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Forty Under 40 2024: Design Professionals

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Forty Under 40 2024: Design Professionals

Discover the design honorees of the Forty Under 40 class of 2024

April 1, 2024
forty under 40 pro remodeler
This article first appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Pro Remodeler.


Click on a winner to view their profile


Alice ThomasChristopher DruschelG. Tyler HunsbergerKelsey PowellKerstin CobbRobby John Barham

Alice Thomas, 31

Design Consultant / Marrokal Design & Remodeling / San Diego

Thomas set a new company record in her first year at Marrokal, and she attributes it to her collaboration and adaptability in team and project settings. 

She says she showed a natural curiosity when beginning at Marrokal, which set her on a upward trajectory, learning from senior design consultants.

She always offered a helping hand, and this fearless, go-getter approach placed her in a unique position to thrive with an internal partnership with Marrokal’s custom home division, she explains. 


Growing up in Latvia, Thomas moved to Florida when she was 13.

Since then, she’s moved across the U.S. and visited more than 40 countries.

“I’ve honed adaptability to different communication styles, matching teams effectively based on personality types. This adaptability enhances communication with diverse individuals, allowing me to cater to their unique needs,” she says.


Christopher Druschel, 39

Lead Project Designer / S & W Kitchens / Central Florida

Druschel’s first job in construction was with his grandfather’s remodeling company where he did everything from vacuuming jobsites to wiring a house.

“He taught me electrical to where he wouldn’t turn the power off,” Druschel recalls with a laugh. “He said, ‘You’ll learn how to do it right if you get electrocuted.’”

That understanding of best practices is one factor that helped Druschel become S&W’s top salesperson annually for the past decade.

He also mentors other designers, helping them troubeshoot projects, resolve client issues, and enhance sales techniques.

Druschel believes that the most successful designer/salespeople have at least some construction background.

“If you design things that look cool, but are impossible to do or cost too much money, you’re putting [everyone] in a bind,” he says.

Best Advice

Druschel is a fan of tackling problems right away rather than archiving the issue until later when there’s a risk of never getting back to it. “Kill the snake, get it done, and move on,” he says.

“What I know personally, and I see other people struggle with, is saying, ‘I’ll get to it later,’ and then they forget.”


G. Tyler Hunsberger, 34

Design Remodel Consultant  / Gehman Design Remodel / Harleysville, Penn.

Hunsberger is a fourth-generation contractor who started working on jobsites at 12 years old. Today, in a sales role, he’s proud of his ability to build strong relationships, and enjoys learning about his clients’ goals for their space.
Hunsberger recalls his excitement at buying a custom suit for his wedding, and how disappointed he was when the tailor treated him like it was any other transaction.

“The memory always sticks with me as I meet with home- owners,” he says. “I’ve focused on developing a client experience that builds excitement for their project ... My role isn’t simply a contractor but a very personal consultant for their family’s living experience.”

Podcast Recommendation: Remodelers on the Rise 

podcast image

Kelsey Powell, 31

Senior Designer / KSI Kitchen and Bath & Maison Birmingham / Southeastern Michigan

Adaptability is the secret to design success for Powell.

During a career-high project, LIFTbuild’s Exchange Building in Detroit, Powell let her collaboration skills lead in the atypical project, which features a vertical building approach where each floor is lifted up two main support structures.

The project turned Powell’s typical design process on its head, requiring a new approach.

Title Winner

Powell boasts title as Innovator by the Kitchen & Bath Design News and the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s Thirty Under 30.

Out of Work

Outside of KSI, Powell supports  the industry with her role as social chair in her local Professional Women in Building chapter.

As she accomplishes it all, her biggest motivation is her daughter.

“It’s really inspiring to be a good role model for her,” she says.

forty under 40 pro remodelerPodcast Recommendation:

The Mel Robbins Podcast





Kerstin Cobb, 35

CEO / The Material Bar / Lakewood, Wash.

A native of Germany, Cobb’s background is in business. Her first industry role was with a countertop fabricator in Georgia, and she “instantly fell in love.”

Cobb threw herself into studying kitchen and bath design, opened The Material Bar, and quickly began winning industry accolades. “There’s something great that happens when

you go home to a space that reflects your true personality,” she says. In 2023, Cobb purchased a commercial building and moved into a new, larger showroom.

Keys to Success

Cobb is very successful on social media, and sees the platforms as an opportunity to showcase a brand’s distinct personality. “Most companies underestimate the power of what social media can do.”

Book Recommendation: Outwitting the Devil 

podcast image

Robby John Barham, 36

Design Consultant / Neil Kelly Company / Portland, Ore.

Barham recalls the most simple yet effective advice he heard when first hired: “Just be yourself, and treat clients like it’s your family and friends.”

It stuck with him, and armoured with it, Barham doubled the historical average for sales volume in his first full year.

By year two, Barham secured a spot in the top three salespeople across Neil Kelly and doubled his sales. His nominator described his feats as “unprecedented.”

Team Success

Barham finds success in his role, and supports the success of his project teams, through training, communication, accountability, learning from mistakes, and diligence.

His greatest accomplishment thus far, despite record-breaking sales, is building a successful and trustworthy team.

“That niggling thing that keeps you up at night? We discuss and take action right away,” Barham says.



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