Beyond the Basics with Michele Weaver

Michele Weaver is Design Basics’ Brand Manager, helping spread Design Basics mantra that “Great Design Matters”!

Michele WeaverYou joined the Design Basics’ team about 18 months ago as the Brand Manager. What does that entail and how have your job responsibilities evolved?
Design Basics recognized the importance of protecting the company’s innovations with trademarks. In my role, I look to ensure those marks, such as Livability at a Glance™,
Woman-Centric Matters!®,  Her Home™, and Finally About Me®, are being used correctly. The company also knew social media is where homebuyers are, and as part of our mission is helping buyers make wise, informed decisions regarding their new home, Design Basics needed a stronger social media presence.

My role within marketing is expanding now to include overseeing our trade shows, such as the IBS, our newsletters, and launching a new blog. Additionally, while I have a graduate degree in marketing communications, my undergraduate is in accounting, so I help out in our business office as needed, such as managing our staff’s expense reporting.

What do you like best about working at Design Basics?
I know this sounds like a canned answer, but with our staff size [of 10], this is truly a team atmosphere. Everybody works together; everybody pitches in to help each other. I’ve worked other places where they say it’s a “team environment,” but at Design Basics it’s true!

Design Basics utilizes [Gallup] StrengthsFinder.  What are your top strengths?
[Gallup] labels my #1 strength as “individualization.” Recognizing others’ individuality – their own unique personalities, strengths, and differences – can go a long way in creating effective teams, whether that’s at work, in volunteer committees, or leading my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Rounding out my top five strengths are Responsibility, Input, Includer, and Arranger, which I think work well with our team.

You also took Design Basics’ Finally About Me® quiz on our website and are closest to “Elise”?
Yes! My style is traditional in almost every sense of the word. Elise is also “practical” and “family-oriented,” which describes me pretty well.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy?
I like to read mysteries and comedic fiction, plus an occasional biography as I find people and history fascinating. And, I love live theater, musicals, movies, and music. As a family, we enjoy traveling – mostly to discover new places we’ve not been to before.

What are some of your favorite places you have been?
For our honeymoon, we took a 10-day Alaskan cruise tour – it was truly amazing! Two of our most memorable family vacations were to Michigan/Wisconsin and the northern Oregon coast. We really enjoy the beautiful scenery and being outdoors, and hope to visit Yellowstone and the Tetons for our next adventure!

Name three things someone might not know about you:

  • My husband and I have been together for 26 years; we’ve been married 18 years and have two children, ages 14 and 11.
  • I used to love going to amusement parks and would ride all the rides, several times if I could. I dreamed of parasailing and skydiving. But, now just looking at the merry-go-round makes my equilibrium swoon!
  • There’s something about 80’s pop music, not to mention anything from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, that can put me in a good mood no matter what. I openly admit to having seen Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond in concert (both excellent performers!). I also enjoy some country – Gary Allan, Kenny Chesney, Jo Dee Messina, George Strait…but, sometimes I just need to crank it up and put on some Led Zeppelin!

Learn more about Michele.

Beyond the Basics with Paul Foresman

Paul Foresman, VP of Business Development at Design Basics, LLCPaul Foresman is the VP of Business Development and oversees our Woman-Centric Matters!® program, helping builders more fully appreciate women’s preferences in home design.

You have been with Design Basics for over 25 years. How did you get here and what makes you stick around?

I had been working for an advertising agency and Design Basics was one of my accounts. After a couple years, the owner of Design Basics offered me the position as Director of Marketing. Over the years I’ve been told I am “un-hirable,” being with the same company in the same position for so long. This may or may not be true, but the opportunity to do what you really enjoy, innovate, and grow your role with a team that’s become my second family is very rewarding, so why would I even think about leaving?

What do you like best about working at Design Basics?

The learning opportunities are endless here at Design Basics and my role has expanded in so many exciting ways. Just like homeowners want open designs rather than closed-off rooms, I wouldn’t be happy in a strictly defined job doing essentially the same thing day after day.

