Caitlin Mulligan

Caitlin Mulligan

Ann Arbor, MI, US



I’m currently in a state of transition, more literally a constant state of transit.  Like coming down from an  endorphin  fueled  two year high–the addictive,  nonsensical lifestyle (which only after establishing a semi-normal sleep schedule seems even remotely unreasonable ) is what I lived for.  Upon hitting solid ground , Vidler’s cyborgs and the New territories of Francois Roche linger like a day dream.  Such is reality.

In retrospect, my addiction to ideas, to the thought process, to working with people  and to  the art of the persuasive argument   were the demise of my professional career.   I knew that I could never be an Architect.  Perhaps not the most detrimental addictions to have, they were enough to motivate me  to look for a position that would keep me from being sat [stuck for eternity] behind a CAD (REVIT) screen.

While you may graduate with a better understanding of light wood versus concrete construction, I  strongly believe that an architecture education does not teach you how to construct buildings.  An architecture education teaches you how to think.  It is the intersection between logical solutions and innovative creativity.   It is so much more than constructing buildings; it is about concepts and ideas. Architecture involves thinking critically about a problem and being able to build, conceptualize, and create a solution. It is about  understanding relationships within a complex problem and being able to, in a simple and cohesive way, begin to conceptualize a multitude of solutions and the implications of their possible realization.

I do believe that the architecture education is invaluable for many reasons, however none more so than for the brutal and  fantastically unparalleled tradition of final reviews.  In what other school of study would you be forced to [on two hours of sleep]  defend a 6′x10′ area of wall representing every idea you've had, and every hour of work you’ve done in just twenty minutes?  I don’t know of any.  It is this apologetically public display of effort, ideas, and innovation that motivates you to excel.

It is in that moment, when you realize that you have worked yourself into delirium not for a grade , but rather for an overwhelmingly satisfying sense of self accomplishment. You learn more about yourself than any exam could ever teach you.  You learn not only how to have confidence in yourself, your ideas, and your passions, but also how to maintain the work ethic, motivation and determination needed to manifest those ideas in written or modeled form.

So after all that architecture school prepared me for through the creative, competitive and unrelenting environment, how could you have expected me to sit quietly behind a desk, and look at door details?  I will always love designing, creating, building, learning, thinking, and constructing. However, when my product design classes and studios found themselves mingling with business and management classes, I stumbled upon a dangerously exciting  combination.

Perhaps  extracting these passions  learned during my architectural training and applying them toward a broader range of fields is what I needed to do.  Looking at sales, advertising, consulting and even management with the same creative, open-minded perspective through which I once studied architecture has created opportunities to approach and resolve problems in new and innovative ways.  This combination allows for the considerations for psychology, environment, aesthetic, and logic  that were previously applied to the design of “space” to be applied to a more ethereal ideas of strategy and  sales execution.

So here I find myself, unexpectedly in the dynamic world of architectural lighting sales.  Now covering twenty-three states, forty-seven offices and averaging three flights a week, I do not regret my decision.  Although on the outer reaches of architecture, I feel that I have made the right first move.

With this first step has come a new set of skills (including Microsoft Excel, suitcase packing, management and general human interaction) that compliment my background in and passion for design.

As I move forward, I want to pursue a life that empowers me with the opportunity to work with ideas, people, solutions and innovation.


The Kirlin Company, Detroit, MI, US, Regional Sales Manager: Southern United States

Responsibilities as the regional sales manager for the Southern United States include managing relations with over forty-five rep offices in twenty three states, meeting with architects and engineers on behalf of the rep offices, presenting information concerning innovations in the lighting industry and new products, and overall working to increase Kirlin’s revenue through efforts in marketing, sales, and client relations. Other responsibilities include: Maintaining a working knowledge of lighting technology, public speaking, making sales calls, assisting marketing, product demonstration, and having a thorough understanding of client needs

May 2012 - current


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, US, BArch, Architecture

Aug 2008 - Apr 2012


Areas of Specialization