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Interior Design alumna finds her dream career

Michelle Alderman remembers spending lazy childhood afternoons creating colorful rooms on paper.

Fast forward to today and Alderman is regional manager of Green Forest Cabinetry, where she puts her design degrees to work.

A 2010 graduate of TCC’s Interior Design program, Alderman was recently named to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) 30 Under 30 list.

The goal of the NKBA 30 Under 30 program is to acknowledge outstanding young professionals, while helping them to immerse and apply themselves to new opportunities for growth and development in support of the industry.

This year’s group of winners will present a project at the NKBA annual conference in January 2016. “This is a great opportunity to learn about new trends and to network with colleagues,” Alderman said.

Alderman said she came to TCC because she wasn’t ready to go away to school. “At the time, my dad was really encouraging me to find my own path,” she said. “What we didn’t know then is that my path would lead me back to the family business.”

Alderman continued at TCC learning design theory and techniques, as well as AutoCAD, Revit and Chief Architect, the standard software for the design industry. “Coming to TCC was a huge help because I received one-on-one training from professors who work in the field. It was a personal education, and I could really get my questions answered,” she said.

After TCC, Alderman studied Apparel, Housing and Resource Management at Virginia Tech. “I did really well at Tech because I knew the software and I had so much hands-on learning at TCC.”

With two design degrees in hand, Alderman joined the family business in 2013. She went to work for Green Forest Cabinetry, a sister company of her father’s business, Dave’s Cabinets.

“Every day is a new challenge, and the work is very diverse,” Alderman said. “I do everything from design, to sales to accounting to logistics. I’m a Jill of all trades. It’s a perfect fit, and I love going to work every day.”

Back in the classroom at TCC since January 2015, Alderman teaches Kitchen and Bath Systems and Kitchen and Bath Design Software. “I really feed off the energy of the students and enjoy watching them learn. I benefit from the classes, too, as I always learn from my students,” she said.

“It’s a pleasure having Michelle on our Interior Design team,” said Jennifer Hopkins, TCC’s interior design program head. “What better way to celebrate our growing presence as kitchen and bath educators than to employ the skills of our graduates.”

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