone exemplifies AIS’s dedication to sustainable practices.

Created by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA), level is the only multi-attribute sustainability standard and third-party certification program for the furniture industry. It has been developed to deliver the most open and transparent means of evaluating and communicating the environmental and social impacts of furniture products in the built environment. The level certification mark identifies that a product has been evaluated by an independent third-party certifier. AIS selected SCS because it is recognized as the industry leader of quality certifications.

“This achievement is something AIS is very proud of. Being a leader in lean manufacturing and a Shingo Prize award winner, sustainable practices are at the heart of our organization. We’re proud to illustrate to the marketplace that value oriented products can meet the same sustainability criteria as those with a higher price point. This marks the beginning of our level journey, we’re excited to further our sustainability efforts and certify additional product lines,” said Bruce Platzman, President/CEO, AIS.

ABOUT AIS

AIS is a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the systems furniture market. The company is known for offering feature-rich product lines that entice designers and meet immediate and future needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time and manufacturing flexibility. AIS employs 332 people, with over 500,000 sq. feet of manufacturing and operations at six locations. For more information, visit the website at www.ais-inc.com.

AIS Receives 2012 OFDA Manufacturer of the Year Award for Systems and Workstations

Hudson, MA - September 19, 2012 – The Office Furniture Dealers Alliance (OFDA) has named AIS Manufacturer of the Year for systems/workstations. This marks the fifth consecutive year the company has been recognized and the third year receiving the top honor. AIS will receive the award at the Dealer Strategies Conference, October 28th at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Words can not express how ecstatic we are to be recognized with this top honor three years in a row. Our dealers are at the heart of AIS’ success. Their needs and concerns are our top priority; we want to know what works, what doesn’t and how we can improve their business. This open communication is working and our commitment to servicing our dealers is unending. A special ‘Thank You’ goes out to all our committed partners. We will continue to better ourselves and deliver you the best value commercial office furniture products and services in the industry,” said Bruce Platzman, President/CEO, AIS.

In an industry with exceptional manufacturing competition, AIS has been able to outperform the industry for 21 years. Applying lean manufacturing processes and implementing some of the most price and lead-time competitive programs in the industry, the company’s growth has propelled to $120M in sales. Most recently the company has expanded its product portfolio to now include seating and casegoods. Committed to customer service and providing the best value product in the industry, dealers, designers and end-users have taken notice, contributing to the company’s record progression.

ABOUT THE DEALER’S CHOICE AWARD Winners of the OFDA awards are determined by the results of the Association’s new Dealers’ Choice Award Survey. This survey is open to all aligned and non-aligned dealers, asking them to rank their top-volume unaligned suppliers. This award represents excellence in six areas of performance including Training, Product Lines, Service and Support, Sales and Marketing, Management, and Technology. OFDA established this annual dealer poll as a constructive tool to help improve dealer/manufacturer communications and relations. Survey results provide the basis for OFDA to recognize manufacturer excellence in their products, policies and procedures that impact dealers.

ABOUT AIS AIS is a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the systems furniture market. The company is known for offering feature-rich product lines that entice designers and meet immediate and future needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time and manufacturing flexibility. AIS employs 332 people, with over 500,000 sq. feet of manufacturing and operations at six locations. For more information, visit the website at www.ais-inc.com.

AIS Promotes Chelsea Snow to New England Territory Manager

Hudson, MA – August 17, 2012 – AIS has promoted Chelsea Snow to New England Territory Manager. Previously, she held the position of Design Manager at the AIS Corporate Headquarters. Snow will be applying her systems knowledge in the field, supporting New England dealers and working diligently to build new key relationships and promote the AIS brand.

She is a LEED Accredited Professional and holds a BFA in Interior Design from Kendall College of Art and Design.

ABOUT AIS: AIS is a rapidly growing manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the systems furniture market. The company is known for offering feature-rich product lines that entice designers and meet immediate and future needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time and manufacturing flexibility. AIS employs 332 people, with over 500,000 sq. feet of manufacturing and operations at six locations. For more information, visit the AIS website at www.ais-inc.com.

AIS & ANEW: Partnership Provides Alternative for Repurposing Surplus Office Equipment

Hudson, MA – August 21, 2012 – In a continued effort to provide increasingly sustainable solutions, AIS has partnered with ANEW to provide a take-back solution for surplus office furniture and materials. This partnership provides AIS clients with a means to repurpose their furniture, fixtures and architectural materials, diverting the items from landfill. All captured materials are donated to public agencies and charities within a 50 mile radius, benefiting the local communities to which the furniture resided.

