Nancy Richardson Design Center Affiliates Inspired by collaborative industry partnerships.
Nancy Richardson Design Center Affiliates are a dynamic and creative community of industry professionals who we count on for inspiration, expertise, and support. With a commitment to pushing the boundaries of design thinking, our affiliates collaborate to help us build an exceptional learning community at Colorado State University.
Christopher Arnold | Creative Orchestra
“As a dyslexic, I have had to be strategic beyond just being a creative. The whole process of how our brains work, how we create, think and where inspiration comes from fascinates me. I read up from biology to psychology.
From an early age, I knew I could think differently, to use a sports analogy, I could run when others could just walk. Why? How is it that we all think differently but some better than others? How can we develop that ability like a sportsman develops his ability?
Design Thinking is just one of many methodologies I embrace and have used. But after many years I have taken the best of thinking ideas and methodologies, added new ideas and created FLIP – a way to think all you know and rethink everything.”
Christopher Arnold is a Doctor of Business, a former CD and board director of Saatchi & Saatchi (London), and former chair of both the DMA Agencies Council and the Creative Council. He is the founder of Creative Orchestra, an ethical brand marketing & advertising agency, The Garage Innovation Lab, helping established brands take on disruptive innovators and become ‘Agile Adaptors’, and co-founder of CONNECT2, UK’s leading community engagement marketing agency. He has been a creative Director at BLAC, FEEL, Draft Worldwide, Alliance, HK McCann’s and has worked at over 15 agencies over 25 years. Additionally, he is a NED, non-executive director on five start-ups businesses. He has written for Campaign, Brand Republic, Marketing, AdAge, Brand Strategy Magazine, Creative Review, Impact Magazine, the Financial Times, Admap/WARC, as well as many other publications and appearances on TV and radio. He is also a public speaker and seeks to challenge his audience to think differently and has spoken at over 100 top conferences and events. He has also run creative thinking workshops with over 50 brands/organizations. Additionally, he speaks on the “creative economy” and on the “dyslexic advantage” for Speakers for Schools, a UK organization that sends entrepreneurs and business leaders into schools to inspire the next generation.
Ray Browning | Nike, Inc.
“The framework of design thinking helps to guide the innovation process. By asking probing questions, identifying opportunities and iteratively developing potential solutions, new knowledge, products, and services can emerge. In my industry and academic roles, I have witnessed the challenge many organizations and individuals face when moving from the application of skills to the creation of something new. As a result, my professional interest in design thinking is to help others understand and utilize this powerful approach. In particular, I am interested in optimizing the methods used to educate students, so they see themselves as engaged, impactful problem solvers.”
Ray Browning has a diverse background and skill set with expertise in human performance science, product innovation, and leadership. As a Senior Director in the Nike Innovation Sports Research Lab, Browning leads a team of sports scientists and engineers that drove footwear innovation. Prior to working at Nike, Browning was an associate professor in the Health and Exercise Science department at Colorado State University where he combined biomechanics, physiology, and engineering to better understand how physical activity can prevent/treat obesity. He also co-founded Physical Activity Innovations. Prior to academia, Browning was the VP of Product Development at Asimba, author, and professional triathlete. These experiences have developed his skills in innovation, entrepreneurship, product development, research, and athletic performance. Browning holds a Ph.D. in Integrative Physiology (University of Colorado), M.S. in Kinesiology (UCLA) and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (CSU).
Gary W. Caille | Kee Energy NA, LLC
“Traditionally design thinking has been stove-piped by discipline without significant integration or interaction until near the end of the process. My interest in the design process is to integrate the disciplines early in the process and employ complex systems modeling methods to construct an interactive matrix of alternatives leading to quantitative multi-attribute decision making. The primary goal of the analysis is to provide robust solutions that take into account technical engineering analysis, social sciences, the total cost of ownership and community preferences. A second goal is to introduce students to this more complete approach to design and ultimately solving complex problems.”
Dr. Caille has extensive experience in systems engineering and systems of systems applications. He has developed submarine SONAR systems, armor/blast resistant systems, vehicles and vehicle systems, and energy systems. He was the principal investigator for a $5M DOE grant focused on electric vehicle education and community awareness. Presently he is developing solutions for the systematic introduction of electric vehicles including taxis, buses and last-mile delivery vehicles into urban environments. Dr. Caille is also focusing on integrated systems solutions using renewable energy generation methods to provide robust solutions with positive environmental and economic for communities.
Laurie Davis | Davis Davis Architects
“Design enables us to imagine and remake the physical world into a better place. Design is inventing. Creating a world we can comprehend, because design teaches us. And one we are inspired by, because design reaches us by exciting our senses. Passion ignites us. Working with a mindset of making a regenerative world, design thinking allows us to draw from various other disciplines from philosophy to biology to create powerful concepts that lift us up. Good design buoys our humanity and refines our environments. Beauty compels us. I’m a maker. I use my hands to tell my brain how to see. So naturally, I’m a strong advocate for designers learning hand sketching and physical modeling. These hand-centered exploratory design and communication skills are empowering. In the last twenty years, we’ve been blessed with digital developments in information modeling and design representation, but it has also been a curse to the creative process. Before we make something technically proficient, we first must understand its essence and design value. This discovery happens when the hand meets paper with pencil and creativity sparks the brain. Design is iterative.”
