Stephen Culp, Founder & Chairman
When Stephen founded Smart Furniture, he set out to change an industry. Working in a Stanford professor's garage in the late 90s, Stephen designed the first patented Smart Furniture® and pioneered the now familiar "Design on Demand®" model of personalized, web-based product design. With the help of an incredible team, his goal has been to put design directly in the hands of consumers, and bring custom design to a whole new market -- everyone.
Stephen is a former Peace Corps Volunteer, U.S. Navy Reserve Officer, NCAA Division I athlete, attorney, and believer in entrepreneurism (both for-profit and non-profit). In addition to Smart Furniture (his first love) he is a co-founder of Delegator.com, PriceWaiter, the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, and Causeway, a nonprofit supporting civic entrepreneurs.
He studied at UNC-Chapel Hill, Stanford Law School, the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation, the Université de Paris VII, and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, where he produced a photo and audio journal of the revolutions in Eastern Europe as the Berlin Wall came down. In third grade, dressed as a horse, he presented what was likely the worst book report of all time.
Most importantly, Stephen is a devoted husband and father, and is working with researchers on a unique project to develop novel treatments for cystic fibrosis.
Mark Graves, CEO & President
Meet Mark Graves—a man so mysterious he doesn’t even have a LinkedIn profile picture. A self-professed starched white button down connoisseur, Mark’s career is much more dynamic than his everyday attire would suggest. His extensive background in marketing and management includes experience with car parts, scientific instruments, consulting, and now furniture. He’s worked internationally in England, Germany, and France, and he’s a die-hard Atlanta Braves fan. His impeccably shined wingtips ensure you’ll hear him walking to your office before you see him. A mean forehand on the ping pong table gives him a high-powered edge when competing in intra-office bouts of table tennis supremacy. Nobody in the company works harder than Mark, and we’re proud he’s our CEO.
Luke Golden, VP of Development
Meet Luke, one of the stalwarts of our IT/Development team and all-around nice guy. Hailing from Hot Springs, Arkansas, Luke is a 4th-degree black belt in the art of Tae Kwon Do, and was once the National Board Breaking Champion with a personal best of breaking 15 boards at one time. He's not what you call "great" at catching things, but we don't really give him a hard time about it ... for the most part. Okay, maybe a little bit. Honestly, we give him grief almost every day. Luke loves the relaxed working environment here at Smart Furniture, saying, "What's not unique about working here? I can come to work wearing shorts and flip flops and not get sent home. I have had my dog (a Great Dane, mind you) pull over my desk and not gotten fired. Yet even with all of that, everyone will buckle down and do what needs to be done to not only meet, but exceed, all expectations.
Melanie Silva, VP of Sales
Meet Melanie, a self-proclaimed "dirty hippie" and our extraordinary V.P. of Sales. When she's not on the phone talking through office chair comparisons or writing useful content to help shoppers decide which option to select, she's out and about in downtown Chattanooga teaching people how to be philanthropists and helping cats through her two nonprofit board positions at The UNFoundation and The Alice Fund. She rocks a hot mullet and judges non-recyclers and speeders in the Whole Foods parking lot alike. Despite her preference to drink copious amount of craft beer, due to the need for epic adventures coupled with old age she can no longer handle her alcohol and is typically in bed before 11 P.M. Which works out well because she's a lot nicer in the morning with more sleep. And lots of coffee. Lots. Born and raised in Hawai'i and with her masters degree in the archives, she is actually sweet and semi-smart. Her sharp wit can make you cry laughing - or just plain cry (it's a crap shoot). She brings a gun to a knife fight, will tell you if you look fat, and enjoys self-deprecating humor. Lover of travel to new places (not prison), old men's plaid shirts (the really soft ones) from thrift stores, and The Red Green Show..
Adam Litchfield, Operations Manager
Meet Adam, a rockstar when it comes to customer service, and always willing to lend a hand with absolutely anything. If you have a question about assembling your furniture, Adam will take the time to explain each step over the phone. If that doesn't work, he'll record a video to show you. If he could be there in person to assemble it for you, we're pretty sure he would. He's pretty handy.
