By Jenna Higginbotham
Creative collaboration is essential to hospitality design—and to successful business relationships. Project 360, a recent industry event hosted by Looney & Associates, was designed to bring a proactive approach to the issues faced by all parties involved in hospitality projects, and inspire communication, teamwork, and creative thinking. Held at Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas earlier this year, the event featured a panel session with industry leaders. Topics included relationships between owners, designers, vendors, and project managers, with input from representatives of each role. Design students and faculty from local Dallas and Fort Worth universities were also invited to the event.
Looney & Associates president Jim Looney created the forum in order to help all sides see things from the others’ points of view. Looney was inspired by one of his favorite literary identifiers, Atticus Finch from the book To Kill a Mockingbird, who said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
Panelist Mike Panzer, president and owner of SBS Project Management, spoke about the value of personal communication in a digital workplace. “It is common to have a ‘digital conversation’ comprised of emails, texts, or IMs that lasts several hours, when a simple ten-minute conference call would resolve the issues more expeditiously and with fewer errors,” he says.
Communication and building relationships were key discussion topics. “Our industry is extremely interconnected,” notes Misty Delbridge, vice president of sales for Montague. “It really does ‘take a village’ to build or renovate a hotel, and we all need each other to bring the vision to life.”
Project 360 provided students with a window into the design process, with input from professionals. “Being at the conference broadened my understanding of how the design industry works,” says Hemasree Janyavula, a student from the University of North Texas.
Johnnie Stark, UNT program coordinator and associate professor of interior design, noted the value of the event for students. “Our senior student who participated in Project 360 enjoyed the opportunity to learn from the discussion provided by the multidisciplinary panel. In addition to the factual information and career advice received, she was especially appreciative of the personalized invitation and warm hospitality extended by Looney & Associates,” he says.
Jim Looney, president, Looney & Associates (moderator)
Mike Panzer, president/owner, SBS Project Management
Laura McKoy, director of interior design, Omni Hotels
Bill Langmade, president, Purchasing Management International
Misty Delbridge, vice president of sales, Montague
Lloyd Kolmer, president, LK Logistics