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.
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.
Christian Roemer, arketing 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.
Jammie Campbell, Warehouse Manager
Meet Jammie, aka Wonder Woman, for her ability to do anything and everything she is asked to do when it comes to product 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 practicing for a national dart tournament. Did we mention that she's rated top 20 in the country? So rad. Originally from Kentucky, Jammie calls Dalton, Georgia her hometown. She has been the Warehouse Manager for Smart Furniture for 13 years and loves her job in more ways than one.
Show me a person who has never made a mistake, and I'll show you somebody who hasn't achieved much.
With hard work and effort, you can achieve anything!
Anything boys can do, girls can do better!
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.
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?"
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!