People

we are a creative team of analytical thinkers who thrive on

creating unique pieces of illuminated art

Thomas Lawrence

Founder + Principal

I guide.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

Supportive facilitator. I’m very proud to be leading such a unique group of people.

School and degree/background of experience?

Bowling Green State University, Interpersonal Communication. 25 years in natural stone extraction and fabrication.

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it):

“Read more” – my one of a kind Mom.
“Put down the book and get outside” – my practical Dad.

When I’m not at the office, I:

I’m working in the yard, boating, tracking our kids, and planning our next cook out.

If budget was no object, I would:

I would become a professional chef and move to Lisbon.

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

Recently read “I Moved Your Cheese” – recommended if you want a quick recent read. Only TV = Modern Family, hilarious.

The quote that inspires me most is:

“What you do in life echoes in eternity.”

Where do you draw inspiration from:

Small details. I respect the proud attention to detail. Particularly when it’s found where the maker didn’t expect you to come to find it. When I was young, I never understood why my (architect) Mom made me remove what were perfectly hidden leaves from under our hedges. It’s clear to me, now, what she was teaching about detail.

A perfect day goes like this:

The perfect day is Thanksgiving day…wake up knowing the whole family is here and to the smell of food cooking. Hurry down to grab a coffee. With family we gather around the kitchen island to tell often repeated tales of the “old days” while snacking on a bevy of food options already out. Leave the house only once, to get our Christmas tree off the roof of a car, which we picked the day before as tradition. Make a fire and put the tree up with family, still reminiscing. 4:00 sharp, dinner, with nearly 50 of the most important people in my life. We tell stories, watch old home movies, pass pictures and recall memories. While making new ones, we fill our cups and give thanks. You can’t help but feel lucky and blessed. It all ends with musical chairs, another pastime. This is where it gets ugly.

I would never/I love/I would rather/I crave/I dream about:

I would never feel regret.
I love being a part of a large, close (+ loud) family.
I would rather be camping in Canada on the French River.
I crave more time, more years.
I dream about being a singer in a band.

Caitlin Solomon

Director of Operations

I manage.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

Details. Managing our clients’ expectations as it relates to estimating, contracts, scheduling, and results. Motivating our team and generally keeping things on track! Visually and verbally communicating our process and milestones to our clients. Growing our brand through website and social media exposure.

School and degree/background of experience?

Bachelor of Science in Architecture from University of Cincinnati

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it):

It’s not really advice (actions speak louder than words, right?) but my parents always let me make my own mistakes. Even as a toddler, I loved working alongside my dad, a construction laborer who comes from a large Irish family of craftsmen.  He wasn’t afraid to hand me a paintbrush and let me go to work; this instilled a strong sense of confidence and an appreciation for the art of making with your hands. When I was young, my mom would take me and my sisters to visit his jobsites and I always thought the giant equipment was so cool.

When I’m not at the office, I:

I am a mother of two; try to make time for yoga; work on my nearly century old home in Lakewood with my husband; hit up flea markets looking for midcentury modern furniture; am a member of two book clubs but rarely find time to finish a book these days!

If budget was no object, I would:

Be painting in a studio, barefoot so I can take yoga breaks.

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

“Thrive” by Arianna Huffington

The quote that inspires me most is:

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” ― Andy Warhol

Where do you draw inspiration from:

Nature, photography, paintings, collected objects

A perfect day goes like this:

Crisp fall morning, waking up to my children’s smiles, drinking tea outside on the porch, solving a complex problem or doing something productive, relaxing by a fire and then enjoying baby smiles again at bedtime

I would never/I love/I would rather/I crave/I dream about:

I dream about being able to read minds. I think communication would be so much easier if everyone was a little more direct in expressing their thoughts. Pandora’s box, yes, this could make for some interesting conference calls!

Fallon Korinko

Studio Director

I discover.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

Technically, my title is Studio Director. But I think my role encompasses much more than just design. While I am responsible for a lot of the design work – CAD drawings, renderings, marketing materials, styling of internal projects/products we’re developing, communicating with clients, etc. – I think my (and everyone’s) role goes way beyond our surface responsibilities. Along with the design “stuff” , I think my role is also part cheerleader, part supporter, part problem solver, part investigator, part secretary, part listener, part devil’s advocate, and more. And I think sometimes those responsibilities can even outweigh the importance of the technical title description.

