PROFILE

As a practicing Industrial Designer, I've been exposed and excelled in many different areas. As a human being, I feel the Design Process, is relevant to any solution. I believe in collaboration - but I also believe collaboration is discouraged by technological, physical & mental barriers.

Throughout my professional journey, I've focused my efforts on eliminating these obstacles. Discovering that the most rewarding experiences, products, and solutions were developed without limitation; where every team member proposed ideas, sketched, researched, modeled, prototyped, and participated in every stage of the Design Process - without fear or apprehension .

There is something about this process, that changes you. Addressing a problem, sketching ideas, backing ideas with research/input, and realizing the final product as a physical, tangible object. Even more enticing, when the solution is developed with a team; in which a Community forms, unifies, and works fluidly. By removing technological & physical barriers, and encouraging honest HUMAN feelings; Design becomes a democratic process in which all voices are heard and contribute to the final experience. REAL human experiences inform GREAT products. This level of comfort, this type of culture -  is represented through the act of "making", and I'm in love with it.

EXPERIENCE

 

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

INSTRUCTOR & CO-PRINCIPAL

AUGUST 2015 - PRESENT

Working with Project Manus & Higher Education Makerspace Initiative (HEMI), a team of professionals from Universities across the U.S. on establishing, promoting, & teaching supportive resources regarding best practice in developing Higher-Education & Commercial Makerspaces, with a strict focus on community & culture. Design, creation & management of Makershare; a web based community resource for Makerspaces. Coordination of International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces (ISAM 2016 & 2017).  

IONTANK

PRODUCTION & SHOP MANAGER, LEAD DESIGNER

SEPTEMBER 2017 - JANUARY 2019

Coordination of multi-team & multi-project conceptualization, design, prototyping, production & installation. Daily focus on production/manufacturing methods, timelines, resource requirements, vendor relationships, external contracting, client communications & engineering/code specifications. Troubleshooting & maintenance of facilities, equipment & resources. Identification & resolution of production process breakdowns & friction points.

DESINE4

INTEGRATIVE DESIGNER

MAY 2012 - PRESENT

Conceptualization, design & coordination of facility design & layout with Architects, Engineers & Contractors. Selection, purchasing, procurement & integration of furniture, fixtures, equipment & supporting systems. Strong focus on community & culture through collaborative work environments.

  • Notable projects in Pittsburgh, PA:

    • Gates-Hillman Center for Computer Science, IDeATe@Hunt Library, Morewood Gardens Makerspace, CIT-ANSYS Makerwing, TechShop, Digital Fabrication Lab (dFab), Independence Middle School Makerspace

  • Other notable projects​:

    • Steiner Studios (CMU, IDeATe; Brooklyn, NY), IYA Hall Makerspace, (USC; Los Angeles, CA)​, NewPig (Duncansville, PA)

CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY

INSTRUCTOR & TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

MAY 2014 - JUNE 2017

Charged with design, layout, & launch of the Integrative Design, Arts & Technology (IDeATe) network, program & facilities. Management, supervision & coordination of courses, employees, students, faculty & staff in a facility supporting collaboration in learning & teaching fabrication, integrative media, embedded computation, & game design through maker technologies & resources. Responsibilities include facility design & development; equipment selection, purchasing, & maintenance; fiscal accounting & budgeting; web, information, inventory, & access systems development; hiring & training multiple student, faculty, & staff; implementation of systems promoting collaborative communities; providing instruction in CAD, CAM, digital/traditional fabrication & prototyping methods; promoting unity between departments, makerspaces & programs through collaborative projects.

CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY

INSTRUCTOR & DIGITAL FABRICATION LAB MANAGER

OCTOBER 2008 - AUGUST 2014

Management, supervision, and instruction of student employees, students, & faculty in the School of Architecture's Digital Fabrication Lab (dFab), a digital fabrication facility supporting non-traditional fabrication & prototyping in the fields of Architecture, Art & Design. Responsibilities include facility design & development; equipment selection, purchasing, installation & maintenance; fiscal accounting & budgeting; web, information, inventory, & access systems development; hiring & training multiple student employees, providing instruction in robotics, CAD, CAM, digital/traditional fabrication & prototyping methods.

