Jan Hawkins and Nancy Bounds were eager to meet with trendsetters and cutting-edge manufacturers at Design Connections, but neither expected they’d also make a personal connection at the conference.
The two longtime designers were classmates in the interior design program at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and bumped into each other at 2018’s Design Connections conference. Hawkins, a principal at Hawkins Pirkle Design Group, spotted Bounds on the attendee list, then ran into her at the opening session. The chance meeting was even more poignant given that just a handful of their 20 or so fellow 1977 grads are still in the industry.
(Photo: right to left - Nancy Bounds & Jan Hawkins)
“It was very arduous at the time, but of course we loved it. You wouldn’t sit at that drafting table for 20 hours in a row if you didn’t love what you were doing,” said Bounds, owner of NB Interiors. “It shows that we really love this business because we’re still in the business.”
LSU’s interior design program was part of the architecture department, which both designers agree gave them a more robust, well-rounded experience. They fondly recall drafting by hand with rapidograph pens because computerized design tools weren’t available yet.
Since graduation, Hawkins has taught herself to use AutoCAD and Bounds has learned Revit, a testament to their commitment to staying up-to-date with the industry. Design Connections makes it even easier to stay current by offering CEUs and valuable presentations based on industry research and current trends.
“I came last year and loved it. This year I was invited again so I jumped at the chance,” Hawkins said. “I learned something new today – I did not know about the JUST program. I’m very interested in that and I’m going to go back and do some research and maybe recommend it to my company.”
“Just being able to come to events like this helps us keep up, and what’s awesome about our profession is that people are willing to be educated all throughout their careers. That’s one of the great things about coming to a meeting like this,” Bounds added. “The networking at this event is different because it’s a smaller event, it’s intimate and special, and you see some of the same people and they become your friends.”
Read more from Design Connections 2018: What’s Really Behind Unhappiness at Work