The Man. The Myth. The Legend.
What is your position at LK?
Associate VP of Electrical Engineering
Where do you come to us from?
GPW & Associates, in Lawrence, KS. I was born and raised in Lawrence, and lived there most of my life. I went to KU.
I’m sorry. How do you like Wichita?
It’s different. It’s bigger than most places I’ve lived before. I like it. My wife and kids are having a harder time adjusting to a new town.
What was your first job?
I started at Henderson Engineering in KC in 1993, when they were very small. Now they do a lot of the MEP work with our Walmart group.
Tell us about your family.
My wife Alycia and I have been married for 17 years. I have two sons; Gideon, 13, and Isaiah, 11.
Where does the name ‘Trey’ come from?
I’m the third, Richard the III. For most people named Trey, Trey is a nickname.
If you could go back in time and give yourself any piece of advice, at any age, what do you think it would be?
You know, I actually don’t think I would. Not that my life has been perfect, but I really like where I’m at right now. I am one of those people that believes if you said something, it would change everything! It would change the choices you made. And while they haven’t always been good, they’ve put me where I’m at. And I really like where I’m at. So, I think I’d let myself go through the difficult times that I had as a child–they helped form who I am. I wouldn’t change that. I’d let that kid just go through that stuff.
I love to cook. My wife and I cook for a ministry called Grace Adventure at a Salvation Army camp 12 times a year. They have a camp in Independence, Missouri. And I enjoy spending time with my sons.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
The camp that we cook at is our vacation. We go there twelve weekends a year with the boys. It’s a forty acre campground, and it’s beautiful. We love going there–it’s our second home. We spend a lot of time there, and they have a cabin set up for us so we can all four be together in one space.
How do you like LK?
I really like it. Is there a wrong answer? It sucks! No, (laughing) what are you supposed to say? It’s a bigger company than I’m used to being in. I’ve worked in a number of places, and always have worked in smaller firms. So there’s a kind of cultural difference. This is the only place I’ve worked at that had architects and engineers, so that’s a huge cultural difference. I’m an architectural engineer by degree, so I’m used to working with architects, and I’ve always enjoyed working with architects, but I never have worked in the office with them. There are things about it I really like. My passion is lighting design–that’s what I love to do. And here I get pulled into those conversations a lot more often because the architects can use me for free. Before, architects and interior designers tended to do their own thing They don’t want to pay an engineer for their opinion, and I have lots of opinions about lighting design, so that’s fun for me–getting pulled into those conversations simply because I’m here and I’m available. I like it, it’s just different than what I’m used to, so there’s some learning how to work in an architectural environment.
Tell us a little bit more about Lighting Design, your approach, or what you see that’s done wrong a lot.
What I tend to like to do is integrate lighting with architecture. To me that’s when it’s best. I’m not big on bold statements in lighting; I like them to be subtle. But I really think its fun to be creative and innovative. I did a project where the architect wanted me to light a stairwell, and it was a project that had some money, so we could do some interesting things. His initial thought was to pick out a cool “statement” fixture, but I ended up figuring out a way to do strip lighting on these lazy-Susan like hardware pieces in the corners, so it blasted the corner with light, and then bled out, created a cool effect in the stairwell. It was an inexpensive solution, and did a neat thing. I like doing those kinds of things, where you come up with unique or interesting ways to do something that’s not expensive, because I know most clients will VE that in a heartbeat. So, rather than picking a fancy, exciting fixture, I like to come up with interesting ways to use normal light fixtures and do great lighting design. But you tend to have to be involved with the architect to do that because you have to integrate that, typically, to get it to work really well.
I did a project where I worked with an interior designer and she asked me what I wanted to do in the restrooms and I gave her what I think is a great restroom lighting design. She proceeded to tell me that I’m out of touch with lighting design and I think what she picked was stupid (laughs). But in the end she gets to pick the fixtures and I just get my opinion. So I circuited up all her wall sconces in the bathroom. I just think its ridiculous to put wall sconces in public restrooms. They get broken, they’re hard to maintain. There’s a lot better ways to light a restroom and do it beautifully but not make it easy to vandalize. I like to think about not just the pretty things, but all the other aspects; how do you maintain it, how much it costs, is it a wacky lamp that the maintenance guy is never going to carry with him? Those kinds of things come into me; that’s part of being a lighting designer and an engineer. I have that practical side but I also like to do beautiful lighting.
Read any interesting books lately?
I tend to read kind of fantasy-fiction books. I read a lot of what my oldest son reads. He’s a voracious reader so I have to keep up with him. We have read all the Percy Jackson and most of the Harry Potter. I like reading what he’s reading so we can talk about the things that he encounters in the books. I tend to do that more now than I do my own books that I want to read.
What are your favorite films?
We just watched The Help. I haven’t read the book yet, though. Good movie. Definitely makes you think. I love superhero movies a lot. The X-men movies were great. The Thor movie that just came out was really good. I also like action-suspense movies. I like a lot of different kinds of movies, actually. I watched Red recently, with Bruce Willis & Helen Mirren. It was a great movie. Fun, adventure, excitement, all that kind of stuff, that’s why I tend to gravitate towards super hero movies.
So what do you want for your birthday?
This is going to sound so stupid (laughing). I want a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer (laughs). My wife and I are probably the only two people in the world that kitchen gadgets are appropriate gifts for each other. People say “don’t give those things,” but that’s what we want. We love those things. My kids love to cook, too, so we had one Christmas where all four of us exchanged a kitchen gadget, which was the theme: whatever wacky thing from the kitchen that you wanted.