My EDPA “University Affiliations Program” Experience (Part One)
by Kevin Carty, VP, Classic Exhibits Inc.

 Kevin Carty VP, Classic Exhibits Inc.

Kevin Carty
VP, Classic Exhibits Inc.

Let me begin by saying that in my 10 plus years on the EDPA Board of Directors, we certainly have NOT been active in the university affiliations program every year…but when we have, it has been nothing short of impactful.

Back in the Spring of 2008 I attended my first FIT Graduate “Capstone” program in NYC. There I was able to meet some amazing young talent, all of which were eager to share their portfolios and design philosophies. The day left me feeling genuinely inspired by the possibilities that the EDPA and FIT had in front of them with this budding partnership.

I also met a young designer there from South Korea name Bomun. We connected during her presentation of her portfolio and we continued the conversation throughout the remainder of the day. By the time I was set to depart, we had agreed to speak more in the following week.

My company decided to offer her a Summer Internship which she accepted. Bomun travelled West to spend almost 4 months with us at Classic Exhibits. For her it was the first time working for an Exhibit Building…and for Classic it was the first time with a Summer Intern.

The experience was nothing short of amazing to be honest. Bomun brought to Classic a totally fresh perspective on Design. Not all that was applicable to be fair…but definitely created a different line of thinking that we were able to grown upon for the years to follow.

For Bomun, this offered her a real world exhibit house experience. I will never forget the look on her face the first time she got her own project to design from start to finish…She did great in the design call, took good notes and asked great questions. But it was the moment that she heard the deadline that caused her eyes to pop J 3 Days to come up with 20 x 30 concepts from the ground up!?!? I looked at her and said “Welcome to the Exhibit Industry” J

Fast forward a few years, already having had a great experience with FIT, I was interviewing candidates for a new Design Position when I received a resume from Katina Rigall. In her resume I noticed that she was a graduate of the FIT program. And she had parlayed that into some great work for another Exhibit House on the East Coast for quite a while already. We interviewed her and found exactly what we were looking for in a new designer. Professionalism, organized and full of fresh creativity. Not to mention a clear sense of gratitude for all she had learned from her time at FIT some years priors.

Katina is now our Creative Director. She is a multiple award-winning designer in the industry and someone I am truly proud to say is the a leader in the Design world of Exhibit Manufacturing. Not just thru her creative work either. Katina has attended multiple FIT Capstone Events as an advisor and she has taken a large role in the Women in Exhibitions events during ExhibitorLIVE every year.