Laurie Perriello Davis, principal in Charge of Design at Davis Davis Architects, is an architect who believes in the ability of architecture to inspire and reshape the physical world with sustainable and regenerative methods. Her design direction is rooted in the belief in the transcendent qualities of authentic materiality and form. She strives to make buildings that celebrate people, the environment, and the community in a positive way. Laurie has taught design and theory classes at the University of Arkansas and the New School of Architecture in San Diego. Laurie joined with partner Robert L. Davis, Jr. in 1994 to create Davis Davis Architects. She is passionate about sustainable design and is a Living Futures Accredited Professional.
Colin Day | Institute for the Built Environment
“My interest in the Richardson Design Center is based in my focus on civic engagement education through the lens of public art and placemaking. I have dedicated my educational and professional careers to the pursuit of activating public spaces through art, food, and community regeneration. My current work is aimed at engaging youth groups and community forums in conversations about community issues, and in co-creating solutions for these issues through collaborative art-making and design interventions.”
Colin Day is a Projects Manager for the Institute for the Built Environment focused on community and district-scale projects and initiatives including the Fort Collins EcoDistrict, the Urban Lab, Sun Valley EcoDistrict, and the National Western Center. As a Project Manager for the Institute for the Built Environment, Colin’s focus is on civic resilience, community-based participatory design, food systems, and placemaking. His Master’s work focused on redesigning environmentally compromised landscapes for educational and community uses. He received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the California College of the Arts, where he focused on painting and drawing. As a longtime resident and student of cities, his interest in urban design, urban scale sustainability and resilience, public art and edible landscape led him to his work at CSU. His interest in art and design, his skills in creative problem solving and abstract thinking, and his desire to collaborate through education and applied research are the foundation for his interest in participating in the Richardson Design Center curriculum.
Carla Dore | Workplace Resource
“For me, the excitement of what I do comes from the fact that nothing is ever boring, mundane, or routine. I always say that great things happen when you do what you say you are going to do, when you anticipate what your teammates and clients need, and when you’re mindful to take care of each other. Over the course of time, this philosophy has enabled Workplace Resource to create extraordinary places inside and outside our organization.”
Carla Dore, President, and CEO of Workplace Resource has over 30 years of industry experience and holds degrees in both Interior Design and Industrial Construction Management from CSU. She is a fourth-generation Coloradan and the proud mother of two children. She enjoys an active lifestyle which includes fly-fishing, golf, travel, and cooking. In addition to serving proudly as a trustee for the YMCA, she is involved in Colorado State University and is on the Executive Committee for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.
William Duff | William Duff Architects
“As architects, design thinking is at the core of everything we do. We use creativity to find solutions to problems where there seem to be none. Whether it’s figuring out how to fit a building into a tight urban site or solving a scheduling issue, creativity and design thinking are the tools that help us come up with innovative solutions to complex problems. I believe this same approach can be used in all fields and I’m excited for the role the Nancy Richardson Design Center can plan in promoting design thinking at CSU.”
William Duff is the Founder and Managing Principal of San Francisco based William Duff Architects, an innovative, award-winning architecture practice that is nationally recognized for creating responsible, sustainable architecture throughout the Western U.S. His work is known for its elegant simplicity both in plan and detail, and for a sophisticated use of materials, light, and warmth to create innovative modern spaces. His designs have included flagship retail stores, single and multi-family homes, restaurants, office spaces, cafes, wineries, art galleries, and full building renovations. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and his Master’s in Construction Management from Colorado State University.
Brian Dunbar | Institute for the Built Environment
“The act of design thinking, especially when accomplished with open, free minds leads to design creations and solutions seldom found with rigid and isolated processes. As a researcher, practitioner, and facilitator of the stimulating integrative design process, I have witnessed true synergies where a newly formed, the diverse team found their way to innovations that would not have been discovered by any of the individuals or by a less integrative process. I anticipate witnessing many stimulating charrettes, workshops, and group processes where celebrations of inspiring creations become a common occurrence! It is an honor to be invited to join the Nancy Richardson Design Center as an Affiliate Faculty. The far-reaching vision of the RDC will bring together diverse students, faculty, and off-campus professionals to collaborate, innovate, and address real and hypothetical problems.”
Brian Dunbar is the Executive Director of the Institute for the Built Environment and Professor Emeritus of design and construction at Colorado State University. Brian holds degrees in architecture from the University of Michigan and is a LEED AP, WELL AP, USGBC Faculty Member, and USGBC Advisory Council member. Brian co-authored 147 Tips on Teaching Sustainability, Whole School Sustainability, and co-created LENSES, a regenerative design framework. Brian’s work in sustainable design and development has been honored by the AIA, the Colorado Governor, Alliance Center, businesses and universities. In 2012, the USGBC recognized Brian with its LEED Fellow distinction.
Jami Dunbar | Under Armour
“I am an innovator in apparel technical design. My key focus is conceiving, testing, and developing future processes for design, manufacturing, and virtualization of apparel. I am a strong believer that with vision and compassionate leadership we can utilize the resources at hand to develop revolutionary solutions that better our everyday lives.”
