2018 Meritorious Global Influence Award: Nikki Gledhill

The UTSA CACP’s Meritorious Global Influence Award honors an alumni in any class who has shown evidence of international and global reach in their professional responsibilities. An Austin, Texas native who currently resides in Spring Branch, Nikki Gledhill earned her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from UTSA in 2006. She is currently CEO and VIP Aircraft Interior Designer at MBG International Design, LLC, which was established in 2009. She has contributed to the interior design of jets for MGM Resorts, Sands Group, Google, United Arab Emirates’ President, the Japanese government, and confidential Chinese and Saudi Arabian clients. Nikki was named the 2017 Designer to Watch from Jet Moda Magazine and earned Top 10 designs of the decade 2007-2017 from Business Jet Interiors in the Airbus 340-500 category. She was shorted listed for Pegasus by the International Yacht and Aviation Awards in 2013.

On her time spent at UTSA:

My time at UTSA started at the 1604 campus with my freshman and sophomore studio classes. The beginning of Junior year was when the College of Architecture was moved to the downtown campus. I graduated in 2006. I remember long nights and professors that genuinely cared about our well being and our success, even after graduation.

How she got into aircraft interior design:

Immediately following my gradation in 2006, I was hired by an aircraft design and modification company in San Antonio. I worked on numerous different aircrafts frames from Boeing and Airbus until 2011, when I left to pursue MBG full time where I continued working with Airbus and Boeing along with smaller aircraft such as Gulfstream, Citation, Embraer, and Bombardier. 

On working with MBG International Design, LLC:

Every project is unique and one-of-a-kind. Each client is distinctive and desires something special and more enhanced than the next person. Custom, highly detailed, and state-of-the-art are always the understood reality for every project.

Her typical workday:

Many days start before the sun even rises. Checking email that has been delivered while I slept. The majority of my clients are overseas and their days are different and almost over once I wake in the morning. A lot of work and correspondence happens overnight. Therefore, many mornings are for playing catch up. After conquering emails, I generally start my task list for the day. Which can include, sketching, working on material specifications, selecting materials, redlining elevation packages or marking up 3D renderings. 

Her advice for current students:

Soak it all in. The knowledge, the all-nighters, the friendships, it’s all part of the process. It may seem overwhelming, the days and nights in your design studios, but that never changes. It’s setting you up for the years in your career where you will do the same. Chase after the dream, not the money. You’ll find your most comfortable and rewarding job may not be the highest-paying one.

The UTSA CACP Distinguished Alumni Awards were introduced at the college’s 15-Year Celebration in Spring of 2017 and are now awarded annually as part of the CACP’s Scholarship Banquet each fall semester. Distinguished alumni are nominated by faculty, vetted through a faculty committee, and voted on by faculty.