Category Archives: Employee Spotlight

Meet Carrie | Arlington Heights Customer Service

What is your past work
experience/education?
I received my Bachelors of Art degree in Fine Arts at Illinois Institute of Art- Schaumburg. I interned at a design firm then stayed with the firm as a Jr. Designer for 2 years. I then worked at Robert Allen for 8 years and Pindler for 7 years in Sales.
Where were you raised?
Palatine, IL.

What is your most rewarding project, and why?
My most rewarding project is helping designers select materials/fabrics for their presentations to clients. When designers are in the showroom I get to see what they are working on and I like knowing that I’m there to help when needed.

In your experience working with C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
Burton James, the furniture selections on the sales floor at our Arlington Heights showroom are wonderful!

How would you characterize your design style?
Traditional.

What is your favorite color?
Blue.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to go boating on Lake Michigan, camp, travel, do any water sport or even just sitting on the beach. I hike, read novels, ride my scooter when weather permits and hang out with family members!

What is your favorite TV series?
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Big Bang Theory and Friends.

Carrie can be reached in the Arlington Heights showroom at carriey@caidesigns.net or by phone at (847) 398-4785 x6763.

Meet Hannah | Lighting Customer Service for IL

What is your past work
experience/education?
I have worked for over ten years in the nonprofit and education fields with a few retail positions, all primarily customer facing roles. I have always been drawn to the design field as I have a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in Sculpture and Art History from Millikin University. I spent the last seven years working in museums in the northern IL suburbs. I was the museum director for four years at the Fabyan Villa Museum, a Frank Lloyd Wright home located in Geneva, IL. I have always had an eye for design and a heart for helping people that I hope will bring a different perspective and approach to C.A.I. that will help clients.

Where were you raised?
Oak Park, IL.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I am always drawn to a good piece of art such as The Nighthawks by Edward Hopper or the great writers such as Rick Bragg or Louise Eldrich or any music from the Sun Records catalog.

In your experience working with C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
I love Hubbardton Forge because I worked primarily in welding metal as a sculpture major so I understand it’s structure and the beauty and time it takes to create pieces like that. On the furniture side I am drawn to Lee Industries for the simple lines and classic aesthetic.

How would you characterize your design style?
Classic, comfy and colorful.

What is your favorite color?
Ruby.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time is seemingly an oxymoron as I have a very active 2.5 year old, but I do enjoy reading, primarily well written memoirs and biographies, as well as family saga drenched fiction. Our family is active outdoors and do a lot of camping, hiking and canoeing when able. I have traveled to Europe, mainly Germany and Italy, and would love to go back someday.

What is your favorite food?
Most pasta based dishes I will never turn down.

What is your favorite TV series?
Mad Men.

Hannah can be reached in the Arlington Heights showroom at hannahw@caidesigns.net or by phone at (847) 590-9835 x6782.

Meet Zack | Arlington Heights Inventory Specialist

What is your past work
experience/education?
I’m currently studying at Harper College, but I have worked for C.A.I. during my summers as a part time job to help inventory at the AH location. Working during the summers allowed me to have a good base for the Inventory position and hopefully I can fill the shoes of Ernesto as he’s been such an amazing worker here.

Where were you raised?
Arlington Heights, IL.

What is your most rewarding project, and why?
As a part time hobby I do video game streaming on the platform Twitch and have built a small brand and following in a short amount of time. I have worked my way up to be able to receive revenue from ads and people paying to be a subscriber to my channel.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from professional athletes from any sport due to their drive to always be better than they were the day before. I live by striving to be the best in my field and to never be satisfied.

How would you characterize your design style?
Comfortable, functional and fashionable.

In your experience working with C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
My favorite product line is Brownstone because of the sleek modern look of their products.

What is your favorite color?
Red.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Stream video games, hang out with my family, and hang out with my girlfriend at her apartment in the city.

What is your favorite food?
Anything seafood or any Asian dish. When both of those combine for a meal it is perfection.

