Meet the Team!

Brian Dawson

Vice President of Creative Services

Brian Dawson originated in the event industry at the young age of 14 by assisting his church’s in-house A/V team during weekend services.  As a teenager, he saw the joy that theatrical production brought to his friends and family. During his time in college, Brian turned his attention to lighting production and began studying engineering and technology.  His studies led him to working with autistic children and he immediately turned his attention to light therapy in combination with standard physical therapy methods.

In 2007, Brian founded iDesign Systems, an innovative LED technology R&D firm.  Through iDesign Systems, Brian aligned an international team to manufacture and develop cutting-edge lighting fixtures with custom in-house programming software.  The results were groundbreaking as iDesign Systems partnered with Intelligent Lighting Design (ILD) in 2008 to bring a new level of event design to clients around the U.S.

As Vice President of Creative Services for ILD, Brian Dawson continues to surprise the industry with a variety of lighting products ranging from high-def color wash fixtures to wireless, waterproof technology to remote-controlled LED decor products.

Dawson’s outstanding portfolio includes clientele such as Ferrari, Goodyear Industries, EA Games, University of Texas, and more.  His day to day operations include overseeing continued product development as well as large-scale event production.  Brian continues to be instrumental in Intelligent Lighting Design’s “Illuminate Life” campaign, while focusing on child outreach projects with nonprofit organizations.  As a guest writer for online event technology blogs and keynote speaker for training seminars nationwide, Brian strives to move the event production industry in a positive direction while making lighting design more affordable than ever.

When Brian is taking a break from illuminating lives, you will find him cheering on the Houston Astros with his trusty sidekick, Bagwell, his red-nosed pitbull terrier at his side.

Katherine McCommon

Vice President of Business Development

Katherine McCommon began her journey into the event industry back in 2005 after receiving her Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a concentration in Business Management from LeTourneau University.

Soon after graduating, Katherine had the honor of overseeing advanced web application and sales development projects for Travelocity and Expedia while serving as the Director of Marketing for one of the largest foreign currency companies in the U.S. In 2006, Katherine was hired by Intelligent Lighting Design (ILD) as Vice President of Regional Operations and Marketing.

Over the past 6 years, she has been instrumental in the expansion of Intelligent Lighting Design to new cities and the development of ILD’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. Her portfolio includes a wide range of event designs with celebrity event planners like David Tutera, while supporting charities like The Children’s Advocacy Center of Denton County, Autism Speaks, The Margaret House, the American Heart Association, and the Boys and Girls Club. With over 800+ weddings & private events designed and produced, Katherine was the recipient of the 2012 ISES Eventworld Scholarship and has been featured in publications like Smart Meetings Magazine, HomeStyle Magazine and Texas Meetings & Events Magazine.

When Katherine isn’t managing or teaching social media, you can find her practicing yoga with her toy American Eskimo pup, Prissy.

Carly Willaford

Executive Assistant

Carly started her career as an Editorial Assistant for an entertaining and lifestyle website. With her background, she moved to the Executive Assistant position at ILD and has loved having the ability to track different event trends over the years – which also helped her define her own aesthetic. Carly is the backbone of the ILD headquarters. When she is not keeping the office in check, she enjoys trying new restaurants with her passion for cuisine and traveling. Last – but definitely not least – she loves spending time with her cat, Mirabelle.

Alex Stivers

Director of Business Development

Alex has over 10 years of research and strategic management under his belt. Beginning his career in broadcast journalism, Alex became known for his cutting-edge reporting and TV exposure in local and regional news. Once Alex completed his journalism career, he moved onto social media development and event venue management. He opened two successful event venues and continued to provide assistance to venue owners looking to open their own venue. He proudly joined ILD in 2016 as Director of Business Development and currently oversees the hugely popular Vendor Collaboration Program and all business development projects. When he’s not helping vendors and suppliers create profitable relationships with ILD, Alex is enjoying quality time with his twin girls and wife, Christine.


