A Conversation with Sondra Phillips

WHAT SERVICES DOES SKP DESIGN PROVIDE?

SKP Design is a boutique interior design company—in fact, we are the only interior design firm in Kalamazoo. We have both residential and commercial clients and can do everything from new construction to remodeling. Clients come to us because they’re changing, moving, growing, or launching a new product line. If a client wants people to think a certain way when they walk in their space, we figure out how to make that happen. Essentially, our job is to make sure that an area makes sense visually.

HOW DO YOU CREATE A UNIQUE ATMOSPHERE?

Interior design employs a lot of psychology and sociology. We have to understand people and how they behave. We consider how people interact with an environment and what effect a physical space will have on an individual.

A Conversation with Tim Cane

WHAT DOES AN ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN MANAGER DO?

I am in charge of the design department for the architects and interior designers; we work together with the engineering team to get the job done. We are an eclectic group. We work on designs of all sizes, but our focus is healthcare at the moment. It’s my job to coordinate the efforts of the interior designers and architects and spearhead any collaboration between them all the way through to final design.

WHAT ORIGINALLY SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN DESIGN?

I was encouraged as a child to draw and explore with a pencil. I also love art and history, so those two things melted together when I started architecture school. I earned a scholarship to study in Chicago and fell in love with that city and the architecture there. Met my wife there, and we ended up in Kalamazoo when I was lucky enough to find this company.

EVERYONE HAS TO START SOMEWHERE. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?

The first job I ever got was working in the printing department for Shell Oil to help me pay for architecture school. My hometown, Aberdeen, is big in the oil industry. I was in the basement every day copying blueprints. It opened my eyes to the real world of industry and how much time and effort goes into any kind of large-scale project. When you see thousands of blueprints a day and have to copy them, it can be a mundane kind of job, but you also get experience.

A conversation with BILL FLUHARTY

WHAT DOES A DIRECTOR OF DESIGN DO?
At a high level, my job is to build and maintain the competencies of design within the Medical division of Stryker. By developing talents of our people and leveraging design methods and tools, I assure that the disciplines of design add value to our company. Design is key to getting the most out of our product development efforts, creating meaningful experiences for our customers and differentiating Stryker from our competition. It’s my job to make sure we leverage design for the fullest benefit to Stryker.

WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
My day is a mix of strategic and tactical discussions with our R&D leadership team, project teams, and design professionals. Projects are mostly focused on defining our future products and services or making sure the products we are currently developing are going to meet the needs of our customers for the next few decades.

A Conversation with Dan Martin

AS A VIDEOGRAPHER WHO FOUNDED HIS OWN COMPANY, HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOUR ROLE?
I’m like a rainmaker in training. I’ve shifted from doing things to making things happen. I still am actively involved in almost every key project in some way, but sometimes it’s oversight.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO DO THIS?
Coming up on Christmas time during eighth grade, my parents asked, “What do you want for Christmas?” I said, “I really want a video camera.” They said, “That’s it’s way too expensive.” The one I was looking at was $750. My mom made a deal. She said, “We will do this, if this is your present for your birthday and for Christmas.” My Aunt Ellen, always a very close family member to our family, went in half with them.

A Conversation with PAUL MARTUS

WHAT DOES AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER DO?
I truly believe we provide a service—a problem-solving service. We’re part detective, part artist, part futurist. We solve problems through visualization. These problems shape the future and hopefully make lives better.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER?
When I look back, I think I always was a designer, I just didn’t know what to call myself. As a kid, we made our own props for our stories and games. We made our own toys. We took apart our toys to “improve them.” As I got older, it was the same thinking of innovation, just applied to sports, school, and work.

A Conversation with SARA DUNN

WHAT DOES A WEB DESIGNER DO?
(A web designer) translates what a business or individual does into an interactive format that provides more information for a potential customer.

WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
My company is entirely remote; I might be in my home office in Battle Creek or I might be traveling. So a typical day is never typical. I might be spending a lot of time answering email, I might be on video calls with my team or my clients, or I might be in fully focused work time, heads down, email paused, doing work and strategy, managing social media, doing competitive research, writing content, any of those things. No two days are the same.

A Conversation with MIKE ROZEWICZ

What does an interior designer do?
An interior designer takes a client’s request for spaces in buildings, and gives them a great solution for furniture for their interiors while keeping in mind the client’s vision and mission.

What does your typical day look like?
My typical day is usually spent in the office working on space planning, furniture designs, and furniture layouts. I do a lot of budget pricing for customers and furniture options—customers want to see what a lobby, an office, or a collaboration area could look like. I do renderings, which are a 3D visual with color, lighting, furniture, and architectural features that show what a space will potentially look like. I also do a lot of research online about furniture, contacting reps, and contacting other designers.

Architecting solutions

Hungarian inventor, architect, and professor of architecture Ernö Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube 40 years ago. What has become one of the world’s top-selling puzzle games was originally created to build Rubik’s students’ problem solving skills at the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts in Budapest. How could they get the pieces to move without falling apart?

The job of an architect is to design and construct something. But it’s so much more, according to an actual architect or product designer: it’s more about problem-solving. In the case of a six-sided, six-colored cube, it’s more like getting cubes to move in harmony or getting similar colors to appear on the same face.

Landscape Forms, the industry leader in integrated collections of high-design site furniture and advanced LED lighting headquartered in Comstock Township, approaches its business model based on superior product designs in that manner.

A Conversation with NATALIE DEPERRO

What does an interior designer do?
An interior designer takes a client’s request for spaces in buildings, and gives them a great solution for furniture for their interiors while keeping in mind the client’s vision and mission.

What does your typical day look like?
My typical day is usually spent in the office working on space planning, furniture designs, and furniture layouts. I do a lot of budget pricing for customers and furniture options—customers want to see what a lobby, an office, or a collaboration area could look like. I do renderings, which are a 3D visual with color, lighting, furniture, and architectural features that show what a space will potentially look like. I also do a lot of research online about furniture, contacting reps, and contacting other designers.