I am a design generalist. Starting with a solid mechanical engineering and manufacturing foundation, I have built a diverse and somewhat unorthodox career in product design and development. Regardless of industry, product type, or materials, I apply artistic skills, project management, understanding of users and human factors, and solid research, combined with years of practical hands on experience to rapidly turn concepts into actionable prototypes and products. I have worked with both low volume, labor intensive as well as high volume, highly mechanized manufacturing, in both soft and hard goods. I am a citizen of two countries, speak two languages (English and Mandarin Chinese), and have traveled throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, developing a myriad of products with diverse customers. I love what I do, and I’m always ready for a new challenge.

Work Samples

  • SIMPLcase for iPhone 5

  • PodKit Watch + ClipClok on Kickstarter

Work History

  • Co-Founder

    • lgcldesigns
    • Jan 2013 - Present (1 year 7 months)

    Lgcldesigns seeks to develop elegant, simple product solutions to everyday problems.

    Our first product, the SIMPLcase, is a minimalist iPhone case that:
    - Discreetly and safely stores SIM cards and the iPhone SIM eject tool
    - Can use any standard credit card as a kickstand for hands free iPhone use

    SIMPLcase was successfully funded on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/12r02PR

  • Freelance Designer

    • SimonWorks
    • Aug 2012 - Present (2 years)

    Having built a corporate type design career, developing numerous products in various industries, I am now offering my experience and skills to help create and develop new concepts and products for clients.

    My Services include:
    - Initial user and consumer research and insights for early strategy planning
    - Conceptual development
    - 2D product illustration
    - 3D product modeling
    - Product design and prototyping
    - Testing and validation of concepts
    - Materials and manufacturing sourcing
    - Detailed design specifications for production readiness
    - Design management

  • Product Designer and Owner

    • PodKit Watch
    • Aug 2012 - Oct 2012 (2 months)

    First attempt at crowdfunding independent product design effort on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/OIMag4

    Campaign was cancelled but important lessons learned:
    - timing is critical - especially for accessories
    - social media relationships must be organic and require investment and time to build
    - it's better to be good and fast than slow and perfect
    - focus on one product at a time to reduce risk and consumer confusion

  • Director of Product Development

    • Grotto Design Creations
    • Mar 2011 - Feb 2012 (11 months)

    Grotto Design Creation's art tiles and modernized Chinese motif decals and house ware gifts and accessories have been sold all over the world, and received numerous design awards and praise from the likes of Elle Decor China.

    With an eye towards the growing China domestic market, Grotto began to develop new collections of interior decor and lifestyle products with beauty and innovation equaling those of their original line of products.

    Grotto's main focus now is designing and producing several collections of fashion bags & accessories for a family of Chinese women's fashion brands.

    Key Responsibilities:
    - Overall responsibility for successful development of collections of fashion lifestyle and home décor products and accessories
    - Lead designer for products and retail packaging
    - Manage, develop, and grow internal and external design resources
    - Manage and assist in product sourcing efforts

  • Creative Director - Asia

    • Wessco International
    • Mar 2008 - Mar 2011 (3 years)

    During my three years with WESSCO International, I helped to incubate and develop the product design competency. My many responsibilities included:

    - Product development and creation of annual collections of travel amenity, guest & passenger comfort, and service ware products
    - Operational management and execution of semi-annual trade shows
    - Management of WESSCO brand identity
    - Creation of collateral materials (presentations, brochures, etc) for Sales & Marketing support
    - Publication and submission of project bid proposals

    Several of my product designs have been instrumental in securing supply contracts with a number of major airlines, including Etihad Airways and Delta Airlines.

  • Director of Product Development

    • Tomberlin Product Group
    • Mar 2007 - Dec 2007 (9 months)

    I was employed as a freelance consultant for TPG. In the role of Director of Product Development, I was responsible for all aspects of product development across 4 different product categories: ATVs, youth ride on toys, scooters, and off road go karts (aka fun karts). As TPG's key technical manager in China, I was directly involved on all levels, from strategic product conceptualization with the executive management team to product and manufacturing quality improvements with our suppliers.

    Key Responsibilities:
    - Design new product styling, structural elements, and technical specifications for motorsports and powered toys (off-road go-karts, ATVs, Scooters, electric ride on toys)
    - Creation of prototypes and development of manufacturing tools, working directly with Chinese factory partners in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces
    - Design and implement rigorous testing and validation of new products and engineering design changes for existing products to verify system and component durability and safety
    - Examine and verify product specs satisfy legal safety standards and regulations

  • Senior Product Designer

    • PMI / Dazon Inc
    • Sep 2005 - Mar 2007 (1 year 6 months)

    Initially brought into the company to research the market and develop product features and improvements, I was soon made responsible for executing engineering improvements, and then new product development as well as managing a staff of 20+ Chinese engineers and technicians in the R&D department. I was also asked to support the sales and marketing dept. in working with customers on product improvements. On the production side, I was regularly involved in troubleshooting quality problems as well as developing and implementing product and process improvements.

