Author Archives: Maddy Gorman

Membership Spotlight: Jenna Hays

Name: Jenna Hays
Company/Position/Years: Scott Edwards Architecture / Interior Designer / 1 year @ SEA, but
2 years in commercial interior design
IIDA member since: 2020

Why are you a member of IIDA?:
As a member of IIDA, I’m able to stay connected to my local chapter in a social setting, but I
also know I’m staying current on the latest and best information in our industry. Our PNW group
is such a close knit fellowship, and IIDA fosters that connection with very rewarding events and


Favorite IIDA event:
I love all the learning opportunities and forums, as well as anything related to the promotion of
interior design advocacy.

What are you currently working on?
I’ve actually started to transition to our Healthcare team, so I will be working on a multitude of
those projects in our firm. I’ve always been passionate about healthcare design, because we
are able to provide a high level and quality of design to users of all backgrounds. The health,
safety, and welfare of the end user is key in all design, but to be able to actually improve health
from great design makes it even more rewarding.

Why do you support interior design licensing?:
A huge proponent of many of the decisions I make on both a day-to-day, and big picture have to
do with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Interior design licensing will allow anyone who has a
desire to practice commercial interior design to have a “more level playing field”. It will aid in
eliminating some previous hurdles that sometimes prevents commercial interior designers from doing the work that they are educated and trained to do.

What gets you excited about design?:
So much. The role of an interior designer requires such high levels of adaptability, creativity, and determination, that every project is rewarding with its own unique process. It’s so much beyond that artistic aspect that gets pushed to the public’s perception from network television and similar media. We also get to be intensely technical, and we also get to exercise a great deal of psychology with how the space will be used, perceived, and influenced by others. You get to wear an infinite number of hats and are always learning.

Sponsor Spotlight: Absolute Procurement

Company Name: Absolute Procurement
Your Name: Carrie Gates
Local Rep’s Position/Years?: Principal and Founder, 12 years
IIDA member since: 1998
IIDA Oregon Chapter Board involvement: Chair of Professional Development and Forums (previously, not currently)

Absolute Procurement is a certified woman-owned business providing FF&E procurement and installation services throughout the Northwest and nationally. AP partners with designers and developers to project manage and execute the FF&E vision on schedule, within budget and according to specification. We also have a lot of fun doing it and connecting with those we work with!

What is your favorite IIDA event and why?
I have always loved the Design Excellence Awards – it’s such a fun time to celebrate the hard work our design community puts forth and unite to recognize each other’s talents.

What is your favorite product/service offered by your company and why?
AP offers a personalized procurement solution, we work closely with developers to understand their goals and tailor our services to suit the project’s unique needs. Our detailed project management and customer service based approach allows us to establish trusted long-term partnerships with our clients. The truly best service is giving our design partners the ease of mind that we have thought about everything that could make this a seamless process for them and for their clients they recommend us to.

What aspect of your company are you most proud of and why?
The amazing team we’ve built! Our tightly knit, highly collaborative team is the backbone of our business.  Not only does our team excel at providing an unsurpassed service to our clients, they are gracious and supportive to one other.

What value do you see in being an IIDA Oregon Chapter Annual Sponsor?
Coming together as a community to support one another and the local firms in a myriad of amazing ways in addition to giving back to those who have paved the way for us and mentored us.

What impact do you see the IIDA Oregon Chapter having on the A&D community in Oregon?
It’s a platform for us to come together. Coming together, supporting one another and uniting our ideas with similar goals is priceless. 

What is your personal mantra?
“What you seek is what you find.” My family values curiosity immensely; we do our best to foster that at Absolute Procurement, as well. 

What gets you excited about design?
I love the union of form and function. Figuring out that puzzle is just as important in design as it is in procurement, so I love seeing that intersection between what a space needs AND how to make it beautiful.

On a typical Saturday where can we find you?
The farmer’s market, in the garden + kitchen, and hiking – I’m obsessed with fresh vegetables, cooking, making nut milk and enjoying it all with my family and friends…and then getting out in nature to work it off :) 

Interesting fact?
I worked 12 years as an Interior Designer and have now worked 12 years as the principal of Absolute Procurement. Joining these two worlds of interior design and project management couldn’t be more rewarding! SO EXCITED to see what the next 12 years (+) at AP has in store! It’s been such a fun ride!

Fun Fact #2!
I have 2 daughters, just a year apart. They are best friends and 100% unique. This year I coached Girls on the Run and it was exciting to see them interact and have them as assistant coaches. We have been having fun with our herbal CSA (Rise up Remedies ), making tinctures, oxymels and teas. They love being creative and it’s been inspiring watching them grow and explore their own worlds.