SELF-EMPLOYED

DESIGN CONSULTANT & RAPID PROTOTYPING LEAD

OCTOBER 2008 - AUGUST 2012

Providing prototyping, fabrication, & design assistance for small products & re-branding. Clientele includes MAYA Design, Daedalus, New Pig, Disney Research, UP Restaurant, Entertainment Technology Center (ETC @ CMU) Human Computer Interaction Institute (HCII @ CMU), School of Art (SoArt @CMU) & (3) personal clients.

THE ART INSTITUTE OF PITTSBURGH

TECHNICAL LEAD

APRIL 2006 - SEPTEMBER 2008

Supervision of employees & students in a makerspace supporting Special Effects & Industrial Design. Responsibilities include equipment maintenance, digital fabrication instruction/training & inventory management.

 

RAPID PROTOTYPING & MATERIALS

Mold Making, Digital/Traditional Fabrication, CNC + CAD Environments,  Lumber, Metals, Plastics, Textiles, Hybrids/Composites, High/Low Density Foam, Paper Products, Silicone, Resins

CREATIVE LEADERSHIP

Project & Production Management, Collaboration, Timelines, Budgeting, Vendor Relations, Client Communications, Resource Management, Mentorship & Guidance

FIELDS

Small Product Design, Graphic & Web Design, Boat Design, Integrative & UX Design, Wearable Tech, Interior Design, Exhibit Design, Engineering, Recreational & Game/Toy Design, Architecture.

SOFTWARE

CAD: Rhinoceros 3D​, AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Solidworks, Inventor, SketchUP

CAM: RhinoCAM​, VisualCAM, MasterCAM, RobotMaster, Robot Studio, VisCam for Solidworks, ArtCam, All 3D Print Processors, All Laser Processors

 

GRAPHIC, WEB, ILLUSTRATION: Adobe Suite​, Corel Draw, Google Drawings, Wordpress

SCRIPTING: Processing​, Arduino, Particle.dev, Ruby, PHP, Grasshopper

BUSINESS: Google Suite, Microsoft Office​, Zoho & Filemaker

EQUIPMENT

Selection/purchase/integration/maintenance/instruction/supervision/use of Traditional Wood-Working, Traditional Metal-Working, 3D Printer, Laser Cutter/Engraver, CNC Router/Mill/Lathe, 3D Scanner, Robotic Arms, Audio/Video Recording, Pneumatic, Plumbing, Electrical, Flooring, Welding, Plasma Cutter, Water Jet, Sand/Media Blaster, Soldering Iron, Oscilloscope, Fast Motion Capture

DESIGN PROCESSES

Human Factors, Ergonomics, Client Communication, Product Presentation, Design Theory, Manufacturing Processes, Material Knowledge, Facility Layout/Development, Community & Culture Design/Development, Vendor/Supplier Relations, Technical Drawing, Color Theory, Sketching

EDUCATION

 

M. S. SELF DEFINED - TANGIBLE INTERACTION DESIGN

CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY

AUGUST 2012 - PRESENT

B. S. INDUSTRIAL DESIGN

THE ART INSTITUTE OF PITTSBURGH

SEPTEMBER 2003 - OCTOBER 2008

Awards, Certifications, Publications, Projects, Events

ACHIEVEMENTS

 

INT'L SYMPOSIUM ON ACADEMIC MAKERSPACES

HIGHER EDUCATION MAKERSPACE INITIATIVE

EVENT, NOVEMBER 2016 & SEPTEMBER 2017

Co-coordinator of international event supporting community involvement in establishing best practice within post-secondary makerspace facility, systems & communities through shared knowledge, articles, presentations & open-discussions. [ International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces: ISAM 2016 &  ISAM 2017 ]

THE POWER OF BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS, COLLABORATION & OWNERSHIP

INT'L SYMPOSIUM ON ACADEMIC MAKERSPACES

PUBLICATION, NOVEMBER 2016

Primary Author of an article discussing the importance & methods in which efficient collaboration & ownership promote cultural development & continued interest within a creative/technical makerspace community.