School and degree/background of experience?

I went to Ohio University and received a B.S. in Interior Architecture. During my junior and senior years, I worked as the Gallery Curator for an on campus art gallery. And I also was a student designer at Ohio University’s Design and Construction office. After graduating, I worked in residential design for a little over a year (which I hated, felt very stifled). Then I found GPI Design and I knew I was home.

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it):

“Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”

I couldn’t even tell you the first person who gave me that advice (it was probably my mom), but I’ve heard it from a multitude of people throughout my life and I’ve always found it to be true, no matter what the circumstance. If you’re spending the time on a task, you might as well give it your all, your best. Because in the end, doing a task half-heartedly and haphazardly rarely makes the cut, you usually have to do it again. And it’s not nearly as rewarding or satisfying as putting in the effort and work required to do a job you’re proud of. It’s better to put your heart and soul in your work and do a good job the first time around. It sets a tone, makes an impression, and makes a world of difference.

When I’m not at the office, I:

Am on mom duty with my two little boys. They have A LOT of energy. My husband and I spend most of our time just trying to keep up with them (and making sure they don’t totally injure themselves or completely destroy the house in the process).

If budget was no object, I would:

Buy run down historical buildings and restore them to their former glory. Nothing makes me sadder than seeing beautiful buildings with such rich histories and souls in a state of abandon and decay.

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

Whatever my kids are. Reading: Goodnight Moon. Watching: Paw Patrol or Dinosaur Train. Listening to: Hard Core Rap (Doesn’t seem like that goes with the others, right? For some reason, my kids LOVE hardcore rap – no explicit versions though of course!)

The quote that inspires me most is:

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” – Albert Einstein

Where do you draw inspiration from:

I don’t have one source for inspiration. I think inspiration can come from anyplace if you keep an open mind. I’ve been inspired by everything from moss growing on my driveway, to the parts from a disassembled VCR, to hundred-year-old cemetery headstones, to even how a virus looks under a microscope; the more random the inspiration, the better!

A perfect day goes like this:

A day that ends where I feel like I’ve accomplished something worthwhile – whether its knocking something off of my work to-do list, making memories with my family, or just simply getting my kids to eat a good dinner sans a total meltdown – that usually equates to a pretty solid and satisfying day for me. Oh, and a good Chai Latte. That’s essential.

I would never/I love/I would rather/I crave/I dream about:

I would never get a tattoo.
I love hearing my kids laugh.
I would rather be sweating hot than shivering cold.
I crave super spicy food and a creative outlet (though I bet my husband wishes I didn’t…I ALWAYS have a project going on).
I dream about dancing with my boys at their weddings.

Dave Mantia

Director of Construction

I formulate.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

I work alongside our Designers during the development stages of each project.  I work closely with our Engineers in making sure that the projects are able to move forward and into production.  I develop strategies and ideas to make the installation of our projects productive and efficient.

School and degree/background of experience?

During high school, I attended SouthEast Career for the carpentry trade. I grew up working in a family-owned business remodeling kitchens and bathrooms and then started my own company fabricating and installing natural stone products.  Directing construction for our team at GPI is a culmination of all my life’s experiences, I enjoy the custom design-build process.

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it):

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” – A friend of mine named Bill Wineset

He built and then later sold his company for millions. He always felt that if you put the right people around you that they will take you to where you want to go. Having all the knowledge isn’t always the best way to grow, its finding other people and building on their skills that allow you to grow and multiply your company in areas that you yourself could never reach or do on your own.

When I’m not at the office, I:

Enjoy outdoor activities. My family and I like to camp and boat together when our schedules allow. I enjoy hunting and fishing a great deal. I also like working with my hands so I enjoy doing in home projects as well.

If budget was no object, I would:

Build a place where men could go to connect with the outdoors and allow themselves to be open with other men and just be real. I would like to see men be able to go to a place that would help them connect spiritually as well, allowing them to become the husbands and fathers that God created them to be.

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

Reading – Driven By Eternity by John Bevere
Watching – Andy Griffith
Listening to – podcasts of leaders both spiritual and in the business world

The quotes that inspire me most are:

“The atmosphere you permit will be the product you produce.”
“Nothing changes if nothing changes.”

