Tag: commercialdesign

#CFADWorks: Lauren Naney

UCO Interior Design Alumni Spotlight with Lauren Naney of Champion Supply

Our graduates are doing extraordinary things!  Interior Design Alumni Spotlights are a new feature highlighting our talented graduates. These interviews allow you to learn about where our alumni work, the types of projects they do, and how their experiences during their time at UCO helped shape them into the designers they are today.

UCO DES: Where are you from?

Lauren Naney: Edmond, OK

DES: What was your major?   

LN: BFA Interior Design from the College of Fine Arts and Design

What year did you graduate from UCO?

LN: 2018

DES: What got you interested in interior design? Why did you decide to major in it?

LN: I had a childhood friend whose mother had fairly eccentric taste compared to my own mother’s, and I felt very drawn to their home. Every room was bold, and all the bookshelves were filled with knick-knacks, photographs from their travels, and pieces from local artists. My friend and I spent hours watching HGTV and rearranging our own rooms, trying to outdo one another. I found it intriguing, and then one day, it just seemed so unnatural for it not to be a part of my day-to-day life.

DES: Did you double major or get a minor in school? If so, what other areas did you study?

LN: In the early 2000s, I wasn’t certain that Oklahoma would ever be a place where interior designers could thrive, and I wasn’t ready to move, so I originally majored in business; Purchasing Materials Management specifically, with the plan to minor in Italian, French, and Mandarin to become a buyer for some sort of textile company. Ultimately, I never grew passionate about logistics and decided to focus on Human Resources since my late Godmother was a well-known professional in Oklahoma. Most of my electives were all in Marketing and seemed to hold my interest, which allowed me to double major. I graduated from the College of Business in 2011 with two Bachelors of Business Administration in Human Resources and Marketing.

DES: Have those degrees helped you as a designer?

LN: Most definitely! Both have been instrumental in helping me build business relationships and market myself and my abilities as a design professional.

DES: What was your first job after graduation?

LN: In 2012, I took a position in Human Resources with Mathis Brothers, where I could further my business knowledge. After working with them for three years, I realized that it would never be the life I wanted. I constantly referred to myself as a hot pink zebra in a black and white office and soon found my way back to UCO to pursue my degree in design.

DES: Where are you working today? Do you specialize in a certain type of design?

LN: During my last semester in 2018, I found my way to Champion Supply with the help of Dr. Valerie Settles (UCO School of Design Director) since a former student worked here. The company specializes in supplying amenities and operating supplies to hotels and restaurants, with its biggest client being its parent company Champion Hotels. Several years ago, the company started to branch out into design and has since been growing the business and department to accommodate the market’s needs. I specialize in hospitality design, primarily in custom hotels; however, I also assist with prototype projects periodically.

DES: What has been one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on as a professional?

LN: I have 2 La Quinta projects in Houston, TX, that the same investment group owned. Watching them both transform after not being updated in roughly 15 years was a pretty awesome experience.

DES: When you were a student, did you work? If so, where?

LN: I mainly worked for Republic Gastropub, then moved to the Ranch Steakhouse during my senior year to work around my new position at Champion Supply.

DES: Where did you do your internship? How did that experience shape your future?

LN: I worked with a local lighting retailer and quickly realized how important business finances and relationships were, especially when you trade on your name. It helped me realize being in retail and working in residential was not for me.

DES: Have you taken the NCIDQ exam? Any advice?

LN: In the process of studying, but it is a beast! I would encourage students to take the IDFX portion during their senior year while the information is fresh.

DES: What is one of your fondest memories of your time at UCO?

LN: Graduating… both times. The feeling of hearing your name called and walking across the stage makes all the sacrifices worth it.

DES: What advice can you give our current students?

LN: Do multiple internships. You can do so many different things with the knowledge you get from this program. Dip your toes in several things to see what positions and company’s culture fit your goals, values, and lifestyle. Create a professional social media account where the content highlights your work, interests, and you as a creative. Keep it clean and professional because I guarantee it will be one of the first things potential employers will look at when sifting through their candidate pool.

The pictures provided show some before and after designs for the exterior of a LaQuinta Hotel and the lobby.

