Tell us about your career as a lighting designer. What drew you to the field?
My background is in theatre. I attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where I majored in theatrical design, specializing in lighting, and minored in business marketing. After graduation I really didn’t want to box myself in and only focus on theatrical or dance lighting, I also had a passion for architecture. I was interested in all aspect of how ls transformative. My senior year of undergrad I was a production intern for Live Design International. While networking, I met one of my mentors and that turned into an opportunity to work at Visual Terrain, Inc., in Southern California. Visual Terrain’s work spanned hotels, casinos, restaurants, TV, film, concerts, and multifaceted productions like the Olympics. We were able to focus on a lot of different market segments, which kept things interesting. I found that I loved collaborating and designing museums and theme parks, and we did a lot of that as well.
After about four years in California, I was ready for a new chapter in my career. I had an opportunity to meet with Brian Orter of Brian Orter Lighting Design (BOLD). What was supposed to be a 20-minute conversation turned into two hours and a job offer, which I enthusiastically accepted.
When I started at BOLD, I became the first full-time employee : It was only me and Brian Orter. We had a part-time designer draftsman and office manager. Over the course of five years, the company grew to more than 15 people in New York, and we also opened an office in California. It was exciting to be part of that growth and that dynamic period, watching things ebb and flow.
That’s when you transitioned to Luminii. What prompted that move?
My time at BOLD was great, but after roughly five years, I decided I wanted to seek out a new challenge. I was curious and wanted to learn more about what happens behind the scenes on the manufacturing and sales side. It was also a great opportunity for me to use my business marketing background. Whenever I met with developers or architects while working as a lighting designer, I was always very conscious of how people presented themselves. How do you present your personal brand? How do you present your business brand?
Over the course of my design career, I had the opportunity to go on many specifier trips and visit manufacturers in different cities, states, and countries. I found it interesting and inspiring to meet all of these amazing, talented designers from other firms, but at the end of the day, those people are your competition. Now that I work on the manufacturing side, I get to work and collaborate with those designers. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to help them tell their stories.