Where do you draw inspiration from:

Spiritually: from prayer and several different preachers
Secularly: from John Maxwell and some other great motivational leaders

A perfect day goes like this:

I wake up and make my wife breakfast and coffee. We then get to the lake before sunrise. We get in our boat and we head out to look for some fish. We catch our limit while enjoying the beautiful weather we head back in and invite our friends over for a fish fry and enjoy being able to fellowship with our friends.

I would never/I love/I would rather/I crave/I dream about:

I would never tell my kids that they are worthless.
I love my wife and kids.
I would rather fail than never try.
I crave a good steak.
I dream about being in the woods and being on the water.

Mitch Polly

Technical Engineer

I materialize.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

I liason between our design and construction team members to ensure ease of manufacturing and smooth installation of our systems.

School and degree/background of experience?

I went to Lincoln Tech for an Associate’s in Mechanical Drafting & Design. From there my real education started in the world of manufacturing. Getting close to the machines, people, and processes gave me invaluable experience in how things are actually built.

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it):

I don’t remember where I heard it first but basically “everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about” is something that sticks with me and where my mind goes when someone is acting unreasonable.

When I’m not at the office, I:

Am spending time with my wife and kids or tinkering with a random project in the basement (3D Printer / electronics / drones / etc).

If budget was no object, I would:

Buy a Tesla and lot of CNC machines to use when I’m not traveling the world with my family.

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

Reading – Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris

Watching – If I’m not on YouTube, I’m probably watching a random documentary, The Office, or Rick & Morty.

Listening – Lots of podcasts (The Dollop, Joe Rogan, and Smart Passive Income to name a few)

The quote that inspires me most is:

“Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.“ – Steven Pressfield

Where do you draw inspiration from:

Definitely books.

A perfect day goes like this:

Coffee, play with my son, teach my daughter something, finish a project, a long walk with my dog in the woods, try a new restaurant and watch a movie with my wife

I would never/I love/I would rather/I crave/I dream about:

I would never do something simply because it’s expected.
I love learning.
I would rather watch How It’s Made than sports.
I crave creating things.
I dream about being Elon Musk.

Sean Kinzel

Senior Project Manager

I plan.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

I manage the construction team from start to finish.  Working very closely with our design team to make sure the project can be built in the most efficient manner possible.  Construction is hard work, however, if you work hard it is one of the most rewarding fields in my opinion.  I love seeing what a team can accomplish in a matter of a short period of time.

School and degree/ background of experience?

B.S. Construction Management – Bowling Green State University

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it):

Use things and appreciate people – My Dad

When I’m not at the office, I:

I love spending time with my wife and our two kids, being outside or sharing a meal with friends and family.  I love spending time on the water in our kayaks.  I constantly have a project I’m working on around the house to keep me busy.

If budget was no object, I would:

Wake up and go to work.  Ideally renovating a house a year and spend the balance of my time traveling, seeing the world or at least as many beaches as possible!

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

I listen to many types of music, I try and stay away from the “news” or the talking heads, life is too short to be so angry!  I love watching old comedies “they don’t make them like they use to”  stupid humor is the best, it keeps me from taking life too seriously.

The quote that inspires me most is:

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there – Will Rogers

Where do you draw inspiration from:

I’m not sure about this one?

A perfect day goes like this:

Wake up, go to the gym and spend plenty of time outdoors. Work on a project for a few hours to accomplish a task, Dinner with friends and family on an outdoor patio enjoying good food, memorable  stories and a beautiful sunset.

I would never/ I love/ I would rather/ I crave/ I dream about:

I would never compromise my morals for money. I love the feeling of accomplishing a goal.  I would rather work in construction than sit and push papers all day.  I crave making people laugh.  I dream about spending more time on a beach with my wife.

 

Chris Tilton

Director of Lighting Design

I illuminate.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

My primary objective is to ensure the architectural and aesthetic visions are supported with thoughtful, appropriate, responsible. and value driven lighting solutions.  I serve as the liaison between the artistic and technical team members, melding quality lighting design with appropriate control strategies, and ensuring the design complies with regulatory requirements and sustainability goals.

School and degree/background of experience?