Jami Dunbar is Vice President of Apparel and Virtualization for Lighthouse, Under Armour’s advanced manufacturing innovation hub. She joined Under Armour in August 2012 and is grateful to lead a team in the creation of award-winning and patented designs. Prior to Under Armour, she served as Vice President of Technical Design at Abercrombie & Fitch and previously held positions at Hollister, Nordstrom, and Abercrombie Kids. Expanding her knowledge and educating others is key to evolving the industry’s thought process. She maintains active involvement with students in Apparel and Textiles and serves on multiple academic Advisory Boards. She received a Bachelor of Science in Apparel and Textiles from Kansas State University, holds several certifications, and continues to search for opportunities to learn about technologies that are shaping the way we will live our future lives.
Scott Elias | Poudre School District
“The challenges we face in public education are complex. Design thinking provides a structure for learners and leaders to solve interesting problems in creative ways and requires all of us to lead with empathy and challenge our assumptions. Additionally, the process encourages creativity, deep-thinking, and embracing failure while quickly taking action on a small scale. I have committed my career to changing the experience of “school” for all learners and design thinking provides a practical, replicable framework to move from idea to action.”
Scott Elias is currently the Director of Innovative Learning Environment Design in the Poudre School District. Prior to joining the PSD team in June of 2018, Scott spent five years on the education team at Apple Inc. collaborating with K-12 district leaders around the country to support the design and strategic planning of innovative learning initiatives. In his current role, Scott leads the process of designing the instructional spaces for PSD’s new campuses and supports new and ongoing innovative projects in the district. Scott earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, and his doctorate from Colorado State University.
Aaron Finch | Headwaters Consulting, LLC.
“For a significant portion of my business career, I have been responsible for product development and design. In this role, I have studied innovative organizations and implemented many initiatives to enhance the design process. In an early form of empathetic design during the earliest days of Coinstar, we had hundreds of open-ended conversations with average people about their relationship with their loose change. The data we gleaned from these simple observations and engagements told us all we needed to know to identify our target customers and their motivations, challenges, and needs. These insights led to a very successful business model. When working with Stanford Seed in West Africa, I was introduced to Design Thinking as developed at the Stanford d-school and quickly realized it “connected the dots” of my years of research and practice. Innovation and product design are about solving customer problems and meeting customer needs. Design thinking can be taught and the process can be adapted to problem-solving in all spheres of human endeavor. It is human-centered, rich in rapid MVP prototypes, iterative, more about doing than thinking and mindful of the process. What excites me the most about design thinking is it lets you create a new future through startling, unexpected design accidents.”
Aaron Finch is an entrepreneur and coach. He started his first company, an athletic club in Fort Collins, Colorado, soon after graduating from Colorado State University with a B.S in Natural Resources and brief professional football career. He followed this first venture with the acquisition, growth, and ultimate sale of a contract plastic injection molding company. After receiving his M.B.A. from Stanford University, Aaron was a member of the founding team at Coinstar, whereas COO/VP Operations he was responsible for product engineering, manufacturing, field service, and logistics. Coinstar completed an IPO in 1997 and today is the leader in automated remote retail having added the business lines of Redbox and EcoATM. Recently, Aaron was the COO of Otter Products and CEO of 1OAK Technologies, a technology development company affiliated with Otter Products. He recently completed a year with Stanford Seed in West Africa, coaching the founders and leaders of small and medium enterprises and currently is consulting with early-stage startups. Aaron is married to Catherine and has two grown children.
Alister Fraser | Amazon
“I believe that our best natural resource is the creative capacities of our young people. Never before has it been so important for industry to encourage emerging design talent and re-invest its profitability in design; from research and development to grass roots education. Design thinking is the most accessible method by which to encourage individuals, from any background or discipline, to entrepreneurially and creatively engage in the world around them.”
Alister Fraser is the Global Head Digital Customer Experience and ISV Horizontals at Amazon (AWS). In that role Alister leverages Amazons culture of innovation to connect the worlds leading global consulting partners with some of the most promising, growth-stage, start-ups to reimagine customer experiences leveraging Data, AI, ML, Computer vision on AWS. Prior to joining Amazon, Alister led Global Academic programs for PTC which provided 3D modelling and computer vision technology to thousands of universities and schools across the globe to support classroom curriculum and academic research in Rapid Manufacturing, Augmented Reality and IoT.
Kenny Gruchalla | National Renewable Energy Laboratory
“I am particularly interested in the human-centered aspect of design thinking as an approach to the design of interactive visualization capabilities that provide tools for finding meaning in increasingly large and complex data.”
Dr. Kenny Gruchalla is a senior scientist and a Distinguished Member of Research Staff in the Computational Science Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where he leads the visualization efforts. He has more than 25 years of professional experience in scientific programming and scientific visualization, spanning several scientific disciplines, including aerospace, geophysics, molecular biology, and environmental engineering. His current research interests include the intersection of scientific visualization and human-computer interaction for energy-systems analysis. Kenny holds a Ph.D. in computer science (University of Colorado).
Ed Goodman | Spiral Thinking
“At Spiral Experiences, we are a creative strategy, design, and dream-making studio. Using Spiral Thinking and design thinking processes, we are able to engage with a wide variety of clients, industries and applications to truly envision the dream future, create novel design approaches, deliver executable strategies, and ultimately realize new realities. Whether we are creating a new downtown or an entertainment district, building inclusive corporate cultures or reinventing transformational products or services, spiral thinking can extend the benefits of design thinking and lead to a higher level of creativity and team belief. Ideas are the currency of the future and a process for innovation and transformation can turn a dream into a living reality.
The RDC provides a platform and the processes to engage students and other constituents to define new dreams and design new futures… this is vital for the 21st century. It is my personal dream to instill in each person the thinking processes that enable them to discover their inner genius and create new pathways toward their own versions of happiness and fulfillment.”
