MARK STENFTENAGEL | PRINCIPAL There’s no “I” in team, nor in Mark Stenftenagel, who plainly prefers talking about the talents and accomplishments of the people he’s attracted to Qdesign – the staff, the partners and the clients.
“We have a group that has an openness to listen and learn – an openness to new things,” Mark says. “It’s an atmosphere and process of ideation that allows everyone to have a voice. And who doesn’t want to be heard?” Mark’s collaborative leadership style and relentless quest for new design challenges sets the tone at Qdesign, which he co-founded with Sal Graziano in 1995.
“When people come to us with a project, they’re looking for creativity and new ideas – and we really do come up with unique solutions,” says Mark. “Our clients feel we go beyond the expected and look at things in a different way.
“To me,” he adds, “’design is one of the most exciting things you can do. It’s discovery. You’re breaking new ground all the time. You’re trying to articulate what your clients can’t – or don’t know how to – articulate. Our clients often say, ‘Wow, we weren’t thinking about it that way.’ So, it’s a discovery process for our clients as well. And that’s part of the experience. We break new ground together.”
More recently, Mark has added a broader range of capabilities to the Qdesign arsenal, including consulting expertise in ergonomics, sustainability, product development, branding, marketing and public relations. “We like to direct and follow the project all the way through – not only through prototyping, engineering and development, but also designing the marketing and story elements, the whole experience of the product. We have a good sense what it takes to help a product sell.”
Mark also is CEO of Whitney, Inc., an architectural and interior design company that shares office space with Qdesign in Oak Brook, IL. He holds a degree in fine arts from Southern Illinois University where he also played middle linebacker on the football team. Mark and his wife, Margaret, have two children and live in a western suburb of Chicago.