08/10/2011

Student’s Classroom Vision Inspires New Entrepreneur Center in Nashville

O’More College of Design senior Whitney Kane interns with architect Thom Meek to plan new facility

O’More designer Whitney Kane and architect Thom Meek present to the Nashville Entrepreneur Center construction committee.
Student’s Classroom Vision Inspires New Entrepreneur Center in Nashville

O’More designer Whitney Kane and architect Thom Meek present to the Nashville Entrepreneur Center construction committee.

FRANKLIN, Tenn.—When Whitney Kane’s interior design studio class at O’More College of Design was asked last spring to come up with concepts for a new Nashville Entrepreneur Center facility, she had no idea that it would become a real-world summer job for her.

The architect, Thom Meek of DeNovo Concepts, was so impressed with Kane that he hired her as a summer intern. As the internship ends and her senior year begins, she’s about to watch elements of her proposal come to life. Construction begins on the Entrepreneur Center’s new facility in an old trolley barn on Rolling Mill Hill in downtown Nashville in a matter of weeks.

“I try to think outside of the box and create relationships between objects or spaces as a way of thinking about them creatively,” Kane says.  “I am fortunate to have been selected for the internship, as it makes me feel like a legitimate designer. It’s been a great opportunity to share ideas, learn from professionals and participate in a real-world project.”

Meek says Whitney has been a self-starter who has a lot of talent but is eager to learn from those with more experience.

“I’ve really admired the way she has been able to integrate her ideas into my design,” Meek says. “She’s worked very hard over the summer to source the right materials and products, rather than just trying to utilize what’s in the mainstream. That says a lot about a designer.”

Michael Burcham, Ph.D., is the chief executive officer of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Burcham  says that Whitney’s work stood out during the classroom presentations, and he’s been continually impressed with her approach to the project.

“We took advantage of the studio class to gain ideas and impressions, and she had the most mature concepts,” Burcham says, “We sought her out to help us over the summer, and she hasn’t disappointed. Whitney is bright, she’s thoughtful, and she listens. It is rare to find a young designer who is willing to set aside her ideas and listen to others.”

Burcham says he expects to break ground on the new facility in less than a month, with a grand opening in the spring. The Entrepreneur Center’s mission is to connect entrepreneurs with investors, mentors and the critical resources they need to accelerate the launch of startup businesses.

Founded in 1970 and located in the downtown historic district of Franklin, O’More College of Design offers bachelor of fine arts degrees in fashion design, interior design and visual communications.


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