While working at CMW Inc. this semester, my main responsibilities included planning the Continuing Education events for the architects, engineers, designers, and landscape architects, meeting with sales reps on a weekly basis in order to learn the most up to date products to specify, selecting finishes for group based design concepts, and presenting my ideas to clients whether it be in house or on site.
I interacted with so many people and learned so many things. I worked one on one with sales reps on a regular basis to specify the materials that were most appropriate for the spaces I was designing. I also spent time with the architects in the office to continue to learn more about standards and codes. I worked with clients on a very intimate level of communication in regards to letting them have a say in what their visions were, while still maintaining the role of the professional of the field and giving my strong opinion based on function, durability, aesthetics, and safety and wellness of the users of the space. I was offered so many opportunities to sit in on meetings for the company in regards to marketing, continuing education, contractor and designer meetings, client consultations, and other business aspects of the company.
While working in the field, there are so many things that you learn that are not possible to learn in class. Although we spend our education learning how to think like a designer- in a very conceptual and functional way- it is impossible to learn how to do the appropriate documentation because those are standards that all companies hold. I have learned a lot about confidence working with clients in the field and presenting them with my best understanding of all product types and applications. This helps a lot in school because I can now bring back the physical documentation (sections, plans, details, etc) into my personal projects. I can also implement the best products because I have a much larger understanding of what is out there. Most importantly, I think that learning how to design under a budget is the largest thing I have been working with while outside of the classroom. I used a lot of conceptual ideas from class to add a creative twist under the circumstances of the designs. I have taken an outside of the box approach to healthcare and hospitality design that I have been working on at CMW. This experience has taught me more than anyone in a classroom can offer me.
This entire experience is a lasting job that continues to teach me more and more everyday. I am so happy that I was capable to have this experience. The connection with my future is- this is my future. I plan on designing just like this for the rest of my career and CMW has provided me the foundation to do just that in a stronger way. I will continue to design under a budget, have to work with architects, other designers, and clients on a regular basis, have to stay up to date on all new coming products with sales reps, and have to continue to document my research and design work in a standard way for contractors, architects, engineers, landscape architects, and other designers to understand. I would suggest to anyone that this experience is the most valuable thing that anyone (especially in subjective fields such as design) should do because it teaches things that a classroom cannot.