Member Spotlight l Melody Cooper

March 1, 2017
Written by: CREW-St. Louis

Melody Cooper, Gray Design Group

Melody Cooper currently serves as Project Manager for Gray Design Group, one of the leading multidisciplined architectural and interior planning firms in the Midwest.  Gray Design is now in its 35th year of business, and is responsible for planning over three million square feet of diverse commercial environments annually.

Melody has been active in the commercial design industry since 2009, after graduating from Maryville University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design.  Melody's main focus in the commercial industry is corporate real estate, representing commercial brokerage companies and end users.  In addition to her involvement in CREW, Melody is also involved with IIDA, and has interests in community and service outreach, sustainability, project management, and fine arts.

Q: When did you decide to get into the commercial real estate industry? Was it always your focus?
A: My interest in interior design developed as a junior in high school. Believe it or not, this career path was the front runner up against criminal investigation. I enjoy fine arts and simply, the opportunity to be creative. Problem solving has always been a strength of mine. These skills, among others, led me to venture down the path of interior design. The desired focus on commercial real estate emerged immediately following my entry into college. I was drawn to the full spectrum of project types within commercial real estate, and the ability to develop or strengthen a company's brand, and environmental wellness.
Perhaps criminal investigation will come later in my career.

Q: What are some of the things you love about your job?
A: Client interaction and space planning. Both require attention to detail, strategic action and sensibility. Understanding and implementing the needs of the client are critical to a successful outcome.

Q: What is your CREW-St. Louis origin? When did you join? Why did you become a member?
A: I joined CREW in April 2014, shortly after joining Gray Design Group. I attended CREW programs and met many CREW members. I recognized the value of the organization for my career as a business woman.

Q: What was the first CREW event you attended and what were your impressions?
A: I attended several events before becoming a member. One of the most memorable events was Transformations in Real Estate - Mall Redevelopment. This speaker event spoke on the Northwest Plaza Mall redevelopment. Learning the steps it took to transform this mall into office space was interesting. Concurrently with the timing of this event, I was working with the property owners, and my client, to transform the old Macy's store into a new call center. 

Q: Please name a few of the projects you've been involved in, specifically in the St. Louis area that you are proud of.
A: As mentioned above, the new call center in St. Ann, MO. In addition, I have managed many technology and corporate office projects throughout St. Louis, and other cities, for this same client. Other recent projects include: Cardinal Rigali Center, Connectria, Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging and Midwest Bank Centre.

Q: What other associations or volunteer activities are you involved with?
A: The Neighborhood Association (Board Member), Lemay Development Corporation (Advisory Council Member), Lemay Neighborhood Association (Resident Member), Joni and Friends Gateway (Volunteer)

Q: What else would you like your fellow CREW-St. Louis members to know about you?
A: On a personal note, I grew up in South St. Louis, and currently live in Lemay, MO. I have been married for 7.5 years to my wonderful husband Jeremiah, who is a local paramedic/firefighter. We have a 5-year-old boxer name Diesel. Great first step before expanding the family!