From the SPD Archives: Volunteers at Publication Design 40 Judging, 2005

From the SPD Archives: Volunteers at Publication Design 40 Judging, 2005 SPD50m2.jpgThe judging for SPD's Publication Design 50 is scheduled for this coming weekend, February 6-8. So it seems a good time to take a look back at some photographs from past judgings.

One of the key components in the smooth running of each Publication Design judging has been the talented crew of volunteers. For many years that crew was organized and directed by Linda Root Pouder. Here is a gallery of photographs of the volunteers from Publication Design 40, in 2005. That was Linda's last year as volunteer coordinator, and also the last year that the judging was held in its traditional Parsons School of Design location, in downtown Manhattan.

The co-chairs of Publication Design 40 were Mary Shanahan, creative director, Town & Country, and Gael Towey, chief creative officer, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Mitch Shostak, principal, Mitch Shostak Studios, was the chair of the non-newsstand category.

The photographs are by Craig Paul and Manuel Rodriguez.

Pictured in this collection of volunteers are current SPD President Brian Anstey (now design director of Instyle), and Vice-President Tim Leong (now design director of Entertainment Weekly). Also pictured is Nancy Stamatopoulos, who took over from Linda Root Pouder as judging volunteer in 2006. Nancy shares some of her memories of the 2005 event and explains some of the details of the volunteering and judging process.

(ABOVE, L-R): Thomas Alberty, Delia Desai, Tim Leong

Nancy Stamatopoulos: It never fails to be the coldest day of the year when SPD volunteers awake in the early morning darkness and arrive extra early at the competition venue -- extra early because they need to be a step ahead of the activity. In retrospect, they are the pace cars of the SPD competition.

Behind-the-scenes, yet up front and center, the 25+ volunteers lay out numerically coded competition entries, pick them up, deliver to the next stage, tally, sort, pull, resort, redistribute for medal judging, pack up and go -- all with great efficiency. It appears to be a well-oiled machine for the entire weekend. It's the small things the volunteers do that sometimes goes unnoticed: pencils sharpened, refreshments served, dining rooms setup, retooling of miscategorized entries, Starbucks runs, Staples runs. No job is too small for the dedicated volunteers of SPD. 
Over 15 years ago Linda Root asked me to join the volunteer team for the SPD competition. I didn't know what the job entailed... it didn't really matter. I was psyched to get behind the scenes of the "SPD competition machine."

Volunteering for the competition involved waking up at an unseemly hour on frigid Saturday and Sunday mornings in January. Arriving at Parsons School of Design just minutes before 8:30am guaranteed a wait for security to open the doors. We would huddle, and hop up and down with our steaming cups of coffee. This year that is pictured we got clobbered by a snowstorm and everyone struggled to get to the venue.

At Parsons, the set-up was improvisation at its best. One small classroom served as our all-purpose meeting room. Capacity was maybe 35. We had 70. The coffee urn would percolate all day, breakfast and lunch trays would be delivered, and judges sat upon artists' stools, huddled around small, communal tables. What was unique about the Parsons set-up was that each judging team had its own classroom -- easy for us volunteers to organize, but it meant we trekked up and down stairwells all day delivering entries from one judging staging point to the next. The tally/pull room was crowded and we laughed as we perched on the floor to go through tallied entries. The old classrooms had a sense of charm -- 12 coats of paint on the window panes and green chalkboards, the hiss of old New York radiators. It was a tight fit with U-shaped table set-ups and the rooms were either over-heated or not heated at all.

Today we run the event in the spacious Conference Center at F.I.T. The facilities are a refreshing change -- large open floor plan, ambient background music playing, and rows and rows of entries laid out for perusal. There are some tried and true "veteran" volunteers who run a tight ship for us. Our Executive Director, Keisha Dean and and long-time former Executive Director Emily Smith really mean business in the tally room with computers lined up in a row, the printer whirring out the computed results, and everyone gets a seat. What's also evolved over the years is the "Who's Who" list. As new designers enlist to volunteer, these young volunteers from days gone by [pictured], have moved on to being Art Directors and Creative Directors -- our judges of the next generation.
Fast forward to February 2015 and you will see me -- with clipboard in hand -- recruiting volunteers, ensuring the catering team keeps us fed and hydrated, setting up meeting rooms for those extra tasks, and making sure the "stray" visitors who roam into the competition hall thinking it's a public art show get (politely) shown the door. I live further away from the city now, so my wakeup call is now 4am. It's dark, it's cold, and every year I ask myself, "Why do I keep doing this???" The answer is easy... because after all these years, it's still [#&@*!] amazing.    

Volunteers1a.jpg(L-R): Liana Zamora, Sarah Crumb, Aaron Able

volunteers 2a.jpg(L-R): Andrew Horton, Douglas Snyder, Dominic Aratari

volunteers 3a.jpg(L-R): Linda Rubes, Michael Friel, Nancy Chan

volunteers 4a.jpg(L-R): Dan Hertzberg, Donald Partyka, Nancy Stamatopoulos

volunteers 5a.jpg(L-R): Brian Anstey, Andrea Nasca, Brian Truncali

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