Episode 24: Influencing Company Culture through Interior Design with Billy Hallisky

Who is Billy Hallisky and the key takeaways in this episode?

The challenge of building a great company culture cannot be solved by a single bullet. There is no silver bullet to do that. It’s a consolidated and collaborative effort. So in today’s episode, we’ll see how interior design helps in achieving that innovative company culture.

Our guest is Billy Hallisky, an architect and a project manager for Interior Architects. In this interview, Billy shares with us:

  • A brief intro on who Billy is and what he does
  • His personal experience working with companies in transforming their interior design
  • What’s his idea of an effective office design that compliments company culture
  • How budget plays in the scene when designing for clients
  • Why he thinks culture should not be defined, but should be responded to

The Questions

[4:21] What got you so passionate about designing office spaces and interiors?
Answer: I initially entered the field, like most young architects and designers, because I love to design houses. And I think a little bit of it is in my blood. We have construction experience in my family, so I was sort of always encouraged to do something in that field. Or rather, I knew that I was, I guess, a natural at it. But where I got involved in workplace interiors was starting to just experience the world in the workplaces professionally, seeing a deficit in terms of design, and starting to formulate my own ideas about what those potential solutions might be. And that just sort of coincided with a burning desire to finally get to New York.

[7:55] What would you say you’re most of proud of as it relates to an office design you’ve done in the past 20 years?
Answer: The spaces that I like the most are the ones that actually inform the next job a little bit more. Every architect and a designer will say that not every job gets the coolest idea. Or sometimes, it’s a germ of an idea that starts in one project, but gets fully resolved in the next. It’s just the natural progress of the way designers think. There’s no such thing as a truly unique idea, you know, at least not for me. It’s an ongoing dialogue. But there is a radio station project that I worked on in New York City that I was really particularly fond of, that really turned the notion of what a radio station environment, along with their workplace and all those supporting spaces, can truly be. And I had this idea, I said “Let’s turn it inside out.” Let’s really celebrate what it is you do for a living.

We were not constrained by real estate to do things a certain way. So we were purely arranging spaces around an idea. And so, that particular space was extremely rewarding to do.

[16:06] Billy, how does IA and Billy Hallisky reflect the company culture with your office designs?
Answer: Well, you really have to be given the freedom. I’m going through an exercise right now where the client is listening to what everybody is saying. And the direction to it is opposite of what’s everybody is saying. So step one, you need to listen to what your people are saying. So are you listening to what you’re people are saying? Yes. Do you want to move forward with the way your company is saying “This is how we need to function, and this is how you want to function?” Okay. So hopefully, we’ve changed their mind and said, “Yes, we’re going to go with what everybody wants. And IA, you’re going to design to this new standard.”

Culture According to Billy Hallisky:

We don’t define what is culture or a company’s culture. We respond and we design according to either what the culture is in a company, and/or help our clients identify what their culture is and then we respond to it.

Go To Quote for Inspiration

Book Recommendations:

  • “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt

What Billy Hallisky Wants His Company to BE:

  • BE Thoughtful
  • BE Relevant
  • BE Sincere

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Interview:

Where to Find Billy Hallisky:

Connect with John on

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

John: Billy Hallisky, welcome to BE Culture Radio. Billy, how are you?

Bill: Good morning. I’m wonderful. Thank you for asking. How are you?

John: My friend, it is great to speak with you. For my listeners, Billy is a very dear friend of mine. We’ve known each other for well over ten years. And he’s put up with my lunacy and we know each other well. And I’m so glad that you accepted my invitation and came to talk to our listeners today. But before we start, I know about you, but they don’t. So Billy, can you share with us a story about you and how you got to where you are and where you’re from?

Bill: Well, by luck, I would have to say. A little bit of hard work. No, I’m an architect, an interior designer, presently based in Los Angeles. I initially met John when I was working for a firm in New York City. How I got to where I am—I still think I go back by luck and a lot of hard work, and dedication to the craft—and part of my philosophy and methodology is to surround yourself with the A-team. I learned early in my career that I cannot do it by myself. I don’t want to do it by myself. There is no fun. There is no valor in working 88 hours a day. So part of always having that A-team around me or being a part of an A-team is knowing who those people are. And Mr. Gardner is certainly one of my favorite A-team collaborators.

