Our advocacy board represents committed alumni in practice, established and emerging leaders in the profession and industry who as a collective, support interior design students, education and research. We are committed to becoming even more active with the allied disciplines across DCP.
Principal, Sarah Cain Design
Sarah Cain is a Licensed Interior Designer in the State of Florida and is currently the practicing Principal of Sarah Cain Design, a full-service boutique interior design firm based in Gainesville, Florida. Her firm specializes in both mid to high end residential and small commercial, retail and hospitality projects. Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University and received her Master in Interior Design degree from the nationally acclaimed Interior Design program at the University of Florida. As part of her graduate program, Sarah studied design at the Vicenza Institute of Architecture located in Vicenza, Italy. She is a former Adjunct Professor in the Interior Design Department at the University of Florida. Sarah also serves as the Immediate Past President for the American Society of Interior Designers, Florida North Chapter and serves as a site visitor for the Council on Interior Design Accreditation
Jose Cardenas, IIDA, ASID
Principal Interior Designer, HOTA Design Studio
Jose Cardenas received his Bachelor of Design Degree in Interior Design from the College of Architecture, University of Florida in 2002. Upon completing his studies, Jose began work at Rink Reynolds Diamond Fisher Wilson, a multidisciplinary Architectural firm located in Jacksonville, Florida.
Provided with opportunities to design for a variety of project types, Jose was able to experience projects ranging from tenant improvement to educational facilities including the University of North Florida Student Union, which was voted the number 1 Higher Education building built in 100 years by AIA Florida Chapter. Currently, he is a co-founder and co-owner of Hota Design Studio.llc in Jacksonville, Florida. He and business partner John Perez (BD 1999) established the Studio in February of 2010, providing design services for a variety of project types ranging from commercial tenant improvement to restaurant design.
Principal, catlindesign Juli received her Bachelor of Design degree from the University of Florida, College of Architecture and is NCIDQ Certified. As Principal of Catlin Design, Inc., she has won numerous awards. She was honored with the Alumni of Distinction Award from the University of Florida, College of Design, Construction, and Planning in 1999 and is current chair of their Advisory Board. Catlin was honored with the Bud Merle Foundation Award in 2000 and the Warren G. Arnett Achievement Award in 2004. These awards recognize leadership and Design Excellence in the State of Florida.She has been an active member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) since the start of her career and was chosen to be a Fellow Member. Catlin served as National President of ASID, representing over 38,000 Interior Designers around the nation. She is also an active public speaker on Interior Design issues around the nation. Catlin is the inaugural chairman of the ASID Foundation, Inc. and helped formed the ASID Foundation Board. The ASID Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to (among other activities) enhancing the field of interior design by funding innovative and imaginative research and education initiatives, providing scholarships, fellowships and other financial assistance to deserving students, and making grants to colleges and universities maintaining a regular course of study in the field of interior design. Catlin Design has guided many clients through the design process in both commercial and residential design, with projects throughout the United States as well as abroad. The firm has been voted #1 Design Firm in Jacksonville Magazine and the Jacksonville Business Journal. The firm has also been published in Interior Design Magazine, Southern Living, and Florida Design as well as being featured on the HGTV Channel.
Director, Research and Knowledge Management, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
Susan Chung, Ph.D., currently works at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) as the senior research associate, where she focuses on research that demonstrates the impact of design. She connects design with research to improve human experiences in the interior environment, translates research into applicable design implications, and conducts research projects that create meaningful positive impacts. She comes from an interior design background, holding a B.A. from Michigan State University, a M.I.D. from the University of Florida, and has integrated interior design with behavioral research for her doctorate degree in Human Behavior and Design at Cornell University, with a focus on design attributes related to creativity in workplace environments. She has been a visiting scholar at Cornell for the past three summers, teaching an interdisciplinary course introducing how design is in all our surroundings and empowering students on how they can use design to make a difference in our world. She has published in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Interior Design and Health Environments Research and Design Journal, periodically writes for the ASID ICON Blog, has presented at various design and research conferences, and has served on review committees for various awards.
Pam Driza, NCIDQ, LEED AP
Regional Applications Consultant, Steelcase Inc.
Dr. Pamela Driza is a Sr. Consultant on the Sales Learning & Development team at Steelcase; the world’s largest manufacturer of workplace solutions for corporate, education, healthcare, and retail industries. As a part of the L&D team, she is responsible for developing the point of view on learning for new and seasoned Sales talent. Dr. Driza has a research background focused on fostering behaviors within the built environment and is a PROSCI certified change agent. She leverages her knowledge of research methodologies and experiences with clients within various markets to design relevant resources and experiential learning opportunities.
