As a 2012 graduate, Tony Purvis is now an interior designer and project manager at Carson Guest, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, he is a LEED Green Associate and has worked as the Communications Director of ASID GA since 2016. In the following interview, Tony shares a little bit of his experience within the IA+D program and gives us a peek inside the exciting design scene in Atlanta. Enjoy!
Tony: “I started as a First Professional student in Fall 2009 and transitioned into the MFA program at the end of the 1st year. I graduated with my thesis in August 2012 “Conflict Resolution and the Interior Built Environment: Design Considerations for Consensus Building”. Dr. Pable was my major professor, and Dr. Waxman and Peter Munton were on my committee. My thesis won two national awards for outstanding research – one from the ASID Foundation, the other from EDRA (the Environmental Design Research Association).”
Tony: “Probably the most memorable experiences I carry with me come from teaching in the department. I started teaching Studio I as a graduate student, and I also taught much of Survey of Interiors and Creative Problem Solving while acting as Professor Munton’s Graduate Teaching Assistant. Anyone who ever had Professor Munton would know immediately why working for him would be most memorable to me! He makes quite an impression on students!”
Tony: “My initial joining of ASID was because of the student scholarships available through the ASID Foundation, one of which I won. Then, when moving to Atlanta, the first two things I did were to start attending ASID functions to introduce myself to the industry movers and shakers, and use Linked In to contact FSU alums in the area. I was on the market only a very short time! Now, I’m wrapping up two years as the Director of Communications for ASID GA and moving into Finance and President-Elect. I’ll be President of the ASID GA Chapter for 2020. I will be following in the footsteps of FSU’s IA+D faculty, Advisory Board Members, and even my own employers. The professional relationships I’ve made in ASID have lifted my career, but the personal relationships I’ve made are for a lifetime.”
Tony: “Three things, actually: (1) my thesis, (2) ASID, and (3) dogs! My thesis research explored design to support successful conflict resolution, which occurs frequently at law firms; Carson Guest happens to be critically acclaimed for our law firm designs – so, I knew the type of work was a good fit for me. Also, I was involved with ASID as a student and then, after moving to Atlanta, I was asked to join the Georgia chapter’s board of directors by a fellow FSU alum, Craig Anderchak. I was introduced to Rita Carson Guest and John Guest while serving on a legislative affairs committee. When I asked John if we could speak about my potential fit at Carson Guest, he had me in to interview and when I saw all the puppies that come to work in the office every day, I knew I was in the right work environment for me.”
Tony: “Our firm typically handles law firms and luxury residential projects (often for the partners of the law firms). I tend to find the law firm work most interesting because of the intricacy of coordination that occurs with lighting, acoustical, electrical, and mechanical design on multi-million-dollar projects.”
Tony: “First of all, I’ve found that telling anyone in the industry here in Atlanta that I studied at Florida State means they assume I must be really good at my job! Your degree from FSU will open doors – it’s up to you to be ready to walk through them when given a chance. I would also offer this nugget of personal wisdom which comes from experience – if possible, intern for at least two different types of firms – one small, one large, perhaps one commercial, one residential – and then KNOW YOURSELF. There’s a really big difference in your day to day work life when you work in a 120-person office versus an 8-person office. Figure out where you feel most inspired and focus your job searches on those types of firms. You’ll be happier and more successful.”