Adam brings his mad tennis skills to the ping pong table, but is always a team player when it comes to company goals His reason for joining Smart Furniture? "It seemed like a fun place to work, one that was filled with talented people, that had a genuine business concept."
Favorite Quote: "Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." - Samuel Ullman
Whitney Kohlbus, Purchasing Manager
Whitney Kohlbus is the purchasing manager here at Smart Furniture. She hails from Augusta, GA (home of the Masters for all you golf fans) and graduated from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). Whitney's been with Smart Furniture since October of 2010 and she considers the company a part of her, literally. She acquired the "Smart" scar on her knee playing on the company's softball team her second day on the job. The skinned knee was her own fault, as Whitney is fairly clumsy and has no business actually playing a sport, by her own admission. Her athletic participation should be limited to that of a water girl, but the scar will always remind her of what a great team she joined. When she's not at work, her very busy toddler (Millie) keeps her and her husband on the run. They also have a black and tan hound mix (Sadie) who is teaching Millie exactly how to get her way already (big trouble!). Aside from playing with Millie, which is her favorite thing to do, Whitney likes to take Sadie for walks, visit her friends and family and loves trips to the beach.
Kenny Thatcher, Customer Service Manager
Meet Kenny, our Customer Service Manager. Kenny graduated with a degree in Marketing from the University of Tennessee in 2004, and joined our team in April 2013, after six years of working in the mortgage industry. He couldn't be more thrilled to put his communication and business skills to the test at Smart Furniture, and he's psyched to participate in the ever-changing world of online retail.
When he's not working hard to serve up platters of delicious customer solutions at work, Kenny enjoys rock climbing, reading Hunter S. Thompson novels, fixing up his 100-year-old garage, and sampling whiskey. Kenny and his wife Hannah reside at the base of Lookout Mountain in St. Elmo, where you'll find them walking their dogs every single day, rain or shine.
Katie Johnston, Product Manager
Katie, also known as Paperboy, was born in Chattanooga but lived the glamorous life of a military brat for her early childhood. Moving around as a kid instilled a love of travel in her and she’s been busy exploring new places ever since. She has been to 47 states and travelled all over the U.S. and South and Central America playing soccer- but her favorite place in the world will always be her grandmother’s farm in Wildwood, Georgia. She just built a tiny house in June of 2016, and leads a humble life with her partner and their two adorable cats, Bo & Peep.
Her hobbies include reading self-help books, stand-up comedy, podcasts, eating the spiciest food she can find, desperately trying to grasp quantum mechanics, archaeology, classic cars, whittling, channeling David Bowie after hours, dismantling the patriarchy, and spoken word poetry. Oh, and burritos. She LOVES burritos. Her list of dislikes is rather short though, only including onions and velvet.
Katie graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2013, with a BA in Communication and a minor in speech.
Christian Roemer, Content Marketing Manager
Christian Roemer, born September 10th, 1986, isn't your average office professional; in fact, he's not professional at all. Instead, he's totally pro. As an avid karaoke singer and performance extraordinaire, he captivates the hearts and minds of everyone at Smart Furniture with his flamboyant antics and insatiable desire for attention. He began working for the company in March of 2012, and the office has never been the same since. As is the case with most artists, his artwork is sometimes misinterpreted--he's often regarded as a clown, and people tend to misconstrue his random songs as jokes, often failing to grasp the deeper connotations of the words he carefully molds and puts to melody. For example, his song, "I like drinking coffee, hey, hey, hey, hey" was approached as a celebration song when he really intended it to be a cutting remark on the pains of aging and the duplicitous nature of dependence and caffeine addiction. Sometimes the songs are pretty funny.
