Frank Tyneski has garnered compliments for his talent and vision in the corporate world. But as the new executive director of the Industrial Designers Society of America, Tyneski is a neophyte. And that's OK with IDSA.
Tyneski steps into IDSA's top post as it readies for the World Design Congress - Connecting '07 - set for Oct. 17-20 in San Francisco. The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design in Montreal and co-sponsor IDSA and are expecting more than 2,000 attendees.
Tyneski, 39, joined IDSA in 1989 as a student member and became the society's executive director Oct. 12. He had been senior director of industrial design and human factors at Kyocera Wireless Corp. of San Diego.
During his career, Tyneski has accrued 57 domestic and foreign patents while designing award-winning products and developing new businesses. Now he turns those talents to IDSA's 28 chapters, 21 professional interest sections and more than 3,100 individual members. About 46 percent of those members work as consultants, 35 percent in corporations and 6 percent in education. The staff of the Dulles, Va.-based group numbers 15.
Cooper Woodring, IDSA interim executive director, said Tyneski fulfills every established criteria for the society's leadership and vision. Woodring took over for Kristina Goodrich, who headed IDSA from 1999 through the end of last year.
``Frank has the credentials, culture, chemistry and interest to lead design in the decade to come. Were I to characterize in one word the single most important quality we sought in IDSA's new executive director, it would be authenticity,'' Woodring said via e-mail.
``Frank Tyneski is authentic.''
IDSA President Michelle Berryman agrees that Tyneski is ``the real deal.''
Design is as much a lifestyle as it is a profession, said Berryman, principal of Echo Visualization LLC in Atlanta. ``Frank is a true designer,'' she said, ``brimming with passion and enthusiasm about all things design. He is ... exactly what IDSA needs.''
Tyneski's respect for great design and his passionate and ``humanistic'' approach to the design process are prime leadership qualities, said IDSA Executive Vice President Eric Anderson, who also is associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University School of Design in Pittsburgh.
``Simply put, Frank's charisma and knowledge is a powerful motivator for staff and fellow designers,'' Anderson said.
Tyneski feels ready for the challenge.
``Designers are actually in the business of solving problems,'' he said. ``In my new position, I will need to make the transition from being a strong leader of functional design teams to leading a professional society of designers.''
In that role, Tyneski said he aims to boost member services, build strategic alliances, support design education and heighten awareness among peers, government officials and the general public. A 1992 winner of an IDSA student design merit award, Tyneski said he also wants to provide a higher profile for student merit award winners and help hiring agents get better access to upcoming young designers.
His first job out of college was associate product designer with Fisher-Price in East Aurora, N.Y. With a career history that includes design stints at Motorola, BlackBerry developer Research In Motion Ltd. and Kyocera, Tyneski said the plastics industry is attentive to industrial designers.
``Practically all industries have come to recognize that industrial designers not only conceive new products, but we're also able to influence vendor selections,'' he said. ``However, few industries, outside the plastics industry, have made any attempt to actually understand the design process.
``Most industries still focus their PowerPoint presentations on quality, yields and a global supply chain,'' he said.
But the plastics industry is different, Tyneski said.
``Through a genuine commitment, the plastics industry has come to know and understand the industrial design process. They have come to recognize that industrial designers first approach the design problem from the consumer's point of view, identifying what they need in strength and what they desire in taste. Ultimately, the plastics industry has been there to help us bridge the gap between consumer expectations and reality.''
Advances in polymer science typically mean more freedom for designers, Tyneski noted. Designers are always interested in what's new and the plastics industry also has a passion for innovation, he said.
``By working together, we're able to reach further down the road than if either of us was to go it alone.''
Berryman, Anderson, Woodring and IDSA board Chair Ron Kemnitzer comprised the search committee to find a full-time successor for interim Woodring. They retained design recruiter Tom Hirsch, principal of Insearch Inc. of Aspen, Colo., to assist them, and Hirsch encouraged IDSA to hire a designer rather than an administrator.
Hirsch said IDSA's choice of Tyneski makes a statement that should resonate with membership because it ``mirrors the evolution of design'' within the business community. While the role of designing products was once insular, now it is strategic and ``holistically'' integrated to differentiate brand and user experiences, he said. He said Tyneski is someone who listens well and has ``a natural teaching style.''
After Woodring became interim director Feb. 1, he significantly reorganized IDSA's staff.
``Now, we have the right people in the right seats, [and] we have a team working together,'' he said. An expert witness in design patent litigation, Woodring was IDSA president from 1985-86, and in 1987 concluded a quarter-century as head of design at J.C. Penney Co. Inc. in New York.
Tyneski was born and raised in the Cleveland area and attended the Cleveland Institute of Art, doing an internship in transportation design with General Motors Corp. in Warren, Mich. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree with an industrial design major from the institute in 1992, along with the school's Mary C. Page Memorial Scholarship for travel to a graduating senior.
Upon graduation, he joined Fisher-Price and a year later, signed on with Motorola Inc. His decade at Motorola included the position of principal staff design manager with two segments: commercial and government systems solutions, and consumer and light-industrial products.
Among his designs were the first-generation converged cellular and two-way radio for Fleet Call, which became Nextel Communications Inc. Nextel commercialized the technology.
Tyneski also created a proof of concept for TalkAbout two-way radios that led to the creation of a new Motorola division. Several iterations of the product won major awards.
During his tenure within Motorola's design team, Tyneski interacted with, among others, Robert Schwartz, who was IDSA's executive director from 1990-99; and Bruce Claxton, who served as IDSA president from 2003-04.
In 2002, Tyneski became design integration director with Research In Motion in Waterloo, Ontario. In 2005, he moved to San Diego and joined the wireless subsidiary of Yokohama, Japan-based Kyocera Corp.
With Kyocera Wireless, he established and staffed design centers in San Diego and Bangalore, India. He also managed sourcing of his firm's design resources at Singapore-based electronics contract manufacturer Flextronics International Ltd., mobile phone battery maker BYD Auto Co. Ltd. in Shenzheng, China, and China TechFaith Wireless Communication Technology Ltd. in Beijing.
Kyocera has wrestled with major challenges as its wireless unit competed with major brands like Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Samsung. Kyocera Wireless had 1.1 percent share of the global mobile phone market for the quarter ended June 30, according to market information provider IDC of Framingham, Mass.
Tyneski enjoys an outdoor lifestyle that includes surfing and riding a Ducati motorcycle, he said in a Sept. 28 interview. His wife, Valerie Breslow, freelances in technical public relations.