A Girl Named Shenoa

It is a rare thing to find a good friend.

It is much rarer to find one with your taste in beer and design.

It is the most rare to find a friend that shares your vision for community.

I strolled into the Tri-Cities, a fresh faced, greenback, city-boy from Portland. I was immediately labeled with words like “hipster”, or “liberal”. Little did people know that beneath my skinny-jean clad exterior, I was a much more complicated soul (who happened to freely partake of all the preservative/genetically enhanced food groups). I felt lost in this backwoods town. For nearly two years I wished for nothing more than to pack my bags and leave this barren desert.

Enter: The Founding Father Mother

Erin Anacker did not fit the mold of the Tri-Cities. She had diction when she talked. She spoke of food franchises with disgust. She obviously was not from here. Erin was from Seattle. A designer transplant with the same lost look on her face as myself. When two designers get together they can’t help but design.

Enter: The Round Table

The Collaborative was the brainchild of desperation. Erin and I wanted to talk, learn, experience and share design with others of the same ilk. We drank coffee in excess at the Tri-Cities best coffee joint with the worst name (and website): Barracuda Coffee and talked design. In fact we drank so much coffee that we befriended the owners, a wonderfully cheerful and sardonic couple named Jake and Michelle.

Enter: The Godfather

It might be a strange title but those who know him will understand. He is a part of everything that is truly inspiring in Tri-Cities. He started DocType Society, TriConf, Realtime Conf  and helped pave the way for groups like our own and Room to Think. Adam Brault lives to help others dream and then accomplish those dreams. He began to promote The Collaborative, connecting us with designers, creatives and altogether cool people. (Jenn Turner– thats your affirmation). But that is neither here nor there for Adam was merely the path to even greater things.

Enter: The Heroine


This my friend Shenoa, the one for whom this epic was penned. Adam hooked the Collaborative up with Room to Think, the only local coworking space in the Tri-Cities. Shenoa, a designer of the inter-webs, founded it because…well hell, like the rest of us freelance designers, she was sick of working alone. She wanted other people to talk to, bounce ideas off of, ask questions, and drink beer with. Unlike the rest of us land lubbers, she took to the seas with a devotion that would make a romantic embarrassed. She began Room to Think when most thought it couldn’t be done. She showed up to TriConf in her pajamas to tell us how great coworking is and why we should do it. She drug herself out of bed to show up to the Collaborative and talk shop with the rest of us starry eyed dreamers. She said “I don’t care what society says, I want to change my community.”

Heroes Take Note

Your dreams don’t become reality because you want them to. They require blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice. They require sleepless nights, thousands of cups of coffee (and maybe a few beers) and GOOD FRIENDS.

I am taking notes from your life, friend. I got a pair of skinny jeans for you as you head to the westside.

P.S. My friends are cooler than your friends




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Ty Mulholland

Ty Mulholland

Mastermind @ http://SquidTheRhino.com , by mastermind we mean fumbling, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, accidental, ah s###! designer/creative. Ty is currently is the Creative Director @elevatenet and aspires to be a pirate.

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  • Lou Galindo

    This is very sweet. I know Shenoa, and Room To Think, will be greatly missed around these parts.

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    That was beautifully painted! I loved it!

    ALL you awesome people are spreading your love for community beyond your tech world that is so foreign to me. Even to us land lubbers :). I got bit by the bug too, and now I have a passion for a community of my own, in my little Autism world. And it’s been amazing! I’m so happy to know you all and sad I didn’t get to know Shenoa better. Great things in store for our desert home!

  • Shenoa Lawrence

    I wish I had your gift for words, my friend. Thank you Ty! I’m sure you guys will build some amazing things for this community, as it’ll just be a continuation of everything you’ve done so far. And I’ll miss you!

  • Ty Mulholland

    Shenoa kicks ass. Our community kicks ass. I love that we all have a passion for this little place in SE Washington. That we don’t settle for the thought that nothing can happen here. We happen here everyday. We wake up here, eat/drink here, spend time with meaningful relationships here. So why can’t dreams be birthed here?

    Thats why Shenoa and people like here are so integral to this community. The dream and then they do.

  • Becca Lingley

    This was beautiful and also a great telling of the design history of our community. I can’t wait to see/hear what new awesomeness Shenoa does in Seattle.

  • Sara Taylor

    Beautiful, my dear. Shenoa has changed the face of design in the Tri-Cities. I will always be grateful to her (and to you!) for teaching me what it’s like to be part of a creative, collaborative community. Take that, alliteration-phobes!

  • Sara Taylor

    You will be missed!