Find AP on Instagram! @absoluteprocurement @carrieagates

Member Spotlight: Amy Running

Name: Amy Running
Company/Position/Years: Bora Architects & Interiors, Senior Interior Designer, 23 years
IIDA member since: Professional Member since 2006

Why are you a member of IIDA?
The amazing network of designers across our whole state.

Favorite IIDA event:
Next Event – always an inspiring event.

Why do you support interior design licensing?
Interior design is a profession that should be recognized by the State of Oregon. This mostly women and minority owned business industry has waited way too long for recognition. Don’t hesitate to make your voice heard!

What does being a designer mean to your life?
Knowing my work is impacting others in a positive way makes me fulfilled as a designer. I often work on public educational spaces; seeing teachers and students use these spaces to engage, communicate and create brings life to these spaces in a whole new way. 

On a typical Saturday where can we find you?
Enjoying the great outdoors in Oregon with my family, or working in my garden.

Sponsor Spotlight: Source

Company Name: Source
Your Name: Brittany McClain
Local Rep’s Position/Years?: Director of Membership, OAC
IIDA member since: 2019
IIDA Oregon Chapter Board position: Director of Events – Digital Specialist  

Source is the decision engine for commercial construction product selection. We provide industry-leading data, on-demand experts and manufacturer connections needed to make fast and stress-free product decisions. We help firms unlock higher efficiency in their projects by using technology and data, while still preserving the personal connections and tactile experience that is at the heart of the design process. 

What is your favorite IIDA event and why?
I’ve really enjoyed the NEXT breakfast series! It’s a great opportunity to come together and be inspired and challenged by leaders and trailblazers from our community that can help bring out new ideas and inspire new ways to solve design problems.  

What is your favorite product/service offered by your company and why?
I love that we are able to support the local design community by offering research requests. Source is just a phone call or email away when someone is looking to track down a product from a Pinterest photo or needs to find the perfect alternative for a dropped product. Whether the request is big or small, partnering with local designers and reps to deliver solutions is so rewarding! 

 What aspect of your company are you most proud of and why?
I am excited and proud that Source is continuing to invest and grow in both our physical and digital presence. Technology has and will continue to transform the design industry, but the tactical and relationship side of design is something that technology can never fully replace. I am excited to be a part of an organization that sees the value in both of those areas. 

What value do you see in being an IIDA Oregon Chapter Annual Sponsor?
Being an annual sponsor of IIDA has allowed Source to foster connections with designers, specifiers, local manufacturers’ reps and students who are interested in furthering the Interior Design industry and making Oregon a great place to work and live. 

 What impact do you see the IIDA Oregon Chapter having on the A&D community in Oregon?
The range of educational and networking opportunities that the IIDA Oregon Chapter has been able to offer the local community is really impressive. I have seen a good balance of events and workshops that benefit a wide range of people; from students to principals.

What gets you excited about design?
The opportunity to inform and inspire people in my community to see the impact that design can have and help advocate for good design to be recognized and poor design to be challenged in a thoughtful and empowering way. 

On a typical Saturday where can we find you?
I love almost any excuse to play outside: hiking, camping, snowboarding, snowshoeing, paddleboarding or fly-fishing…although I’d rather go ice skating than mountain biking :)) When indoors, I can be found mixing (and enjoying) cocktails, expanding my cooking experience while listening to some good music or fanatically watching sports. 

Member Spotlight: MaKayla Page

Name: MaKayla Page
School/Year in School: Oregon State University/ Junior
IIDA member since: 2018, my freshman year.

Favorite IIDA event:

I think I would have to say my favorite event is the student design charette. I first competed in 2020 and was fortunate enough to win 1st place with my team in the Oregon regionals. Although, the preceding competitions were canceled because of the virus that shall not be named. Luckily, IIDA was able to transfer the experience into a remote format for 2021 where my team members and I were selected as 1st place winners in the Oregon region. I am now ready to move on to the next portion of the competition and look forward to the experience. IIDA and the charette has been incredibly impactful on me because I am a first generation high school grad and a first generation college student. Competing in these competitions have given me an immense amount of experience and knowledge of the scope of interior design and of my peers. Winning has given me a great deal of assurance in myself and my capabilities. The experience is stressful and hours pass like minutes, but I love it! I thrive in a collaborative environment and the pressure from the clock helps us create diamonds. 

Why did you choose to study interior design?