An inventive thinker, visionary and creatively-oriented technical and management professional, Ed’s career has spanned the fields of experience design, marketing, strategic planning, engineering, land planning, education, television/media production, entertainment, and non-profit think tank management. Ed crafted new thinking models known as the Spiral Thinking process, Visioneering, and Creative Dreamscaping. He is a co-creator with Dave Goodman of the Spiral Thinking Theory and the ebook, “Creating The New American Dream – The Spiral Renaissance Theory.” He is a co-founder of The MindShare Network, The Global Network for Dreams, Hope and Life Activation (www.MindShareNetwork.com). He is the recipient of the global EXPY Award as Experience Design/Stager of the Year.
James Henriksen | ABML, llc & CSU NREL
“Design thinking is a wonderful mindset and process to use in systems that include microbial life. I am particularly interested in applying empathy to understanding the needs of both human and microbial parts of complex systems. How do we design with nature? “
James Henriksen is an Environmental Microbiologist & Bioinformatician who designs scientific platforms, creates useful devices, and makes discoveries. He addresses pressing global problems by leveraging microbial diversity. He has pursued this mission at Department of Energy national laboratories, academic institutions, and biotech startups. His tools of choice are microscopes, DNA, computer code, electronics, power tools, and whiteboards. His favorite collaborators are artists, engineers, and microbes.
Mitch Holmes | MitchCraft Tiny Homes
“As soon as I was introduced to the Nancy Richardson Design Center, I was immediately intrigued at the opportunity of using my skillsets to help students learn more about the creative solutions that come with designing and building a tiny home on wheels. My natural inclination is to share my passion of the trades with anyone who will listen.”
Mitch Holmes is the owner of MitchCraft Tiny Homes, a custom tiny home builder located in Fort Collins, CO. He and his team have been on the forefront of the tiny home industry, focusing on high quality tiny homes built to exceed industry standards and expectations. With a professional background in cabinetmaking, finish carpentry, and residential construction, he gained an appreciation for the details and creative ways of expression through the built environment. While building his own personal tiny home, he realized his passion for building and designing small spaces, and saw the need for an alternative way to approach housing. Since 2015 MitchCraft has constructed over 70 tiny homes on wheels, for customers nationwide.
Julie Horsting | Colorado Building Specialties
“My interest in the Richardson Design Center is based on my passion for working with and coaching young adults in their careers. As an entrepreneur, I was blessed with great mentors and had many opportunities to train and grow young professionals. My interest in “design thinking” would be to marry careers in design with hard work, integrity, and ethics in the professional and personal lives of young adults.”
A graduate of Colorado State University in Design with an emphasis in Construction Management, Julie Horsting spent her career in construction management. After nearly a decade in commercial construction, Julie founded Colorado Building Specialties where she was Owner/CEO for 25 years. Julie was passionate about business strategy, growth and customer service, however, her greatest reward was in growing the “team” and being a mentor to her staff. After selling CBS Julie went on to launch a business enterprise at Wellspring Community. “ArtBeat” is a sustainable business where Adults with Special Needs go “to work” every day. She continues to coach these amazing adults to do things they never thought possible. Julie is also passionate about “playing”. A lover of tennis, golf, skiing, travel, ceramic arts, and fishing!
Richard J. Howarth | CA Technologies
“I have been passionate about product design and design thinking for more than 20 years. This began decades ago when I was leading a software engineering team at IBM building enterprise software. I would frequently talk with users of our products who were disappointed with the usability of them. This led me to spend time watching how they used our products to better understand how to improve them. I realized our entire approach to building software was backward and began to implement design thinking. About 10 years ago, IBM made a major investment in a new Austin Design Center and made design thinking a focus of all new product development. I had the opportunity to lead design as part of engineering for most of the last decade and truly see the benefits of this approach.”
Rich Howarth is passionate about building software products and has a very successful track record over many years. Rich holds the position of Senior Vice President, Engineering at CA Technologies where he is currently focused on building SaaS applications for enterprises that utilize AI and machine learning to improve business productivity. Rich is passionate about design thinking and building software that delights users. Rich is a former IBM executive with significant experience in creating and delivering SaaS solutions. In his previous role in the Watson organization, he led engineering for IBM’s Cloud Data Science and Machine Learning platform. Rich is also passionate about how to deliver innovations in companies of all sizes and scale them to become large businesses. He frequently presents at conferences and consults with CEOs and senior executives on this topic.
Louis Infante | VehNergy LLC
“My interest in design thinking is based on the need to design complex physical systems to serve needs in our community that are efficient, economically viable, and sustainable. The use of advanced tools to understand the trade space for these systems can allow modeling and simulation to inform the decisions to reengineer or deploy new systems. Employing this approach on real world problems with teams at the RDC will benefit all stakeholders. I look forward to working with the teams on these issues.”
Louis Infante is a degreed Automotive Mechanical Engineer with 40 years’ experience (25 on executive levels) in the design and development of vehicle technology and the associated market applications. He has worked on many use profiles including; on and off highway, military, passenger and freight, road and rail, and civilian transportation systems, for light, medium and heavy duty vehicle applications.
