Blackford Capital Portfolio Companies Boston Trade Interior Solutions, Design Environments, Inc., and ID Collaborative Combine to Form Design Environments

Newly integrated company to be led by industry veterans Jim Goergen, Ben Nicholas and Jade Russell

Grand Rapids, MI., October 4, 2022 – Blackford Capital, a leading lower middle market private equity firm, today announced it was further integrating its portfolio companies Boston Trade Interior Solutions (BTIS), Design Environments, Inc. (DEI), and ID Collaborative (IDC). The companies will now operate as Design Environments, a full-service design, sourcing and installation firm. The company will maintain its presence in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Greensboro, NC, and San Francisco.

“For more than 30 years, BTIS, DEI and IDC have been creating beautiful spaces for the hospitality, multi-family, senior living and student housing industries” said Jim Goergen, who will serve as chief executive officer of Design Environments. “Bringing these companies together leverages the expertise, knowledge and creativity of these talented teams, and further elevates the experience of both our clients and their customers.”

Goergen has held c-suite level roles within the contract and residential furniture and building materials industries for 20 years. He comes to Design Environments from Martin Furniture, where he served as CEO for the past two years.

In addition to Goergen, the executive leadership team for Design Environments will include:

  • Ben Nicholas, chief brand and design officer
  • Jade Russell, chief operating officer
  • Vikas Patel, chief financial officer
  • Chuck Tichelbaut, chief growth officer

As Chief Brand and Design Officer, Nicholas will lead Design Environments’ three studios as well as the marketing and brand direction for the company. He brings more than two decades of interior design and brand enhancement experience, most recently as senior principal with The Gettys Group Companies where he worked with some of the most recognizable names in upscale and boutique hotels and luxury properties.

Russell joins Design Environments as chief operating officer after a decade leading large scale holistic manufacturing and supply chain initiatives in the hospitality industry.
As COO, Russell will oversee sourcing, project operations, procurement, warehouse and installation functions for the company.

Patel, who has been with Boston Trade since 2015, will continue in the role of chief financial officer. Tichelbaut will assume the role of chief growth officer after serving as COO for Boston Trade since March of 2021.

“The full integration of these portfolio companies under an exceptional leadership team will have an immediate impact for their customers,” said Paul Doyle, Managing Director of Blackford Capital. “Design Environments has talent that crosses markets and industries, and the company is now extremely well-positioned for growth.”

“I am proud to be a part of Design Environments during this time of evolution and transformation,” said Goergen. “We’re focused on creating memorable and experiential environments that maintain the highest levels of quality – from initial concept to final installation.”

With five locations across the country, Design Environments is focused on creating memorable and experiential environments that exceed clients’ expectations and improve the world we live in.

About Blackford Capital

Founded in 2010, Blackford Capital is a private equity investment firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Blackford acquires, manages, and builds founder and family-owned, lower middle-market companies, with a focus on the manufacturing, industrial and distribution industries. With a reputation for a relentless approach to value creation and a focus on operational excellence, Blackford was named the Private Equity Firm of the Year by M&A Advisor in 2021 and 2018. Several of its portfolio companies have been included on the Inc. 5000. For more information, visit