John: You’re too kind. You have to stop blinding these people.

Bill: I am not too kind. And you know my lunacy. That shifts and you are on a good day.

John: Now, Billy, you’re a very humble guy, but I know some things about you. You’re from Florida.

Bill: Originally, yes. Thank you.

John: And you went to school in Charleston.

Bill: Uh, Savannah.

John: Right.

Bill: Yeah, close enough.

John: And as I like to brag about you, you are a card-carrying member of—come on, Bill.

Bill: I don’t know.

John: Gang, he’s a genius.

Bill: Oh well, stop. But yeah, I thought you were going to say something about being a redneck.

John: No. We’re going to leave that alone, Billy.

Bill: Alright.

John: Now, I’ve got to ask you. What got you so passionate about designing office spaces and interiors?

Bill: Well, I initially entered the field, like most young architects and designers, because I love to design houses. And I think a little bit of it is in my blood. We have construction experience in my family, so I was sort of always encouraged to do something in that field. Or rather, I knew that I was, I guess, a natural at it. But where I got involved in work place interiors was starting to just experience the world in the workplaces professionally, seeing a deficit in terms of design, and starting to formulate my own ideas about what those potential solutions might be. And that just sort of coincided with a burning desire to finally get to New York. And of course, in New York, the majority of projects are either corn-shell outside of the city of New York or corporate interiors in the city of New York. So I think everything just sort of dovetailed together.

I have an accidental, a happy accidental niche, of designing for media and entertainment companies, radio and television in particular. So the majority of those projects are corporate interiors. So some of it is a happy accident, and with others it’s very much by design, as for how I got to that. But I take a lot of happiness from being able to create those environments where we spent a third of our day, probably more than a third of our day depending on who you ask—And where I’m at currently with interior architects in my office in Los Angeles, and being an interior architect it’s so focused on the workplace, so it’s about trying to take it to the next level. It’s just something that’s a lot of joy. And the harder the problem that’s out there, the more interesting I think it is for me and my colleagues to start to solve.

John: The first project I ever met you on, you were creating a design for a media company. And this goes back probably about ten years ago when everyone was still in the cubicle farm environment with the high panels and the overheads. And Billy designed a 120-degree angle. It looks kind of like—if you could imagine what a dog bone looks like—these big sweeping, boomerang work surfaces, no overheads, towers, random aisles. It literally gives them—what was the percentage, Billy, as far as more usage-per-square foot? It’s incredible.

Bill: Yeah, I think at the time, my company sat in a 100—an exclusively 120-degree workstation format, far before the market place ever caught up with it, let alone the regular work environment, mostly because of the collaborative—in response to the collaborative nature of a design firm and the simultaneous need for heads-down, sort of, private work. It was a great solution for us. It was completely custom. And it was a solution that was born out of necessity. When our clients would come into the office they started to see how well it functioned for us, and that we could—depending on the floor plate of the building, of course, because everything is dependent upon the environments—we saw immediately a much higher density.

We could get a much higher density, or more appropriately, the same density for less cost. So we built four walls for a workstation, a traditional 90-degree workstation; we build a third less with the 120-degree. That’s how we sort of approached it. So there were economic savings as well. And the project that you’re referring to, John, the market place, if you recall, also did not have any options for me. And you were able—I think you may have said, “That’s off-color?”  But it was like, “Well, neither do we.” I said, “Go figure it out. Yeah, you could do it.” And you did. You solved the problem in a very matter-of-fact way by making people-

John: I just did what I was told.

Bill: -making people do what I wanted.

John: Just so my listeners know, he wasn’t that nice about it, by the way. I think there were a number of off-color comments from both sides. And I was left by taking a binder, putting in the middle of my chest, and saying, “Figure it out, boy.”

Bill: But you know—and it turned out to be actually a very simple solution. The manufacturing of a clip, not a retooling of the entire factory, as everybody else told me. So sometimes—but then certainly everybody was doing this at the time. It just wasn’t a matter of fact. But the back to the partnership in the A-team, that is how we were able to solve that problem, one where we could yell at each other. But certainly, we’re yelling and we’re working our way through the problem, not at each other.