Currently, Louis is leading technical development for Karsan USA on a proposal for a new vehicle for the USPS, and applications of electric vehicle shuttle busses. In addition, Louis is a Member of advisory boards for Engineering Dean at Kettering University (2018- Present) and Mech Engineering at Colorado State University (2011 – 2018) as well as a proposal reviewer for the U.S. Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Program.
Paul B Jaynes | SOC Pocydon and Mantel Technologies
“Although my resume doesn’t show much of my interest in art, I was an art major in college for a couple of years and focused on photography, pottery, and ceramic sculpture. It was very fulfilling, but with my ability to understand and perform well in core science courses I ended up completing my undergrad physics degree. My career started at Sony electronics as a process engineer tasked with increasing the brightness and longevity of Cathode Ray Tubes. It may not sound like design thinking necessarily is part of that job, but in fact, it very much was. The Cathode design is critical to the efficiency of reducing the work function of the Oxides, which means more electrons are released for a longer period of time. I spent time in Japan at Sony’s design plant and worked with a team of Japanese engineers to evaluate different cathode and heater suspension designs taking the science and art into account… the blend of those disciplines is beauty and function. The biggest childhood icon I had was Leonardo Da Vinci who understood that art and science are intertwined. It’s this intersection where I see “Design Thinking” in my professional career.”
Paul B Jaynes founded Pocydon Services, LLC, which is now part of SOC, LLC. Pocydon is a provider of advanced cyber solutions to top commercial and US Government organizations. Prior to founding Pocydon, Mr. Jaynes held various roles of increasing responsibility including studying electron emission for displays, specialized coatings, advanced multichip modules, carbon nanotube applications, and software security.
Through all of the stages of his career, Design Thinking was a critical element of Mr. Jaynes’ performance. Design for use, Design for Productivity, Design for Scientific Innovation, Design for Cyber Security. Mr. Jaynes holds an MBA from the University of Redlands and a B.S. in Physics from San Diego State University. He has 20 issued patents and five technical publications.
Susan Kreul-Froseth | Architect
“The process of design is anything but simplistic. To some, it remains mysterious and overwhelming. It begins with the input of the practical and ends in the melding of the aesthetic to form a truly elegant solution. In the most idealistic sense, the process of design thinking culminates in an unquestionable “wow factor.” The exciting, challenging, and important pattern of design thought and the resulting framework undeniably changes our lives as we continue to shape the environment of our future.”
Having a passion for design all of her life, Susan Kreul-Froseth has been an active member of the profession since 1975. After earning a B.A. in Art with a concentration in interior design, she obtained an M.S. in construction management, both at Colorado State University. Becoming a licensed architect was a long-term goal and after finishing her Master of Architecture at the University of Colorado, Susan became licensed in 1987. Among her most valuable industry experiences was as an apprentice to a Taliesin-based student of Frank Lloyd Wright in addition to a position at the Philadelphia-based Martin Organization. Susan had the privilege of serving as a faculty member for 20 years at Colorado State University. She continues to practice architecture and design under her own name in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Mary Littrell | Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe
“As living traditions, textile practices are passed down within families and over generations. Textiles symbolize a group’s identity, contribute to community solidarity, and become valued cultural property. Emerging demand for handmade products in international markets coincides with artists’ interest in innovation. Customers, particularly in North America and Europe, are seeking alternatives to the industrial, mass-produced monotony of textiles in retail stores. They seek goods that offer uniqueness and are designed and made in small enterprises that value high quality craftsmanship. My current scholarship focuses on strategies employed by artists who are successfully innovating within their textile traditions. The artists specialize in tie-dye, block printing, natural dyes, embroidery, felting, and weaving. All began their design education at the hands of family members. The artists in India, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Mexico, and Peru illustrate a wide range of innovative strategies; examples include employing readily available but surprising dyestuffs, transferring designs across formerly gendered traditions, collaborating between historically separate textile communities, and commenting on social change through marketable textile forms.”
Mary Littrell is a Research Associate at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Professor and Head Emerita of the Department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University, where she provided leadership in establishing the Avenir Museum. Her scholarship focuses on how textile artisans achieve viability in the increasingly competitive global market for handmade goods—working with artists in Ghana, Guatemala, India, and Afghanistan. Her most recent book highlights Embroidering within Boundaries: Afghan Women Create their Future (co-authored with Rangina Hamidi). Ongoing research addresses how textile folk artists transition toward innovation within their deeply rooted cultural traditions.
Brooks Luby | Brooks LTD
“Design thinking has been at the core of my professional career. I am continually looking for innovative ways to complete projects. Initiating new aesthetics leads to inventive work.”
Brooks LTD, founded in 1974, is the dream of the sole designer and visionary, Brooks Luby. A Colorado native, educated at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Brooks draws inspiration from the world around her. As a professional fashion designer and couturier, her awareness of advances in fabric technology, as well as changes in fashion influences and lifestyle, keep her a step ahead. The newest trends become woven into her ever-changing collections. In a word, Brooks’ style evolves without losing its creative focus. Bespoke fashion is not just sophisticated clothing. It’s truly custom-designed self-expression. Brooks’ look of luxurious clothing for the sophisticated woman’s thriving lifestyle has been the foundation of her business for 40+ years.
Noel Marshall | Schaeffler-Paravan
“I am interested in design thinking because I love art. If I am given some constraints and a clear goal that meets success I’ll figure out a way to fill in the details. On the other hand, if success is defined but the goal ambiguous I love the challenge to define and create the solution – even though the solution may not be known. The art is getting to the answer, not the answer itself.”
