How long have you worked at Western Montana Lighting? What’s your job or title today? Have you always had this role at WML?

I purchased WML in 2015. As the owner of WML, I wear multiple hats, as I am sure any small business owner does. I have been lucky to get the right people onboard so I can work more on strategy and designing lighting packages for my clients. My goal was always to fully understand all positions at my company so when we talk as a team about growth and opportunity, I can understand everyone’s perspectives.

How long have you lived in Missoula? What, in your opinion, is the best thing about living in Montana?

I am originally from Helena and moved to Tempe, Arizona for college. In spring of 2010, I moved back to Montana and landed in Missoula. I haven’t looked back since. I love being so close to my parents and sisters. If I had to choose the best part about living in Montana, it would be the seasons and being around my family. We all enjoy hiking in the spring, spending time at our lake house in the summer, football games in the fall, and skiing the slopes in the winter. It isn’t a bad life here in Montana!

What certifications have you earned or expertise have you gained over the years?

Wow! How do I begin to answer this question? I have learned a lot in the past two and a half years. Within the first six months of owning WML, I gained my Lighting Specialist Certification and continue to go to seminars to learn more about how to build a successful, efficient lighting showroom and environment for my staff. I know I still have a long way to go, but I am excited about learning more. It’s what keeps me going.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite aspect of my job is getting to work with clients first-hand in developing a lighting plan for their home. My passion is design and interacting with people. There is something to be said when you create friendships after business transactions. It isn’t always business and some people forget that. There is a human connection there, too, and if you can hone in on that, it can be extremely rewarding for everyone involved.

Tell us a memorable story about working at Western Montana Lighting.

Well, I am a sports girl. I played softball and basketball but had never picked up a golf club until this year. Scott Derenburger, a long-standing employee with WML, said he would coach me. We had a few practice lessons before the MBIA golf tournament. He mentioned that I needed to try to hit a specific golf ball, because it would test how hard I hit the ball. I fell for it. Needless to say, it was actually an exploding golf ball. Joke’s on me! We still laugh about it.

Please share your top lighting tip or secret.

It is more important to have form follow function. People sometimes choose fixtures based off their look, without considering how to light the space effectively. It is important to meet with lighting consultants early on. This way, we can make suggestions with layered lighting that either compliment the idea a customer has or we can create a similar look with more functionality.