By Todd R. Michaelis, ‘90
R. Scott Strong, ’78, BS Art Center of Pasadena ’85, (Anna Petrini, ’81), was a senior art major at BYU when he finally discovered his true interest. “I took an elective class in industrial design and worked on a cooperative project with General Motors with the new Corvette. I did so well and had so much fun that I decided this is what I wanted to do,” Strong says.
Strong eventually found a job with Ford, and he took his young family to Cologne, Germany, where he began work on the next-generation Escort. During his 10-year stay in Europe, he was involved in many projects. He eventually became a lead designer for the Ford Ka, a small city car for crowded European streets.
Achieving a new design takes some creative approaches. “As a team we hung pictures of things we didn’t want to do on a wall. We studied consumer products ranging from Japanese knives to teakettles to find fresh and innovative ideas,” Strong says. Their work paid off; the Ka became an award-winner and has eclipsed the one-million production mark. Strong was also involved with the Ford Focus, which has become a world best-seller.
Strong has worked for Ford in Australia and now is back in the United States as Ford’s director of design for family/lifestyle vehicles. “It’s a charge to actually see cars you created all around you,” Strong says.