What do you find is most fulfilling about working with our customers?

The clients I get to work with inspire us to evolve home design in profound ways that’s having a significant impact on American housing.

Tell us a little bit about how you got involved in and launched the Woman-Centric program? 

Woman-Centric Matters! was born out of years of (still ongoing) research. Also, I have a degree is in marketing research, so it was a natural fit for me. Really, it’s Marketing 101 – know thy customer. Women make most of the home buying decisions, yet most architects, engineers, builders, and construction tradespeople are men, so home design and construction has been from a decidedly male perspective. Hearing homebuyers say “You’ve thought of everything!” and “Why don’t other builders offer amenities like these?” validates the need for builders to gain an ever-increasing appreciation for women’s preferences in the home.

You are a Packers fan. How did that come about? 

I was eight years old and Green Bay was going to face Kansas City in Super Bowl I. My older brother was a Chiefs fan so I took the Packers. One of the best days of my life was finally going with my youngest son to Lambeau field and watching the Packers beat Detroit in the final game of the 2014 season to win the NFC north division.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don’t believe in “spare time.”  We’ve only been given so many days on this earth to make a difference in people’s lives, starting with family.

Name three things someone might not know about you:

I was adopted at a young age by wonderful parents. Adopted to me means “chosen,” and I thank God for His leading in my parent’s and my life.

My wife, Cindy, and I will celebrate 34 years of marriage, and the birth of our third grandson this December.

I was very into fast cars and drag racing in high school, which kept me out of trouble – all the money I earned went into my cars!

Learn more about Paul by clicking here.

Beyond the Basics with Morgan Lewis

morgan-lewisAs a drafter and plan alterations designer, Morgan is responsible for incorporating changes to plans in accordance with customer request and architectural specifications.
What do you like best about working at Design Basics?

I really enjoy working with the team here at Design Basics. It feels much more like a family than a workplace.

What do you find is most fulfilling about working with our customers?
Being able to provide them with a finished product that they are happy with. And, I get to work with and design for many different and interesting people.

What made you decide to be a drafter/designer?
I took an AutoCAD class all four years of high school. When I first started college, my major was architecture. But, then I decided I really liked the drafting and design aspect and I switched to CADD. So I guess I kind of always knew that I wanted to do something that dealt with the designing of homes. When the housing market started going south, I decided to get a degree in business administration. Both skill sets have been an excellent combination for drafting and design, and working with our customers.

You enjoy playing darts and have participated in tournaments. What type of darts do you play? Where have you traveled for tournaments? How have you done in tournaments?
For city leagues and most tournaments, the dart games I play are 301/501/701 or cricket. I have participated in tournaments in Nebraska, Iowa, and Las Vegas. Most of the tournament games played are team events. I usually participate in several events, and have placed in the top five for many of them.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
With four children you really do not get any spare time. One of my kids plays football and the other plays basketball. We go from one sport to the next, and then year-round training and practice for both. On top of that my two younger children require lots of mommy attention; however, when I do get that brief moment, I just like to relax with a nice glass of wine.

Place you most want to visit and why?
There are three places that I would like to visit. One is Fallingwater in Pennsylvania – noted as “the most unique home in the world” – take a minute and look it up you’ll see why! Another is Amsterdam, because of the windmills. And, of course an architectural masterpiece, the Sydney Opera House in Australia. As you can see, I love architecture!

Tell us something interesting someone might not know about you.
I enjoy fishing! I have been going fishing since I was a little girl and still love it to this day. I own a bow, and know how to use it. And, I like driving on road trips.

Learn more about Morgan on our Contact page.

Beyond the Basics with Delores Ames

Delores Ames, Business Office Manger at Design Basics, LLCAs the business office manager, Delores oversees operational and administrative functions, provides customer service, and manages the shipping department.

What do you like best about working at Design Basics?
The people I have worked with at Design Basics have been my second family. We work hard, get along great as a team, very family-oriented, and flexible. I’ve had the privilege to work in several different departments over the 22 years I’ve been here, which has given me the opportunity to learn more facets as to how the company is run.

