Meet The Strickland’s Team
Fred Kumpel | Owner
Since 2008, Fred has successfully continued on with the Strickland’s family tradition of superior customer service while keeping up with the newest technologies and products. Beyond that, he has revived the window coverings repair center, expanded the commercial and specialty branches of the business, and added multiple new divisions to the Strickland’s portfolio. His most exciting window covering job was installing shades on the Outer Banks ferry boats, though he says there have been many favorites along the way.
An active member of the local business networking community, Fred devotes much of his time to supporting others. When Fred isn’t working in the community or helping customers improve their properties with window treatments, he enjoys working on his own home. His wife Melissa, a recently-retired middle school teacher, always has something new to add to the Honey-Do list. And when the work is done, they like to relax with their dog, Bella.
- Dream view: Looking over a mountain range with a valley and waterfall
- Favorite window treatment: Plantation shutters
Chris de Jong | Sales Manager
As a native Wilmingtonian, Chris can attest to the great amount of growth his hometown and the industry have experienced in the past few decades. “The view from my ‘office’ changes every day,” he says. “I spend the vast majority of my time meeting with architects, interior designers, contractors, and homeowners all over the Greater Wilmington area. I love learning about so many different projects and recommending solutions based on our selection of nearly 500 window covering products. Between staying in the know about the latest technologies and trends in our industry and meeting new people, the only constant in my line of work is the variety.”
When Chris isn’t working on projects for businesses or homeowners, he enjoys working on his own home. He even designs and builds his own furniture! He also enjoys kayaking, fishing, and riding his motorcycle.
- Dream view: The tidal marshes behind Masonboro Isle at dawn
- Favorite window treatment: Motorized Roman Shades
Joelle Ando | Designer
When she isn’t designing custom window treatments, Joelle enjoys watching HGTV, playing tennis, and walking on the beach. In her own home, she uses faux wood blinds, a great pick for their style and longevity.
- Dream view: The ocean
- Favorite window treatment: Plantation shutters and woven wood shades
Michael Steiner | ASID Lead Home Organization Designer
Michael worked for several designers and operated his own design business in the Raleigh area for the next few decades. He also freelanced as a photo stylist and illustrator for numerous interior design magazines, and as a set designer for the movie industry. Now, having returned to Wilmington, Michael is proud to be Lead Designer for Strickland’s Closets & Home Organization and Strickland’s Custom Garages.
In his spare time, Michael loves shopping in flea markets and thrift stores for unusual items to redesign and refurbish. His favorite find is anything that he can repurpose as a lighting fixture. Michael also enjoys gardening, biking, sailing and spending time on the beach or in the mountains with family, friends, and his Portuguese Water Dog, Lola.
- Dream view: The view from the porch of a Wrightsville Beach oceanfront cottage
- Favorite window treatment: Custom draperies in raw silk
Carol Pendergrass | Drapery Designer
With 40 years of experience under her belt, Carol joined the Strickland’s Blinds team ready use her creative skills in new ways every day. She says: “It’s the best place to buy window treatments – there are great products and helpful staff!”
In addition to her interior design jobs, Carol also reads and knits. On the weekends, Carol enjoys being with her husband, David, who’s been by her side for almost 30 years; her two kids, Maggie and Zack; and Zack’s wife, Emily.
- Dream view: Any water view will do!
- Favorite window treatment: Custom draperies, of course.
Laura Salo | Operations Manager
Laura grew up in West Virginia and lived in Cape Cod before relocating for warmer waters in Wilmington. An operations management aficionado already, she joined Strickland’s in 2003 and has been in charge of the day-to-day operations ever since. She oversees 5 divisions and streamlines the company’s communications, scheduling, appointments, and orders. For her, the key to her ongoing success at Strickland’s has been her team. As she says: “We have the most talented, dedicated team. Most of the time things go perfectly, but when they don’t, we work hard until they are perfect.”
When Laura’s away from her office, she enjoys listening to self-growth books, biking with her daughter, and camping on the beach with family and friends. She’s also recently taken up Zumba – “It’s so challenging, but it is so rewarding – and I feel great afterward!” she says.
- Dream view: Woods in the front yard, beach in the backyard
- Favorite window treatment: Cellular shades
Keecha Anderson | Accountant
A native of Wilmington, Keecha previously worked as an office administrator and childcare teacher. She found a professional home at Strickland’s thanks to its commitment to its employees and their development. As she says: “It’s a privilege for me to work for a company that encourages its employees to grow, not only in their profession but also as individuals. It means a lot to me that the management team here believes in strong business ethics and integrity.”
When Keecha isn’t taking care of the books at Strickland’s, she enjoys bonding with her children: “My daughter loves reading and baking, so we ‘travel’ through books together at local bookstores and feed our souls in the kitchen. My son loves boxing and motor cross, so I hang tough and sling mud with him!” Keecha also enjoys doing arts and crafts, going to the gun range, and volunteering at her church.
- Dream view: A mountaintop view at sunset
- Favorite window treatment: Wood blinds
Beckah Daggett | Customer Service
After a busy day at the desk, Beckah and her husband, a professional firefighter, enjoy taking their son to the movie theater to enjoy the latest blockbuster. They also enjoy trips to the beach, hiking, and grilling out with friends. In her own home, Beckah likes to “keep it simple” with faux wood blinds.
- Dream view: The shores of a Hawaiian island
- Favorite window treatment: Hunter Douglas Silhouette® Window Shadings
Mike Philpot | Customer Service
- Dream view: “I have it!” says Mike, “My backyard which looks out on the woodlands of Holly Shelter Game Land.”
- Favorite Window Treatment: Banded shades – “They’re just so cool!”
Sarah Kyle | Customer Service
Jamey Carver | Installation Manager
- Dream view: Panoramic from the entire floor of a downtown high-rise
- Favorite window treatment: Motorized window coverings with a hub – “They offer great benefits of automation – energy savings and ease of use!”
Paul Libal | Installer
- Dream view: The Intracoastal Waterway
- Favorite window treatment: Motorized shades for the sunroom
Don Cunningham | Installer
- Dream view: The Caribbean coast
- Favorite window treatment: Plantation shutters
Joey Phelps | Installer
Brian Baldridge | Installer
Todd Grimes | Warehouse Manager
“Strickland’s is a great place to work because our team has great people who care about their jobs,” Todd says. “They truly invest and provide each customer with the best products to suit their needs.”
Although he has a passion for Norman blinds, Todd enjoys working with customers to get the best results for their homes.
When he’s off the clock, Todd loves anything that has to do with the ocean. Surfing, kayaking and boating are some of his favorite activities to do when he’s not spending time with family and friends.
- Dream view: Overlooking the ocean from the cliffs in Biarritz, France
- Favorite window treatment: Norman shutters