COMPANY > Values & Action
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The loftiest mission statements, principles, philosophies, commitments, and vision statements, without action, are just words. If you watch, you’ll see that Communication by Design (CbD) lives its values:


Your needs come first—your objectives, your message, your audience, and, of course, your budget and schedule.

Effective Trumps Creative

We will never sacrifice your project to our own creative impulses. But if your project calls for a wildly innovative solution, we’ll serve up edgy, avant-garde concepts. And don’t let anyone tell you that creative has to be costly. Here’s proof to the contrary. (Fire up your printer.)

Our Best Counsel

We respectfully decline to build deliverables that we know, based on decades of experience, can’t deliver the results a client needs. We like success—yours and ours—too much to take the money and run.


Only through open, honest, two-way communication will we achieve your objectives as fully and effectively as possible, while developing trust and enjoying our work together.


We will respect your people, honor your proprietary and confidential information, and treasure our relationship with you.


Communication by Design founder and president Jan Niehaus is deeply committed to sustainability, which she actively practices and promotes:

  • In articles and essays published in business, industry, and consumer publications
  • As a leader in community organizations dedicated to sustainability
  • Working with Communication by Design clients
  • Throughout CbD’s business operations

An environmentalist as long as she can remember, Jan began to address sustainability issues professionally in 1992, with the publication of a feature article on environmental regulations in Decorating Retailer, the journal of the Paint and Decorating Retail Association (PDRA).

When PDRA published a special environmental issue the next year, Jan covered green product certification. The green ink has been flowing from Jan’s pen ever since.

National AIA Contract: Conference Report

In 1999, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) hired Communication by Design to attend and report the two-day education conference “Renovating Early and Middle 20th Century Schools,” jointly presented by the National Committee on Architecture for Education and the Construction Management Committee.

The complete Conference Report was published on the AIA website. Read the Conference Report synopsis here.

Construction & Design

While still at the AIA education conference, the St. Louis Construction News & Review (CNR) editor hired Jan to write an article on the Conference, thereby launching Jan’s long freelance relationship with CNR.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, she researched and published articles in many local, regional, and national trade journals, magazines, and newspapers, including:

  • St. Louis Construction News & Real Estate
  • Decorating Retailer
  • St. Louis Design
  • Paint and Wallcovering Contractor
  • Builder/Architect
  • Décor
  • Today’s Home
  • the Electrical Distributor
  • TED GreenRoom
  • Missouri Environmental Insider
As a ghostwriter for architects and engineers throughout the Midwest, her work has been published in:

  • American School and University
  • School Planning and Management
  • St. Louis Business Journal
  • Kansas City Business Journal
  • the British journal Stadia
    The Electrical Distributor

What is sustainability?


You hear a lot about “sustainability” these days. What does the term mean to you? The most popular definition in use today was published in 1983 by the U.N. World Commission on Environment and Development in Our Common Future:

Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

We would add just four words:

Meeting the social, economic, and environmental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

This small edit is a nod to the concept of the Triple Bottom Line—People, Profit, Planet—an idea endorsed by forward-thinking corporate leaders nationally and globally.

Electrical Industry Specialization

Along the way, Jan has developed a particular specialization in the electrical industry, writing a monthly column, “Green Channel,” for the Electrical Distributor (tED), the award-winning magazine of the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED).

In 2009, NAED hired Jan as an instructional designer to create a new, industry-critical e-learning curriculum Selling Green 101 based on proprietary research conducted by Jerry Yudelson & Associates for NAED. The curriculum consists of five separate e-learning courses— the meaning of “green,” lighting, controls, green building, and renewable energy—for which she designed and developed the multimedia scripts.

Jan has researched and written dozens of columns, cover stories, and feature articles on a wide range of business, industry, and sustainability topics.


Previously employed in the nonprofit sector, Jan maintains a strong, ongoing commitment to environmental, civic, and social justice issues.

A natural synergy arose between Jan’s growing familiarity with architectural, engineering, and construction issues and the fledgling the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter (USGBC-MG) (previously the St. Louis Regional Chapter).

USGBC-MG logo + tagline

Shortly after the Chapter received its charter from the national USGBC, as a marketing and communications consultant, Communication by Design helped to establish the Chapter’s brand, including the Chapter’s tag line “Transforming the Built Environment,” a phrase that now synonymous with the Chapter brand. USGBC-MG logo + 10-year anniversary tagline

She soon joined and became a loyal and active volunteer, a role she maintains today. As Marketing Committee Chair, she coined the Chapter’s 10-year anniversary tagline “10 Green Years & Still Growing” and contributed to the Chapter’s elevated community profile. Jan has also served as Leadership Circle Representative and Board member, contributing her time and talent to promoting green building, energy efficiency, and sustainability throughout the St. Louis region.Sierra Club logo

Jan’s volunteer efforts over the years have also benefited the Sierra Club, Missouri Votes Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Pride of the Heights, St. Martha’s Hall, Head Start, and the Child Day Care Association. Friends of Richmond Heights logo color 2012

Within her own municipality, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Richmond Heights Foundation and chairs the organization’s Sustainability Committee.