MAIN Event once again proves popular with the auto crowd
Monday, January 14th, 2013
Lawrence Technological University transportation design senior Cherise Caldwell shared the spotlight with two auto industry leaders at the Jan. 13 MAIN Event awards presentation, which kicked off press week for the North American International Auto Show.
The third annual MAIN Event was held at Orchestra Hall and the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.
Caldwell won the Next Generation of Design Innovation Award.
Elon Musk, CEO and head of product design at Tesla Motors, as well as CEO and chief designer of SpaceX, was named Global Industry Executive of the Year.
Moray Callum, executive director of Americas Design for the Ford Motor Company, was named Industry Innovator of the Year.
In addition, the winners were announced for the $100,000 scholarship “Designing for the Future” competition for high school seniors and transfer students, which was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund and LTU. All but one of the recipients were from other countries.
“Our celebration recognizes not only established industry executive excellence, but also rewards the creative young minds who will inspire our industry’s future direction,” said Keith Nagara, the director of LTU’s transportation design program and executive committee chairman for the MAIN Event. “We’re grateful for enthusiastic industry support for our unique event.”
In addition to the opportunity to mix and mingle with executives of the global auto industry who had come to Detroit for the Auto Show, guests enjoyed the MAIN Event’s annual fashion show held in conjunction with Detroit Fashion Week.
Caldwell is one of several transportation design students who will have models on display at the LTU exhibit in Cobo Center’s Michigan Hall at the Auto Show. She designed a wind- and solar-powered vessel, the 2025 CrossWinds, for Ford Motor Company.
Caldwell, who is from Hoffman Estates, IL, interned with General Motors last summer and hopes to become an automotive designer when she graduates in May.
LTU’s bachelor’s degree in transportation design combines theory and hands-on experience as a designer with an understanding of automotive engineering. Transportation design students learn what is involved in designing a vehicle that meets engineering requirements for the manufacturing process.
“We learn how to create something that not only looks cool but also makes sense,” she said.
Caldwell and other transportation design students at LTU get plenty of practice on projects for the auto companies that are looking for new, fresh ideas as well as possible recruits for their design departments.
As a freshman, Caldwell worked on a team that designed a concept for a 2050 Mustang. The next year the transportation design sophomores worked on a Jeep for 2025. As juniors, they worked on interiors that incorporate human-machine interface features for Cadillac and other interior design features for Chrysler. As seniors, they worked on a 2025 Ford C-platform model similar to the Fiesta.
Twice Caldwell has won honors in the Steel Market Development Institute’s design competition for wheels.
“These sponsored projects are great learning experiences because you are working with professionals in the field,” Caldwell said. “We also learn so much from our own professors who are working designers.”
Caldwell has developed a strong interest in accessories for cars, and her dream is to set up her own design firm. “If you’re looking for something special and unique, I want you to come to me,” she said.