Category Archives: Blog

Latest additions, news, updates, blog, and other misc. posts…

Amazing talent runs in the family

Tess Geissler
Tess Geissler

My sister was recently featured in the news for her nationally recognized photo award.

I helped her set up her web site at and ;)

Check out her sites and her even more amazing photo work. Tell her I sent you.


Read here:

Photographer Tess Geissler’s Chromogenic “Ghost” Receives National Recognition

Sharon Mager
January 13, 2015

Arnold resident Tess Geissler was one of several Anne Arundel Community College students recognized for their submissions to the League for Innovation in the college’s annual national arts competition. Geissler’s submission, a chromogenic color photo titled “Ghost,” features a ghostly figure hanging midway down a window behind a sheer curtain with just a portion of a bare leg hanging down.

Geissler said the photograph is actually a self-portrait she created using an “old-school” camera from the mid-1980s. She set it up, climbed in a window with half her body in and half out, and had her son Ezra push the button. That scenario was repeated multiple times with Geissler making various adjustments.

“It wasn’t something I could Photoshop,” she explained. Geissler said she worked hard to achieve the desired effects with composition and body placement so she had a variety of frames from which to choose during the printing process, in case curtains were crooked or a cat made an unexpected appearance.

“It was a labor of love, and I love it,” she indicated.

The League for Innovation is an international nonprofit organization representing 800 institutions from 11 countries. It supports community colleges by offering conferences, competitions, resources and more. Its mission is “to catalyze the community college movement.”

Geissler was previously recognized for her work in spring 2014 when three of her photos were among 80 different art projects chosen for display at Anne Arundel Community College. Six artists were compensated for their art, ranging from photos to drawings and ceramics. Geissler received compensation for one of the three photos.

Geissler is encouraged by the accomplishments, and she is slowly but surely pursuing a photography degree at the college. She and her husband, Doug, have three children – 13-year-old Ezra, 8-year-old Isaac and 7-year-old Aiden. Tess is very involved in volunteer work and is the vice president of Belvedere Elementary School’s PTA, so her free time is limited. She takes one or two classes each semester.

She hopes eventually to work as a photojournalist. Now she is pouring herself into her classes, learning everything she can and networking with other photographers. “The college has an awesome visual arts department. Every professor is amazing. I have learned so much,” she said.

Geissler explained that she began enjoying photography while in high school, but when she had her first son, she became more involved, wanting to make sure she captured as much of his childhood as possible. “As the months went by, my photos began to get better – more artistic and interesting,” she indicated. “My friends and family started telling me I should pursue this.”

She also learned graphic design and produces posters and flyers, helps produce the yearbook, photographs special events and even designed the PTA website for Belvedere Elementary School. Her favorite photographic subjects are children. “I like their mannerisms and expressions,” she mused.

In addition to photography, Geissler likes outdoor activities, including camping, hiking and going to the beach. She also enjoys reading, writing poetry and sewing. Her artwork can be seen on her website at

Abstract – Systems Engineering, not just for Engineers

Abstract Title:

Systems Engineering – not just for Engineers.

A presentation asking, answering, and begging the question “Systems Thinking, WTF!? (What’s the Fuss!?),” as told from the perspective of a ‘creative outsider.’


I often hear “But you aren’t an engineer!” while studying the INCOSE handbook and applying it’s principles to my 10+ years of creative design and multimedia project management. This presentation challenges participants to “think again” and consider the simple fact that Systems Engineering is not just for Engineers. Regardless of what one’s job title, resume, or boss says- “Systems Thinkers” are qualified to be on an Systems Engineering team as equal and contributing collaboration partners, regardless of their technical or professional background.incose-thumbnail

This presentation makes a case for the inclusion of multi-interdisciplinary backgrounds on a Systems Engineering team as a source of innovation, diversity, and enhancement of team leadership across programs, companies, and ultimately across all industries.  By looking at various INCOSE resources, real world scenarios, and established industry standards, this paper proposes that the Systems Engineering culture be more inclusive to “Systems Thinkers” that often fall outside of the scope of “traditional” technical Engineering. By defining the key factors that make an effective Systems Engineer (Paradoxical Mindset, Effective Communication, Flexible Comfort Zone, Smart Leadership, and Self-Starter) and looking at my individual background and skill set, I demonstrate that my 10+ years experience in creative design and multimedia project management is just as valid and beneficial to a Systems Engineering team as a traditional technical engineer is.