After many scholarship essays and applications, I think I have finally figured out the reason I chose interior design. I grew up in an environment where I didn’t always feel safe and I didn’t find much relief until I discovered interior decorating and interior design. I have experienced the effect of interior design on a person’s quality of life on a very personal and deep level. Our built environment is directly connected to our sense of safety and quality of life. Even though I found this career through HGTV, it is much more than what they show you. It is incredibly important, which is something I have learned in my time at OSU. There is psychology, anthropology, sustainability, art, sociology, observational sciences, color theory and so much wrapped up in this career choice. I look at it from a long term, sustainable, human centered and customer point of view. I want to create spaces that make people feel safe, comfortable, special and are unique to their needs that are also beautiful. 

What does being a designer mean to your life?:

I grew up with the identity of an art kid. My family really supported me within the fine arts. My grandfather specifically wanted me in art classes and got me any art supplies I wanted even though we were in a lower socioeconomic class and money was scarce. It never really felt right for me though. Something was off about it and I have come to realize I am much more a design kid than an art kid. Those who are not within these industries don’t really understand the difference or the true connections. Design is more structured and it is much more connected to functionality. It is an iterative process that relies heavily on one of my favorite things, brainstorming. It’s about building and evolving on what we have now. It’s progress. I am also an extremely empathetic person. I always want to help and care for everyone. Being a designer fits my personality like an ever morphing glove. Because of this connection with people and a progress focused career, I get to have an impact on our values and norms of our society. 

What project have you worked on that you are most proud of? Why?

My freshman year OSU offered a two term class where we could renovate a space located on campus. For my particular case it was spaces found in the lobby/ ground floor of a dormitory. We formed teams/ companies then pitched our ideas for the spaces we were interested in to the instructor and those within university housing. My team ended up with the north vestibule. No, this was not our top pick. However, I am thankful it’s the space we ended up with. Our company name was 6th Sense and we worked amazing together! This was the project that really showed me how much I enjoy working collaboratively. We presented several iterations and then those in charge of the project voted on what they liked best. We provided those within the university housing with a painting schedule and specifications for the design. We worked with a local designer to create a feature wall/ sign that reflected the specific communities within the dorm. Our design took hits from reality and we bounced forward. My team was amazing. The end result was gorgeous and I get to hear people on campus talk about how they really like our design thinking it was created by some professional architect. 

What is your personal mantra?:

“Live to be happy.” My grandfather lent me this mantra. It means to know what makes you happy and within our current “hustle culture” to live for now. It keeps you out of the past and too far into the future. It prevents you from living for someone else. It keeps the overall life goal to just be happy, whatever that may be in that point in time.

Annual Sponsor Spotlight: Solus Inc.

Company Name: Solus Inc.

Your Name: Julie Adams

Local Rep’s Position/Years?: Specification Sales & Marketing, 6 years

Solus is a Portland-based lighting agency founded in 2009 as a partnership between lighting industry veteran, Gary Borrelli, and experienced lighting designer Benjamin Watson. The company has grown to a team of 25 and we are proud to represent 120 top-notch lighting brands. The Specification Team helps interior designers, architects and lighting designers navigate the often-overwhelming series of options in the lighting marketplace to find the best combination of aesthetics, quality, performance and value. We’re here to help you choose the right lighting solution for the application and determine exactly how to integrate that product into the architecture of the project. Our design and construction teams collaborate from initial concept to final installation, with ongoing support from our project management team to ensure projects go off without a hitch. 

What is your favorite IIDA event and why?

I love attending the IIDA Design Excellence Awards each year and seeing all of the inspiring projects coming out of the Oregon chapter. We don’t always get to see the final installations of projects we have supported so it’s exciting to see how they turned out and watch our colleagues from the design community get the recognition they deserve! 

What is your favorite product/service offered by your company and why?

Solus is currently hosting a Spring Virtual Events Series on Thursdays through the end of May. Our lunchtime 4-in-1 Live Zoom events have been a big hit with designers so far. The goal is to remove the monotony of long-winded presentations and keep things fast paced, with participants rotating to a different breakout room every 15 minutes. Lunch is provided through Grubhub and there are many opportunities to win prizes donated by our manufacturers! We also have some Virtual Factory and Showroom Tours on the calendar. 

You can see the full Spring Virtual Events Schedule and a visual recap of what’s been featured so far on our website. We have a wide range of decorative and architectural lighting manufacturers in the line-up including Vibia, Marset, OCL, ALW, Shaper, Sonneman, Tech Lighting and Matrix Mirrors plus virtual tours of the Flos showroom in New York and the Bover factory in Barcelona coming up.

Solus purchased and is renovating The Whole Nine Yards building on East Burnside and we look forward to the future when we can host some outdoor, in-person events as well!