Christian is married, has no kids, and rock climbs on the weekends. Because of his egotistical outlook on life, he assumes that any rain on the weekend is a direct and personal affront to his passion of the outdoors, and he can often be seen cursing the gray skies in the case that the unthinkable transpires. He usually assumes that bad drivers are "terrible people," and our CEO, TJ Gentle, often calls him a communist. Christian urges people to not be intimidated by his 5'7" stature, and instead insists that folks understand he's a romantic, often striving to find the deeper understandings in life as well as acquire comfort in this "mortal coil" we call human existence. If you're looking for Christian, there's a good chance you'll hear him before you see him because he's mostly gregarious, somewhat pompous, and always loud. He has no choice but to reflect his personality in everything he does, and he's unable to be anything but himself. He also enjoys kitten gifs, aged whiskeys, and carbonated water, and he likes to think he's the anchor that keeps the Marketing and Creative offices from absconding into oblivion.
Cyndi Brackett, Accounting Manager
Cyndi Brackett, one of our two Accountants, has held down Smart Furniture's financial "fort" with her superpower accounting skills for the past nine years. She also is known as the Human Resources phenomenon. She's memorized all 22,202 pages of the new Affordable Care Act and can recite it perfectly backwards while juggling lemon drops and catching them in her mouth. She likes to refer to herself as having the personality as an ordinary accountant, but you'll find her putting to shame any karaoke fanatic if you walk into her office on a good day. If Apple Bottom Jeans plays, you can bet your bottom dollar she will be getting low, low, low at her desk.
Cyndi is married to her wonderful husband of 21 years, Mark, and has two children, two dogs, and one cat. Her two kids Olivia and Logan are the apples of her eye. You will find her with them at sporting events, being their biggest fan. Olivia is her Mini-Me and reminds all of her mother. Logan is 16 and about to drive his first car alone. Cyndi hopes the day comes later rather than sooner. She enjoys home projects and can put any Pinterest pinner to shame. Every day is a constant battle between good and evil as her animals try to foil her plans. Her cat Daisy walks across newly painted decks; her dog Luke - with a torn ACL - follows right along. Her other dog, Layla, mostly watches. Overall, Cyndi uses her superpowers in about every area of her life and is extraordinarily humble about it. She's the kind of person you'd want to share coffee with at one of the cozy coffee shops down here in Chattanooga.
Leslie Morales, Studio Manager
Meet Leslie, manager of our flagship Smart Furniture studio and showroom here in downtown Chattanooga.
Being a big part of the face of Smart Furniture on the local level, Leslie enjoys working with anyone and everyone, from casual strollers to power shoppers, saying, "Working with the general public every day is extremely rewarding. Starting with the customer's space, collaborating ideas, designing and adding our products to their space always ends with an enjoyable experience."
When she has downtime, Leslie's favorite hobbies include gardening, hiking with her dogs, cleaning (yes, she enjoys this), running, and managing, with her husband, their family-owned restaurant on the Chattanooga Southside.
Jammie Campbell, Warehouse Manager
Jammie, aka Wonder Woman for her ability to do anything and everything she is asked to do when it comes to products details, inventory, and anything else to ensure that customers receive exactly what they want. When not answering questions regarding measurements, shipping quotes, and shipping deadlines, she can usually be found in her super cool game room or playing that old man sport called golf in her spare time ... well, that was before she decided to get married. Now she spends her time with her fiancé planning the wedding. Originally from Kentucky, Jammie calls Dalton, Georgia her hometown. She has been the Warehouse Manager for Smart Furniture for nine years and loves her job in more ways than one.
She loves sports, nerds, and even the tree huggers (Mel). She drinks beer, eats fried foods, and thinks exercise is overrated. She will be known as the crazy old cat lady due to her love of cats, but her cats are not the usual cats that like to lie around and avoid being petted or loved on. She has four of them, but they are actually dogs in cat suits - because they're very loving & HUGE. As soon as you walk in the house they are there to greet you. And if you dare sit down, all four will be begging for your attention. Jammie loves karaoke and will sing a Patsy Cline song - and make you think it's actually Patsy singing - although she would never admit to being that good. She has a great sense of humor and loves to make others smile. When Jammie leaves a room she'll most likely exit saying, "love your hair, hope you win..."leaving you confused.
