Boston Voyager wants to introduce you to Jeff Brice Ornstein.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don't you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been a hotel designer all my professional life. I started with the Saunders Family which owned three of the historic properties in Boston, and worked for several other firms before starting JBrice Design.
Founded in 1989, we are a global design firm, having directed projects in excess of $5 Billion USD. Our most recent signature engagements include the fabled HMS Queen Mary, the iconic urban landmark The Helmsley Hotel in New York, The Royal Tulip Alexandria, and the Jeddah Crown Plaza, scheduled to open 2017.
J/Brice Design has been a Certified Interior Design Giant since 1993, and Architectural Giant since 1995. We consistently ranked among the leading interior design firms worldwide, specializing in interiors for the hospitality industry. Recently named Top Interior Design Firm of The Year by NEWH, the nation's largest professional hospitality organization, JBrice has also twice been identified as one of the Top Ten Fastest Growing Design Firms nationwide by Interior Design Magazine.
We have over 220 hotel and restaurant projects to its credit, as well as a diverse portfolio of corporate and residential interiors. JBrice has also been recognized for its work with distinctions such as Best Upscale Hotel Design of the Year, Hotel of The Year, and Intercontinental Hotel Group Renovation of the Year, Best Luxury Suite, Most Ambient Hotel Lobby, and Best Guestroom.
J/Brice is a preferred design group for Hilton Hotels, Marriott International/Starwood Hotels, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and Wyndham Worldwide Properties. International credentials include work for TAJ Hotels, Kempinski, Royal Tulip, and boutique properties in Dubai, UAE, Qatar, and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.I grew up in New York and graduated from Brandeis University with continued studies at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. I am a guest lecturer throughout
the Middle East, Europe and North America, and was the first American named keynote speaker of the Kingdom Hotel Expansion and Investment World Summit in Riyadh, KSA. I have twice been a featured speaker at Concepts Middle East in Doha, Qatar, as well as in Interior Design & Construction India, and many times at Heimtextil, the world's largest international textile trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany. Other speaking engagements include lectures at HD Expo, HD Boutique, HOTEC USA, Asia and Europe, and Hospitality Match USA, and Europe.
I'm a contributing editor to Hotel Executive Magazine, and am featured in Boutique Design Magazine, Hospitality Design, Lodging and Hospitality, Gulf Interiors, Byouteit Magazine, Hotel Business, The Commercial Observer, Young Hotelier, The Improper Bostonian, and Scene Magazine, who named me one of Boston's 12 Most Influential People. Academic associations include being on the Board of Advisers at the Prestigious New York School of Interior Design, a Visiting Critic at The Boston Architectural Center and The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). I was called upon by my colleagues to be a Judge for the annual Hotel World Platinum Circle Awards in Las Vegas, and for The Boutique Design Global Hotel Design Awards.
We're always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc - but we've spoken with enough people to know that it's not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Ouch... 30 years not all smooth! Three recessions in that time taught me a lot about business, people, my abilities (strengths and weaknesses) and priorities in life both personal and professional.
We'd love to hear more about your business.
Much of this was included in your earlier questions, but I'm most proud of the character of JBrice. We are known to be exceptionally creative, responsible, and honorable. The average tenure of an employee at JBrice is well over 10 years.., with several over 20! WE take our responsibilities very seriously, and yet we never lose sight of the fact that work should be fun. (We're known to be a little irreverent as well).
I am particularly proud of the many creative individuals whom I have played in part in their professional development, advancing the careers of so many who have go one to great things. When we were awarded top interior design firm of the year, dozens came out to celebrate. Many, if not most, expressed sincere thanks for my part in mentoring their careers, it was a magical evening.
What were you like growing up?
Brash. Funny. Confident. Loyal. Creative. Stubborn. Appealing. Troublemaker. Theatrical. Energetic. I loved having and cultivating new friendships, and adventure, and still do