The People

The Team

Who We Are

The Design Center brings together world-class design talent and establishes new core competencies to increase collaboration across different design capabilities and our businesses. Our people have a unique opportunity to work on more than 40 leading global brands in the excitement and opportunity of a consultancy with the resources of a corporation.

In Kalamazoo you'll find employees with skill sets including graphic and industrial design, and specialized positions such as human factors engineering and usability, color and trend design, and in-house prototyping all working to create future product roadmaps. We've blended inside and outside global talent and all design resources into one community to increase collaboration and idea generation. Meet the incredible people working in our Design Center:

Our team

Nate Young

Senior Vice President, Design and Ideation

Nate Young joined the company in September of 2013 in a newly created position responsible for energizing and accelerating the company's innovation funnel and driving a more innovation-centric culture deep within Newell Brands.
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Lloyd Walker

Vice President, Advanced Design and Ideation

Lloyd Walker is an experienced executive, entrepreneur, and designer who invents future products, systems, business models and leads organizations to deliver them. From 2001 – 2017 he was the President of Precurve, LLC, an innovation and incubation management firm.
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Wyatt Cline

Director of Industrial Design, Writing and Tools

Wyatt Cline is charting the course for design on Newell Brands' iconic Writing and Tools brands. Tapping into more than 13 years of consumer design experience at Whirlpool Corporation, Wyatt relishes the opportunity to bring design to the center of Newell Brands and to help drive the company's transformation into a brand and innovation-led organization. It was the speed of transformation and full buy-in on the importance of design from executive leadership that drew Wyatt to Kalamazoo.

'We're envisioning what the future of our brands could be and taking an opportunity to look at the entire consumer experience,' he said. 'It's using the art of storytelling to showcase a design narrative versus a sole concept.'

Tim J. Morton

Director of Industrial Design, Rubbermaid Commercial and Tools

Tim J. Morton is a design leader who has been creating for some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies for more than 18 years. 

Since joining Newell in 2014, Tim has led Design teams for Home Solutions, Rubbermaid Commercial and Tools. Previously Tim has partnered with global clients as part of an international design consultancy in Austin, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois, and as an independent consultant in the U.K., he has also led forward thinking development for the LEGO Group across play materials and new ventures. With a passion for travel, discovery, user centered design and emerging technologies, Tim brings experiences across multiple categories connected by the goal of creating  products and experiences that enrich lives. 

Prior client partners have included Corning, Dell, LEGO, Flextronics, Harris, Kimberly Clark, Johnson Controls Inc., Kyocera,  LEGO,  Motorola, Qualcomm.

'The Design Center and its facilities like the prototype lab and model shop are very important for our process' it promotes experimentation ' we build and tear down and rebuild until we realize a better way.' he said. 'We're always focused on continuous improvement; we've created an environment where it's ok to embrace failure in order to get to those eureka moments that lead to a great design.'

Chris Gurr

Director of Industrial Design, Baby & Parenting and Home Solutions

Chris Gurr has been with Newell Brands for more than nine years working in a variety of business segments. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Industrial Design from the University of Northumbria. Chris is originally from the U.K. where he spent more than 10 years working in corporate and consultancy ID roles before moving to Hong Kong in 2008. While there, he joined Newell to lead R&D, delivering key projects for IRWIN Tools, Lenox and Levolor. Chris joined the team in Switzerland four years later to lead Industrial Design for Baby & Parenting. He has since occupied several roles in Baby & Parenting EMEA, most recently as Director of R&D.  Chris was excited to move the U.S. at the end of 2014 to join the creative and talented team at the Design Center.

'This is an incredible time to be at Newell, we’re focusing on Design and Innovation like never before. Bringing all Design activity together creates a great opportunity to deliver a seamless experience for all our brands.  The potential is really coming to life in the quality of work and breakthrough product launches.'

Larry Sorrel

Global Director, Graphic Design

Larry Sorrel is leveraging more than 25 years of retail and luxury experience in corporate and agency creative strategy, design, marketing and brand development and activation roles, in his position as Global Director, Graphic Design at Newell Brands' new Design Center in Kalamazoo. The scale of the opportunity, Newell Brands' commitment to design and the talented team made this new role compelling to Larry.

'The Design Center is a game changer and it's unique to have all of the functions together ' you just feel the energy,' he said. 'We've had a lot of interest and we've found great talent. Everyone is excited to show what they can do and the team is functioning at a high level.'

Laura Vennie

Director, Usability & Experience Design

Psychologists, human factors engineers, ergonomics experts ' that's the team Laura Vennie is growing from one member to 12 as she embeds usability into Newell Brands design. A new capability for the company, Laura is building a function that is the consumers' and end-users' voice from a cognitive and physical standpoint in every product. More than 11 years of experience at Whirlpool and a background in biology and human factors have equipped Laura for the high-demand of usability's counsel.