In the course of the discussion, Systems Engineering is investigated and defined by analyzing INCOSE Systems Engineering standards, processes, and activities, as well as competencies defined in the INCOSE UK Systems Engineering Competencies Framework.incose-uk An argument is further presented for how and why greater inclusiveness and diversity on a Systems Engineering team would breed enhanced innovation and collaboration. The goal is to raise awareness of the often hidden talent around us, encourage leadership to recognize and develop the traits of a “Systems Thinker.” Through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and guidance, we can all help these ‘non-engineering’ Systems Engineers (a.k.a. “System Thinkers”) become a new and critical part of our system of systems.


Collaboration, Innovation, Systems Integration, Other

Format: Presentation (PowerPoint/lecture)

Author/Principal Author: Jeff Geissler


Jeff is a lifelong systems thinker and creative designer with over 10+ years successful experience as a full time and freelance Multimedia Project Manager working for various production companies, DOD contracts, independent and national artists, and industrial companies in the DC/MD/VA region. Highlights include working directly for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, receiving a coin in recognition of successful technical service from the Secretary of the Navy for a successful VTC conference with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates aboard AirForce One, and as a Videographer for the United States Naval Academy. Jeff currently works in Maryland as a Graphic Artist in the Data Management Department for a Mission Critical Contract serving the Department of Defense.

(C) 2014 Jeff Geissler - All rights reserved

The Next UX Revolution: Transforming Stodgy Enterprise Applications Into Engaging Experiences


Three clicks instead of ten. Two steps instead of five. White space. Intuitive icons. Drag and drop.As consumer UX underwent a renaissance over the last decade, enterprise software stagnated with a design sensibility from the dial-up era.

Usability—much less beauty—was never a priority for business software. All that mattered was that large and complex applications worked. What’s the point of tweaking and beautifying when basic functionality is challenging enough and all of your competitors are equally sub par?

The point is users. Not yesterday’s users who eventually adapted to whatever complex software product you put in front of them. Those users are retiring. I’m talking about millennial workers who know better than to settle for unwieldy, confusing applications that only make their jobs harder.

Back in 2012, with the changing expectations of a new workforce, Charles Phillips, my CEO at Infor, decided that it was time to set a new standard for enterprise UX. Without a roadmap to follow or stats to back him up, Charles made usability—and the beauty of the experience—a priority for Infor, based on his inherent belief that good UX is valuable for our business and to the people who buy and use our products.

How did Infor transform its expansive product line of more than 50 applications? How can you replicate our UX strategy within your own organization? And how did it all pan out? (Spoiler alert: Our “go big or go home” approach is paying off for our customers, our users, and us.)

Step 1: Build the Right Internal Team

I believe that innovation is borne out of relentless curiosity. When forming Hook & Loop, Infor’s creative lab, I sought talent outside the enterprise software space and was delighted to find creatives with a wide range of backgrounds, eager to bring fresh perspectives to enterprise software. This unconventional yet highly capable team includes former advertising folks like myself, artists, a CGI animator from The Avengers, a comic book illustrator, and a designer from Kenneth Cole. We also have designers with strengths in information architecture and code, as well as two developers with backgrounds in graphic design and another who started his career as a writer. Their career experiences combined with other staffers’ more traditional software backgrounds offers a balance of limitless curiosity and expertise.

Infor Business Intelligence

Along with a rich diversity of competencies, there is an amazing lack of ego on our team. Everyone contributes and the best idea wins, whether it comes from a senior product developer or a recent college graduate, an industry veteran or a newbie. This open-mindedness produces a highly prolific and effective team, one that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Whether your product line demands one solid designer or a multi-faceted 60-person squad, it is crucial to build your team internally. Outsourcing UX may feel like the cleanest, simplest solution, but it probably won’t get you farther than a facelift. While Hook & Loop was always comprised of a full-time, in-house staff, we operated early on more as a consulting group, fixing small pieces of Infor applications. We quickly figured out that this approach would not scale nor help Infor with any long-term goals, which leads me to my next point.

Step 2: Foster Collaboration

Traditionally, an enterprise application was conceived in a vacuum: a product manager created a long list of features, and the end result was a product rich in functionality, but complicated to use. To deliver meaningful user experiences—and, ultimately, to build support both within your organization and among your customers—you need to work closely with three distinct groups: the executive team, your organization’s existing teams, and your users.