I studied at Virginia Tech and received an BA in Theatre Arts with emphasis in lighting design and technical direction.  My career path has touched exhibit design, trade and industrial shows, entertainment rigging and electrical work, facility operations management, and over a decade consulting as an architectural lighting designer in the building design and construction industry.  I am a classically trained pianist and spent a few years studying the cello as well.

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it):

“Treat EVERYONE with respect, show them the same courtesy you would expect to receive, and never forfeit your integrity” –  my Mom and Dad, and others since!  Inspired by Jesus Christ.

When I’m not at the office, I:

Love spending quality time with my wife and friends, supporting missions and community events at my church, and absorbing as much as possible as I experience life.  I am an aviation enthusiast, and look forward to ‘that day’ when I can start building my own experimental kit plane!  As a foodie and a craft beer nut, I seek out local gastro-pubs and microbreweries whenever I travel.  My wife and I are always working on some home project, and my honey-do list is not getting shorter!

If budget was no object, I would:

Design, build, and travel around the US in my hybrid electric airplane, participate in more international mission work, and increase support of smaller cultural and arts organizations in the Cleveland area.  We have a soft spot for canines, so would heavily support a couple of our favorite rescue groups too!  Since budget is no object, I’d improve my shop and spend more time woodworking.  I’d learn TIG welding (to support my airplane habit of course!)

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

on a crossword puzzle binge.  I have as much fun researching the unknown clues as I do completing the puzzles!  When I read, I enjoy historical novels, contemporary spy thrillers, and science fiction.  When I am on the road, I typically tune in NPR for news and current events shows. Otherwise I am streaming EDM and synth tunes on Pandora!

The quote that inspires me most is:

“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail” – Charles Swindoll

Where do you draw inspiration from:

Where don’t I?  I am inspired by everyone I interact with, by my environment, by amazing natural phenomena and man-made wonders, by stepping out of my comfort zone, and of course by my faith.

A perfect day goes like this:

A cool breeze wafting fresh-brewed coffee, followed by any activity that brings joy to me and those I am with, lending a hand to someone who needs it, and the opportunity to share experiences with loved ones.

I would never/I love/I would rather/I crave/I dream about:

I would never participate in a lima bean eating contest.

I love the complexity of nature.

I would rather be flying than writing this bio.

I crave having time to finish all those honey-dos!

I dream about how much there is yet for me to learn and experience.

Ellen Lewis

Designer

I detail.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

My role at GPI is to brainstorm, hypothesize and problem solve! I think outside of the box, design the details of our systems, and uncover issues and problems early in the process. I take designers’ ideas and make sure they are feasible and something we can successfully achieve. Aside from being a problem solver, I enjoy making my coworkers laugh. Whether it is a cheesy icebreaker to lighten the mood, a funny story, or fun fact that I learned over the weekend, I think it is important to laugh every day.

School and degree/background of experience?

Bachelors degree in Interior Design from The University of Akron

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it):

The best advice is that I have ever been given is by my dad. He always reminds me that “you have to eat bologna before you can eat t-bones”. It is a reminder for me that you need to work towards everything you want and sometimes do things you really don’t want to do, first.

When I’m not at the office, I:

When I’m not working I like to spend my time with my family and friends, volunteer, listen to music, try new recipes, read, draw and go to social events I love exploring new restaurants and businesses that open up in my community. I am also a big fan of sitting on patios during the summer and thrift shopping.

If budget was no object, I would:

This is a hard question, depending on what you mean, if I had all of the money in the world, I would build my mom a new house and pay off mine and all of my closest friends student loans. After that: party time.

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

Reading: Furiously Happy
Listening: The Wrecks, The Orphan The Poet, Hippo Campus and Seaway

The quote that inspires me most is:

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Where do you draw inspiration from:

I draw inspiration from the people around me. I know that everyone appreciates different things for a reason. My mind works differently from most people I know and that is why I have chosen this as my career path.

A perfect day goes like this:

A day with no tentative schedule. And lots of delicious foods that magically don’t contain any calories.

I would never/I love/I would rather/I crave/I dream about:

I would never: sing karaoke.
I love: my cat Paul.
I would rather: starve than eat red peppers.
I crave: anything pickled.
I dream about: I am a huge daydreamer and since my brain runs at about 100 mph, non-stop, my Google history contains a lot of “ what if…” so I can’t narrow down just one!

