Tell us about where you work, what you do, and what you’re working on right now.
I am the founder and chief executive of by REVEAL, a retail services platform for brands to test markets and capture consumer insights via in-person experiences. I spend my days working with brands on their retail store strategy and designing ephemeral activations that can build brand loyalty outside of ecommerce as we transition into a post-pandemic world. I am also a partner at Mentors Fund, where I invest in and advise technology startups disrupting legacy industries. As an operating committee member, I manage the fund’s deal pipeline, due diligence, and investment decisions.
Tell us about your favorite or most important project.
The idea for my company, by REVEAL, was sparked during Design Thinking in the Master of Architecture program and turned into my graduate thesis. The company’s first built structure was assembled in the School’s basement, and I am forever grateful to my friends and professors who helped guide me along the way to create a real company.
Must-have desk snack?
I can drink coffee all day, everyday. I think it’s my favorite beverage.
How do you think architecture and design can or should influence the world?
We often spend our time designing new buildings, but the more we can reuse and rehabilitate existing buildings to modern uses, the less carbon our designs will emit. As architects, we are in a unique position to analyze society’s needs and technology’s capabilities through design, and it’s our responsibility to rally support from developers, municipalities, and investors to extend the lifetime value of our creations in the most energy-efficient means possible.
What do you do when you’re not on the clock?
I’m a big nerd and read lots of business books and biographies.
What was your most memorable course or project you completed as a student?
Too many to list. We are so lucky at Sam Fox to have such a dedicated and supportive cohort of professors. Any project obstacle I hit—whether it was their course or not—I was able to go to seek advice from any Sam Fox professor and they were always available to provide insight and guidance. The most memorable projects were the ones with design epiphanies and those “aha” moments where everything clicks.
What did you learn as an architecture student that you’d be most lost without?
The ability to think about an idea through a range of visual mediums. Architecture is the best degree anyone can have because you graduate with a huge tool box of an unlimited number of ways to communicate your thoughts, with an ability to bridge cultures, languages, and contexts for an immense impact in the world.
Favorite Sam Fox School/WashU memory that you can share with the general public.
The summer after I graduated, I had a big deadline on a personal project and I fell very far behind. Over the final three days, over 10 Sam Fox students and faculty came to the rescue and we finished. I would have never made it on my own. The community bond that WashU facilitates is truly special. The submission led to a multi-year design contract.
What advice would you give to our students?
Learn how to verbally and visually communicate your ideas to all audiences. If your grandmother doesn’t understand your project, it is likely the planning commission, the bank, or your client won’t either. Sales is the most important skill you can develop to get your projects funded and built. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but communicating a passion that rallies a group of people behind a project is what transforms a concept into reality.
What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
Givens Hall at sunrise, Forest Park at sunset, and croissants from Comet Coffee.
Tell us something we should know about you that we forgot to ask!
Most architects don’t like to think about the numbers side of the business. However, the greater your understanding of the full financial aspects of a project, the greater control and influence you will have over design decisions.