Faces of ECI: Meet Maria Villamar

We believe creativity doesn’t reside in one department; it permeates everything we do. Faces of ECI highlights the talent behind memorable, magical experiential environments.

In this installment, we’re featuring Maria Villamar, a Senior Exhibit Designer behind memorable, captivating client experiences.

1. What year did you start working for ECI?

2. What role do you play for ECI?
I am a Senior Exhibit Designer. I obtain information from our clients such as purpose for exhibiting at the show, overall booth objectives, functional requirements, and I work to understand what type of experience and outcome they’d like to have for their target audience. I then provide a 3-dimensional solution through high-res renderings.

3. Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in a lot of things. I get inspiration from architectural websites, nature, museums, Pinterest, and I love looking at international exhibits because it’s very different from architecture you’d find in the U.S.

4. What is your favorite project?
I feel fortunate to be a part of a museum design we are working on, currently. It’s a great opportunity because it’s my first time designing this type of environment. It’s challenging because it requires a great understanding in what the client is looking for and it’s important that the space is not just about pretty aesthetics, it’s about bringing the story to life and getting a reaction from the visitors. I am so excited about this new opportunity.

5. Your most proud moment with ECI?
I think being a part of the team. I love the fact that I feel valued as a person and that my skills are valued. The people are really kind, friendly, and everyone is so passionate about design and open to new ideas. I love that and I’m so proud that I am a part of it.

6. What is your absolute dream job?
I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. It’s funny and ironic because as much as I’m fascinated by corrals and sting rays, I can’t swim. I admire from afar.

7. What are your secret (or not-so-secret) talents outside of the office?
I wouldn’t call it a talent but… I plan to become an expert macaron baker. My fiancé took me to a macaron baking class once and it’s an activity I really enjoyed. I don’t really have a favorite macaron, because I love them all! But, I do have a thing for the green tea flavor…

8. Tell us about a time you witnessed an ECI team member go above and beyond.
During the ECI Design Summit, we were heading to the escape room, Breakout Games Dayton, to meet the rest of the team for a team building activity. Theresa [Lundberg} and I were travelling together and Tony [Accroco] was following us. The car started to stall and eventually, it did die. He pulled over and stayed with us until Lynn [Brown, Office Resource Director] could come help us. We were there for about an hour and another employee saw us while passing by and stopped to make sure we were okay. No one had to do that, but it was super awesome that they did and I was so appreciative and humbled. As a female, to be stranded, it’s scary and they made us feel safe. I won’t forget those kind gestures.

9. What is one WOW moment you’ve experience at ECI that you’ll never forget?
Also at the Design Summit, we were able to go to Other World. I’ve never been to an immersive environment like that. It was like Disneyland for adults and included a lot of sensory elements. It was a truly unique and a memorable experience.

10. What’s your spirit animal and why?
I relate to the elephant because they’re so compassionate and family oriented. I see myself in them because I’m also family oriented and compassionate; I always put others first.

11. What food can you not live without?
Japanese foods. I need to get my sushi fix at least a couple times a month. And ramen!

12. What is your greatest fear?
Taking tests!

13. Most used emoji?
The smiley face. As boring as that may be, you will always see me with a smile on my face and I always try to see the positive in things.

14. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
Teleportation! I would love to travel around the world. It would be cool to be able to snap my fingers and explore other countries whenever I want. How awesome is that!


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