Oliver Burkett, Designer
Oliver is a world traveler and embellisher of tales. Genetically predisposed to likability, he plays well with others & seeks to find the silver lining in all situations. He loves coffee, disc golf, and his family. He hates going to the dentist.
Thunder Haug, Developer
Thunder, Thunder...another one of our super-powered developers and our favorite Spongebob enthusiast. Besides constantly developing awesome things for Smart Furniture, his hobbies include: duplex searching, teaching CCD/PRE at his local parish, attending trivia with his team “We’re Not Stupid,” building & programming embedded robotic devices, & computer gaming (CK2, EUIV, HOI4, M&B Warband, to name a few). Oh, and Netflix. All things Netflix. His favorite show is "Boy Meets World" and his least favorite show is "Girl Meets World" (except when the cast from Boy Meets World appears). As you can see - he is a true Renaissance Man.
Tim Zorca, Developer
Tim is our super-powered developer. He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in computer science. He's also an avid run/bike commuter.
Alyssa Griffin, Marketing Analyst
Alyssa Griffin is a Chattanooga native and graduated from Berry College in 2016 with a major in math and minors in business and dance. She loves Black Friday shopping and the fru-fru-est coffee drinks. Spot-it champion and Set game pro, she leads the pack in math game domination in her not-so-spare time. When she’s not up high in the aerial silks or baking an out-of-this-world cheesecake, you can probably find Alyssa eating chips and salsa or hanging out with Corgis. She dances in to work every morning ready to seize the day with joy at the center of it all. No really, Joy is her middle name. She has been working at Smart Furniture since April of 2016, and despite always being cold in the office, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Kate Kronenberg, Data Analyst Intern
Kate was born and raised in Chattanooga, atop the large hill known as Signal Mountain. Early in life, she discovered her love of singing, which led to becoming a classically trained soprano. Although she has the high notes, she prefers singing old American standards. When she’s not busy adding amazing new products to Smart Furniture’s website, she can usually be found hanging out with her wonderful husband, Devon, their incredibly adorable dog, Billie, and their twenty pound Maine Coon cat. She loves exploring the many trails around Chattanooga, going to local farmers markets, cooking, working on her new house, and gardening. Kate loves candles and is deathly allergic to Sriracha hot sauce (this is real).
Kate graduated from UTC in 2015, with a BA in Psychology and a concentration in research methodology. Though she just began working at Smart Furniture, she loves it so far!
Karen G., Sales
Meet Karen, a free-spirited and fun-loving soul, and an integral part of our sales team here at Smart Furniture. Never one to let a challenge get the best of her, she's always striving to be at the top of her game and keep her bright, shining smile going all day long.
What attracted her to Smart Furniture? "Really, it was just dumb luck that I was lucky enough to become a part of the SF team. The happy working environment combined with the opportunity to do the thing I love best - which is to work with customers - makes it a pleasure to go to work every day. And where else can you find dogs and baby ducks at work?"
Caroline Brodie, Sales
Caroline was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana (she's a Hoosier at heart) before moving to Chattanooga. Now she sells awesome furniture and works in an office with a bunch of crazy, fun-loving people. We'll never forget Caroline's first day here a little over a year ago ... April Fool's Day 2013. Knowing what she did about Smart Furniture, she expected some kind of prank. So she wasn't surprised when we told her that the person who hired her had been fired for stealing Kartell Gnomes from the warehouse. Not true obviously but makes for a fun story.
When Caroline's not here in the office, she's usually at home with her husband and two sweet, darling, little girl cats (Caroline's a little bit of a crazy cat lady). Or you'll find her outdoors checking out the awesome views in Chattanooga, gardening, soaking up some rays, reading, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends. She also travels back to Indy pretty often. All around, Caroline just wants to have a good time!