What aspect of your company are you most proud of and why?

I’m very proud of the team I work with at Solus and the sense of family we have. I think of each designer I work with as an extended member of that family. I am always available to personally assist on the hunt for the perfect style for a project but also strive to provide resources that empower designers and make it easier to navigate the many lighting solutions out there. Our new website, launched mid-2020, has useful features like a Quick Search Button to Keyword Search the Solus Line Card and an archive of the Friday Five Newsletter, a bi-weekly publication I have been writing for the past 4 years.

What value do you see in being an IIDA Oregon Chapter Annual Sponsor?

The IIDA Oregon Chapter builds community and Solus sees the value in supporting and being a part of this community. In the past, I have appreciated the opportunities to socialize and meet IIDA members at the various events and I have enjoyed getting to know the many personalities that have served in leadership positions over the years. I can’t even tell you how much I’ve missed seeing everyone in person over the past year but I value the connections I have made through the IIDA. If we haven’t met yet, please feel free to reach out and say hello! 

What impact do you see the IIDA Oregon Chapter having on the A&D community in Oregon?

I’ve seen firsthand the incredibly talented and hard-working members that make up the IIDA Oregon Chapter. I see the benefits of bringing the community together to network and inspire, providing mentorship for emerging professionals, and keeping a focus on advocacy and legislation to recognize commercial interior design as a profession in Oregon. This organization has a large sphere of influence and I’m constantly impressed and inspired by our local chapter. It is very clear that everyone involved does it for the love of it!

What is your personal mantra?

Less is more. I like clean and simple design that focuses on quality materials that will last. I’m also the person at parties who goes around dimming the overhead lights and turning on the table lamps and floor lamps to set the mood. 

On a typical Saturday where can we find you?

You’ll most likely find me at a local skatepark shredding a bowl in my roller skates with two closest friends. Check out #skatepalette on Instagram to see a fun intersection of design and roller skate culture.

Member Spotlight: Liz Taylor

Name: Liz Taylor
Company/Position/Years: Pental Tile Rep / 3 years
IIDA member since: 2019

Why are you a member of IIDA?
Because it gives me great insights into this amazing design community. I became the Pental A&D Account Rep at the end of 2019 and just really started getting out and active in the community right before the pandemic hit. IIDA is a great way for reps to connect with designers. 

Favorite IIDA event:
An event that really stands out in my head was the 2020 NEXT breakfast keynote, The Myth of Empathy, which was very thought provoking. And of course I had the best time participating in one of the Happy Hours last year. I look forward to doing that again!! 

What are you currently working on?
I just moved into a 1930’s farm house so I imagine I will be working on it for the rest of my life. Challenge accepted…gulp.

Favorite quote:
If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be” – Maya Angelou 

Favorite design magazine/blog:
It’s not really a design blog, but every chance I get I look at @yasminemei on Instagram for inspiring colors and textures. This floral designer has the most delightful floral arrangement posts. I recommend following her!!


Sponsor Spotlight: GBD Architects

Company Name: GBD Architects

Number of years in business: 52

GBD Architects is an interdisciplinary architecture, interior design and space planning firm dedicated to a sustainable built environment. Our staff of more than 80 encourages a highly collaborative office culture that is welcoming, warm and collegial. We love what we do, and are driven by a passion for creating beautiful, responsible spaces that respond to real human needs. We make buildings that work hard. Like we do. At GBD, our people are our greatest asset. Our diverse staff bring together creative, technical and management expertise to enhance the design and construction of every project. We believe collaboration is key, and approach each project seeking to realize its fullest potential through teamwork, service and innovation.

What aspect of your company are you most proud of and why?: 

The GBD culture is warm, open, collegial, highly professional and yet uncharacteristically down to earth. There is a strong work ethic. There is an obvious passion and love for what we do, a deep belief in how we’re doing it, and a respect for who we’re doing it with. The “it” is building beautiful, responsible spaces that move and elevate people.

What value do you see in being an IIDA Oregon Chapter Annual Sponsor?: 

We take pride in supporting our Oregon design community and encourage everyone at GBD to continue to learn, grow, and give back. Supporting organizations like the IIDA Oregon Chapter, who provide so much value to our community and act as a resource for interior designers, shows our dedication not only to our GBD team but the greater Portland design community. 

What does interior design legislation mean to you and/or your company?: 

GBD encourages interior designers to become NCIDQ certified. We advocate for interior design legislation and believe that licensed commercial interior designers should be recognized by the state of Oregon. We believe interior designers bring a wide wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. We consider our interior designers to be assets to our teams, and their involvement is an integral part of a project’s success.