12:29 PM - That's what time we finished the presentation for the Radical Innovation Competition due to some technical errors.
12:30 PM - When we walked on stage to give the presentation!
It's amazing what you can do when you are under pressure. Our team had little time to rehearse together, but we knew the project. After a little coaching, we knew we just had to get up there and show the audience how passionate we were about this concept and how it could impact the hospitality industry.
Our 10 minutes flew by, and I was back in my seat watching the other two finalists present their ideas. Both presentations were really great and the speakers were quite charismatic. When it came time for the final vote, I don't think anyone knew how it would turn out.
"This year's runner-up...Aircruise" (clapping, clapping)
"And this year's winner of the Radical Innovation in Hospitality Award...Mosaic by WATG" (loud girlish screams from the back and lots of clapping)
It took a minute for it to set in, and when it finally did they were placing a very large $10,000 check in our hands (no complaints there). All of our colleagues who were there were just as proud as we were to finally be bringing home the win after four years of being a finalist. The judges told us later that every year WATG has had amazing submissions and this year we finally hit it out of the park.
The team was Jerod Costner, Karen Mitri and me. Larry Rocha, Raj Chandnani, Robert Payan, and Mike Seyle (who built a model out of straws) acted as our advisors through the process. We also have to thank the WATG Irvine team for sharing their creative minds with us in our brainstorming sessions. This really was an office-wide effort and we couldn't have won it without them.
Jerod Costner, Karen Mitri and Krystal Solorzano being interviewed in WATG's Sustainable Suite after their big Radical Innovation win.
Last night, WATG was honored at HD Expo at the Venetian in Las Vegas for 65 years of service. We are now part of Hospitality Design's prestigious Platinum Circle. Here are the remarks I gave after receiving the honor on behalf of the firm.
I am very honored to accept this award on behalf of all the talented designers and employees of WATG.
First, I would like to thank Hospitality Design for hosting this incredible annual conference and this Gala. HD is major force in the industry and, in addition to fostering an amazing community, this conference teaches us the value of creating and innovating year-round.
So what is the secret to a design firm that prospers for 65 years?
Well, as you can tell from our video, WATG has not only been around a long time, we've also been all around the world. We believe if you want to work in one place, you generalize; if you want to work everywhere, you have to specialize. WATG made a choice early on to specialize in hospitality design. That choice to become hospitality specialists went against the prevailing wisdom of doing everything possible to avoid being narrowly defined.
But since our beginnings in Honolulu in 1945, our designers have traversed the globe creating some of the world's most uplifting destinations. Our designers do so much more than just create, they are inspired and innovative storytellers. We have a rich history of creating destinations that guests can experience with all their senses and that deliver on the dreams of their owners.
And we are not yet satisfied. We remain focused on the future; on what hospitality can be beyond a hotel or a resort; on enriching the guest experience, wherever that guest may travel, explore or enjoy.
We are very pleased that this year WATG, in conjunction with IDEO, won the first annual Sustainable Suite Design competition sponsored by HD and the US Green Building Council. And we are very proud that for the last four years, WATG has been a finalist in HD's Radical Innovation in Hospitality competition, the award that promotes innovation and global thought-leadership in hospitality. And this afternoon, we took first place in that competition.
I would like to recognize a couple of people here tonight who have helped make WATG successful for many years. First, I would like to thank Howard Wolff, our Director of Marketing. Howard has helped make WATG known in almost every corner of the world.
I would also like to recognize Rhonda Rasmussen, our Director of Interior Design, for her tireless work on behalf of our firm and our clients. Her vision is unrivaled, her skill unmatched, and her travel schedule leaves us all speechless.
WATG realized early on that we needed to be two things to do work around the world: nimble enough to go where the action is, and humble enough to listen once we got there.
Today, we look forward to continuing the adventure with all of you, and to continuing to listen.
Thank you again for recognizing our firm's achievements.
Raj Chandnani, Director of Strategy, and Rhonda Rasmussen, Vice President and Director of Interior Design, on the Green Day panel.
Photo by Robin Clewley
The awards includes excellence in quality construction and design of new and remodeled, residential, kitchen & bath, commercial, landscape, public works, and historical projects.
St. Regis Princeville won the Overall Grand Award for Commercial Renovation
Marriot Ko Olina Beach Club won the Overall Grand Award for New Commercial
Kahala Hotel & Resort won the Grand Award for Commercial Renovation under 5,000 square feet
Congratulations, WATG Interiors!
Building Industry Association of Hawaii Renaissance Awards Plaques
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