Natalie Bigger, Sales
Natalie has a degree in Industrial Design from Auburn University and moved back to Chattanooga after some post-college fun in Atlanta. She is married to Danny who is a hard working man and loves that they push each other to be better in life. They are accompanied by one sweet little kitty, named Calisi (nicknamed Kiki). Natalie's loved Smart Furniture for years; she even based her senior design project on the concept of Smart Shelves. When in college, Natalie spent a semester in Ireland - traveling, studying design, and having an amazing time. Now Natalie spends her free time involved in several organizations or listening to live music. She designs jewelry for her company Purple Wire, she is the president of her local social alumnae group, a chapter and stater office in the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a member of Junior League of Chattanooga!
When Natalie started working here, she was one of our 3D Rendering Specialists. Today, she still does all the renderings for her customers' retail stores and tradeshow booths along with sales! She now works in the sales department at Smart Furniture, loves talking to people, designing spaces, and has a cheery personality - so sales is perfect for her! Every time the phone rings she gets to help a different person find just what they're looking for. Whether it's picking out a new sofa, the best office chair, a new bedroom suite, or the perfect fixtures for your new salon Natalie is the sales gal for you.
Cara Ellis, Accountant
Where do we even start with Cara? Pure Barre? Juicing? Philanthropy? Gluten-Free food? Or maybe her contagious smile & spirit. Wherever we start, we always find ourselves at the same conclusion - Cara is awesome! She blesses the office staff daily with her smash hit playlists including songs like "Hello, can you hear me?". YES WE CAN, CARA, AND WE LOVE YOU!
Cara has a heart of gold and we mean it. She is known to show up bearing Starbucks for her coworkers for absolutely no reason. When Cara isn’t at work (where she truly loves to be), you can catch her getting her sweat on at Pure Barre or at Southern Squeeze stocking up on her favorite juices. We’re convinced she’s the local juice bar’s number one patron but we haven’t collected the necessary data to prove that yet. She is also an advocate for Cystic Fibrosis and involved in local organizations that help raise money and awareness around the cause.
Amy Williams, Studio + Sales
Originally from Nashville, Amy came to Chattanooga to attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Upon graduating, moved back to Nashville to work for a corporate design firm, and quickly realized how much she missed Chattanooga!
Returning to Chattanooga in December 2014, she is happy to be living in the city she loves. She now works for Smart Furniture Studio as a full time Interior Designer and Assistant Manager.
When working with clients, Amy really tries to understand their personal style, but also to understand how the space she is designing needs to function. She believes every space should not only be beautiful, but also functional. Because of this, she loves space planning challenges… The more quirky the space is, the more opportunity there is to be creative!
When she isn't designing interiors, some of her loves in life are painting with oils, acrylic and watercolors, snuggling with her rescued fur baby, and drinking a good cup of coffee.
Claire Ellison, Studio + Sales
As a design consultant at Smart Furniture Studio, she is driven by helping clients realize their design needs, and collaborating with them to customize their ideal living space. She dabbles in all things design- including jewelry design, graphic design, and interiors. When she's not tackling design challenges you may find her practicing yoga, enjoying the great outdoors, and can be found anywhere where there are people to meet!
Joe Crutcher, Warehouse
Joe is a member of our indispensable warehouse team covering all of our warehouse needs. Need someone to drive a forklift? Joe’s got you. Need help unloading a three hundred pound sofa? Joe’s got you. Maybe you just need a laugh? You bet it - Joe’s got you. What did we learn from all of this, you ask? Joe. Is. The. Man.
Skeeter Scott, Warehouse
Skeeter is enigmatic which leaves many with questions. Like himself, this bio will burden you with forming an opinion of him. He's been with Smart Furniture since February 2012. Basically, he makes stuff go away. Occasionally he counts or fixes stuff. At times, he attempts to explain stuff via rambling Youtube videos. He's easily distracted.