Joe Baer

CEO, Creative Director, ZenGenius

From humble beginnings as a visual merchandiser for Lazarus Department Store in Ohio, to his role as a visual manager for Macy’s/The Broadway stores in the 1990s, Joe’s passion for visual merchandising has followed him throughout his retail career. After returning to Ohio in 1996 to work with the renowned Columbus-based design firm Chute Gerdeman, Joe later co-founded ZenGenius, Inc. with partner Paul Cook in 1999. Their fierce entrepreneurial spirit and strong desire to give back to the community, established ZenGenius as industry-leading visual merchandising experts in Columbus, later expanding nationwide. Often you’ll find Joe emceeing community and industry events, supporting the local arts community, or mentoring students from The Ohio State University and beyond. In recent years, his passion for education and fostering a new generation of talent has brought him closer to the mission of PAVE and its fundraising efforts.