John: And, I have to say, that it changed the culture of that organization based on your design. It was cool.

Bill: Yeah, and it was an engineering group. And what we could it, say, a tech group or programmers, long before it was ever considered—a full ten years before it was truly considered for that user type to be considered collaborative.

John: Now, everybody does it. So what was-

Bill: And having no idea, because it was such a new—a typology to design for. There were no metrics to support it. We went on instinct. So now, it’s fun to look backwards. But it was undocumented.

John: Yeah, but you’re willing to take a risk. Again, that’s-

Bill: And our clients were willing to take a risk based on our instincts. So that is particularly rewarding.

John: Now, Billy, what would you say is you’re most of proud of as it relates to an office design you’ve done in the past 20 years?

Bill: Well, I haven’t gotten to 20 years yet. Thanks, John, for making me older than I actually am.

John: I knew you were going to go there.

Bill: Well, I like the spaces. The spaces that I like the most are the ones that actually inform the next job a little bit more. Every architect and a designer will say that not every job gets the coolest idea. Or sometimes, it’s a germ of an idea that starts in one project, but gets fully resolved in the next. It’s just the natural progress of the way designers think. There’s no such thing as a truly unique idea, you know, at least not for me. It’s an ongoing dialogue. But there is a radio station project that I worked on in New York City that I was really particularly fond of, that really turned the notion of what a radio station environment, along with their workplace and all those supporting spaces, can truly be. And I had this idea, I said “Let’s turn it inside out.” Let’s really celebrate what it is you do for a living.

We were not constrained by real estate to do things a certain way. So we were purely arranging spaces around an idea. And so, that particular space was extremely rewarding to do. We knew it had the potential to be a game changer just by the way it worked itself on the paper. By the time we were done building it, it became the flagship location for this company. It had a new dynamic for this radio station conglomerate. It spawned new ideas that helped inform how we consume radio and digital online media today. It also came in on time and on budget with exactly one change order and zero architectural change orders. So it’s that type of project that sort of flies under the radar. And you get all of these stuff done and you’re so proud of the job you did. And then, you get a little recognition in the New York Times for a great workplace.

Your team is fully satisfied and maybe eight or nine years later, however, all these projects are now, it is still a workplace that is continuing to evolve. So some of those ideas are focusing on the infrastructure, focusing on things that are less than aesthetic, allowing this company to continue to evolve, grow and change over time. This is like a really, big, great project for me and everyone involved because it’s allowing for that evolution without having to move. So that really is a long-term cost saving for the end user, assuming the business model relatively stays the same and the economics stay the same. So it’s great to see how that facility has changed over time, and that you could go in and renovate a facility seven, eight, nine, ten years later and it still seems fresh. It doesn’t seem old. So that’s a really big one. And I certainly hope that it stays at least a milestone project in my portfolio because I like to remember those successes.

John: Okay. I want to shift gears a little bit. And I want to talk about company culture and office design. And I want to ask your opinion on the definition of company culture and how interior architects have adapted to that.

Bill: To define—we don’t define what is culture or a company’s culture. We respond and we design according to either what the culture is in a company, and/or help our clients identify what their culture is and then we respond to it. Because often times, people don’t have the ability to fully think that through. Maybe it’s not important to them or it’s extremely important to them and they don’t know how to articulate it in a way that defines or translates it into a built environment.

So part of one of IA’s specialties, and quite frankly, the industry leader in work-type strategies, is getting that in-depth deep-dive opportunities with our clients. They seek us out for that. For a lack of a better description, it’s a very in-depth programming process. And that has a wonderful track record of peeling back the layers, really finding out what the company is all about, how they work, the ways in which they want to work, all necessarily without the burden of having to move. It’s usually in preparation of a move or going through downsizing or an expansion. But when afforded the opportunity, and that’s when a client or a potential client decides that that’s important for them to learn about themselves, it’s extremely rewarding for everyone involved because it always helps make the process better.

