I give a lot of credit to my Dad for guiding me towards the design guild, he was a Product Designer - now retired. I grew up smelling Bondo and markers and saw design work in the suburbs of Chicago IL. Then in 1985 our family moved to Pennsylvania where I graduated Dallas Sr. High School in 1992. As a HS graduate,… Read More
I give a lot of credit to my Dad for guiding me towards the design guild, he was a Product Designer - now retired. I grew up smelling Bondo and markers and saw design work in the suburbs of Chicago IL. Then in 1985 our family moved to Pennsylvania where I graduated Dallas Sr. High School in 1992. As a HS graduate, I was accepted to Product/Industrial Design programs at Art Center College of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Carleton Univerity of Ottowa, Rhode Island School of Design, Rochester Institute of Technology and UC. Also I was considering pre-med at the time, and was accepted to several Ivy league schools but my interest was more focused on design.
I chose to attend at University of Cincinnati where I was grateful to have the opportunity to work as a 'Co-Op' (intern) with pay at Philips/Magnavox in Knoxville, Siemens Nuclear Medicine Group in Chicago, Designworks/BMW in Thousand Oaks, and Kenner/Hasbro in Cincinnati. During school I was able to maintain a steady flow of freelance work with Hasbro working on toy products for motion picture and entertainment work. I also did concept art freelance for Coca-Cola, Disney, and several local firms that produced films and advertising. For those who are not familiar, UC at the time was a major force in product design, and one of the only schools with a 5-year program that included intern work. 3 months of school and 3 months of work alternating creates a very entrepreneurial atmosphere in the students who usually are very self reliant and self motivating.
I Graduated University of Cincinnati School of Design Architecture Art and Planning 1997. I was happy to say I was a UC graduate in my cover letters and felt like I had a solid 2 years of actual work experience despite only just being 'out of school' and 'green'. The Job search was challenging back in that time, especially for students looking to get an automotive career going, the market was saturated, and few companies were hiring direct employees so I took a job at Magna Seating in Farmington MI. For a time I relied on freelance work from Hasbro to keep the design work going.
I worked at Magna seating for 7 years developing the Stow-N-Go seat concepts, and initial patent with my friend Jeff Poniatowski. There are some clever stories told by various entities that may dispute the validity of said patents, rest assured our patent is the original. During my stay at Magna my role was primarily advanced packaging of seats. Seats that can fold and stow in almost any spot in a vehicle. Under the floor, in the roof, on the body sides, etc. We also spent alot of resources developing a 'mesh seat' that would be perfect for off-road duty, and waterproof. This time in seating granted me a deep understanding of both legal and mechanical limitations on automotive design, but has kept my interest all this time. I would be very excited to re-visit the idea of an all new mini-van from the ground up focused on seating flexibility, it's never been done properly IMO.
During my time at Magna there were numerous entertainment and toy design opportunities presented to me for freelance work, which i used to supplement my day job. I was fortunate to work on several high profile projects with Hasbro including Gi-Joe, Transformers, Micro Machines, Nerf, RC, and several clandestine motion picture projects where Hasbro was seeking contracts with a production studio. This experience taught me about the perceived value of design, billing, self employment, self promotion, but most of all imaginative visualization!
After spending 7 years at Magna I was offered the opportunity to segway to Chrysler and work on interiors for the Truck Studio. I felt like I had finally graduated from college (or grad school) and began working on Truck and Jeep interiors (and exteriors) in the combined studios. Highlights include:
- Dodge Nitro Exterior component parts (mirrors, vents, lights, etc)
- Dodge Rampage Concept car interior seating and initial advanced concept work
- Ram Truck Interior 2009 for doors, trim, seating, and overhead (all versions)
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior 2011, 2014, 2016 full cockpit lead design, theme work for IP-doors-console
- SRT Viper Interior initial concept and packaging, and project management
- Advanced work for Jeep brand Interiors (ongoing)
Needless to say I have been busy. During the time I started at Chrysler in 2004 and today, alot has changed and I was forced to give up doing freelance work despite my ongoing interest in entertainment design. I must admit during my time at Chrysler I have seen many types of management styles come and go. The experience has been priceless and presents the concept of eternal optimism based on hard facts. As I move forward in design I always revisit the basics of lines, materials, and function. I cant wait to show you my next designs!
On a personal note, I have recently started fabricating cycle-karts (a derivative of the 1920's style 'cycle-cars') and have plans to create art books and how-to books for enthusiasts to learn from. I find 3D sculpture is my passion, the fact that it's in motion even more so!
Also during my time at Chrysler/FCA I have had the opportunity to instruct Sophomore Transportation Design Studio at College for Creative Studies, a school I have been a fan of for many years. Teaching is also a good chance to inspire students with knowledge and experience, and "raise the bar" for the next generation. I cant wait for more students to show up that have both the skill and creativity to challenge the conventions we 'professionals' hold dear. Read Less