Maia Potok-Holmes: Thank you so much for talking with me today, Matt.
Matthew Rowan: It's my pleasure!
MPH: So, let's get straight to it. How did you come to Dominion Electric?
MR: I have a design background. I’m an industrial designer by training. I've worked in architecture and interior firms as an internal specialist on a lot of the user experience stuff – like graphics, lighting, signage – all the stuff that was really high touch point items. I was working for Gensler, leading their studio in the DC office when Dominion’s CEO came to us and said “we need to re-envision, we need to do something totally different.” We came up with the overall approach and design scheme - we even had our consulting team come out and watch people work for a day. And then he offered me this job (laughs) which I wasn’t looking for – and I didn’t even realize he was offering me a job at first – I originally turned him down, because I loved working with my team, but he was persistent and brought me over. One of the first things he told me was “question and change everything.”
MPH: Why did Dominion want to conduct a total re-design and renovation?
MR: It's not just about selling things anymore. Now that we have the internet, people can immediately search anything, you can see all the products that you want; the problem is, lighting can be complex. And when you’re investing thousands of dollars in fixture you want to see it in person. So, there’s a huge place for showrooms, we just weren’t providing that experience. We wanted to become a trusted advisor rather than just selling things.
MPH: How did you approach that process? How are you incorporating those things into the showroom?
kitchen, outdoor garden, bathroom, dining room, etc.
MPH: Is re-branding a part of this re-design process?
MR: Yes, in addition to re-doing the entire showroom, we’re undergoing a full rebrand. We’ve been talking about completely changing the vision and values of the company, we have a new logo and website [not yet released], new swag and business cards - and we’re starting to use the name “Dominion Light” for our residential business. It better describes the kind of work we do and speaks more to the high-end retail audience we’re looking for.
MPH: How do you see this renovation and rebranding as a part of the ongoing Plan Lee Highway project?
MR: As a designer, my passion and purpose is to continue improving and growing things. That’s an exciting aspect about this renovation - being a part of the growth and development of the Lee Highway community. If what we’re doing here can rub off and help someone a mile away, that’s great. The goal is to make things better for everyone that lives here.
MPH: Are there ways Dominion is hoping to engage with the greater Lee Highway community?
MR: Yes! We will be opening the space up to the community for events, meetings, etc. We want to deepen the roots Dominion has with the community.
MPH: Going back to the renovation quickly - can you talk about painting the exterior of the building? I know that was a big change.
MR: I was really worried at first about painting the exterior of the building, because I know change can be hard for a lot of people, but the response has been amazing. We receive calls from people in the neighborhood all the time asking about the paint color.
MPH: Can I ask what the paint color is, for those who want to know?
MR: (Laughs) Of course, it’s Benjamin Moore, Witching Hour.
MPH: It's been so great to chat with you, thanks so much Matt.
MR: My pleasure Maia. Come back soon.
shop specialized, seasonal furniture and custom made lamp shades and chandeliers.
With half its space already renovated, Dominion Lighting is currently open to the public, and is set to open its doors fully in May.
Elaine S. Furlow has lived in Arlington more than 30 years. Before her recent retirement, she was served as the Director of AARP Enterprise Strategy and Planning for the national non-profit and its 37 million members.
She also served two terms on the Arlington School Board and co-chaired the Washington Area Boards of Education. In these positions, Furlow effectively engaged with the public, community leaders and other elected officials to achieve strategic goals. She also led a successful campaign to change high school start times, collaborating with parents, staff, students and community to overcome numerous challenges.
Furlow’s other professional experience includes analyzing and communicating issues, through positions in the White House, Capitol Hill, and state government; and leading and managing editorial staffs and communication for various non-profit organizations.
The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) Board of Directors has appointed Ginger Brown as the organization’s new Executive Director. Brown was the co-founder of LHA in 2013 and has served as the President of the Board for the past year.
An Arlington resident for 16 years, she has two children attending Arlington Public Schools and has previously served Arlington County as Planning Commissioner, Housing Commissioner, and Chair of the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee (JFAC).
Spanish artist David de la Mano will be on Lee Highway at the end of this month painting a large public mural on the wall of KH Art & Framing. "We couldn't believe it when the Spanish Embassy called Arlington Arts & Cultural Affairs to let them know an artist doing work for them was also interested in painting a mural in Arlington," said LHA President Ginger Brown. "We knew we had to jump at this chance to make this come together."