We’re not always hired to do that. And that’s just architectural designers in particular. But at IA, that moment about culture, really getting in touch with who you are, who you want to be, who you think you are, but you’re really not, is a really important first step or an important step for any company to take. And I’ve never been through a process in my entire career, however you want to call it, however it wants to be defined over time, whatever that catch phrase might be. The kernel is programming and a company that’s willing to actually go through those steps always comes out richer for the experience. So I hope that answered your question.

John: No, it did. It answered my question. So it leads me to the next question. Billy, how does IA and Billy Hallisky reflect the company culture with your office designs?

Bill: Well, you really have to be given the freedom. I’m going through an exercise right now where the client is listening to what everybody is saying. And the direction to it is opposite of what’s everybody is saying. So step one, you need to listen to what your people are saying. So are you listening to what you’re people are saying? Yes. Do you want to move forward with the way your company is saying “This is how we need to function, and this is how you want to function?” Okay. So hopefully, we’ve changed their mind and said, “Yes, we’re going to go with what everybody wants. And IA, you’re going to design to this new standard.”

So usually, a great way to start with that is we reconcile all electronically with a proprietary software program called “Affinity.” And Affinity allows us to start to see planning metrics in real time and we use those metrics to immediately start designing. Those metrics are also linked live to “Revit,” which is our prevalent planning and modeling tool in our industry, as you know. And we take those simple graphics, those simple metrics, and start the design process far sooner than we otherwise would have in the past. So that’s how we start. We really start modeling and start designing using information in a live way. Much like I said, two seconds ago, much sooner in the process. It’s not to gain any time in the schedule, or do thing faster and more cheaply, it’s just to see the results and impacts of how departments grow and change, or when somebody says, “No, we’re not going to be that big.” And then, some of those tools that we use to do that—of course, corporate interiors, is built around furniture. I love furniture. I love to start that process much sooner rather than later.

I don’t think it’s a generic plug-in. John, you could attest—well, I detest, shopping for clothes—It’s not one-size-fits-all, not everybody has the same solution. Everybody responds to a different niche in the market place. At least that’s how I see it. You have to use the right tool for the right job.

John: Absolutely. It’s not a commodity. Even in our previous discussion, it’s not a commodity. It’s a matter of creativity and product application, and understanding what the person who is on the creative side of your partnership is trying to achieve.

Bill: Right.

John: And then, making sure you check your ego at the door and your desires at the door, and follow.

Bill: Without a doubt. You hit the nail on the head. And then, you know, so the goal is to bring workable, viable solutions that are—at least my goal as a designer is you know—I could experiment. You know, that’s a very slippery slope. It has nothing to do with being a progressive designer or a designer who says that it’s not worth taking risks. It’s about being realistic.

Clients have budgets. I have to provide thoughtful design solutions in a manner in which it’s relevant to my client; one that they could afford, one that is in line with the budget and one that is in line with the schedule. I really think that things need to be grounded in reality. So the more building blocks that are real, and you need to have available to you,—earlier in the discussion, we spoke about the 120-degree workstation, or rather the style of a 120-degree workstation, that I envisioned for this space, which was not then available in the market place. And you helped develop that particular piece of furniture on this particular project. I was fortunate to have a client who was on board with it. “Well, if you can make it work, great.”

But what we also didn’t mention was that we had a backup plan if we couldn’t make it work, which was a much more traditional environment. Fortunately, we were able to make it work with a progressive solution for a client that really didn’t fit into any one norm at the time, using, for a lack of a better description—and John, please correct me if I’m wrong—off-the-shelf parts. That’s what made it innovative.

John: Yeah. And now, all those designs and products are off the shelf today.

Bill: Sure.

John: With everybody, so I kind of look back and laugh today. I’m like, “Yeah, someone just needs a lead from a creative side.” And that’s what you did.

Bill: Yeah. And I wish I had started to develop—you know, I have a healthy ego—but I wish I had the ability to have recognized what we were doing then with that particular project, because it was truly innovative. But I think what was interesting about it was that other people tell you what’s innovative, instead of just working through the day. So somebody else tells you it’s a cool space. And this is how it really works.

You know, I don’t think you can define your own successes in this particular space. It was defined for us by other people after the fact, Because after a certain amount of time has passed, you still look back and go, “Oh yeah, wow. I never even thought of that. We really did see that. Nobody else was doing that. That was pretty cool.” And we did it in a very entrepreneurial way. “Let’s just get it done and work our way through it in a very, dot-com methodology.”

