What is your role at Spacia Group, how long have you been with the company, and what is your favorite part about what you do?
I’ve been a team member with the company for more than seven years. Currently at Spacia, I provide sales management and technical support regionally in select areas across the Eastern half of the United States, and with special accounts. In that role I consult with our representatives in the field and offer advice and assistance on ways Spacia can provide solutions for our client partners in the field. I like to share my experiences in the hospitality market nationally to help our customers create amazing spaces for the hotel guests they serve. Without a doubt, meeting up with my industry associates face to face, whether it is a first time visit or long-time friend, is tops on my list. There is nothing better than the personal relationship you can develop in our business.
What experience have you had prior to your current role that most influences your work at Spacia Group?
Although it was many years ago, my time establishing and growing a hospitality lighting business provided me more insight into the right way to work. My mentor was a long-time industry professional who came out of retirement to help us. His focus, as is Spacia’s owners Sonya and David Stewart, was on the ethical responsibility we have as manufacturers in the hospitality industry. Commitment to what you say you are going to do and supporting your customers means more in the long run and drives my work with Spacia.
Do you collect anything? If so, what, and why did you start collecting it?
This certainly seems like a cliché, but we collect art. Not the investment type or anything fancy but what I consider experiential art. We love to travel and have been on 5 of the 7 continents in more than 40 years of marriage. We collect art and artifacts from our trips as memories of where we went and what we did when we were there. It helps to define not only our sense of place, but also our place within the larger global community.
Have you ever met anyone famous? If yes, where did you meet them and what did you say?
One time after making the rounds of the hotel clients in the greater Washington, DC area I was booked on a flight which was canceled and reassigned to the next available flight. My seatmate on the new flight happened to be the legendary baseball star Hank Aaron. At first, overwhelmed, I said nothing and just worked on my meeting notes. He spoke first, interested in the work relating to the hotel industry and the barriers to entry for ownership in the African American community. We spent most of the remainder of the flight to Atlanta talking about ways to focus on improving the opportunities for minority owners within the industry and connecting him to people to help break down those barriers. It helped me realize we all benefit more when we work together towards a common goal. And yes, I definitely asked him for his autograph, which I proudly display in my office!
Who are your heroes in real life and why?
My real-life hero is my wife, Dana. She grew up in the South during turbulent times and has always worked for equity and social justice in both her personal and professional lives. She currently heads a small start-up non-profit called Growing Up Knowing (www.growingupknowing.org) that concentrates on teen pregnancy prevention and youth personal safety/anti-abuse engaging students and parents together in making smart healthier decisions. Her work is driven by passion for what’s right and the results show you can make a difference and change future outcomes to everyone’s benefit.