    Key Responsibilities:
    - Execution of designs from concept and prototype development through to validation, testing, and start of production
    - Engineering oversight of structural blue prints and engineering change documents
    - Modeled, analyzed, and re-designed steering and suspension geometries and mechanical components to address durability and improve vehicle dynamics

    Key Accomplishments:
    - Engineered steering system geometry for Dazon Raider Extreme 1100
    - Re-engineering suspension and steering geometry for Dazon Raider Sport 150D
    - Re-engineered faulty wheel hub design for Dazon small off road go kart family

  • Associate Industrial Designer

    • Gravity Tank
    • Jun 2004 - Sep 2004 (3 months)

    In this position, I had to fill many roles, such as researcher, prototyper, design, and collaborative innovation facilitator. As a researcher, I went into the field and used ethnographic research techniques to study consumers in the 'natural' environment to gain insights into their product purchase and usage behaviors. This research was then dissected and analyzed, and with the team, developed into insights which were then presented to the client. As a prototyper and designer, I physically conceptualized and modelled product designs. As an innovation facilitator, I worked directly with key decision makers within the client company in order to help then digest and then use the research insights in order to actively participate in creating actionable solution strategies for improving their products and/or services. This brief experience was a wonderful learning opportunity!

    Key Contributions:
    - Planned, conducted, and analyzed user-centered, ethnographic field research
    - Assisted in intensive research immersion and design workshop with multibillion-dollar global clients in automotive and consumer markets
    - Created rapid prototypes of design concepts using sketch models and CAD renderings

  • Industrial Designer

    • Delphi Automotive
    • Sep 2000 - May 2001 (8 months)

    - Designed and rendered (in 2D & 3D) advanced Multimedia products in support of marketing and engineering groups
    - Researched relevant technology, consumer, and market trends to identify design opportunities and provide program direction
    - Resolved tooling, assembly, appearance, and NVH issues working with Korean suppliers on MPC telematics project

  • Audio Systems Engineer

    • Delphi Automotive
    • Mar 1999 - Sep 2000 (1 year 6 months)

    - Managed speaker system development and release for domestic and European customers
    - Designed speaker systems specifications working between customer requirements and supplier capabilities

  • Quality Engineer (Contract)

    • Daimler Chrysler
    • Aug 1998 - Jan 1999 (5 months)

    - Analyzed quality trends (in real time) using warranty return tracking system to identify manufacturing and/or design related quality issues
    - Performed Root Cause Analysis in design, manufacturing, and assembly
    - Rapidly implemented engineering solutions

  • Project Engineer

    • SLP Engineering, Inc (Street Legal Performance)
    • Jun 1996 - May 1998 (1 year 11 months)

    - Designed, released, and validated LED CHMSL for 1998 Camaro SS
    - Conducted ergonomic packaging and fit studies of retrofitting Recaro seats into GM F-cars
    - Produced rapid prototype mockups of design concepts for team evaluations
    - Created styling and concept renderings of original vehicle designs in support of Marketing and Engineering

Education

  • Arizona State University

    • MSD (incomplete) Industrial Design
    • 2002 - 2004

    I was enrolled in the Masters of Science in Industrial Design program within the College or Architecture and Environmental Design at ASU. This program was heavily research tracked, and my focus was on qualitative, ethnographic user research and human factors studies. Also added to my studies were courses in quantitative marketing research, experience design, and traditional industrial design studio skills in sketching, rendering, and model making. I achieved a 4.0 GPA and was on the Dean's List. While attending graduate courses, I held two Teaching Assistant positions. My responsibilities included developing course syllabi, lecture presentation, exam proctoring, grading, and general mentoring and student assistance. Due to personal circumstances, I left the program after successfully completing all of my coursework with top marks, but before completing my thesis, and as such, was unable to complete my degree.

  • Kettering University

    • BSME Mechanical Engineering, Automotive Specialty
    • 1991 - 1996

    I received my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University, formerly known as GMI (once General Motors Institute), which is a small, private engineering and management college located in Flint, MI. My major was automotive systems. Kettering operates as a 100% co-op educational program, meaning that for the entirety of the degree program, students must also gain real world work experience at a co-op sponsor. Academic and work semesters are 12 weeks long, with two rotations of each in a year. My co-op experience was working for General Motors Corporation, North American Operations. Some of my work experiences were: Corvette Squeak and Rattle Group at Milford Proving Grounds, Pontiac Gran Prix Assembly Quality Assurance, Vehicle Body and Systems Testing Lab, Pontiac Exterior Design Studio, Interior Color Trim and Finish Group, and Pontiac Marketing Division.

Specialties

Affiliations

IDSA, Internations, FC Club Shanghai

Awards

While I haven't received individual recognitions as a designer, many of the products I developed have won awards and been leaders in their respective markets. More information can be found on my website: http://simonkwan.me

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