John: It was a great experience for me. You know, Billy, I have told people many, many times that you’re wildly creative and successful, and that I have an abundance of respect for you as a professional and a friend. And I’m always interested to talk to you. And for my listeners, so you know, I do keep in touch with Billy. I reach out to him every so often and it’s just, “Hey, dude. What are you doing?” And we kind of laugh. But Billy, you’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of offices, and what is your approach when you walk into what I refer to as a dead culture, the silo work, the cubicle farm? And they say to you, “Alright, here you go. We have a great culture and go ahead.” And you walk out and you go—and you look up and say, “Oh my god.” Well, what do you do?

Bill: Well, I’ll give you an example. A friend of mine works in—well, most of my friends don’t work in New York—but a friend of mine works for an importer/exporter in New York. Their culture in their office—it’s about 150 people. That’s not small, or maybe they’re small. I don’t know what’s small or big anymore. They’re in Midtown Manhattan. They, as a group of people, love each other. They just love each other. They get along so great. I have witnessed them inside those—excuse me—during the work day, outside of work. They have a lot of respect for one another. It’s a well-oiled machine. They are extremely successful at what it is that they do. And I’ve told them 150 million times that “You have the ugliest office I have ever seen in my life.” So coming back to the culture question, I feel bad for them. I said, “You guys deserve a much better place to work in. Could you just ima—why don’t you reward yourself with a new space?” And I say it jokingly, but they’re a perfect example of a company who really is doing it right.

They don’t need it. What about the companies that would truly benefit from a better space and are working in a horrible environment? I know, John, I’ve mentioned this to you. It was a lesson that was imparted to me very early on in my career. It was working—when the transition was going from private offices into workstations. “I can’t work in a workstation because I have no privacy.” And I would say, “Well, you know, the other half of my career is designing radio stations. I hate to tell you this, but everybody could hear you with your door closed.” There is no privacy. It’s perceived privacy. So maybe, it’s about how you work. So you’re still at a workstation with high panels.

Well, guess what, those high panels don’t do anything for you if you’re a loud talker, like I am. It’s all about perception. So when I walk into a firm and they say they have an amazing culture and yet, everyone is sitting where they can’t see one another. Or it’s dingy. Or there are no smiles on anybody’s faces. There’s no little meetings happening. People aren’t talking to one another. I don’t know; I find that “We have a great culture” line to be a load of crap, to get that point. They’re just not seeing or it doesn’t matter to them. I’ve seen call centers with workstations with extremely high panels, and everybody is sad and depressed. And then, I see call centers, let’s say as an example, with a vibrant workplace, that could be a dot-com, that could be anything; an amazing company, low panels; an amazing design solution for them. People are smiling and they say, “Oh, we’re so happy to work here. This is great.”

I ask those two different companies the same question, “What’s your turnover rate?” The company in a crappy environment typically has a very high burn, or churn or turnover rate, whatever they want to say. The company with a higher, or rather with a new, more modern, more employee-focused, generationally focused workplace, has a much lower turnover rate, and far more retention. And that in itself is my answer. The better work environment always is up. It’s always better. And it’s absolutely always better. To back up what I said about this importer in Midtown,  If you gave them the wrong workplace, it doesn’t do anything to help the retention. So if it’s old and crappy, and it works for you, and everybody’s happy, and you have got people that are going to work there their entire career, and everybody’s happy then, well, I’m not going to change anything. That’s not the solution I would give you. But my opinion doesn’t matter. It’s about your culture. So the call center examples—well, they’re the two examples. This proves that a better work environment is better for your company. You just have to have the right management to take that lead. And it’s not hard to do.

John: Billy, I’ve got to ask you. Of the companies you visited, what’s your favorite? You’ve worked, you’ve seen—what’s your favorite culture? What’s your favorite office design? Is it one where it’s merged together and you’ve seen it? You may have not worked on it, but you may have seen and said, “Wow, I wish I did that. I wish I was part of that.”