If you could travel back in time, where/when would you go?
I would travel back to the beginning of the 80’s to experience Rock ‘n Roll at it’s peak.

What is your favorite TV series?
New Girl as it is extremely funny when I wasn’t expecting it to be. Top tier sitcom.

Anything else you would like to share?
I can’t wait to meet everyone working here and hope everyone has a great up and coming 2021.

Zack can be reached in the Arlington Heights showroom at ahinventory@caidesigns.net or by phone at (847) 398-4785 x6764.

Meet Logan | Chicago Sales Assistant

What is your past work
experience/education?
I studied Interior Design at Indiana University and graduated in 2019. I then moved to Chicago where I started working for
Haywoodmade Interiors as a Design Assistant.

Where were you raised?
Indiana.

What is your most rewarding project, and why?
Sourcing all furniture & lighting for a 3-story townhome in Lincoln Park at my last position. It felt especially rewarding because I got to take the lead and it felt more like my own project compared to others.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Observing all things design in my daily life, but also through photography and my favorite social media accounts.

In your experience working with C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
Regina Andrew, I love the materials used and the mixture of different elements and styles to make unique pieces.

How would you characterize your design style?
I’m drawn mostly to mid-century modern.

What is your favorite color?
Blue or green colors.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have two dogs that I spend majority of my spare time with. I enjoy studying astrology, refinishing old furniture, painting, and traveling.

What is your favorite food?
Strawberry Mochi.

If you could travel back in time, where/when would you go?
Probably the 60s – I like the clothing and interior styles of that time period.

What is your favorite TV series?
Stranger Things.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Following your heart is always worth the risk.” – Danica Gim

Logan can be reached in the Chicago showroom at chicago.admin@caidesigns.net or by phone at (312) 755-9163 x7007.

Meet Randy| Denver Lighting Specialist

What is your past work experience/education?
I started my career in financial services and insurance. After my partner graduated Design School he started his design business and we were hired by a furniture store owner to do window coverings in his home. He liked us so much that he offered me a job in his store. My love of design helped me to do well and I was recruited by clients to join their new boutique furniture store. One day I asked, “What kind of lights do people use with this great contemporary furniture?” As a result, we went to Market and opened a few lines of lighting, which led to us abandoning furniture altogether. As a result, in 2001, I started selling lighting learning the industry from the ground up.

Where were you raised?
I grew up in Ft. Collins, Colorado and we moved to the Denver area when I went into Middle School.

What is your most rewarding project, and why?
In my capacity at YLighting, I worked with the Set Decorator of  Fifty Shades of Grey, among other film projects, who asked me for fixture suggestions, all of which made it into the films. Seeing my ideas brought to fruition was a great experience for me.

How would you characterize your design style?
My great love is Mid-Century Modern design. Using those clean lines as a base, I take the minimalist cold aspect of the style and warm it up with color, texture and restrained embellishment. Still clean and crisp yet warm and inviting.

In your experience working with C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
Obviously Visual Comfort is a favorite, not only of mine but also of our design clientele. Hubbardton Forge and Hammerton are always great because of their custom capabilities. Modern Forms and Tech Lighting are favorites for pushing the boundaries while making LED lighting that can work well in residential settings.  In furniture, Thayer Coggin is a huge favorite having sold them previously and always looking up to their iconic style.

What is your favorite color?
Blue of any hue

What do you like to do in your spare time?
My partner and I have a standing Pizza/Movie date for Friday nights and we are both avid music lovers. In my spare time I curate playlists on Spotify which have thousands of followers.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican food is my weakness. I was nearly 12 the first time I tried it and the memory is as fresh as if it was yesterday. Love at first bite, definitely.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there anything you do to get inspired when you hit a slump?
My partner inspires me in many ways. Not only is his impeccable design style a source of inspiration, the fact that he NEVER complains no matter what’s going on has also taught me a valuable lesson. If I hit a slump, I remember to be grateful first of all.  Next, being Danish, I go back and look at works by my favorite Danish design stars like Louis Poulsen and Verner Panton to get my creative mojo working.