Natalie Hammersmith

Designer

I visualize.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

While many times I have my hand in various design development aspects, I would like to think of myself a visual interpreter. Utilizing my experience in technical 3D modeling, the artistry of visual rendering, and an eye for graphical layouts, I have the ability to create a common language between clients, contractors, designers, engineers, and members of the construction field in order to define the vision and goals of each custom project. This common language ensures a smooth process from start to finish and brings the project to life even before arriving on the jobsite.

School and degree/background of experience?

I recently graduated from Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design with a B.A. in Interior Design. During my junior year, I had the opportunity to study for five months abroad in Florence, Italy perfecting my design skills and drawing inspiration from various cultures and architecture. Additionally, I am a member of the International Interior Design Association, where I am an active member of the Cleveland/Akron City Center.

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it)

My parents have always told me to always be open to new opportunities no matter what it might be because you never know what might come of it. It is a smaller world than you think!

When I’m not at the office, I:

I spend my time with family and friends walking the local metro parks, riding bikes, traveling to new cities, and trying new places to eat. Where ever I am there is a story to tell.

If budget was no object, I would:

I would travel EVERYWHERE.

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

Reading: Inferno, Dan Brown
Watching: The Crown on Netflix (again)
Listening: Spotify, any and all genres…Lately, I have been listening to anything from the early 2000s

The quote that inspires me most is:

“So often in life, things that you regard as impediment turn out to be great good fortune” -Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Where do you draw inspiration from:

I believe that inspiration can come from the anything and everything. It is all in your perspective.

A perfect day goes like this:

A day with friends and family at Cedar Point.

I would never/I love/I would rather/I crave/I dream about:

I would never: be seen near any type of bird, they scare me!
I love: helping others, especially those in need.
I would rather: travel the world and gain new experiences than be a millionaire.
I crave: real Italian gelato!
I dream about: what life will be like 100 years from now.

Bree Rutherford

Administrative Assistant

I collaborate.

How would you describe your role at GPI?

Serving as the right hand to each member on our team, I collaborate and support everyone, including our clients, from whatever is needed to get the project started, dotting the I’s during the process and celebrating the success of a completed project. No task is too big or too small!

School and degree/background of experience?

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, I have almost two decades of experience defining what is the goal, problem-solving to find the best approach and working hard to finish the project or task.

Best advice I’ve ever acted on (and who gave it):

My dad is not a man of many words, but he’s always instilled upon me, “don’t spend what you don’t have.” Money is an obvious direction for this, but I use this outlook in all avenues of my life. Most importantly, don’t spend time or energy on something that isn’t going in the direction that you are.

When I’m not at the office, I:

…am either driving to or from a basketball game or watching a basketball game since both of my teenagers are avid basketball (as well as a few other sports) players. When I’m not cheering on my kids, I am tackling a big or small home project. My husband always faults me for having 2 or 3 projects going on at once, but that’s normal, right?

If budget was no object, I would:

…travel often, particularly someplace warm with historical spots to explore.

I’m currently (reading, watching, listening to):

…rewatching the entire Gray’s Anatomy series. I love the emotions the writing and music can drum up. I started watching later than most and missed a few episodes here and there so I started back at season one. At this point, I could practically be a doctor. I’m also a big fan of TED Talks during my commute.

The quote that inspires me most is:

“Success is a journey, not a destination.” Arthur Ashe

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Surrounding myself with people with different outlooks and direction. My daughter primarily, she finds such joy in the simplest of things. She inspires me to take a further step back and look at the big picture, as well as, step in to appreciate and be thankful of the fine details.

A perfect day goes like this:

Waking up to a clean house (when raising kids this can be somewhat of a challenge) and tackling a short, yet productive “to-do list.” Next, I would be onto exploring Pinterest for a new recipe and begin cooking up a feast for a group of friends. Whether we are gathering on the boat docks, relaxing on the back porch or just staying indoors, there would be lots of delicious food and drinks and good laughs!

I would never/I love/I would rather/I crave/I dream about:

I would never go sky-diving, zip-lining was a stretch for me
I love movies from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s
I would rather be traveling
I crave a new recipe or new restaurant
I dream about everything, most mornings I can recall my dreams

 

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