As the Director of Engineering for Schaeffler-Paravan, Noel focuses on developing, managing, and creating the relationship between the organization and suppliers, customers and/or vendors within the specific area of drive-by-wire for autonomous and semi-autonomous mobility. She implements business development initiatives, provides market intelligence within the transportation space, ensures execution of sales growth plans for North America, and helps with planning of resources and budgets.
Noel is an adaptive, innovative, and determined individual with 8+ years of experience in the electronics product development/distribution industry with a combined 11+ years of experience in the electronics field. She has a passion for technology as it relates to the automotive industry and seeks to impact the future of transportation and mobility.
She has been honored with an award for Women of M2M/IoT by Connected World Magazine and another for Women Worth Watching in STEM by Profiles in Diversity Journal.
She is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified and is Project Management Professional (PMP) trained. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Mathematics minor from Colorado State University.
Jeff McCubbin | Dean Emeritus, College of Health and Human Sciences, Colorado State University
“I believe my interest in design thinking emerged from my work supporting and educating people with disabilities. As such, creating a universal design approach to teaching and learning required creativity and person-centered solutions unique for each individual. In my role as dean of CHHS, it was apparent to me that our innovators, creative thinkers and designers shared a passion with artists, architects, educators, community planners, construction and sustainability experts, and entrepreneurs. Yet the silos created too often by the funding streams within higher education seemed to constrain collaborative thinking and creative planning. I helped to form the vision of the RDC by choosing to push our faculty and administration to see design thinking and as a new and deliberate way to elevate many of the programs in our college by leveraging the talents across CSU and the Fort Collins community. I am thrilled to remain affiliated with the faculty, students and industry professionals of The Richardson Design Center.”
Jeff McCubbin served as Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University from 2011-2019. Prior to coming to CSU he was a University Distinguished Professor of Exercise Science and Executive Associate Dean in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University. He also directed an internationally recognized graduate program in Movement Studies in Disability at OSU.
He completed his BS degree from East Stroudsburg State College (PA) in 1976; his MA in Special Physical Education from the University of Connecticut in 1977, and completed his PhD from the University of Virginia in 1983.
Ron Miriello | Miriello Grafico
“Design continues to move through great transformation as design-awareness and familiarity grows. The traditional focus on the artifacts of design, the final outcome, has broadened to the design-thinking process that can lead to true innovation and fertile problem solving, beyond the artifact alone. Designers themselves are reconsidering their role and their domain. The recognition, promotion and celebration of the creativity inherent in others, is a shift represented by “design-thinking”. Design professionals lead when they demonstrate high-level doing, share in the creative process and can connect to the design-thinking in others.”
Ron Miriello is an award-winning creative director, designer, brand strategist, sculptor, speaker and communications leader. For more than 40 years, he has helped organizations clarify their communications and connect with their constituents by using creativity, strategy and design as a language, rather than a discipline. Throughout his career, Ron has worked with such diverse brands as HP, TaylorMade, Nordstrom, Disney and Adidas. As director of Miriello Grafico, Ron uses design and brand expertise to help organizations address their challenges, achieve their goals and grow their communities. As a key contributor to design-thinking in San Diego, Ron is a founder of AIGA San Diego and an AIGA National Fellow. He works with such civic initiatives as San Diego Innovation Center, Urban Discovery Academy, San Diego World Design Capital 2024 bid, UCSD Urban campus plan and San Diego Airport Arts program. Ron also has extensive experience helping commercial and residential developers transform built environments into vibrant places of activity. Miriello sculpture, design and collections are exhibited at Quint Gallery | The Museum Of___ in La Jolla, California, The Wende Museum in Culver City, California and the San Diego International Airport. Ron operates both from the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego, California as well as the village of Radicondoli (Si) Italy where he is actively involved with the crafts traditions. He studied at Colorado State University (BFA) and in Italy at the Instituto La Poggerina.
Josh Peterson | Otter Products
“My entire career has been centered around product design and innovation, and I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had amazing mentors and teams over the years to help me hone my own design thinking approach. While the design thinking structure is mature and well understood, I’ve found that my appreciation for it has grown over time. It’s incredibly fun to see ideas and projects flow through this process then evolve to drive meaningful revenue for the company. At this stage of my career, it’s even more fun to help young minds develop their own appreciation for design thinking and create their own success.”
Josh Peterson is the Senior Vice President of Product and Innovation at Otter Products. He has over 25 years of diverse experience that spans engineering, product management, marketing, innovation, and business strategy development. Josh is a respected servant leader who inspires others with his passion, optimism, and perseverance. Prior to joining Otter Products in 2018, Josh spent 17 years with HP, working in the commercial workstations and consumer storage businesses. Josh holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado and an MBA from Colorado State University.
Josie Plaut | Institute for the Built Environment
“I believe that how we think is the most important thing we can work on as individuals and professionals. Design thinking offers an approach to structure our thinking in a way that transcends and integrates across disciplines. Whether you are in science, business, or in a traditional design field, design thinking is a way to approach your work. From research design to a poster presentation, and from marketing campaigns to product design, design thinking has something to offer nearly everyone. My professional interest in design thinking stems from my curiosity about processes and structures that add meaning and relevance to our work and help us become effective agents for realizing the full potential of our respective endeavors.”