Michael McGuire

Associate Design Specialist – L2

With over 20 years of providing excellent client service over a range of industries, Michael got his start in the event world working in the Los Angeles entertainment industry. His experience includes award and fashion show production, and set design. He honed his design eye working in the art department on television and commercial sets.  For the past 5 years, Michael has called Austin his home from Chicago. Most recently, he worked at Austin’s premier event production company. He also founded and owned a design firm supporting the non-profit events sector.

The commonality between these diverse experiences is his passion for lighting and production. Joining the ILD team has allowed him to laser focus on illuminating client events brilliantly.

When not searching for a dimmer switch or changing out light bulbs, Michael can often be found wandering around town searching for water for his awesome dog, Connie, to swim in. He enjoys skiing, surfing, traveling to exotic locales and creating craft cocktails at home, taking advantage of his well-stocked bar.

Michelle Cruz

Associate Design Specialist – L1

Known for her attention to detail, Michelle Cruz brings years of design and hospitality experience to the ILD team. Michelle began her career as a design consultant with Pier 1 Imports while finishing her degree in Hospitality and Event Management. In post-graduation, Michelle continued her path to event design by teaming up with one of the top, award-winning catering companies in Texas to insure quality service to hundreds of event guests on a weekly basis. Now, as an Associate Design Specialist for Intelligent Lighting Design, Michelle specializes in venue development and custom event designs for event clients. In her free time, you will find Michelle researching the latest trends, watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, and being fabulous!

Hira Ali

Associate Design Specialist – L1

Hira graduated from St. Edward’s University and joined ILD as a full time Associate Design Specialist in the ILD Headquarters soon after. With a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising, Hira enjoys working in events as it has always been a career that excites her. She enjoys working at ILD because of the hardworking people she is surrounded by each day. When Hira’s not at work she likes to go explore Austin, Texas with her friends! Even though she is a true Austinite, she understands that one can truly never finish discovering what Austin has to offer.

Joshua Piper

General Event Technician / Team Leader

Joshua started off in Houston, Texas as a mechanic helper working for Mundy Companies Maintenance at Solutia which is now called Ascend. At ILD, he cherishes the challenges and the diversity of each project. For Joshua, everyday presents itself with beautiful venues from all over the country. Most of all, he enjoys the reward of seeing people happy and a finished project or completed event setup. He fits in great on the ILD team because he understands the value of lights and believes that they have a way of bringing a certain ambiance and mood to a gathering.

Brian McDermott

General Event Technician / Team Leader

Brian moved from the Boston, MA area (where he worked as a graphic designer for the Boston Phoenix newspaper designing their print ads and concert listings) to Austin, Texas to escape the winters. Seems to us like he made a smart move coming to the South! On top of that, he really enjoys learning about the new technologies in lighting – especially the wireless lights. Each day is exciting as Brian enjoys venturing out to the many different venues he services. With hobbies including music and photography, he continues to enjoy graphic designing.

Gregory Mullen

General Event Technician

Gregory has come along way from painting houses for his dad’s friends – coming to America on a tourist Visa from Zimbabwe – to working at ILD as an event technician. Gregory likes it at ILD because the company offers him fun and creative challenges of making people’s event dreams come true along an awesome crew of new friends that he gets to work with. In his freetime, Greg enjoys his growing interest in chicken rearing and taking in the sights of the beautiful city he lives in.

Nathan Sanchez

General Event Technician

Learn more about Nathan this Spring during our “Get to Know the ILD Team” series!

Nico Naravez

General Event Technician

Learn more about Nico this Spring during our “Get to Know the ILD Team” series!

Jut Feiertag

General Event Technician

Learn more about Jut this Spring during our “Get to Know the ILD Team” series!

Bonnie Olden

General Event Technician

Learn more about Bonnie this Spring during our “Get to Know the ILD Team” series!