Any last words for us you’d like to share? 
Follow me on Instagram @LuxuryHomesStaging

Randy can be reached at the Denver C.A.I. Designs Showroom at randyj@caidesigns.net or by phone at (303) 282-8100 x6972

Meet Trevor | Denver Sales

What is your past work experience/education?
Both my mother and grandmother were interior designers turned entrepreneurs who started their own furniture showrooms. I grew up a child laborer taking out the trash and moving furniture during floor flips. I graduated from Catawba College which is just south of High Point. During college, I became familiar with going to the High Point market to assist buying for my mom’s showroom.

Where were you raised?
I grew up in Austin Texas so I’ve got a mix of city and ranch life in me.

What is your most rewarding project, and why?
Back in Austin, I had a designer who was chosen by Make-A-Wish to redesign a kiddo’s bedroom to be fit for a superhero. The child had been through several rounds of chemo and all he wanted was a bedroom filled with Marvel superheroes. The entire project was an ego check for me and the designer. We all have our own issues , but furniture is still furniture.

How would you characterize your design style?
I enjoy loads of bohemian color schemes surrounded by pieces that tell a story. I like the feeling of digging through an old crusty antique store for a conversation piece and knowing its going to live in a bright wallpaper-filled space.

In your experience working with C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
I love the versatility and customizing capabilities of Burton James and Taracea. Both are great lines managed by great people.

What is your favorite color?
Green.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
If I have a week off I like to backpack and travel. If I have a day or weekend off, I’ll spend time mountain biking, snowboarding, or hiking.

What is your favorite food?
Chicken Wings. Ribs is a close second.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there anything you do to get inspired when you hit a slump?
When I hit a slump I like to talk with my close friends and family. They usually put my head back on straight.

Any last words for us you’d like to share? 
I had the opportunity to meet the extended C.A.I family at our sales meeting in Chicago. It made me appreciate how close this company is with their employees.

Trevor can be reached at the Denver C.A.I. Designs Showroom at trevors@caidesigns.net or by phone at (303) 282-8100 x6976

Meet Linda | Scottsdale Lighting

Linda Peterson ALAWhat is your past work experience/education?
I fell into a job as a visual merchandiser at a lighting store when I was 19 years old. I have since spent over 20 years in the retail lighting industry, and am an ALA certified Lighting Specialist. I truly love lighting and interior design.

Where were you raised?
I grew up in sunny San Diego, CA and moved to sunnier Phoenix, AZ 26 years ago.

What is your most rewarding project, and why?
I think the first time I did a lighting plan from top to bottom was the most rewarding project that I worked on. It was amazing to see something I dreamed up become a reality.

How would you characterize your design style?
My design style is casual, organic, and whimsical.

In your experience working with C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
I love Hubbardton Forge’s contemporary chandeliers and am drawn to many of the fixtures from Curry and Company as well.

What is your favorite color?
Green, any shade!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to watch movies, read, listen to music, play tennis and jump out of airplanes. Okay, not the last one.

What is your favorite food?
Pizza. And ice cream. And birthday cake.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there anything you do to get inspired when you hit a slump?
I am inspired by my beautiful surroundings here in the CAI Scottsdale showroom! When I hit a slump, I take a moment to be grateful for where I am and attack the project with renewed energy.

Any last words for us you’d like to share? 
I am thrilled to be part of the CAI family. I have never felt so welcomed in my life! I look forward to learning the business and pulling my weight as a team player.

