Legacy Award

The Legacy Award recognizes and honors a person, company or organization whose contributions have advanced the Interior Design profession and enriched Interior Design in Oregon. They show exemplified traits with values held by the IIDA Oregon Chapter, including advocacy, mentorship, design innovation and sustainable leadership. Congratulations to the 2020 winner of the Legacy Award: Ellen Cusick! Learn more about Ellen in her video feature:

Film credit: Videos filmed and edited by Bryn Silverman.

Name:  Ellen Cusick, IIDA, NCIDQ
EMC Interior Design LLC | Adjunct Professor PCC


Design Leader: Ellen has been teaching at Interior Design Programs across the Portland Area for years.  She also owns her own Interior Design business, where she completes both commercial and residential projects. She has been recognized for excellence in Hospitality and Wellness design in the ASID Oregon Chapter’s 2017 Design Excellence Awards.  Ellen makes sure that her students are equipped to handle real world design issues, and doesn’t sugarcoat anything!  She actively participates in the Oregon Interior Design community, and will continue to do so for years to come, because it is her passion.  She is always willing to be a reference, and has a plethora of valuable information to share with the community, especially from her perspective as a sole proprietor.

Advocate: Ellen has been an advocate for our profession for years.  She was the Legislative Affairs Chair on the IDC-Oregon Board, and has continued to advise the IIDA Oregon Advocacy Team after the dissolution of the coalition.  She was the main point of contact for our lobbyist, and is a wealth of knowledge regarding legislation and past advocacy efforts.  She knows how to speak eloquently and clearly about what commercial interior designers do, and she shares that information whenever the opportunity arises.  Ellen is also heavily involved in NCIDQ, including her current effort of helping to develop new questions for the test.  I can’t think of anyone I know who is a bigger, more natural advocate for our profession than Ellen. 

Mentor: Ellen is adamant that her students enter the workforce prepared for the challenges and realities of a job in commercial interior design.  She pushes her students to go above and beyond, and offers them extra credit for volunteering for industry events.  Ellen is always willing to get together and chat about past efforts and potential paths forward toward legislation.  She is a straight shooter, and freely shares her wealth of information with anyone who may need her guidance.

Community Involvement: Ellen is a great bridge between IIDA and ASID.  She understands that, in terms of advocacy at least, the organizations have the same goal, and can help support each other.  Her connections with other industry partners from her sole proprietorship also helps bring diversity to industry events and sponsorship.