[International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces - 2016 Proceedings, Session 16: Technical - Campus Collaboration and Politics, Paper No. 44, P. Zach Ali]

PINCH WALL

PERFORMATIVE MATERIALS IN ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN

PUBLICATION, AUGUST 2013

Creative contribution discussing the unique design process (Architectural & Design Theory, parametric modeling), materials (EPS Foam, UltraCal) & manufacturing methods (mold-making, casting, robotic milling) utilized to create the PINCH WALL; a student project in which I acted as co-adviser/instructor with Jeremy Ficca, RA & co-contributor with student-team. [Performative Materials in Architecture and Design, Chapter 3: Material Fabrications, PINCH WALL, Jeremy Ficca & Zach Ali, Edited by: Rashida Ng and Sneha Patel]

MULTI-AXIS PROGRAMMING

MASTERCAM UNIVERSITY

CERTIFICATION, JULY 2011

4-Day course outlining best practice in multi-axis machining, including robotic milling, with MasterCAM. [MasterCAM University: Multiaxis]

BEST IN SHOW, INDUSTRIAL DESIGN

THE ART INSTITUTE OF PITTSBURGH

AWARD, SEPTEMBER 2008

Awarded to graduating student based on significance of portfolio & thesis content, and how well such content represents the core values of design theory & processes within the present professional realm.

PLUG AND PLAY HOUSE

SOLAR DECATHLON

PROJECT & COMPETITION, OCTOBER 2007

Co-contributor on Carnegie Mellon University's Solar Decathlon Team; a competition between (20) Universities, focused on building sustainable homes. Primary contributions included interior design & furniture design & fabrication. [Solar Decathlon - 2007Projects: Solar Decathlon]

TESTIMONIALS

4.4

78

 

A well-rounded professional; I believe he explained himself as a: "jack-of-all-trades, master-of-a-few". Never in my life have I met someone so knowledgeable- in EVERY way. Truthfully, I began to feel inferior in his shadow; but, he is so "aware" that he can sense your frustration. In response, he will continue encouraging your inclusion as frequently as possible.

Professional

​I really appreciate what you (and the culture you created at IDeATe) have done for me. I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am today if you hadn't made the decisions you made to cultivate the open, genuinely collaborative, honest culture of the makerspace, and if you hadn't given the opportunities and guidance that you did.

Student

This man is younger than I am, yet I've found his advice on life, design, engineering, making, community, culture etc. to be on another level. This could mean: a) I am underdeveloped professionally and personally -or- b) Zach is superman. The answer is (b). In short, if you need anything: a therapist, friend, employee, landscaper, designer, engineer, rapid prototyping, drinking buddy, or a last minute designated driver, this is your guy.

Professional

Kind, Passionate, Genuinely good guy, Went above and beyond on every item I asked about, Flexible, Intellectual, Not hampered by Ego. You went out of your way to help me out on numerous occasions and it left a positive impression. I always felt I could depend on you to be helpful, courteous and professional as you had availability.

Staff, Faculty

Organization could be better. Interest in student work and education. Very good instructor and leader. Every student knew just how much you cared about them and their growth as a professional at all times whether you explicitly said so or not. You really brought the team together and inspired us all to lead in our own way.

Student, Employee

A number of times I have met with you for your advice in professional capacities and you have always made time and been open, honest, and insightful with your advice. I felt that my success was important to you, something that is hard to find in management or friends. Working for you I felt I was respected (despite not earning it), and my input and growth in that role was valued. We've shared ideas, conversations and worked through problems together as equals, despite being a subordinate. As a student working on a number of projects, seeking your advice was some of the most relevant, insightful, criticism I have received.

Student, Staff, Faculty

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REFERENCES

 

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P. ZACH ALI

412 913 1951

©2017 BY P. ZACH ALI