Josie Plaut guides companies, municipalities, and organizations through developing capacity and action plans for regeneration. She is a strategic facilitator with a proven track record for helping teams realize their visions, goals, and strategic priorities. Her recent work spans domestic and international clients across a variety of scales including buildings, master plans, districts, municipal programs, and organizational development. She brings a unique combination of subject matter expertise in regeneration, effective facilitation, and systems thinking that results in shared purpose, clarity of vision and engagement from project constituents. Josie is a founding developer of The Living Environments in Natural Social and Economic Systems Framework, which is a groundbreaking system for creating transformational change toward regenerative design and practice.
Steve Poehlman | Fort Collins Creator Hub
“As a lifelong student and educator, one should always look for ways of improving using methodologies such as Design Thinking. Taking time to knowing the customer (students, educator, manager..) is key in using one’s creativity to solve the issues presented in today’s world.”
After graduating from Purdue University, Steve Poehlman was a microprocessor design engineer at Intel Corporation for over 27 years before his retirement. While at Intel, Steve was a technical team lead for several design projects and worked on an international team developing new methodologies.
Upon his retirement, Steve was an Encore Fellow working with a non-profit allowing him to further his contribution to technology instruction in nations around the world.
Currently, Steve is the Vice President of the Fort Collins Creator Hub where he provides volunteer management, teaching classes, and using his passion for technology to improve the maker community and another non-profits.
Elicia Ratajczyk | Institute for the Built Environment
“Design is a fundamental human activity through which we attempt to navigate and manipulate the world around us for our survival, benefit, and pleasure. As human society has evolved, so too has the complexity and impact of our design activities. Now captured in the idea of the “Anthropocene,” in which human activity is seen as the dominant force influencing climate and the environment. Now clearly intertwined as a complex social-ecological system at the global scale, we struggle in our ability to understand, design, implement, and manage solutions to complex global issues such as climate change, water scarcity, food security, and natural disasters. Some have asserted that this is because complex adaptive systems, like these, are moving targets that are only partially designed and partially emergent and self-organizing. Furthermore, these types of systems are difficult to understand and control due to the inherent dynamics of “wicked problems,” such as uncertainty, social dilemmas, inequities, and trade-offs involving multiple feedback loops that sometimes cause both the problems and their potential solutions to shift and evolve together. These problems do not, however, negate our collective need to effectively design, produce, and implement strategies that allow us to meet our needs while simultaneously preserve, or even enhance, the global capacity to meet the world’s needs. As the fundamental activity of humanity, design thinking must move beyond mere problem solving and the creation of things to better understand our collaborative role in the delicate balance between design and emergence in the complex systems around us.”
Elicia Ratajczyk is a Research Associate and Projects Manager at the Institute for the Built Environment. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design and a master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Colorado with specializations in Historic Preservation, Sustainable Design, and Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Systems. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Social Science with a concentration in Complex Adaptive Systems Science from Arizona State University. Her current research is focused on design-processes for complex adaptive systems and team network structures. Her areas of expertise include coupled infrastructure systems, resilience, and interdisciplinary, community-based, collaborative and applied research methods.
Jeff Tad Samson | Samson Design Associates Inc.
“Life is abundant with opportunities and challenges. Design Thinking is a universal language for common dialog. Design harmonizes the parts into useful systems. Complex relationships are inspiring but I love the search for ways to make them simpler and more elegant. The end solution should flow yet be a fresh enlightenment for many.”
Jeff excels at optimizing systems by driving solutions through design thinking. He fuses data, aesthetics, scientific discovery, and technology to identify possibilities and accelerate opportunities. Currently, he works with executive leadership teams, developing innovative responses to interdisciplinary challenges.
Jeff founded Samson Design Associates Inc. in 1984, with the slogan “Solve the Mystery and Reveal the Magic.” The firm launched hundreds of design successes, in the fields of emerging high technologies, consumer products and medical systems. Consequently, Samson Design Associates. Inc. became known for relentless innovative thinking.
Jeff completed his industrial design masters at Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Executive Design Leadership program at Harvard University.
Annette Stelmack | Inspirit
“My professional interests in design thinking includes, but not limited, to the following: integrative design; circular economy; human health and wellness; multiple chemical sensitivities; healthy, high-performing interiors; material transparency and optimization; design resiliency; multi-attribute product certifications; material and resources; regenerative design; and what’s next.”
Annette K. Stelmack brings 35 years of experience in the building industry as a nationally recognized sustainable design leader, educator, and author. The founding principal of Inspirit-LLC, she instills courage and life by inspiring through a fusion of environmental stewardship and creativity. Annette innately guides project teams with her passion and expertise for healthy, high-performing sustainable interiors. A LEED® AP BD+C and WELL AP design professional, she excels in programming, planning, design, research, documentation, specification and implementation of interior architectural finishes/details and furnishings for multi-unit housing, residential, hospitality and spa projects. She specializes in creating interiors that are ‘healthy by design’ and is deeply honored to serve clients who have multiple chemical sensitivities working toward the highest level of indoor air quality.
Matt Strand | Poudre School District
“Learning is most authentic when people are empowered to tackle problems that hold personal meaning. Whether it is students grappling with the complexities of an environmental issue or professionals reflecting on and improving their practice, the act of leading one’s own learning is a powerful driver of personal, organizational, and societal change. I am fascinated by design thinking and how the interplay of purpose, courage, creativity, community, and quality can empower participants to empower others.”
