Industrial Designer, PDT
Thomas O'Connor is an awarded Industrial Design consultant who thrives at the intersection of business, technology and user-centered design. He began consulting for PDT in 2010 where he's led multi-disciplinary teams ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. PDT is a Chicago based product development consultancy specializing in fast moving, regulated and complex industries ranging from medical devices, aerospace, consumer electronics, laboratory equipment and tactical communication devices.
Thomas has consulted for clients including AbbVie, Hospira, Smiths Medical, Harris, Thermofisher, Siemens, Bosch, 3M, Weber, McDonalds and Intel.
Most recently Thomas spent 4 months working in Shanghai as a consultant for Sinowell. Thomas led research and product development to help bring innovation to the commercial horticulture and hydroponics industry. Sinowell is a manufacturer and wholesaler of horticulture and hydroponics equipment.
Thomas is active in the Chicago start-up community, serves as a judge in Chicago's Tech Week Launch Competition and is an Industrial Design mentor at University of Illinois at Chicago.
Thomas grew up in the Motor City and received his BFA in Industrial Design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
Aimee Franco is an independent design consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. She studied industrial design at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan and currently works on projects that span the physical and digital product realms.
Passionate about designing for impact, Aimee has spent most of her career working in the healthcare space. Early on, she worked with Fortune 500 medical technology companies as an industrial designer at Tekna. Later, she collaborated with iDE Cambodia on healthcare-focused international development projects, and she began designing digital experiences. More recently, as Product Design Lead at Caremerge, she worked on designing a care coordination platform for older adults, and has since become an independent consultant.
Aimee has also taught as an adjunct instructor for Startup Institute’s web design program.
Senior Director, Fresenius Kabi
Brian Case is a Senior Director of Research and Development for Fresenius Kabi's Medical Device Division. Brian has over twenty years of experience in developing products from conceptualization to market launch. He has spent the last ten years focusing on the development of apheresis technology. The latest example is Fresenius Kabi’s AmiCORE® Advanced Platelet Apheresis System. Prior to joining Fresenius Kabi, Brian led the advanced research team at Cook Medical focusing on the development of stents and tissue engineered valves. Brian helped Cook launch their first self-expanding stent Zilver®. In addition, Brian has extensive experience in user interface design and usability evaluations. Brian is a prolific inventor and has over 70 patents.
Brian has a master's degree in Engineering Management from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Illinois. He is a licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer and a certified Project Management Professional.
Director of Industrial Design, Humanscale
Mesve Vardar is the Director of Industrial Design at Humanscale. With nine years of Humanscale experience behind her, Mesve Vardar has been a key contributor to a number of celebrated Humanscale products, including the Red Dot award-winning T7 Mobile Technology Cart. She joined the company in 2006 as a designer after earning a Master of Arts in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. Before accepting the role of Design Director, Vardar worked as a Senior Industrial Designer and Researcher. In this capacity she worked on product development and research across categories, including seating, monitor arms, healthcare and lighting. Having conducted dedicated research into the future workplace, she is motivated by front-end thinking and the broad impact Humanscale can have on the changing office.
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