Up Close and Personal With My Director of Design, Marie Wagner

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Today, I am interviewing my amazing design director, the talented Marie Wagner. Marie is a very creative, kind and passionate member of the Preston Bailey team I am pleased to allow all of you the opportunity to get to know more about her today. As always, please feel free to ask her any questions and share your comments below.

Tell us a little more about your role at PBD.

MW: I work directly with you to come up with concepts for events. Then the design team and I research, produce renderings, provide floor plans and scale drawings. These items are used to show the clients what their events will look like. They are also used to explain what needs to be constructed to fabricators.


How does working long hours affect your home life? Does it impact your partner, spouse, children?

MW: I’m a designer to the core. I never stop thinking about work, and it has always been this way. If I haven’t solved a problem, I’ll be thinking about it until I do. I’ve had dreams about centerpieces and cakes.  With regard to the actual hours put in at the office or at an event, my role tends to be a bit more regularly scheduled. I’m not typically on site in the way Kathy, Nadine, Kelly and Sam are, though I have done some whirlwind site visits.  Also, I studied theater and came up through film and television. Last summer I Art Directed a pilot for HBO and I was at the office 12 and 14 hour days for two months straight. I’m no stranger to long hours.


Is there a time you considered quitting PB designs?  Why?

MW: Well, I just took over the department, so not yet!  It was a big change for me to take a full time job after 10 years as a freelance Art Director for Film and TV, but its been a great chapter so far.


If you had to change one (or many things about me) what would they be?

MW: Sometimes you sneak out the door when I have something to talk to you about! I wish we had a better system or schedule for sharing information about projects. Maybe I’ll just start barging in the door to your office.


What is the biggest misconception you feel people have about working in this business/at this company?

MW: I think people think that it’s all fun and games, and that our clients don’t care about budgets. It can be really fun, but there’s also a lot of pressure to conceive things that have never been seem before and to  make them happen within a budget.


I have always said we are like a family, and with that comes some high emotional moments.  What do you feel about our company structure (or lack thereof at times)?

MW: I love meetings, but ours can be a little disorganized and long.  Its also difficult to make design decisions, or manage a project with people being away on jobs, in other time zones. We have weekly (sometimes daily!) meetings when we’re all in the office, but we don’t maintain that while people are away. That being said, everyone here really cares and is passionate about the work, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.


Do you feel that you are being paid a fair salary or do you feel you deserve more?

MW: What I’m being paid is fair, and I fought hard for it!


If I were to give you a raise, how much would you ask for?

 MW: At this point, I wouldn’t ask for a raise. What is more important to me is you supporting me as an artist and an individual as I support you.

Thank you so much, Marie.



(Photo by John Labbe)

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