La Quinta Inn lobby before La Quinta Inn lobby after La Quinta Inn exterior before La Quinta Inn exterior after

Compiled by Amy Jacobson-Peters, MFA, ASID, IDEC
Assistant Professor
Division Head, BFA Interior Design, UCO School of Design

#CFADWorks: Lydia Myers

Interior Design Alumni Spotlight with Lydia Myers of HOK in Kansas City

Interior Design graduates are doing extraordinary things! Interior Design Alumni Spotlights are a new feature highlighting our talented graduates. These interviews allow you to learn about where our alumni work, the types of projects they do, and how their experiences during their time at UCO helped shape them into the designers they are today.

UCO DES: Where are you from?

Lydia Myers: Tulsa, Oklahoma

DES: What year did you graduate from UCO?

LM: May 2016

DES: What got you interested in interior design?

LM: I remember wanting to be an interior designer at the young age of eleven or twelve. I loved watching HGTV, and I thought I wanted to be a residential designer.

DES: Why did you decide to major in interior design?

LM: After taking an interior design course at Tulsa Tech, which exposed me to the world of commercial design, I knew I wanted to become a commercial designer.

DES: Did you double major or get a minor when you were in school?  If so, what other areas did you study?

LM:  I got a minor in Graphic Design. I also took a textile class and a sewing class.

DES: Where are you working? What areas do you specialize in with your design work? 

LM: I am an interior design professional at HOK in Kansas City, where I mainly work on sports projects. Designing locker rooms, clubs, suites, and recreation facilities.

DES: When you were a student, did you work? If so, where?

LM: I worked at a resort as an event staff member over the weekends. One of the biggest tasks of the weekend was working on housekeeping. We cleaned every building after the guests left. It really taught me to pay attention to small details, from folding towels down to cleaning windows, leaving no smudge behind.

DES: Where did you do your internship? How did that experience shape your future?

LM: I worked at Sherwin Williams paint store. I didn’t do an architecture/interior design internship; fortunately, that did not prevent me from getting my current job. I learned quite a bit about paints and stains while at Sherwin Williams, which was valuable in my career. 

DES: What was your first job out of college?

LM: I did an internship with Panolam Surfaces for the summer after graduation. It was a great experience. I was able to travel all over the United States and also to Vancouver. Before doing the internship, I planned on working in Oklahoma. However, after traveling to cities I had never been to before, I realized I was willing to leave Oklahoma. Without that internship, I might not have ever considered leaving.

DES: Were you involved in any campus activities or organizations when you were in school?  Were you in a leadership position?

LM: I volunteered in SIDA. I helped create posters and social media posts.

DES: Are you a member of a professional organization now as a practicing designer?

LM: I am a member of IIDA.

DES: Have you taken the NCIDQ exam? Any advice?

LM: I am currently studying for the NCIDQ. My advice is to take the first exam in school. I wish I had. Also, get a study group. It really helps to have a small support system all studying together to review questions and help each other.

DES: What is one of your fondest memories of your time at UCO?

LM: I am so blessed to have met my best friend while at UCO. We spent so much time together over those four years, eating, kayaking, hiking, shopping, and of course sitting on our sofas with laptops in our lap, designing magic! 

DES: What advice can you give our current students?

LM: Get a minor in graphic design; it will serve you well! 

DES: Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on to date?

LM: One of my favorite projects was Lynn Family Stadium for the Louisville City Football Club. I worked on this project from design development through to completion. My favorite part of the design process was punching at the end of the project. I helped punch every seat in the 15,000 seat stadium. In addition, it had several outdoor bars, including one under the giant video board. There are 18 suites, a club serving those suites, along with the men’s and women’s locker rooms.

Lydia Myers and colleagues sitting in the locker room of the Louisville City Football Club Stadium.   Lydia Myers wearing a hard hat at work

LM:  The picture of my colleagues and me sitting in the cubbies was from when we punched the Louisville City Football Club Stadium.  This is the men’s soccer locker room. 

The links below are to projects Lydia has worked on with HOK:

Louisville City Football Club

North Carolina State Carmichael Gym

University of Wisconsin Natatorium  (This is the biggest project I have been a part of. We were drawing construction documents while working from home during the 2020 COVID pandemic. It will be complete in Spring of 2023, but you can follow the link above to the construction cam.)

University of Alabama Mal More Sports Science Center

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering, and planning firm with 1,600 employees who collaborate across a network of 23 offices on three continents.  Fast Company ranked them as one of the most innovative companies of 2021. To learn more, visit:  https://www.hok.com/

Click here to learn more about the Interior Design program at UCO