Collaborating with Infor leadership comes naturally to us, thanks to the executive team’s commitment to UX from the very beginning. With both teams based in Infor’s New York City headquarters, communication is constant, objectives are always clear, and quick deliverables and last-minute changes are easy. Impromptu collaboration often takes place in the office kitchen, on the way to lunch, or simply as someone walks by a team member’s desk. Structured meetings can be called quickly when necessary. Unlike traditional enterprise software companies, we are able to ship products and upgrades in just a few months. This would be impossible without leadership’s enduring support and transparency.

Infor Mingle mobile

We also work with many teams within Infor, from industry-specific teams that serve sectors such as manufacturing, hospitality, and fashion, to strategy teams, marketing, and existing product teams. Essentially, we work with everyone. As a result, all of Infor has been exposed to Hook & Loop and, in turn, we’ve been exposed to all of Infor. This helps us deliver not only on our own goals, but also the strategies, wants and needs of the entire organization.

Next generation enterprise software will learn patterns, anticipate problems and provide solutions

Collaboration within your organization will get you far, but you also need to listen to and observe your users. We create meaningful experiences for field service technicians, data entry personnel, and hotel front desk clerks because we have watched them work and asked them about their pain points and wish lists. We learn what their days are like so we can understand what they need. Ultimately, we have been able to take a user-first approach to UX and structure experiences around the workflow of the user, rather than forcing the user to conform his workflow to the structure of the product.

Step 3: Go Beyond Good Looks

When Hook & Loop was formed, we set out to push Infor’s products past functionality and into more pleasurable experiences. This was a monumental task in itself for a company that grew through acquisitions. Disparate platforms, frameworks, navigation patterns, and interaction patterns made it difficult to unify Infor’s UX, but we did it in under a year by developing a set of guidelines and distributing them to help every product team adapt to the new UX directive.

Let me repeat that: we did it in under a year.

Now, we’re pushing ourselves even farther to not only simplify the experience of using enterprise software, but also to simplify the experience of work itself. One of our favorite examples at Hook & Loop is in manufacturing. Currently, when a machine malfunctions, everything in the production process comes to a halt, which results in costly downtime—and panic—until the issue is resolved. When we spoke to manufacturers, they said they wanted enhanced ways to fix floor problems faster, but this just left us wondering—what if we could prevent problems from happening? Inspired by predictive consumer technologies, we’re simplifying the way manufacturers work with an app that will anticipate factory floor issues and provide immediate solutions before they arise.

Infor desktop

The next generation of enterprise software won’t just track, report, and distribute information. It will learn patterns, anticipate problems and provide solutions. It will do more heavy lifting, liberating organizations and their workers to imagine, invent and solve problems bigger than patching a broken machine.

The UX Evolution Has Only Just Begun

Businesses are starting to realize the potential of good UX. With a substantial percentage of the workforce retiring in the next three to five years, organizations need software for a new wave of workers—business software that works like the apps they use at home. Our customers who have already adopted Infor’s new UX are seeing lower turnover rates, less training time, and more satisfaction among their workers. They tell us they’re hungry for more. And we’re getting ready to deliver.

Image of clenched fist courtesy Shutterstock


User Profile

As Chief Creative Officer of Infor, Marc Scibelli leads Infor’s creative lab, Hook & Loop. Scibelli has helped pioneer the consumerization of business software by partnering creatives with business software experts. Under Scibelli’s leadership, the Hook & Loop team has grown from 15 members in the beginning of 2013 to approximately 80 today.

Why the best designers don’t specialize in any one thing


I saw this article on wired and had to share. Bravo Josh- couldn’t have said it better myself.

By Josh Payton | 06.26.14

The digital world is at an inflection point, and the implications demand that organizations—from big companies to startups to marketing agencies—hire designers who are smart generalists.

Think about the moment we’re in: mobile, big data and personalization are converging to drive truly novel user experiences across countless new channels and in real life. In this post-screen world, the lines between the physical and the digital blur, and everything from your heartbeat to your thermostat connects to everything else. It’s a world of experiences, less and less dependent on any one platform, device, interface or technology. The best designers for this new environment are those who can confidently navigate change by adapting, not those who cling to whatever specialty in which they were formally trained or have the most experience.