ANEW, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, exists to provide companies with alternatives for their surplus furniture and other items with the priority of matching it to non-profits, public agencies and underserved communities while avoiding landfill. This simple practice furthers corporate citizenship, social responsibility and environmental sustainability. With a nationwide reach of 250 service providers, ANEW is a single point resource, coordinating the removal of all surplus in any condition from the interior built environment, conducting community outreach to charities and others, then reporting the results and metrics of every project. In its 7 years of existence ANEW has diverted 8.9 million pounds from landfill, serving over 500 organizations in 13 countries. ANEW educates through action, transforming corporate surplus into community service. http://www.anewfound.org

“This partnership is a great fit for AIS. As a lean manufacturer, we are very environmentally aware of not just what we produce, but what we dispose of. By aligning with ANEW, we can ensure that abandoned furniture becomes recycled and used to benefit our communities as opposed to filling up our landfills,” said Rob Lazarus, Executive Vice President, AIS. “This is a great organization that unites social responsibility with environmental sustainability- something that we here at AIS are very passionate about.”

“ANEW is happy to welcome AIS as a sponsor,” says Founder/President Rose Tourje. “Their dynamic approach to sustainability is a perfect fit with ours; we look forward to working with them.”

ABOUT AIS: AIS is a rapidly growing manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the systems furniture market. The company is known for offering feature-rich product lines that entice designers and meet immediate and future needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time and manufacturing flexibility. AIS employs 332 people, with over 500,000 sq. feet of manufacturing and operations at six locations. For more information, visit the AIS website at www.ais-inc.com.

ANEW is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, organizing and repurposing surplus furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) for donation to the underserved & those who support them. Doing what’s right with what’s left® www.anewfound.org

AIS Hires TC Temple, Southern VA Territory Manager

Hudson, MA – July 17, 2012 – AIS is excited to announce the hiring of TC Temple, Southern VA Territory Manager. Temple will be responsible for developing distribution of AIS products, building relationships and increasing the company’s presence in the region.

An accomplished professional, Temple brings 15 years of industry experience to AIS. He most recently joins AIS from Kimball International where he held the title of Government Sales Manager. In this position Temple has been presented with several awards for his sales achievements. In 2011, he was awarded the title of #1 Government Sales Manager for Sales Volume.

“Temple brings to AIS a valuable skill set. He understands the needs of our GSA and emerging commercial dealers and end-users while congruently understanding the needs and initiatives of the A&D community. This is a great opportunity for us to reach all markets within the territory,” said Mark Facciani, Vice President of Sales - Mid Atlantic, AIS.

Temple holds a Bachelor of Science is Business Administration from Old Dominion University.

ABOUT AIS: AIS is a rapidly growing manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the systems furniture market. The company is known for offering feature-rich product lines that entice designers and meet immediate and future needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time and manufacturing flexibility. AIS employs 332 people, with over 500,000 sq. feet of manufacturing and operations at six locations. For more information, visit the AIS website at www.ais-inc.com.

AIS Hires A&D Development Manager, Chicago

Hudson, MA – July 6, 2012 – AIS announces the addition of Erica Donnell as A&D Development Manager, Chicago. Donnell will work to increase brand awareness within the architectural and design community and support dealer driven efforts cultivated by the AIS Chicago Team. Based in the new AIS Showroom, 10th floor of the Merchandise Mart, Donnell will utilize the newly expanded space to host dealers, designers, end-users, showroom tours, events and more.

“This new position is a first for AIS. Traditionally we’ve solely remained focused on the dealer community. As a company we have made a commitment to fostering relationships with A&D and investing the time to understand their challenges and learning how AIS can help,” said Brad Armacost, Executive Vice President, AIS. “We believe this investment will help AIS achieve greater market acceptance within the Chicago and Midwest markets”.

Within the last year, AIS has experienced unprecedented growth and has expanded its product offering. Rather than being a sole systems provider, the company has now added seating and casegoods to its product portfolio. With these product line additions, AIS is now in a position to make an impact in the marketplace as a full-scope office furniture provider. In addition, AIS has invested heavily in the Chicago/Midwest market. In the last few months the company has completed a renovation to its newly expanded Chicago showroom, which housed the most successful NeoCon event in company history, and has added three new positions to this market.

Donnell has worked with the A&D community for the past 4 years. Most recently she held a position with Global Industries, which focused on assisting dealers with LEED projects and working with the local Chicago A&D firms. Erica holds a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University, and is a LEED AP.

ABOUT AIS: AIS is a rapidly growing manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the systems furniture market. The company is known for offering feature-rich product lines that entice designers and meet immediate and future needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time and manufacturing flexibility. AIS employs 332 people, with over 500,000 sq. feet of manufacturing and operations at six locations. For more information, visit the AIS website at www.ais-inc.com.

