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.

Beyond the Basics with Yen Gutowski

Yen Gutowski, Graphic Arts Designer at Design BasicsAs the graphic arts designer, Yen is responsible for creating compelling visuals for our customers as well as marketing and sales materials for Design Basics.

What do you like best about working at Design Basics?

I really enjoy the people–even though we are a small company, we have a great team that works well together and takes enormous pride in all that we do. I also love being a graphic designer. Creating eye-catching graphics and presenting creative ways to showcase our plans and content is always a fun challenge!

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

It is very rewarding to start a project with a builder or client and watch it take shape. Sometimes it morphs into all these other ideas and involves thinking outside the box!

For example, starting with a black and white front elevation and floor plan turns into having us render and colorize the artwork; then, creating sell sheets, yard signs, and other marketing materials. Some customers are building whole communities where we create billboards, entrance signs, and showroom/model home graphics. The finished product is always so rewarding…just like building a house–the pride you have with the finished home when you started from a construction drawing. And, what better way to stand out from your competition!

You enjoy a good superhero movie. Who is your favorite superhero and why?

Captain America. He is a moral, ethical superhero that fights for a greater cause and will always do the right thing…or, at least try. Iron Man comes in a close second because, well, he’s Iron Man. Oh, and, Robert Downy Jr. is just hilarious in this role!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my family. We enjoy traveling/road trips, visiting amusement parks, exploring new places, and dining at unique restaurants. We also enjoy watching movies, biking the trails around town, and playing board games. On my own time, I love to read.

Tell us about your favorite vacation.

Since I love to travel, I don’t have one specific place per say, but one of my favorite trips was driving west to Seattle. We drove through South Dakota while the sunflowers were in bloom. Though not poppies, it reminded me of the Wizard of Oz with miles and miles of Sunflower fields! We passed through the Rocky and Cascade Mountains, across the Continental Divide, and past the gorgeous lakes and rivers into Washington State. It was one of the most picturesque drives as well as memorable to me, even though we have been to London and France.

Place you most want to visit?

I would love to visit Hawaii. I think I would really enjoy exploring the islands and experiencing the culture.

What’s an interesting thing that someone might not know about you?

The youngest of 10 children, I was born in Vietnam but came to the United States when I was 3 1/2 years old. How we ended up in Omaha, Nebraska, is still a mystery to me! And, as I mentioned, we love to ride bikes. One summer we rode over 500 miles and even raised money for some charity events.

Learn more about Yen by visiting our Contact page.

Beyond the Basics with Tricia Baker

Trish BakerAs the plan alterations designer, Tricia 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?
We run a tight ship, yet know we also have a life outside of the office, so I really appreciate the flexibility offered when needed.  I also really enjoy working with people – both my co-workers and our customers. Working with our customers to learn more about their wants, needs, and desires, then translating this into a house plan that meets the way they live is what keeps me excited about what we do at Design Basics!

What made you decide to be a designer?
I liked interior design in high school and took an exploring Scouts class at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. That got me on the path of wanting to be an interior designer. But, when I actually got partway through college I liked the more technical side of design, drafting, and designing the actual blue prints and changing blue prints to make designs more functional.

If you couldn’t be a designer, what would your second choice for a career have been?
Travel agent. Or, a professional pool player – 8-ball or 9-ball!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to watch my son play sports; go to the movies and concerts. We also have a Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy named Diesel that keeps us busy, yet entertained.

Favorite place you’ve ever been and why?
Italy. The beautiful architecture and painting, fun clubs, and the people were really nice.  Most of all, I got to go there with my mom.

Place you’d most like to visit and why?
Australia. It looks beautiful. I think going to a Rugby game and visiting the Outback would be really exciting.

Name an interesting thing someone might not know about you:
As I mentioned, I enjoy playing pool. I once had someone approach me about getting into the professional circuit and being my manager.  And, one time I participated in a Karaoke contest and won $100!

Learn more about Tricia by visiting our Contact page.

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