Rich Witherspoon - Yes Man

Walking though the shop at General Theming Contractors is a little like walking through Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Instead of chocolate and candy, there's wood and printers that look like they came from a giants desktop. Instead of Oompa Loompas, there are recently graduated CCAD students who proudly sport their tattoos. Instead of Willy Wonka, there's Rich Witherspoon.

"It's interesting how my job works," says Witherspoon. "One day I'll be trying to figure out how to paint a set of foam brick walls, and the next day I'll be working on a giant statue."

Witherspoon started at General Theming Contractors about 12 years ago after answering an ad in the classifieds. He was right out of college with a degree in photography and took a job as a muralist with the company. Now he's the CEO overseeing projects that can range from outfitting a Red Robin restaurant to developing an elaborate decorative ceiling sculpture for a top-end store in Mexico.

"I really can't go to too many places where I don't see something that we've created," says Witherspoon. "Since we work in retail and restaurants, we have stuff everywhere now."

Working with companies such as the Limited, Abercrombie and Fitch and Home Depot, Witherspoon is given designs that General Theming is expected to bring to life. The concepts can be very ambitious and it can take some work in some instances. "Like a lot of the people here, we're artists and we kind of like to be challenged with finding a solution to a problem," says Witherspoon. "We like to say that we can do anything that a client needs, that we serve people."

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