Billy: Well, back in history, if I can go back, I went to college. The college that I went to is Savannah College of Art and Design. At least in the era that I went, it was not very big on namedropping. So it was never about the designer. It was about the movement or the facility or the space. It wasn’t so much about the architect or the designer, or the artist who created the work. And I’m paraphrasing. And that was just always my interpretation. So for a lot of projects, I don’t know who the designer is. So if anybody hears me, please fill me in. I’m just starting to remember. But I love Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo environment in Chicago. And when we’re done with this interview, I’m going to go look that up. So after that was built, and I want to think it’s definitely more than ten years ago, but it was absolutely, I felt, amazing. I said, “I wanted to work there.” I thought the work environment really matched the culture, using modern terminology. Today, I am seeing a lot of facilities that have zero seat assignments, but are providing a tremendous amount of flexibility for unassigned workplaces, where I can sign up to go sit by the window seat today. It’s being a mobile worker, embracing the mobility of our work environment, our wireless environment. There are tons of examples right now of work places that are coming on line, that were providing the seats and a variety of seats that are just not assigned. You have to schedule them. And I find that extremely exciting. And I’d love to give you a handful of examples. They’re just everywhere right now.

So I’m particularly thrilled to see how they’re going to start working for people. Because as designers, we’ve been talking about this for a long time. And they’re just now starting to come online. Well, I think this one—well, it’s an IA space, so I could promote that—it’s for Mercedes-Benz. It’s a research and development facility in California. It’s truly an innovative space in terms of this thinking that went behind it, the responsiveness to the end users, and it just underscores the commitment from MB USA in their faith and their belief in trying something new that really responds to the end user’s wants and needs.

John: Thanks. Now, Billy, I’m going to take you to the lightning round now, okay?

Bill: Yup.

John: Here we go.

Bill: Alright.

John: Is there a book that changed your life?

Bill: Yes.

John: I almost dreaded the answer, by the way. Just so my listeners know, I’m buckled in. Okay. Go, Bill.

Bill: There are a couple. I just have to ask the question: is this design-related or just it doesn’t matter?

John: This is Billy Hallisky-related.

Bill: “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt

John: Okay. I like that.

Bill: Fantastic. Just a good read.

John: Now, what quote do you go to for inspiration?

Bill: Well, it’s more like, there’s one that I enjoy. And they’re mostly southern colloquial, you know. My favorite is always on a T-shirt, “You can’t fix stupid.” I love that. You know, I think about that a lot. I internalize it. That is just something that I say to myself all the time just to not blow a gasket. But there are so many. John, you caught me off guard with that. I wish I were more prepared.

John: No, that’s okay. This is half the fun.

Bill: I’ll go with “#anything”.

John: Okay. I like it. Now, what company outside of IA do you admire the most as it relates to culture, and why?

Bill: You know, it’s a two-parter. I come from a General Electric family. A lot of members of my family worked for GE in different business units. Jack Welch and his leadership of General Electric—my father worked for GE, I would say definitely more on the facilities end of things, let’s say, in a General Electric factory. His experience was far different from my sister’s, as a finance person and an attorney working for General Electric in a research and development business unit. That was under his leadership and the creation of teams was phenomenal and I have a tremendous amount of respect for that company in those categories.

I really—I am a team sort of guy. So maybe it’s the way I’m hardwired or how I was exposed to it my entire life, but today, I really admire dot-com. Take the Velcro walls and the ping-pong tables, and the sleeping pods, and all that stuff out of it. Google, I really have a lot of admiration for it. I kind of like the way they do things, maybe on a very—a much smaller scale. Maybe that’s how I would do it. I like the immediacy of change. Because eventually, all these people who I’m hiring now, they’re the ones who are going to vote me off the island at some point in my career. My goal is to hang around as long as possible. So I have no benefit in keeping people locked up in an office. There’s nothing good about that.

John: As I like to say, I surround myself with a lot of millennials so I can stay relevant.

Bill: There you go.

John: Billy, what’s your favorite design?

Bill: I’m still going to go back—it’s not an office design, it’s an entire facility. One of mine or somebody else’s? John, that’s a leading question.

John: Well, it is you.

Bill: No, I would have to say, I don’t have to be that arrogant.

John: And you’re not.