Linda can be reached at the Scottsdale C.A.I. Designs Showroom at lindap@caidesigns.net or by phone at (480) 565-3775 x6931

Meet Marcia | Denver Customer Service

Marcia corum wiebkeWhat is your past work experience/education?
I recently graduated from ACC with an A.A.S. in Interior Design, after spending 15+ years working in Information Technology in the telecom industry and the computer distribution and reseller markets. When I dreaded waking up and going to work, I decided it was time for me to do something different. Like most people, I was hooked on HGTV and Bob Villa’s This Old House, so to make sure interior design was something I really wanted to do, I took an evening class called Fundamentals of Design, and I knew I was in the right place at the right time.

Where were you raised?
I’m originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, and only ended up in Colorado when the company I just started working for decided to move its headquarters to CO. I remember driving home to tell my Mom about the move and she said, “Go for it, don’t miss out on a great opportunity to experience something new”, and that’s pretty much how I lived most of my life.

In your opinion, what is “good customer service”?
Good customer service is all about taking the time to listen to your customer’s needs and a willingness to help in any given situation. Always following up and always following through, shows your customer that their issue is as important to you as it is to them.

How would you characterize your design style?
My design style is very eclectic, ranging from Craftsman style, Mid Century Modern and Art Deco. I LOVE a good flea market and estate sales!

What is your favorite color?
My favorite colors are green and turquoise. I’m a water sign ( Cancer) and I love the variations of greens and blues associated with nature and the ocean.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I spend my spare time hanging out with my husband Scott, dog Pearlie Mae and cats Winston & CeCe. Since I spent most of my time studying these past few years, Scott and I plan on getting back to hiking and biking throughout Colorado. We want to purchase and refurbish a retro “tin can” camper, since I’m totally over the tent camping scene. I love the outdoors and camping, but I also want some of the basic creature comforts of home.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite foods contain anything with seafood and lamb. Any baked goods containing peanut butter is heaven on earth…..especially chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting!

What methods do you use to turn negative circumstances into positive ones?
I try not dwell on the negative, but to avoid that from happening, I evaluate the situation and figure out what I could have done differently to have a better or different outcome. This way I can handle it differently if it were to happen again.

Anything else we should know?
Fun fact about me, I did my college internship with Walt Disney World in 1986 when I was a hospitality major at Keystone College. I worked at the Orange Tree next to the Tiki birds, selling ice cream cones, orange cream pies, orange juice and frozen orange custard. The best hands-on training and experience I’ve ever had with developing my sales and customer service skills as a young college student.

Marcia can be reached at the Denver C.A.I. Designs Showroom at marciacw@caidesigns.net or by phone at (303) 282-8100 x6973

 

Meet Kevin | Denver Showroom Manager

kevin branumWhat is your past work experience/education?
Before joining the CAI team, I worked in retail in the Cherry Creek Shopping District. Prior to moving to Denver, I was in product development designing furniture and lighting for several different home decor companies.

Where were you raised?
I grew up in the Delta in Greenville, MS on the banks of the Mississippi River.

What is your most rewarding project, and why?
I would say my most rewarding project was helping a couple with their condo that they had lived in for a year. The husband never felt like it was his home. His wife and I worked for weeks selecting everything for the living room, dining room, and the master bedroom. Once it was all completed and installed, he said “finally, I’m home.” It was an amazing feeling that he felt that way over items we work with every day.

How would you characterize your design style?
My design style started out as leaning more traditional, but throughout my job experiences it has definitely grown to be more transitional and has a timeless look about it.

In your experience working with C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
My favorite product line is Taracea. The craftsmanship that goes into each unique piece is truly unbelievable. Also, since it is a family-owned company that has several different generations working together to make beautiful product shows how dedicated they are at growing and adapting with changing trends and styles.

What is your favorite color?
Blue.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I usually spend it playing with my three dogs. We have a lab, a collie, and a St. Bernard so they keep us pretty busy.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican food. I never get tired of it. I could eat it every day for every meal.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there anything you do to get inspired when you hit a slump?
I think inspiration can be drawn from anything. You never know what might strike you.

Kevin can be reached at the Denver C.A.I. Designs Showroom at kevinb@caidesigns.net or by phone at (303) 282-8100 x6971