You have been with Design Basics for over 20 years. What attracted you to the company and what has kept you here?
I have known [a past president of Design Basics] for over 50 years, and we had taught preschool together for 17 years. She began working at Design Basics part time, and when I decided to quit the preschool, she encouraged me to come in for an interview–I was hired on the spot. There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t looked forward to coming to work. God has really blessed me with a wonderful job and people.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I enjoy walking, reading, baking, play cards, and spending time with friends. Someday I hope to spend more time with my kids and grandkids.

Favorite place you’ve ever visited and why?
One of my favorite trips was a 10-day Caribbean cruise with my six siblings and their spouses. We had a great time and it was fun to get off on the six different islands and do some sightseeing. Seeing the massive ocean was incredible, the food was amazing, and we took in a lot of shows. At the end of 10 days none of us were ready to get off!

Place you most want to visit and why?
The one place I would love to visit is the land of Israel. It would be so neat to see so many of the Biblical places talked about in the Bible, plus areas where Jesus walked and taught. With Israel being in the news so much, it would also help to know where the different areas are geographically.

You recently went white water rafting and zip lining (and, you enjoy amusement parks). Out of everything you have done, what was your favorite adventure? And, is there something you haven’t done yet that you’d like to try?
Zip lining was so much fun. We went on eight different lines and there’s just something so free feeling as you go flying through the air. I love that sensation! I have always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride and also parachute out of a plane.

What genre(s) of books do you enjoy reading?
The books I generally read are non-fiction; biographies and autobiographies. I’m not a history buff but I love reading about people’s lives and the experiences they have had. I do read some fiction, mostly suspense or mysteries. But, I’m not into cheesy romance books.

You enjoy live theater. What types of performances have you enjoyed most?
Broadway musicals at the Orpheum and shows at the Holland Center [both in Omaha, NE] are my favorites. Some of the ones I enjoyed most were Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, Oklahoma, and Beauty and the Beast.

Tell us something that we might not know about you:
I do not know how to swim but I love the water. Just make sure I have a life jacket, floaty, or some other life saving device, just in case.

Learn more about Delores on our Contact page.

Beyond the Basics with Greg Dodge

Greg Dodge, VP of Records Management & Data IntegrityAs VP of Records Management & Data Integrity, Greg Dodge is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of plan specifications and maintaining the plan database.

You’ve been with Design Basics for over 25 years! How did you end up at DB?
I started as an intern. Design Basics was looking for someone with Paradox [database program] experience. After the project was completed, I was offered to stay on part time, which later turned into a full time job.

How has your position evolved since you started?
I was hired to create a system to integrate the three computers Design Basics used and to create a database for tracking our clients (the previous system was a card file box!). As Design Basics grew, the IT requirements of the company also grew. In September of 1996, I and my fellow IT associate presented a project to launch a website; it was approved and launched in October of that same year. In addition to managing the IT department, I also became the Electronic Commerce Manager overseeing the evolution and development of the company’s website.

What do you find is most fulfilling about working at Design Basics and with our customers?
Working with and finding solutions for our clients, many of whom have been loyal to Design Basics since its inception.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy wood-working and remodeling projects. I recently completed our home bathroom remodel, and my youngest daughter and I created a custom wood-framed mirror.

It’s well-known around the office that you are a Disney fan. When/how did this begin? And, how many times have you visited a Disney park?
It began in 1966 with my first visit to Disneyland when I was six. There was this ride called The Mine Train, and I thought it was so cool, I was hooked! Total visits to any Disney property (including just this last month) would be at least 15, and counting…

I hear you like to go to the movies. What types of movies do you enjoy?
Mostly I like science fiction, thriller, and action movies. I also enjoying Mama Mia, Legally Blonde, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but I might deny it.

And, are you a Star-Trek or Star Wars fan? Both?
Both, but I lean towards Star Trek.

Tell us three things someone might not know about you:
I lean to the right politically, I love history, and I love visiting our national parks!

Learn more about Greg by visiting our Contact page.

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