Designing a New Career
Interior designer seizes an opportunity during a difficult time
Ben VerGiesen didn’t have a traditional interior design degree when he started B. Lewis Design in 2017. But he did have a plan.
“Part of my business plan was to invest in design classes part-time while I was starting my interior design business and by the time I graduated, I would have the industry standard as far as continuing education goes,” Ben explains. “But business took off quickly and any continuing education aspirations were put on pause.”
That is, until Fall 2020.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many design projects stalled and Ben needed to be home with his two children while they attended classes virtually. Ben decided to take advantage of the challenging times and enrolled in interior design classes at FVTC. After four semesters and two summers of juggling home, work and school demands, Ben graduated with honors in May 2022 with dual associate degrees: one in Interior Design and one in Kitchen and Bath Design.
“I came to the program with a different perspective because I was already practicing in the industry, but I still wanted to gain more knowledge,” Ben says. “The Kitchen and Bath Design program, in particular, helped me understand new things, such as the importance of having the knowledge and skills to tackle highly detailed and multi-layered building plans, along with the requirements to manage demanding multi-faceted design projects.”
While B. Lewis Design specializes in residential and commercial design, in 2021, Ben co-founded the Lewis Rose Design studio with FVTC Interior Design graduate Dana Enderby. Their partnership includes a designer collaborative studio and retail space to work with clients on synergetic design projects. He knows his time at Fox Valley Tech, as challenging as it was, has challenged him to develop into an even more accomplished professional interior designer.
“The program is a solid foundation for anyone interested in interior design,” Ben says. “And I know there isn’t another college in the area offering this program which gives the programs at FVTC even more distinction in the system.”
Where to find B. Lewis Design:
Instagram: @b.lewisdesign @lewisrosedesign
FVTC is the only area technical college to offer associate degrees in Interior Design and Interior Design – Kitchen and Bath Design,
plus certificates in Interior Design Entrepreneurship and Kitchen and Bath Design.
These programs have a 92% graduate employment rate in careers such as visual merchandiser, design consultant, interior designer and sales associate.