Talent Spotlight is a regular feature profiling the employees of Product Creation Studio. See the Talent Spotlight archive for more interviews.
What led you to a career in product development?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t building, drawing or tinkering. My childhood was consumed with tearing apart any box that housed a mechanical mystery, drawing fanciful versions of objects around me, and ‘fixing’ things that didn’t work.
I discovered at an early age, the joy in drawing and re-imagining cars, machines, or houses that somehow lacked - to my childhood logic - beauty, function or efficiency. What I didn’t know then was that I was actually designing and developing products.
Years later I found myself in community college trying to figure out my career path. I was taking drafting classes, working as an intern at Boeing and taking a heavy dose of art classes.
During this time I realized that moving manufacturing equipment, water lines and HVAC around on paper was not satisfying my creative itch. My search for something more fulfilling led me to discover Industrial Design at Western Washington University.
What excites you most about your job?
The range in complexity and variety of work that a full service consultancy (like us) brings in, is exciting. In my 20 years in product development I have had the opportunity to design and develop furniture systems, medical equipment, scientific and industrial equipment, personal electronics, wearables, appliances, soft-goods, and beauty products.
I love the challenge of working out a problem within the sandbox you have been given, then driving a complex mechanism, interaction, and construction to a simple and elegant solution.
Describe your most rewarding work experience to date.
My most rewarding work experience was leading the team that designed the first waterproof cochlear implant processor.
Creating a first-of-its-kind product had an immense impact on the product's end users that would otherwise be deaf in - or under - the water. Our client, Advanced Bionics, was honored with a range of awards and emotional quotes from the parents of children using their implant stating how the product had changed their family’s lives for the better.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
One of my passions is long distance touring with vintage cars and motorcycles.
If I am not on the road or at work I can usually be found in my shop fabricating, modifying or maintaining something. Old machines need a lot of TLC and I find catharsis in the process of dialing in old machines to be reliable for what can be thousands of miles of basically endurance driving.
Another love is architecture. As the son of an architect, it is somewhere in the genes I guess. I like experimenting with projects that update my 1951 Lovell home. I toy with mid-century and true modern, juxtaposing the two and trying to find visual and functional harmony. I challenge myself in these projects to maintain the identity of this almost 70 year old home while adding elements of comfort that are in tune with how we live today.
Both hobbies let me work with my hands. I go back to the basics and it allows me to stay in touch with physical materials, mechanisms, and craftsmanship. These are design outlets that are purely based on a love of process and personal desire to create ... like when I was a kid.