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Tonya Wood
Name: Tonya Wood
Residence: Savannah, Ga.
Occupation: Designer

Tonya Wood

When it comes to success, it’s smooth sailing for Tonya Wood ‘89.

The interior design major has created mega-yacht custom tables, barstools and countertops for some high-profile clients including Crown Prince Abdullah of Bahrain with Marine Tables, a division of Release Marine. The company’s main responsibility is building fighting chairs for sport-fishing boats, and it’s gone global, reaching markets in Asia, the Middle East, South America, Canada and the Caribbean.  Other notable clients include golf legend Jack Nicklaus and NASCAR champion Jeff Burton.

Most recently, she and the company made yacht tables for the director Martin Scorsese's upcoming film, "The Wolf of Wall Street," starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Wood is directly involved in both divisions, creating technical and presentation drawings, giving product presentations, and collaborating on product design, marketing, advertising and sales. “Sea Magazine” published one of her presentation drawings as part of a feature article on Release Marine. This past year, she introduced some new products to the line, including a new barstool design and tables that have the ability for custom monograms and designs inlayed within the tops.  In her capacity she has the opportunity to travel to attend international boat shows in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach. She credits Winthrop’s training and education for her career success.

“Because Winthrop offers a unique curriculum in that it is broad-based with classes in marketing, economics and business development, I have been fortunate to be in a position of immense creative growth and opportunity,” said the Savannah, Ga., native. “Winthrop’s approach to success is to take students and help them realize their full potential within their field.”

When it was time to decide on a college, Wood already knew she wanted a design degree, calling it an “easy choice.” But she also wanted to be exposed to a broad spectrum of design and cutting-edge technology. She needed a curriculum that fit these requirements and found it at Winthrop, where she embraced classes such as 2- and 3-D design, graphic arts, sculpture, textiles and architecture classes. She also took classes in business, marketing, economics, and contract documentation/project management.

She was active on campus as well, participating in Model U.N. the student chapter of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), committees of Zeta Tau Alpha, and on the yearbook staff as layout editor.

“Through this service and exposure, I gained immeasurable leadership skills that would take me far in my career path,” she said.

After graduation, Wood passed the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam and was certified as an interior designer. Most students fear the challenging two-day exam, but Wood said Winthrop prepared her so well. Other career highlights included graduating Leadership Hilton Head, a year-long curriculum offered by the Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce teaching leadership; publishing an architectural project in “Coastal Living Magazine;” serving as Coastal Association Chair for South Carolina’s chapter of ASID and vice president of the “Young At Art” board of directors for the Self Family Arts Center; and working as director of interior architectural design for J. Banks Design Group, a firm nationally ranked by “Interior Design Magazine.”

“It is because Winthrop provided me with such an amazing education and exposure to different aspects within my field of design that I am able to do what I do successfully,” she said.  

Wood currently resides in Savannah with her husband and three children. 

Last updated 05/20/13

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