While working as an automotive supplier I had the opportunity to live in Germany. I was involved in early stages of growth in our European interior and seating design department. I was tasked with managing multiple projects and mentoring staff designers while absorbing as much as possible about European business and lifestyle.
This was one of my most rewarding career experiences, providing a truly unique cultural immersion. Beyond the experience of working on new products, the opportunity to absorb valuable lessons about history, politics, urban and rural life and the value of really good food can never be understated.
As a senior designer, I guided the design and fabrication teams through concept to final build and crafted the property's key message for the North American International Autoshow. Zones of distinct activity were identified in our consumer research studies and drove the features known as "surprise and delight." Storage pockets for drive-through services, message trays, large open bins, reconfigurable displays and there controls were integrated into panel surfaces.
Zones of activity resulted from research studies conducted through a variety of techniques from cameras in the car to in depth interviews with a variety of nation wide drivers.
Managed - Seating Properties
I was responsible for the timing, resources and management of development teams for the fold-flat seating concept, corporate seat structure and comfort cool seat properties for the North American International Autoshow.
One of my biggest challenges involved securing the correct resources for prototype development. This required defining tasks such as "bench engineering" and "pre-surface feasibility" within our production-minded organization.
I worked cross-functionally with industrial designers, surface feasibility, wood and metal fabrication, soft trim, mechanical designers and foam development.
In automotive seating, much of the design is kinetic by nature, requiring materials that allow for quick iterations and multiple modifications. The use of linkage mock ups, foam studies, kinematics studies are all needed to test the design prior to final fabrication.
My first product design job out college was at Fitch RichardsonSmith, in Ohio. The design, electronics and marketing groups were looking for a new home theater product line. After our first day at Harman Kardon in California, we were told to go home after the Rodney King verdict was announced.
Working as a consultant embedded within another corporate culture taught me a great deal about being flexible, collaborative and patient. Lessons I would benefit from in my later experience living and working in Germany. I saw the high-level of attention paid to visual and physical details and elemental complexities of addressing products within a series.
Gatekeeper Cedar Point
As a student at College for Creative Studies, our class project was to design a roller coaster for Cedar Point. Our work was shared with the Amusement park development team and an article was written in an industry publication.
Years later, I saw the introduction of the "Gatekeeper" ride, and similarities within my original concept. Although I was not involved in the construction, the suspended dual seating, flexible spine on track, monolithic supports and even the color are similar. Whether the engineers were influenced by CCS student designs or not, I like to think my concept was on the right track.
Working with individuals to tell their story and pitch for investors.
Skate board CCS
I enjoy sketching and storytelling, and am fortunate my childrens' elementary school encouraging art. I created a series of booklets used to introduce simple shape drawing to K-5 students and created projects to support writing assignments within the curriculum. I also conduct workshops and have created a comic book based on characters created by a second grade teacher.