Jennifer Ford
Jen is an experienced designer and communicator and currently works as Marketing & Communications Director at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications for online graduate programs. She is also an adjunct lecturer in the UF CJC's Web Design and Online Communication program.

Jen earned a Master's Degree from the University of Florida in Web Design and Online Communication. Jen also graduated from Idaho State University with a B.A. in Mass Communication specializing in Visual Communication and Graphic Design.

Jen spent several years designing for various publications and clients in Pocatello, Idaho before moving to Gainesville. Working as a page designer for the New York Times Company at their Gainesville Editing Center, she primarily designed pages The New York Times International Weekly. She also aided in the development of new products for the NYT Syndicate, including The New York Times Spending Well, a personal finance supplement for various U.S. newspapers. Spending Well received a New York Times Publisher’s Award in 2015. In her time at the University of Florida, she has also worked as a multimedia developer at the Career Resource Center and Senior Graphic Designer/Social Media Manager for UF Online.
Jim Harrison
Vice President
Jim is a Senior Creative Director at the University of Florida and an award-winning communicator, graphic designer and visual artist. He currently leads creative strategy at The Agency, an integrated communications firm within the College of Journalism and Communications. From 2010-2016 he was instrumental in guiding strategic creative efforts for the UF brand within the department of UF Communications, as well as across campus for other units. He is also an adjunct instructor of upper-division Graphic Design at the UF College of the Arts, and has taught design thinking for UF’s Innovation Academy.

A designer and creative director in Gainesville since the early 90s, Jim founded the design studio MetaVisual, specializing in branding and visual communication, and is perhaps best known for the Gainesville Fruit Company — a series of graphic prints featuring local landmarks, executed in the vintage style of classic fruit crate labels. His graphic work, featured in multiple solo gallery exhibitions, has won numerous Gold and Best in Show ADDY awards, and is in the collection of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division. He is also a past recipient of a prestigious SAPPI Paper “Ideas That Matter” grant.
Andres Lazo
Development Director
Andres is the Director of Citizen-Centered Design for the City of Gainesville where he is leading a team in civic innovation and the formation of a new Smart City Lab. He is a US Army veteran who previously served as an Innovation Specialist in the federal government as part of a civic technology team called, 18F, which is part of the General Services Administration (GSA).

His experience includes developing training and education programs for federal government employees and assisting federal agencies in complex problem-solving to include NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). He is a champion of human-centered design and innovation in government, defense organizations, and nonprofit veteran-service organizations.

In his US Army career as an enlisted troop, he received the Purple Heart for military merit, a Combat Infantryman Badge and an Expert Infantryman Badge. He has competed in the 2009 Best Ranger Competition and is a graduate of the US Army Infantry School, Airborne School, and Ranger School. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from the University of New Mexico.
Patricia Vernon
Membership Director
Patricia Vernon has over 20 years of experience working as a marketing, communications and public relations professional. Currently, she is serving as the public relations and communications manager for Haven, a source for patients, their families and their healthcare providers to find answers to their advanced illness challenges. Previously, Patricia was a consultant offering business strategy and content solutions to clients ranging from non-profit and health care to the construction industry. During that time, she also taught business communications and business management classes for Northern Arizona University and Davenport University. Her background also includes over a decade of business development, marketing and public relations experience in the Arizona construction industry.
Jessica Speckman
Programming Director
Hi! I am Jessica Speckman, I am currently a graphic designer at Frankel Media Group. I am also the Programming Director for our AIGA Gainesville chapter. As the Programming Director my goal is to help provide events that will promote creative thinking throughout our community, as well as offer opportunities for our members to network and give back. I aim to showcase local creatives, as well as creatives from all over the world, with workshops, speaker engagements and presentations. Our chapter started off strong with bringing in Aaron Draplin and since then I have been working to provide our members with events such as, Drinks and Design, Coffee with Creatives and the Sequential Artist workshop. In the coming months AIGA GNV will be providing you with more workshops, speakers and volunteer opportunities. I am always looking for more events and am open to any ideas or suggestions that our members have. So keep the great ideas coming.
Gaby Hernandez
Education Director
Gaby is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Florida. Her work specializes in Social Design, Design Research, Community Engagement, and Diversity in Design. Her multidisciplinary and multinational design work has been featured at multiple national and international conferences and exhibitions, including in the UK at the Design Research Society Biannual Conference in 2016. Her professional design service is active and wide, specifically with the AIGA, which includes her membership in national committees such as the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the Design Educators Community. Until last month, Gaby worked also as Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Houston-Downtown, where she directed the Graphic Design Research Initiative— a collaborative design studio project working with regional, national, and international clients in the fields of Biology, minority education, and public arts. Her previous AIGA chapter experience includes participation in the AIGA Houston Board of Directors, where she held the Director of Engagement and Education position for two years.
Aaron Dixon
Tech Director
Info about our new Tech Director is coming soon!
Layne Thue-Bludworth
Communications Director
Info about our new Communications Director is coming soon!
Heather Bjorn
Strategic Initiatives Chair
Heather is the Strategic Initiatives Chair on the programming team. She is responsible for identifying and sharing relevant social design and in-house design initiatives with the local design community. Through her focus on events & projects that are cause-driven, we hope to raise awareness of the social impact of design, challenges & opportunities faced by in-house designers, as well as encourage diversity in all areas of design.
Edith Williams
Professional Development Chair
Edith serves on our programming team and is responsible for identifying and sharing relevant opportunities for our members to engage in professional development initiatives with the local community. Through the design and implementation of events and projects that are development driven, this chair focuses on providing education and value for our members to grow and further their development and careers.
OPEN-Finance Director
Finance Director
If you’d like to apply for this volunteer position, apply on the Join the Board! page.
Caroline Staniski
Student Outreach Chair
Caroline is a graduate student at UF in Entrepreneurship. She serves as our Student Outreach Chair, connecting students with the chapter and design community. She believes that everyone should get to see the beauty in local design and everyone deserves a lifelong design mentor. Hand lettering is her biggest form of inspiration.