PV: Why did you choose this business or line of work?
Gene: I love art and woodworking, especially fixing things.
PV: What is your primary role or duty in your company?
Gene: ALL phases, mainly project management and researching design trends.
PV: What sets you apart from your competition?
Gene: I personalize kitchens, baths and furniture. While many sell the most popular, I tend to attract those who want something which is not as popular. Recycled Glass, precious stone slab, and Paperstone; My own blend of Crystal top that customers can put whatever they want into the tops as well as backlight.
PV: What would you be doing now if it weren’t for your business, taking money out of the equation?
Gene: Helping people who need a chance in life, I don’t like to give hungry people fish too much; I’m one of those who would rather teach them how to fish.
PV: What do you do for fun?
Gene: WORK and Dance!
PV: Who or what is most important to you, personally or professionally?
Gene: Personally it is my mom who passed away too young of Leukemia. I can actually feel my heart swell up as if she says, Keep doing the next right thing. She always told me to be kind, but not a doormat and make as many friends as possible (she would have loved Facebook). Professionally I want to always be able to give back, many of my heroes in Tampa Bay give back. They welcomed me to help out even though I did not have much money, I was able to offer my hands, my smile, my countertop scraps, and my shop to help inspire the Children of CASA, Boys and Girls Clubs and countless others. It feels like my Mom swells up my heart when I am around these people…It’s my own personal awesomistic feeling. I love life like crazy!
PV: A little secret about you that would shock those who don’t know you!
Gene: I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t do Drugs, I don’t smoke Cigarettes and I love Hardcore Thrash Punk rock as well as Motown music. People always think I am on something because I enjoy wherever I am at. They spend big money on booze to act like me…LOL
PV: What are your personal and professional mottos?
Gene: Personal~ you cannot make a plant grow by pulling on it! Professional~ you cannot discover new oceans unless you have courage to lose sight of the shore.
PV: When you were five, what was your dream to be when you grew up?
Gene: Bruce Lee and a cartoonist
PV: Have you achieved all or most of your dreams thus far?
Gene: Yes, I am so glad I didn’t sign a contract because I achieved that dream 5 years ago. I am also grateful for all the friends and business I got. I feel that if my life doesn’t get any better than it is right now. I am ok with that. But I am Gene, Gene the dancing machine. Life is getting better by the minute…
About the President
Gene McDonald, President of Refresh Interiors Inc., is an active member of the Tampa Bay U.S. Green Building Council Chapter, the Florida Green Building Coalition, and the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA). As a countertop fabricator specializing in green products, McDonald has worked on many LEED-certified projects in the area. He has recently earned Master Fabricator status from Vetrazzo Recycled Glass Surfaces, a status reserved for fabricators who have fabricated 50 Vetrazzo jobs that have demonstrated superior craftsmanship. Since then McDonald has quadrupled that number! He also won the International Surface Design Expo’s Best Commercial Application Award in 2006 for his illuminated cobalt glass bar. In 2009, he won the Best Green Residential Kitchen award. He also won Best Green Small Application for his recycled paper toilet seat that glows in the dark. His top employee Hugh Simon won the Best Green Kitchen in 2010 and Best Design in Green Application in 2011. The newest edition of the Refresh Family, to lead the cabinet division is Chris Kessler. Master Cabinetmaker. Gene McDonald has spoken at The National Association of Home Builders and numerous Green Expos from Orlando to Las Vegas. Gene McDonald is proud to be what some call a Green Interior Artist. He shares his green projects with the world to smash the misconception that green design is bland and boring. His very own creation called Crystal Top was used in the upcoming film Step Up 4 from Touchstone Pictures.