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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Wyatt Cline

Vice President, Industrial Design

Wyatt Cline is a recognized leader in managing multi-disciplinary design teams to embed the link between Design and Business. Cline joined Newell Brands in February of 2013 and has held roles of increasing responsibility during his tenure. .
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Richard Gresens

Vice President, Industrial Design

Richard Gresens has been creating new ideas for over thirty years. His diverse design career has involved working across the design disciplines of product, transportation and exhibit at large and small companies. His work includes numerous concept and production designs that have been introduced around the globe.
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Donna Root

Vice President, Graphic Design

Donna Root knows how to make legendary brands shine even brighter. As Vice President, Graphic Design at Newell Brands she oversees a talented global graphic design organization that builds shelf presence, brand love and consumer loyalty across our Newell brand portfolio.
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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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Jonathan Bader

Director, Graphic Design

Jonathan Bader has a history of creating holistic, authentic brand stories. His 20 year career so far has spanned multiple industries, and he uses his skateboard-fueled irreverence & perseverance to drive a culture of creativity for corporate teams.

Prior to joining Newell Brands, Jonathan led Advertising and Private Label initiatives for The Home Depot, aiding in the implementation of a new purpose and stance for THD visuals. Before The Home Depot, at SCHAWK!, Jonathan directed the visual narrative of Photography for Brylane Home, Linens N Things, SeaPak, as well as The Home Depot. His early career took him around various in-house design teams, as well as a stint as a gallery artist and clothing designer.

A graduate of the Art Institutes, he lives in Kalamazoo with his activist wife and two children, and he still thinks he’s safe on a skateboard.

Jeff Browne

Director, Industrial Design Division, Appliances and Cookware

Jeff Browne brings a passion to push beyond the norm to develop new and meaningful products for the consumer. He is a Michigan native, and attended College for Creative studies where he earned his BFA for Industrial Design. Over the course of his more than 14 years in design, he has been a part of medium to large scale design teams at Whirlpool, Masco, and now Newell Brands, designing and leading teams to develop everything from laundry machines to faucets, writing implements to label printers, and food storage to cutlery. Through this experience, Jeff has developed the ability to see big picture needs within a category without losing sight of the small details that take a product from good to great. With an eye to the future, he looks to continue building great teams at Newell Brands that not only deliver great design, but also have some fun while doing it.

Chris Davis

Director, CMF & Fashion

Chris Davis leads the Color & Trend team for the key brands that make up the Newell family. With over 20 years experience in design and marketing, Chris has developed product, packaging, color and trend forecasting along with new business development across many categories from beauty to small electronics. Chris holds a BS in Industrial Design from Art Center College of Design. When he isn’t glued to a computer screen designing, his next passion is real estate. Chris loves to remodel, redesign and repurpose homes to give them a second life. He currently resides in Kalamazoo Michigan with his partner Nick.

'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.'

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 Gurr

Director, 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.'

Jason Kehrer

Director, 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.

Terry Litaker

Director, 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.'

Tim J. Morton

Director,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.'

Michael Reedy

Director, Industrial Design, Writing

Michael Reedy is a design leader with over 20 years of experience in both corporate and consulting studios. He has a proven track record of leading collaboratively and leveraging cross-functional teams to bring products with meaningful innovation to life.

He began his career at a division of Newell Brands designing storage and organization solutions for consumers and home builders. Michael then joined Beyond Design, a Chicago design consultancy, where he developed breakthrough products for brands such as Trane, Husqvarna, Swingline, Dremel, and Motorola. Michael was also Studio Manager at Masco where he established a team to design a new visual brand language and product range for Arrow Fastener.

Inspired by Newell Brands’ commitment to design and the opportunity to help build a world class design organization, Michael re-joined Newell Brands in 2013.

Martin Scheppan

Director, Graphic Design

Martin Scheppan is a truly global Graphic Design expert, working with Newell Brands for 13 years, on two continents, across a wide variety of brands. As a Director, he is responsible for the graphic design of the Writing, Food and C&CS brands from the Newell Brands portfolio..

Martin started his career with Newell in Munich, Germany, leading the regional graphic design teams there. He was then appointed to lead the EMEA graphic design teams before he relocated to Kalamazoo to work globally with the Writing brands.

Prior to joining Newell Brands, Martin worked as a creative director and founder of his own design agency supporting clients like BMW, Saitek, Siemens and Pro7 in numerous creative disciplines such as architecture, interior and furniture design, 3D animation, multimedia design and graphic design.

Martin graduated from the University of Applied Science in Rosenheim, Germany with a diploma in interior architecture.

Larry Sorrel

Sr. Director, Graphic Design, Home Fragrances

Larry S Sorrel is currently the Graphic Design Senior Director for Newell Brands overseeing the Home Fragrance division. He is responsible for insuring best in class strategic creative solutions are delivered for multiple consumer touch-points. He studied marketing at Louisiana State University, and later studied retail-marketing design at The Art Institute of Houston. Larry has had broad exposure to multiple facets within the retail industry. Early in his career he worked for Macy’s Corporate/Federated Department Stores in multiple positions within marketing. Positions included Shopper Marketing, Visual Merchandising, Advertising/Promotions and Trend Direction. After 11 years at Macy’s, he worked on the agency side within the luxury sector working on brands such as Hermes, Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Armani. His last position on the agency side focused on more integrated/digital campaigns for large retailers such as The Home Depot. He also led Advance Planning Teams, which delivered trend forecasting, product development and marketing campaigns to support over-all trend/creative insights.

'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.'