This is a new frontier for me. At a time when I thought I'll be winding down my career and thinking you know, I think I'll just do hospitality for the rest of my days and all the sudden we have these big things like [AT&T Stadium]. I thought, 'none of my peers are practicing this, none of my peers are doing sports design, what am I missing? Why isn't this a sought after interiors practice?' So it became a challenge and really something that I wanted to do as a big step.
It's still daunting, it's still a conversation. I still go to big interior design conventions and people look at me and go 'we just don't know what to do with sports yet' and I just laugh because honestly there aren't magazines that are dedicated to sports design, but there are magazines dedicated to hospitality design, there are magazines dedicated to corporate design, but there are not magazines that are dedicated to this.
It is that adrenaline rush. It's part of the rush that I grew up loving to go to these events. That's part of it and part of it is the competition, the comradery, all surrounds the game itself, that's all what you want to be a part of and then that competitive drive to be the best at what you do.
Q: You've worked on Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings' U.S. Bank Stadium and the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, to name a few. What is your favorite sporting venue to work on so far?
A: It's hard because I love them all. Whether it's Spring Training, whether it's hockey… I love hockey, I used to skate myself.
The game changer probably for my career and for all interior designers that want to focus on sports was [AT&T Stadium]. That was a client who basically said 'I want a 5-star resort in a football stadium', now when does that happen? Before 10 years ago it never happened.
You'd have a restaurant, you'd have a part of a piece of a stadium that somebody like me could participate in and believe me, I've worked on sports projects my whole career and there was always a piece for me- the suites or something- but never somebody said I want to walk through the concourse and feel like I'm in a 5-star resort.
Q: How are you, as a team at HKS, coordinating everyone's wants, and needs, to make sure it's what you, the Rangers and the fans want?
A: HKS has been to this rodeo before and we have a great group of people that have done a wide range of projects so the organization of how we deliver a project is really innate in how we work.
It helps that we've spent a lot of time with the Rangers in the past year, really, really pulling the project together, really, really, realizing what they want, what the dreams are for the Rangers-the team, fans, sales department, everybody. And then ourselves, actually sprinkling the fairy dust on there to make sure it all comes together and we deliver.
Q: How would you describe your design style?
A: I don't really have one and I don't think HKS has one either. That's what's unique about HKS and unique about our interior designers. You can't look at this firm and say we have a style. We truly go in and we design for whoever our client is, it's our client, their team, the region, their fan base.
Q: Opening Day 2020, walking into Globe Life Field for the first time, what will that moment mean for you?
A: The reality is many of us, myself included, we'll go to an Opening Day, but it's hard to focus on the game. I try to focus on the game, at least part of it because that's why we're there but I really like to just walk through and see how fans react.
I mean, we built this house for the fans, and we built this house for the team and it's amazing to watch a team come out on the field for the first time. The first time the Cowboys ran out- and all the fire, and smoke and flash through the middle of the club- you felt it. You felt every second of it and you felt those players excitement as they ran out on the field.
Imagine the same thing for [the Rangers] when they come out on the field for the first time, when they take the dugout for the first time.
For the full article, check out the June issue of Rangers Magazine.