'We are working hand-in-hand, every single day with our designers,' she said. 'They see the value of our support. And everything is fast-paced; we learn, adjust or quickly cancel and move on to the next idea.'

Michael Dillane

Director, Design Programming & Strategy

As Director, Design Programming & Strategy, Michael Dillane is charged with driving design from a service to a leadership position by bringing new thinking and serving as a partner in setting product strategy early in the process. From his vast experience in industries ranging from consumer technology to automotive, Michael knows that fantastic design is a multi-faceted, iterative process that is integrally linked with commercial success.

'Innovation requires success in the market - if a product doesn't sell, it is not an innovation,' he said. 'The more minds you have on something, the more ideas you build upon and the better the outcome. That is one of the exciting things about the Design Center. It's a sizable group of talented people looking at each other's work and developing something special out of that effort.'

Chris Davis

Senior Manager, Color & Trend

From deciding on vivid new Sharpie marker colors to tapping into fashion trends for Parker pens to creating the right finish for Rubbermaid trash cans, Chris Davis is Senior Manager, Color & Trend, for all of Newell Brands' brands at the new Design Center in Kalamazoo. Responsible for the future forecasting of macro trends that will impact all of Newell Brands' business segments, Chris has worked in industrial design and marketing roles at Newell Brands for 11 years and is enthusiastic about the new opportunity the Design Center represents.

'Color, Finish, Material and Trend is not a service; it's integral to the whole process and we're getting it right at the beginning,' he said. 'We are using insights and research to create the stories and then putting the rigor and structure behind it - the reason for being. Without this, we jeopardize the success of our new products.'

Terry Litaker

Manager of Design Prototyping

Michigan native Terry Litaker built a foundation of skills in the tool and die field and joins Newell Brands from a 12-year modeling and prototyping career within the Fortune 500. Terry custom-made the Design Center Prototyping Lab from blueprints to reality, personally creating the space to service Newell's specific brands with functional, first-class, high-fidelity models. It's under his guidance and expertise that each concept becomes three-dimensional for the first time.

'My role is pivotal in the design process, our designers can't get their point across without models,' he said. 'We start with creative ideas and bring them to life. My talented team supports our nearly 100 designers and their unique needs. From art to part, build time is shortened because we're onsite bringing more speed to the design process as a whole.'

Paul Hurley

Director, Design & Engineering

Paul Hurley joined Newell Brands in September of 2014 when they purchased Ignite USA. Before the acquisition, he oversaw the Ignite Industrial Design and Engineering team for 5 years. During Paul’s time and tenure the company grew from 25 million to 240 million.

Paul brings 30 years’ experience with an even mix of strategic deign consulting and working for Fortune 100 corporations. Before Ignite, Paul worked for Whirlpool leading an Advanced Platform Team exploring new product architectures for major appliances that delivered significantly higher levels of brand differentiation. After Whirlpool, Paul joined Motorola on the advanced products team partnering with Apple, Kodak, Comcast and Google to develop new high featured smart phones.

Paul graduated from Center for Creative Studies with a BFA degree in Industrial Design.

'I feel very fortunate to be working for Newell Brands at this time in their history. The commitment to Industrial Design and Innovation is at an all-time high. We are positioned very well to envision/create any number of world class brands that consumers connect with and love.'

Jason Kehrer

Senior Manager, Innovation

Jason joined Newell Brands in August of 2016, and leads the Innovation Group, a small team of specialists committed to growing the overall brand portfolio of Newell Brands' products and services worldwide. IG partners with executive leadership to translate strategic direction for specific business segments and is responsible for providing a point-of-view on innovation health enterprise-wide, along with future scanning and trend analysis for new product development opportunities.

Previously, Jason served as the Managing Director of the NewNorth Center for Design in Business, a nonprofit organization working with a variety of businesses, organizations and others to help infuse design thinking and human-centered design methods to stimulate innovation, solve big problems and build effective teams. Clients included Amway, Haworth, Cascade Engineering, Stryker, MASCO, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, Ottawa County MI, INVISTA, Talent2025 and Trinity Health.

Jason began his career in local and international community development, working to understand needs, design solutions and build programs in Michigan, Australia, South Africa and Swaziland. Prior to joining the NewNorth team, Jason was the general manager and lead brand strategist for a Holland, a Michigan-based creative agency working with higher education and healthcare institutions on brand strategy and communications; he led the launch of a number of award-winning and successful brand campaigns nationwide..