Matt Strand brings the power of real-world learning to his role as an educator by designing innovative project-based experiences both in and out of the classroom. As an example, his nationally acclaimed Coralition project involves middle and high school students earning their scuba certification, researching climate change and coral decline, and diving alongside marine biologists to the ocean floor to plant healthy coral fragments on endangered reefs. He has served as a national coach for EL Education, developed an instructional rounds model for teachers, and received the Poudre School District Foundation’s award for Excellence in Education. Matt received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas Christian University and his Ph.D. in Education Leadership from Colorado State University.
Tracy Tafoya | Oz Interior Design Studio
“Design thinking is an important part of our process. I lead many of our visioning/programming charrettes with new clients. I believe that having a human-centered approach to our work and project types, especially early in the design process when concepts are being contemplated and developed has is critical to better outcomes. This past spring, I completed an IDEO innovation course where I developed new approaches and tools of how to have empathy experiences that lead to more meaningful, impactful, and innovative solutions. I am honored to be an affiliate faculty member to help develop an environment of collaboration, teaching, and learning together.”
Tracy Tafoya is a mother of two inspiring daughters (17 and 14), who keep her young at heart. Travel is a passion of theirs, and they work hard to be able to enjoy new experiences together. Tracy has a unique professional story. She did a summer internship at OZ Architecture the year before graduation and started full-time work with them, two weeks after graduation. Little did she know at the time, that she would grow from an intern to Director of Interior Design. She has been at OZ her entire professional career, just recently celebrating her 26th anniversary. She has been fortunate to work on a wide variety of project types, from historic renovations, multi-family housing, libraries, education (K-12 and higher ed), government and cultural projects, and workplace.
Steve Undy | Fort Collins Creative Hub
“I am passionate about creativity through design. My career as an engineer, and now as a leader and teacher at a makerspace, has taught me that design thinking is both rewarding and unlocks personal potential. I love to see my students’ imaginations flourish after being shown tools for creativity.”
Stephen Undy is a co-founder of the Fort Collins Creator Hub makerspace and is president of the board of directors. His responsibilities include membership and volunteer management, finances and business planning, developing and teaching classes. He received bachelor degrees from the University of Michigan and his masters from Purdue University. He spent 31 years as an electrical engineer responsible for designing microprocessors for Hewlett Packard and Intel until his retirement in 2016. He is currently an instructor at CSU in the ECE department. He is passionate about teaching and loves to tinker with and design electronics, especially microcontroller-based systems.
Jim Zdunek | Fort Collins Creative Hub
“Design is a tool that problem solvers use to transform an idea into a practical product or service. It is important for me that this process is fun and entertaining. I have been fortunate during my professional career to have had a wide range of experiences: from plasma physics to Cheez Whiz. I can tell you after 35 years, it’s been a blast!”
Jim Zdunek retired from his work as an analytical chemist and materials scientist at the age of 55 only to find retirement more engaging than expected. He is a proponent of the maker movement. Jim helped found two local maker spaces in Colorado including the Fort Collins Creator Hub. It was the vibrant music scene and clearly marked bicycle lanes in Fort Collins that convinced him and his wife to move from Chicago in 2008. An active volunteer with the Municipal Railway and the Museum of Discovery, much of his work involves making and playing musical instruments created from repurposed materials.
Ron Zhang | Google Workspace & Android
“I am passionate about using design thinking to create innovative and sustainable solutions at scale. I am excited to see how much impact we can have through technology and human ingenuity. I believe that design thinking is a powerful tool that can be used throughout the design process, from discovery to testing to advocacy. I am particularly interested in how teams and individuals use design thinking to build empathy with users, explore possibilities, and enhance co-creation with people from diverse backgrounds. Design thinking is an iterative process that involves learning as you go. It is not about being the smartest person in the room, but rather about bringing together a collaborative group with different perspectives to come up with the best solution for the user, the environment, and with the appropriate technologies.”
Ron Zhang is a Senior UX and Interaction Designer with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry. He is passionate about creating user-centered products that are both functional and enjoyable to use. He has a strong understanding of human-computer interaction principles, and is skilled in a variety of domains in high-tech, including consumer, enterprise, and gaming products and experiences that bridge the gap between software and hardware. Prior to joining Google in Boulder, Colorado, Ron designed and shipped products and services for HP, NVIDIA, Motorola, and ASUS. He currently holds over 12 design and utility patents in the tech and computing industry. In his spare time, Ron enjoys painting, playing jazz piano, and wildlife photography.
Scott Barber | Scott Barber Apparel
In April of 2020 we lost a member of our RDC family. Scott was an RDC Faculty Affiliate and a champion for Design Thinking. He will be greatly missed.
Scott Barber grew up in Wellman, Iowa, in a skiing family and spent a lot of time in Colorado. Both he and his older sister went to Colorado State University where he studied economics and accounting. When he was a senior, he got a part-time job at a nice local men’s store. From there, he became a manufacturer’s representative in the Rocky Mountain region. In 1986, he moved to Los Angeles to work for a fine New England suit manufacturer. He was responsible for the Rocky Mountain and the west coast regions. In 1990, he moved back to Colorado to go to work in sales and design for Ferrell Reed, a Boulder-based dress shirt and necktie brand. As the workplace was beginning to become more casual, he left in 1994 to start his own sportswear brand. He is survived by his wife Tonya, who is continuing his legacy making men’s casual apparel, and their children Amanda and Charlie.