Bill: No. Yeah, I am. We’ll keep it flexible. Right now, there’s a huge amount of things, like I said earlier, that are just coming on the market. I probably have a dozen favorite spaces. But I do go back to that Harpo Studios facility.

I really encourage people to go back and look at it. Not that it’s 100% an aesthetically relevant project today, because it’s had its moment in time like most places do. But there was something very organic about its planning. And there’s a lot of great lessons that we can take from just reading the past reviews and the past opinions of that space, and how they figured out how to solve those problems for that work type. There are lessons and methodologies that could translate still to this day. And I think, really, what it came down to was good planning, good research. Good planning, research, research, research.

John: Okay, here we go for the big finish, Billy. Now, and you’re on BE Culture Radio, so you have to answer the question starting with “BE.” If  you had to describe the culture of your company, IA, in three words. What would it be?

Bill: My answers have to be—to start with “BE”, John?

John: BE fun? BE inspired?

Bill: Okay. Let’s see. I wanna be thoughtful. I don’t want to be tetchy. Be relevant.

John: Okay, be relevant. I like that.

Bill: We have to be sincere and be thoughtful with our design solutions. And then, I’m going to say it’s a little bit off-topic, but be friends. It is really-

John: I don’t think that’s off-topic.

Bill: I think there is something about the camaraderie of this process. We spend a tremendous amount of time together. We really don’t have to be adversarial. You could be friends and work your way through it.

John: And for those of you who know Billy Hallisky, you just can’t believe he said that. Hey Billy, I can’t thank you enough for spending time with us. At this point in our show, I’d like to pause for a moment and have our listeners have the ability to connect directly with you. So this is your time for your unadulterated Billy Hallisky IA commercial. So how do they connect with you? Tell them what your role is at IA. And how would someone reach you if they wanted your help?

Bill: Well, I would encourage anybody to first check out our website: interiorarchitects.com. We have 17 offices around the country, 80 for partners globally. We’re a small firm with a large footprint. I think that you’ll see by the website that we’re able to demonstrate that we can really thoughtfully work with a vast array of clients and really provide them with design solutions that could fully impact the way in which they do business. And you could reach out and contact me however you see fit. You could Google me. I’m very easy to reach. John, I’m not going to start giving out e-mail addresses and tell-

John: No, go give your e-mail address. Go ahead. Do it. No, do it. Come on.

Bill: b.hallisky—“H-A-L-L-I-S-K-Y”—@interiorarchitects.com. And you could reach out to me. And I could have a discussion with anybody about anything at anytime: music, cars, design, you name it.

John: And your role at IA. Go ahead, tell them your role at IA.

Bill: I’m an architect and I’m a project manager here in the Los Angeles office. But we work interchangeably with our other offices nationally. So that’s a true, wonderful benefit about this company. We live in a virtual world, and so I could be located in Los Angeles, but I also could work with you in New York, or Dallas, or Denver, or Seattle, or wherever we might be, or more importantly, wherever you might be.

John: And I would tell my listeners. I have known him for over ten years. He is the most creative, wonderful, grounded, normal person you will ever meet in your life. And I’m just happy to call him my friend. And Billy, every time I close this show, I never close this show without sharing with my guest my favorite quote from Maya Angelou which is, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And I just want to thank you for making me feel like you’re a friend from the day I met you. You’re a great guy. I wish you the very best. And I hope in six months you’ll come back and visit us again and share with us some more stories.

Bill: Well, John, I will be developing more stories by the end of the day. You know, you can call me at any time. And John, it’s mutual. You know it. You’re the bomb. You set the bar very high. You know, the day we met, I said, “No BS, John.” And you have given me nothing but a hard time ever since then. And I could appreciate it a lot. You’re a great dad. You’re a great business leader. And well, the feelings are mutual.

John: You’re very humble. Thank you.

Bill: You’ve been there for me when nobody gave a crap. So you know, that goes a long way in my book.

John: You’re a good man, Hallisky. I wish you the very, very best. And I wish you to BE well and BE amazing my friend.

Bill: Thanks, man. You have a good day and goodbye, everybody. Thanks for listening to me ramble on, I guess.

John: Thanks, Billy. Talk to you soon.

Bill: Bye-bye.