The Shaping of a Generalist

I discovered I wanted to be a designer thanks to my middle school art teacher. He fit the stereotype: an easygoing surfer type with long hair. He reeled us in with topics that were appealing to 13-year-olds, like comic book art and Roy Lichtenstein. He also had a professional painting and airbrush business on the side and did the gymnasium floors, walls, signs, and parking lots for every school in the district. By teaching us some of those skills – how to use an airbrush and touch up magazine photos – he showed us that if comics and movie posters can be art, then maybe the stuff in old museums can be fun.

But I couldn’t be an airbrush artist today if I wanted to. Digital photography and editing tools have rendered that entire design specialty obsolete. It now seems ridiculous that designers once used mechanical tools to lay out magazine spreads and physically painted photographs to touch them up. Luckily, though, my teacher did more than relay a specialty; he taught us to be curious and inventive and to find connections between seemingly disparate things. In other words, my art teacher taught us to be smart generalists.

Little did he know that he was preparing us well to thrive in the very future state of affairs that would make his own expertise useless. Today’s innovations demand that we design with the unknown, the conjectural and the hypothetical in mind. Think about it: even the more complex interactions and interfaces made possible by mobile in recent years focus largely on real-time moments; one frame in the movie of someone’s life. But as personalization and predictive analytics work to anticipate what’s next, the emerging ecosystem will extend into the user’s future.

As a User Experience Designer, I believe that the best digital minds move deftly across specialties–a task that takes not just subject matter, but process, products, context and user needs into account, always. Consider, then, the smart generalists who will design these holistic offerings as experience editors. Where will they come from?

Knowing a Smart Generalist When You See Her Resume

I’m often faced with two types of job applicants. One has years of experience, an impressive portfolio of work and a specialty that took years to hone. That candidate discusses their job history engagingly, within the parameters of what is known and what has come before. The other candidate is young—sometimes almost ridiculously so—and is only held back by a lack of experience. That candidate never talks about history, but about what she wants to learn, where she thinks the world is going, and what kinds of products she wants to develop there. The second candidate is the smarter hire.

As digital experiences become more ubiquitous and harder to separate from analog ones, the field of user experience is transforming. Those who treat UX like a rigid set of tasks and capabilities will be left behind, outpaced by digital natives who intuitively break down disciplinary boundaries. In delivering the experiences that will increasingly be demanded by users, everyone on the team—even the specialists—will need to understand what others are doing and think more holistically, especially managers. No one should look at a plan on paper without being able to imagine the experience it’s meant to produce with some understanding of how to actually sit down and build it.

Those who treat UX like a rigid set of tasks and capabilities will be left behind, outpaced by digital natives who intuitively break down disciplinary boundaries.

Perhaps most importantly, every team member should adapt an experimental mindset, ready to iterate over time and to address user needs in new ways. There’s no time to agonize until a plan is perfect; designers need to design for extensibility, streamline development, release great products faster, and learn as much as they can in the process. In many of these new use cases, we’ll be designing things that have no predecessor, so constant tinkering and improvement will be key. As the Marines—the generalists of the military—say: improvise, adapt and overcome.

In his own quirky way, my analog art teacher instilled that kind of digital-ready thinking in my classmates and me. Today’s teachers, from the elementary level up through the design schools, would be wise to emulate him. Because these digital polymaths are the ones who will make our brave new world work for users.

Recent Updates – May 2012

I’ve been busy the past few monthes!

A few pages currently in development: – Just keeping up with Cathie’s massive amount of product listings! (COMING SOON)

Also COMING SOON – New revamped sites for and

  • Working on a music video for Dave Tieff’s first single off his new EP “A Trip Into the Sun”
  • Working on a highlight reel for Caitlin Kinney (of SYTYCD etc. fame)

Driven-To Inspire

On September 7, 2011 Washington / Baltimore area families were treated to an extraordinary event at the Arena Stage Mead Center for the Performing Arts. Caitlin Kinney and her Dance Company “Driven” rocked the house with an unforgettable agenda that included dance instruction, member competition, inspirational life stories and ended the evening with a breathtaking  performance that brought many to tears.

MC Caitlin Kinney put together a cast of Top Hollywood Dance performers featured on the Fox TV hit show “So You Think You Can Dance”. The event brochure has Bio’s on each of the performers – you can view the pdf here: