President, Design Management Institute
Co-founder, User Experience Design Consortium
Carole Bilson is the President of Strategic Change & Innovation LLC. In this role, she and her partners help leaders and their teams achieve breakthrough results. They utilize organizational development and change methods as well as design thinking, innovation, and a user/customer focus to help teams deliver increased value.
Prior to this Carole was the Vice President of Global Design & Usability and Technology Support Operations, at Pitney Bowes. In this role she led 2 departments of designers, psychologists, software developers, and engineers, in the development of leading-edge products and solutions for commercialization of web, software and embedded systems. They embarked on several research initiatives, the most successful of which was a Universal Design/ Section 508 project, that helped the company win a $21 million government bid. Additionally she initiated many firsts at the company, such as: led the first cross-company User Experience Council and User Experience & Innovation Day to build awareness about the value of user/customer experience among employees and key stakeholders. These efforts resulted in a savings of $12 million to the company over 2 years. Her department received 12 international design awards, 49 patents, and several of the company’s highest leadership awards. For these and other change management efforts, Carole was appointed to the CEO Council, a team of executives who contributed to the development of the corporate strategy.
Prior to Pitney Bowes, Carole worked at the Eastman Kodak Company, as a Worldwide Product/ Marketing Manager, where she oversaw the development of the first Kodak PicturemakerTM Kiosk system. This product won numerous top national awards, including “Top Product of the Year” from Photo Trade News. It also delivered over $1 billion in revenue for Kodak. Other positions held at Kodak were: Program Manager for OEM cameras, Advanced Product Strategist, and Loaned Executive to the NSF/ NY Statewide Systemic Initiative, Sr. Industrial Designer.
Carole was appointed to the Design Management Institute’s Board of Directors in 2012. DMI advocates for and connects design management globally, in business, research and academia. She is the holder of 2 patents, and has received numerous leadership and civic awards. She is a sought-after presenter and keynote speaker at conferences worldwide including the Destination Design Management Conference, the International Conference of Usability Professionals Association, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Distinguished Visitor Speaker Series at the University of Michigan. She has also served as a Juror for the Business Week/IDSA IDEA Awards – the Top International Design Awards. She has been featured in PBS documentaries on Leadership, Industrial Design and Diversity.
Senior Director, Innovation and Design
Curt Croley is Senior Director of Zebra Technologies’ global Innovation & Design organization. Reporting to the corporate CTO, our Innovation & Design group is comprised of four separate disciplines; Industrial Design, Design Research, Human Factors Engineering and User Experience Design – a diverse group of great, creative professionals under one unified organization. Our Innovation & Design group has studio locations in New York, Chicago, London and Taipei; and are helping define Zebra’s global customer, technical and business strategy. One thing we have come to realize is that we live in an exciting world of almost infinite technical possibilities. Our team mission is to bring unique design insight and help envision new technical, user enablement futures for Zebra as part of the Chief Technology Office, while providing Industrial Design, Human Factors and User Experience excellence across Zebra’s $3.7 b portfolio of enterprise mobile computers, barcode scanners and enterprise printers. The markets that we serve are very demanding spanning Retail, Transportation & Logistics, Manufacturing and Healthcare with Zebra providing business-critical solutions, products and technologies that global businesses rely on to keep commerce and operations moving forward. Educated as an Industrial Designer, Curt been a practicing design professional and leader for the past 35 years. He presently has over 50 patents around his design activities with Symbol Technologies, Motorola Solutions, and Zebra Technologies. Curt’s career focus has been the pioneering advancement of corporate goals through the use of design insight and design thinking, while leveraging the most current technical methodologies to aid corporate decision-making at the highest levels around complex business challenges. Via this unique perspective, he has traveled an amazing journey of product development and business impact; and have had the good fortune to work within multiple industries to help advance the state of the art for his design profession – from ground-breaking surgical device / human factors evaluative activities for medical device manufacturers; to highly sculpted vehicle designs within the automotive industry; to defining world class, utilitarian high-technology products for Zebra. Along the way, that professional journey has afforded him opportunity to share insights, design and technical philosophy via teaching opportunities at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA), having helped guide over 100 designers during his career. Born and raised in Ohio, Curt has lived on Long Island for the past eighteen years with his wife and two big dogs.
Associate Director, Advanced Development
Bissell Homecare, Inc.
With over 25 years of new product development experience, Jim leads the creation of new technologies and product experiences at BISSELL, the market leading and award winning 141 year old floor care products company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Jim began his career at Prince Corporation, developing automotive interior products and concepts. As Prince (acquired by Johnson Controls) began developing more sophisticated electronics, Jim saw an opportunity to apply user centered design principles to develop better products. As the business continued to grow, he built a world class, multi-disciplinary interaction design team and process, responsible for the UX of a multitude of highly regarded concepts and production products including the BlueConnect (Honda) and uConnect (Chrysler) telematics platforms. In the late 1990’s, he began focusing more on open innovation principles, relocating to California to build relationships with technology startup companies, accelerating innovation at JCI. In 2004, Jim joined Bose Corporation to establish a dedicated automotive UX design team, responsible for conceptual development and user experience of Bose’s first vehicle infotainment system – the award winning Bose Media System. At Faurecia, Jim led efforts to develop disruptive automotive products at xWorks – an internal accelerator based in Michigan, Shanghai, and Munich. Jim was instrumental in shaping exciting new concepts and product strategy at Faurecia, including the Faurecia SmartFit and Active Wellness systems.
Hotary has served as a technical judge for the X PRIZE Foundation and was an advisor for TEDx Grand Rapids. He has nine patents with several others pending. holds a degree in Engineering Technology from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan.
Sr. Manager, Human Centered Systems
Honeywell International, Inc., Golden Valley, MN
Olu Olofinboba leads Honeywell’s Aerospace Human-Centered Systems research and development group. The group’s mission is to provide Honeywell with best-in-class human-centered designs to enhance safety, product discrimination, and exceptional user experience. Olu is responsible for creating and executing a global research agenda aligned with business needs as well as establishing and maintaining strategic research relationships with government agencies and university partners.
Immediately prior to his current role, he was the Portfolio Manager for Crew Interface in Honeywell’s Aerospace Advanced Technology organization. In this role, he was responsible for aligning global technology and product development roadmaps for Advanced Display, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning, Flight Management, Speech, and Synthetic/Enhanced Vision Systems over strategic and annual operating planning cycles. Prior to joining Honeywell in 1995, he was a Research Fellow in Human Factors at the University of Minnesota.
Olu received undergraduate and MS engineering degrees from the University of Southern California, and the MBA degree from the University of Minnesota. His achievements have been recognized with many individual and group awards for technical excellence including Honeywell’s Outstanding Engineer and Aerospace Technical Achievement awards, and the NASA Administrator’s Group Achievement Award.
Director of Usability & Experience Design Team
Laura Vennie is the Director of the Usability & Experience Design team for Newell Brands. Her team is responsible for providing Human Factors, Ergonomics, Interaction Design and Craftsmanship support across Newell Brands.
Laura has a rich background in Usability and User Experience Design working effectively across complex organizations and working closely with interdisciplinary teams in the areas of Marketing, Engineering and Industrial Design on a global basis. She has worked on both physical and virtual products in addition to in-store experiences to provide improved ergonomics, usability and overall user experience to consumers. Prior to Newell Brands, Laura’s work history includes working at Masco where she was the Director of Human Sciences and Whirlpool Corporation where she was Lead Usability Specialist for the Fabric Care business.
Laura has an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from Michigan Tech and a Master’s Degree in Multidisciplinary Engineering with a focus on Human Factors Engineering from Purdue University.
Vice President Product Design & Customer Experience
TS Balaji, TS as most people call him, currently serves as the Director for Converged Services and User Experience Design within Cox Communications Inc. His responsibilities include creating and delivering on a digital strategy that includes mobile web, mobile applications, and cox.com. He is also responsible for the creation and management of the User Experience Research group.
Prior to joining Cox Communications, TS was leading various domains within the User Experience group at Sprint. He was critical in launching products like Mobile TV, in driving cost out of the business through redesign of IVRU, and creating strategies through cross channel and multi-channel approaches to Digital experiences.
TS has a Masters in Industrial Engineering from Louisiana Tech University and an MBA from Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
Director of Human Factors Engineering
Fresenius Medical Care North America
Eric Bergman is Director of Human Factors Engineering at Fresenius Medical Care North America where his team supports design and development of hardware, software, and disposable products used in dialysis in clinical and home settings.
Prior to Fresenius, he was Director of Human Factors Engineering at Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Solutions. Eric has experience as a User Experience Architect, Interaction Designer, and Usability Specialist at Sun Microsystems, PalmSource, and HP, as well as serving as an independent medical device usability consultant. He represents Fresenius on AAMI Human Factors Engineering Committee. Eric holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Emory University.
Staff Director, Customer Experience Insights
Strategic Resources Department
State Farm Insurance
Les Meyer is currently Staff Director – Research in the Customer Experience Insights Division at State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Illinois. The group’s mission is to inform, shape, evaluate, and monitor the user experience at State Farm and ensure the organization delivers consistently remarkable experiences across all user groups (i.e., customers, employees, and sales associates) and access points (e.g., agent office, call center, online, mobile). The team consists of researchers with advanced training in a number of disciplines related to Human Factors and Consumer Research and is responsible for all experience research for the enterprise.
Les completed his undergraduate work at Augustana College and holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology/Human Factors from Texas Tech University. He began his career at State Farm as a Usability Researcher in 2000. He became Manager of the Usability team in 2004 and then the User-Centered Design & Research team in 2006. In 2011, he assumed his current role as Staff Director – Research in Customer Experience Insights. Les is a member of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, the User Experience Professionals Association, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Computing Machinery. Les also holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.
Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.
As Director of Industrial Design at Stanley Black and Decker, Jason’s role is to provide leadership in the definition, design, and development of Consumer Power Tools and Outdoor Power Equipment.
In addition to leading global counterparts, Jason has been a catalyst in integrating new technology to support adjacent design functions all with a goal to improve and provide optimized user experiences which further differentiate the strong brands of Stanley Black and Decker. Jason also leads innovation efforts within the Global Tools Industrial Design group, supporting various teams in discovering new product opportunities. Prior to working for Stanley Black and Decker, Jason worked for Canadian Design Consultancy DW Product Development, working with various clients across a diverse set of categories.
Jason has designed award-winning products in a broad range of industries most recently receiving an 2015 IDSA IDEA Bronze award for DEWALT’s first entry into Professional Outdoor Equipment.
Jason’s LinkedIn Profile:
President, Usability Associates, LLC
Co-founder and Manager, User Experience Design (UXD) Consortium
Stan has an extensive background in various aspects of Human Factors Engineering. In addition to several years in workplace ergonomics, he spent over 20 years performing and directing product design activities for Eastman Kodak Company. That experience encompassed hardware and software usability design of consumer, commercial, and medical products and systems throughout the entire development process from concept ideation to product launch. Special multi-year assignments included Human Engineering Team Leader on the winning bid for developing the IRS Document Processing System and Human Factors Lead for creating innovative new products in support of Kodak’s System Concept Center. For many years, Stan headed the Human Factors Department in Kodak’s Design Resource Center. In that capacity he managed a group of 10 Human Factors specialists and coordinated their activities with the Industrial Design, Graphic Design, and Packaging Engineering Departments in the Center. He also took responsibility for administration of the Center’s research program for those four departments. Stan has four patents related to his Kodak work.
After retiring from Kodak in 1998, Stan continued his passion for product design by forming Usability Associates, a consulting practice supporting Human Factors needs of medium and large size companies. Design projects have been varied and include user interface specification writing, heuristic evaluations, usability testing, unique user experience visualizations and usage surveys. Usability Associates has also performed non-design services for clients such as organizational benchmarking, recruiting Human Factors professionals, recruiting external usability testing participants, and distributing payments to external participants in company studies.
Stan is a Board-certified Human Factors Professional. He has authored numerous publications on applications of Human Factors in product design, focus group methodology, and organizational analysis and has conducted professional workshops in North America and Europe. Stan has been a continuous member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) for 32 years, has been an officer of the local chapter, and is currently an officer of its Consumer Product Technical Group. He initiated and is co-chair of that group’s annual User-Centered Design Award. In addition, Stan is currently a board member of the Western New York Product Development and Management Association (PDMA). He also is a member of the Usability Professionals Association (UPA), the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA), and the Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN). Previously he was General Chair of Interface 87, sponsored by HFES, which brought together Human Factors and Industrial Design practitioners for a three-day product design symposium. He has taught Human Factors at a local college and has worked with legal firms as an expert witness.
Stan holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Michigan. He has also done extensive PhD coursework in Experimental Psychology, Statistics, and Organization Theory at the University of California, Berkeley.