Making an IMPACT at NeoCon 2012

Media Contact: Erin Torres – Marketing Director – 978.562.7500 – etorres@ais-inc.com

Hudson, MA – May 16, 2012 – Dance, art, music and more, that’s what you’ll find in the new AIS showroom at NeoCon 2012. The company has expanded the Chicago space to emphasize its presence in the commercial office furniture arena and is now the proud tenant of a newly renovated 7,500 square foot showroom, designed by Nelson Architects, Chicago. The showroom is on the 10th floor of the Merchandise Mart, suite 1086.

The latest happenings in systems, seating and casegoods will be on display for all to see along with a strong entertainment element, inviting NeoCon attendees to ‘Take a TIMEOUT with AIS’. With choreographed dance performances inspired by MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew winners, the Jabbawockeez, and live speed painting arranged to music by renowned speed painter, Michael Ostaski; there’s an escape everyone can appreciate.

“We’re different from other manufacturers. We have a human element to our company that makes us memorable and someone you enjoy doing business with. We decided to infuse some fun into this year’s NeoCon experience and allow our guests to ‘take a timeout’ from the furniture chaos and enjoy themselves at the same time,” said Bruce Platzman, President/CEO, AIS.

In the last year, AIS has expanded it’s offering from being a sole systems provider to now adding seating and casegoods, rounding out their offering. The company ended FY 2012 with banner sales surpassing $100M.

Can’t make it to NeoCon? That’s okay – don’t miss out on the fun! Be sure to like AIS’s Facebook and Twitter pages to see video and photos of the dance and art performances during the show.

ABOUT AIS: AIS is a rapidly growing manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the commercial office furniture market. The company is known for offering feature-rich product lines that entice designers and meet immediate and future needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time and manufacturing flexibility. AIS employs 320 people, with over 500,000 sq. feet of manufacturing and operations at four locations. For more information, visit the AIS website at www.ais-inc.com.

AIS Launches Casegoods Line

Hudson, MA – January 9, 2012 - AIS announces the launch of its new laminate Casegoods line, “Compete”. Compete is the ideal solution to outfit private office and conferencing environments seeking traditional desks, hutches and credenzas. Alternatively, Compete answers the market demand for sophisticated open plan workspaces. The product is a result of a newly instated strategic partnership. This addition is announced at the heels of company’s seating acquisition illustrating AIS’ rapid forward progression.

Compete was engineered to offer a more traditional, yet sophisticated look to the workplace environment. With two edge profile thicknesses, nine laminate finishes and seven handle options, Compete is extremely customizable and adaptable to any workspace needs or aesthetic. Due to its flexibility, it can be used anywhere from reception stations to traditional task stations and private offices.

“We are very excited about our new Casegoods line. Compete is the culmination of our search for a sophisticated, flexible line with added value. This is the perfect compliment to our systems and seating lines we currently offer. Our hope is to continue to develop additional product so our dealers can turn to us for multiple offerings for any given project,” said Rob Lazarus, Executive Vice President of Sales, AIS.

2011 proved to be a banner year for the company. AIS ended the year with a 42% increase in sales and introduced their newly acquired seating line. AIS expects to gain additional growth in the new year with the addition of the Compete casegoods line.

“We’re growing year-over-year and gaining increased market share with our value proposition. Our goal is to simplify the furniture buying process for our dealers by offering an expanded portfolio of products, manufactured with the highest standards and offered at an attractive price point. This strategic partnership allows us to offer a value-added laminate casegoods line, rounding out our product solutions for private offices and conferencing spaces. This is a very exciting time for AIS,” said Bruce Platzman, CEO.

ABOUT AIS: AIS is a rapidly growing manufacturer of commercial office furniture and seating, boasting one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the office furniture market. The company is known for offering feature-rich product lines that entice designers and meet immediate and future needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time and manufacturing flexibility. AIS employs 320 people, with over 500,000 sq. feet of manufacturing and operations at four locations. For more information, visit the AIS website at www.ais-inc.com.

AIS Hires Jorge Serrato, Representing Mexican Markets

Hudson, MA – October 12, 2011 – AIS announces the newly formed partnership with Jorge Serrato, from Office Deal, in Monterrey, Mexico. Serrato will serve as the AIS Representative for the country of Mexico. He will be responsible for developing distribution of AIS products in all major markets throughout Mexico.

Serrato boasts over 15 years of experience in the furniture industry. In 1996 he started his own furniture manufacturing plant and distributed to retail chains throughout Mexico. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Sales for Workspaces, an office furniture manufacturer and dealer.

“Jorge has a strong background in furniture, both in manufacturing and sales. His knowledge of AIS products and his industry experience make him a strong addition to the AIS sales team, especially in the Mexican markets,” said David Bolduc, Senior Vice President of Sales, AIS.

Serrato holds a Bachelor degree in Marketing from ITESM. His office will be based in Monterrey, Mexico.