Cat Lindsay, NCIDQ
Principal, Lindsay Newman Architecture and Design Cat Lindsay is a Principal of Lindsay Newman Architecture and Design. Ms. Lindsay received her Bachelor of Design degree from the University of Florida in 1986. She enrolled in post-graduate courses at New York University. She began her professional career over fifteen years ago in Corporate Interior Design and spent the first eleven years at Skidmore Owings & Merrill. She gained tremendous experience as an Associate. She then joined Gensler and served as Design Director where she mastered the business side of interior design. After refining her expertise at Gensler, she decided to join her husband John Newman to form Lindsay Newman Architecture and Design in 2002. Lindsay and Newman combine their talents and experience to lead projects from conceptual development through all phases of the design and construction process. Together, they designed the Eagle Hill Classroom Building in Greenwich, CT, the residence of NHL Hall of Fame star Pat LaFontaine, a private art gallery in New York City, as well as corporate offices for JLL Partners. The dynamic team designed the clubhouse of limited duration and permanent Snack Shop at the exclusive Liberty National Golf Course in New Jersey in 2006. They led their team to design and build Liberty National’s permanent clubhouse which opened in November 2008. The current projects include thirty six villas on the waterfront as well as a three story sales office building adjacent the clubhouse. The sales office building now serves as the guest house for the club. As one of the principals of Lindsay Newman Architecture and Design, Cat produces successful projects that meet her client’s needs and withstand the test of time. She is recognized for her use of rich colors that are inspired by the site and surrounding environment. She is well known for capturing the unique identity of each client and portraying it through her designs.
John Perez, IIDA
Principal Interior Designer, HOTA Design Studio
John Perez received his Bachelor of Design degree in Interior Design from the University of Florida John Perez received his Bachelor of Design degree in Interior Design from the University of Florida College of Architecture in 1999. After graduation, he was employed at a small design firm, where he had the opportunity to design various projects. Working at a small design firm offered him the opportunity to work hands on with his clients, contractors, engineers, and architects early in his career. He relocated to Jacksonville, Florida in 2004, where he was employed at Rink Design Partnership Inc., a mid-sized, multidisciplinary architectural firm. In 2010, he started Hota Design Studio. LLC, a small, boutique firm specializing in commercial and corporate design. Hota Design Studio. LLC has completed projects in Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Massachusetts, and Florida. Notable projects include Zeds Restaurant in Austin, TX, and the HMX-1 presidential helicopter maintenance hangar at Quantico, VA. John’s continued commitment to the design community involves mentoring and guiding students seeking education in the field of design. He is actively involved with the IIDA, and is currently the IIDA North Florida Chapter VP of Student Affairs. He is state licensed in Florida and Georgia, and is also a member of the UF Alumni Association. He is an NCIDQ certificate holder, and volunteers his time at interior design departments at colleges and universities throughout Florida and Georgia.
Smita Sahoo, NCIDQ, LEED AP, IIDA
Founder and Creative Director, Asaya Design
A graduate of the University of Florida’s Masters program and with a uniquely creative voice in the design profession, informed by a diverse background in architecture, interior design and environmental psychology, Smita thrives on designing spaces that strengthen our emotional connections to the places we live, work, and interact. Smita’s design methodology starts with a compelling design concept, a story narration for the users and their goals in mind. Smita’s signature creations present a considerate blend of design innovations of the west and the rich culture and timeless elements of the east. With over 16 years of design experience, Smita has a diverse project range from King Abdullah Specialist Children Hospital (1 million sq. ft.) in Saudi Arabia to a Chicago Café Corner (600 sq. ft.). On July 4, 2020, Smita decided to launch her own design business.
Phyllis Taylor, ASID, LEED AP
Taylor & Taylor
Phyllis Taylor is a born designer who native language encompasses color, furniture, fabric and texture. After a few semesters of majoring in Criminal Psychology, Phyllis was unable to deny her true calling and transferred to the University of Florida, School of Architecture and Design. Upon graduation, she gained invaluable experience working at some of South Florida’s premier firms, personally designing a wide range of commercial and residential projects. Phyllis designed the Terminal F Lounge and U.S. Customs Offices at Miami International Airport, as well as other residential, retail and hospitality projects.
In 1983 Phyllis and her husband, William C. Taylor, melded their experience and talent to establish the Taylor & Taylor Partnership Inc. For over 30 years, Taylor & Taylor has produced award-winning and widely published bodies of work, focusing on very high-end, bespoke architecture and interiors thought Florida, the Eastern Seaboard and the Caribbean. Their first book, Classic Florida Style, the House of Taylor & Taylor, released in 2014, features stunning photography of ten recent projects that perfectly illustrate the firm’s signature aesthetic: tropical, such, and yet, refined.