Talent Spotlight on Winslow Harte, Senior Industrial Designer
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?
Growing up I always enjoyed cars and art. My senior year in high school, I was enrolled in 4 separate art classes ranging from graphic design to sculpture.
Shortly after high school I bought my first VW and quickly began modifying the car; shaving and molding body panels, removing emblems, lowering the suspension, and adding wider wheels. I was hired onto a small autobody team that built custom European cars, many that ended up on the cover of car magazines. I loved the attention to detail I was able to give these cars.
Helping visualize a customer’s dream was incredibly rewarding. It sparked a new passion for designing cars as a career, but after a short stent in Pasadena, CA at Art Center College of Design, the transportation design graduating class told us freshman that we had a better chance at becoming professional basketball players than becoming professional car designers.
I asked myself, do I continue down a path that would most certainly end with me slinging lattes 40 hours a week, or focus on my passion, helping people visualize their dreams. With a shifted focus now on industrial design, I was able to hone my craft and as they say, the rest is history.
What excites you most about your job?
At Product Creation Studio, the diversity of projects we work on keeps me excited. Consumer products have primarily been my background, but during my time here, I have enjoyed taking on more human-centered design challenges. Diving deep into specific user driven design problems, working collaboratively with highly talented peers, and creating products that enhance people’s lives is extremely rewarding.
With a brother that lives with mental and physical disabilities, I am incredibly empathetic toward designing for the end user. I’ve used my own life experiences to help guide me toward rewarding and enhancing product driven solutions.
Describe your most rewarding work experience to date.
Early in my career, I worked with a consumer electronics company creating their visual brand language that has helped them sell nearly 30 million units to date.
What is the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
Picture this, a 14-year-old kid just under 5 feet tall, slugging a 12 + foot Christmas tree through a field and onto a customer’s SUV. That’s right, my first job was selling Christmas trees outside during the winter months just north of Ballard.
I was the smallest and youngest person on the team but was determined to not let that slow me down. The job taught me discipline and persistence, and on our closing night, I was welcomed into the boss’s office with everyone else and handed a (small) shot of whiskey to celebrate a successful season. It was a small token of gratitude, but it’s stayed with me.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I enjoy snowboarding and try and to get up to the mountain as much as possible. In high school I even tried to compete with the hopes of going professional, but after a nasty fall, I decided to take it easy and just enjoy riding for fun these days. I’ve got a 2-year-old daughter now and have the opportunity to pass the torch on to her. We got her a snowboard and have been hitting the magic carpet almost every weekend this past season. So far, she loves it.