About AIS: AIS is a rapidly growing manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the systems furniture market. The company is known for offering feature-rich product lines that entice designers and meet immediate and future needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time and manufacturing flexibility. AIS employs 320 people, with over 500,000 sq. feet of manufacturing and operations at three locations. For more information, visit the AIS website at www.ais-inc.com.

MMQB recognizes Bruce Platzman, CEO of AIS, as one of the stars of the office furniture industry - read all about it!

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Bruce Platzman - AIS

After Bruce Platzman graduated from a Boston business school, he never intended to get into the office furniture industry. Right out of school, Platzman, now chief executive officer and president of AIS, went to a local employment agency. "They asked me if I had any interest in selling office furniture," he said. "I said to them, 'What, are you crazy? I just went to one of the best business schools in the country and you want me to sell office furniture?'"

The employment agency convinced Platzman to go to the interview at the Steelcase dealership (though he had never even heard of Steelcase). He completed the interview and took the job at one of the largest Steelcase dealers in the country.

"Right from the start, I was extremely happy," he said. "Not having a lot of business experience, I was intrigued by the atmosphere, intrigued by the energy I found there. The vice president of sales and marketing took me under his wing right away and I was privy and part of many high level meetings at a young age."

Platzman was a sales rep, went on to become a branch manager in Providence, RI, and then went to a small Knoll dealership in Boston, where he was an equity partner. But it wasn't until the early 1990s, when he and a partner started AIS, that he really made his mark on the industry.

There was a deep recession going on at the time, the worst of it focused in New England. Large banks were failing. There was a tremendous amount of uncertainty and that uncertainty led to customers putting off furniture purchases. Platzman said it was the worst recession he has seen. "No one was buying furniture," he said.

Affordable Interior Systems was created to capitalize on that market. Platzman and his partner bought the furniture from a failed Boston bank, remanufactured it and sold it. The company was off and running.

Demand for this low cost approach struck a chord in the marketplace. AIS quickly expanded its operation and handled all of the steps in the remanufacturing process. As the market evolved, AIS evolved with it. By 1996, the company had shifted its focus to the production of its own brand of workstations. Fueled by demand for high-value office furniture, the company quickly became one of the top manufacturers of new products for the New England market.

Between 2000 and 2007 alone, sales grew from $20 million to more than $100 million -- a pace nearly 400 percent ahead of the industry. That placed AIS among the top seven systems furniture companies by volume in the U.S. In 2005, the company officially changed its name from Affordable Interior Systems to AIS. The goal of the name change was to re-brand the company as a manufacturer of new and proprietary systems.

After decades in the business, Platzman said he still enjoys waking up early and coming into the office. He believes AIS is in a unique position in the industry. "I think it is interesting that like any industry, there are founders that may lose passion and interest over time," he said. "When I come into the office, it is still like the first day of work for me. It has been an exciting ride for us -- for the most part, straight up."

As a decision maker, Platzman said he takes his responsibility as a business leader seriously, noting that what he does affects not only his 350 employees, but 350 families. He said he asks his employees to work hard and be totally committed to the company's mission. Because of that, he said the company is "taking market share day in and day out."

Like many others in the industry, Platzman is waiting to see what work trends will take hold. The way people work is changing, as is the way companies are spending money on furniture. While other industries have rebounded to pre-recession numbers, the office furniture industry is still off 40 percent from its 2000 peak.

"I think there is going to be a consolidation at the manufacturing and distribution level," he said. "One of my concerns is that the dealer level is not attracting a lot of good, young talent. We are not getting the smart, business-educated 22 year-old kids to come into our industry. I think that is going to hurt us all."

AIS is not standing still. In 2011, AIS acquired a seating company, an important move that makes the company a more complete office furniture maker. "We will bring that same value proposition to seating," Platzman said. "We are also looking at developing a wall product in the next 12 months to compete with the industry leaders. And we are introducing a laminate casegoods line for private offices and conference rooms."

Platzman said the company is well positioned. While the company sees the continued need for panel systems, AIS is evaluating the desking and benching movements as well.

AIS' approach has earned it high praise, including the 2003 Shingo Prize for Excellence, and recognition by Industry Week magazine as one of the top 25 manufacturing plants in North America. In addition: 90 percent of the company's product line is now available as a 10-day quick ship, making its lead-time among the shortest in the industry; and 98.7 percent of the company's orders ship when they say they will ship, complete and on-time. The company also says it has the lowest number of freight claim incidents by volume in the industry.

When not leading a hard charging life in the office, Platzman is leading a hard charging life outside of it. Platzman enjoys spending time with his family. He has four children that range in age from 8 to 26. He is very involved in coaching Little League baseball and basketball. "I love skiing," he said. "If I could figure out a way to ski every day, I would."

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