An Interview with an Expert Designer

This is the first of a series, featuring our most recent licensed employees.  

PDR: What is your favorite project you’ve worked on so far and why?

Ottmann: I’d have to say my favorite project so far would be the ExxonMobil Campus.  I started this right after graduating from the University of Texas, and it was a once in a lifetime experience. The scale of the project was almost unthinkable. It made me think in terms of how a single decision could affect thousands of outcomes. One of my favorite things about the campus was the idea behind the large coffee areas that served as the Town Centers in each of the office buildings.  They weren’t on every floor, instead they were strategically planned to encourage vertical circulation and promote collisions with colleagues in an effort to challenge, and promote a learning experience.

PDR: What workplace design trends are you in to right now?

Ottmann: I’m very interested in all of the attention being given to the vastly different physical and emotional needs of introverts and extroverts. No longer is it just a conversation about focus and collaboration, insinuating that there is a single work personality working within the focus/collaboration spectrum. In her recent book, Quiet, by Susan Cain, she brings to light the many needs of introverts that can be supported through the design of physical space, ultimately empowering and providing a positive platform for maximum productivity for all. While Susan Cain provides valuable insight into introverts’ needs, we may need an extrovert ambassador to understand the science of the emotional needs of extroverts. After all, design isn’t just about space.  It’s about the people in the space. When we understand the complex needs of people in a workplace, the space will be designed to empower. 

PDR: What do you love about working here? 

Ottmann: There are so many things I could list, among them are the fresh, bright aesthetic, our happy PDR yellow, and abundance of natural light which makes for a great space to work in. However, the real answer is the people, the culture and most importantly, our purpose. I love that PDR’s purpose reaches beyond creating great workplaces. We start on the inside; and with a thorough understanding of the people and the business needs we create design solutions that empower people to do their best work. To us, it’s not just about designing a pretty space, it’s about providing a business with the tool of a well-designed workplace that empowers people to do their best work.

Long before I joined the PDR team, and before our current space was designed, PDR already had a great culture. This culture informed the design of our current office, which now elevates and encourages a deepening of our culture. It is a place where new ideas are encouraged, knowledge is easy to share, and colleagues are easy to learn from. Our leadership is accessible and more than willing to teach and mentor. It is a place where there are few boundaries, both physical and perceived, allowing a sense of belonging and promoting our “one PDR” philosophy. We don’t have any closed offices, and everybody has an equal amount of space, reducing the idea of hierarchy and promoting a level playing field of team work. Everybody is willing to lend a hand. There is a buzz of creativity, making you feel like you are part of something big. In my mind, nothing is greater than a workplace with engaged team members having fun together and working enthusiastically towards a great purpose.

Haley Ottmann


Haley has collaborated on several projects types, ranging from aviation and healthcare to residential and corporate. Nominated for a Design Excellence Award, for her design of a homeless center, is only one of the many reasons why PDR is proud to have Haley be a part of our team.  Haley earned her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the University
of Texas in Austin and is our most recent employee to become a Registered Interior Designer.