Russ Strong’s career is one of working “in the trenches” within product engineering, styling, and program management — while also in direct communication with corporate executives and those of global marketing, brand growth, and industry and community collaboration. Within his global industry circle, Russ is known for innovation, integrative design and styling, rapid prototype builds, and industry leading products. This extends into his own projects and programs today. Russ is the lead inventor on over 65 patents.
Bit of Biography — for background to unique perspective he brings to you in this course:
Russ Strong grew up on a dairy farm on the edge of a quintessential small town in Vermont — with 2 brothers, 2 sisters, and 7 cousins at the farm next door. His father, Horace Strong, had degrees in Dairy Science and Math, was a farmer, high school Math and Industrial Arts teacher and canoe builder. His mother, Ruth Esser Strong, grew up in New York City and Washington DC and graduated UVM in Ag Engineering. Ulrich Esser, his grandfather, was an Electrical Engineering graduate of Pratt and manager in installation of the first automatic telephone switching stations in NYC and DC. His parents were big on the outdoors, camping, travel, books, diverse friends, creativity, “making” and sustainable living (meaning, tons of chores, animals and gardening amidst the sports, tree houses and go-carts). Thus, Russ was provided a breadth of experiences growing up. (The "go-cart" pictured was built with modification and assembly of varied components, Russ doing this in a high school English class - in the Industrial Arts shop - having talked his teacher into this as basis for a "technical writing" term paper assignment).
While in college, Russ worked in the engineering shop and driving truck and combines during wheat harvests, this period also including the many road trips across the country. Russ is a graduate of the University of Idaho, Tau Beta Pi, Agricultural Engineering, with later his PE in Mechanical Engineering.
Russ started his engineering career with three years at Avco New Idea, where he had a great mentor and direct access to the prototyping shop and manufacturing. Russ then joined Sperry New Holland to work on their Twin Rotor grain harvesters. A successful “rogue” project solving significant challenges with this product led him to a 6-year tour at their engineering center in Belgium. Responsible for North American R&D within a European modular platform, Russ and his team developed what would later become NH’s global market leader. While working and traveling in Europe, he expanded his interests and training in art and industrial design.
Russ returned to the States for three-years development of Ford New Holland’s new high-hp tractor. Here, as an engineer within the team, Russ led the program’s styling, ergonomics and features development — utilizing insights he gained in Europe from interface with industrial design firms, immersion in corporate politics, and personal art studies. Efforts with this program provided Russ opportunity to work hands-on with a cross-section of talent within top automotive prototyping, tooling and production shops of Detroit.
The Ford Genesis 70 Series tractor led to a product partnership with Caterpillar and its features, styling and reliability set new standards in the industry. Fiat management recognized this tractor’s ability to expand their marketing strength worldwide, and this aided Ford in its sale of Ford New Holland to Fiat.
As the new group initiated a “global teams” approach for merging the companies and brands, Italian leadership looked to the team process utilized in development of the Ford Genesis tractor. In this, they sought Russ Strong’s integrative design “methodology” for implementing across all team and operations centers. This launched Russ’ design firm in 1992, with contract for worldwide responsibility for industrial design, and he became a “secret weapon” within their successful merger. Russ linked global engineering and product marketing teams, and executive management. Nine years of design, insane travel and tenacity shaped outcomes and the new global brand. With their acquisition of CaseIH, design results carried over into the “Red” brand also.
Russ Strong’s reputation for industry-leading styling and rapid,
team-integrated programs expanded his client base, adding major
programs with Caterpillar, John Deere, CNH, AGCO, Vasa, DR Power and others.
Russ also initiated developments of his own in other market sectors of vehicle and product design. This work linked emerging tech, and led to identifying and addressing challenges within national security, defense and logistics — including new concepts that shifted programs at US Marine Corps and DARPA. Russ’ work in defense is yet “off radar” to the public. However, experience gained from these programs took Russ into a 4-year study in interface with universities, cities and industry, leads to staging a range of projects, and these within new hybrid business models.
In Russ’ consulting work, his “ground level” view to program challenges and opportunities enables him to help communicate mission objectives from the top management, and also assist communication of detailed and strategic needs to management.
Russ gets further opportunity as a “Michelin Guide Reviewer” or
“undercover boss” in his interface with academia, government, defense and
city organizations. Russ is not famous, not directly bring the $$. Hence, as he
introduces new concepts and opportunities he gets to witness the true,
unbiased responses and dynamics of organizations (as compared to idyllic
mission statements and stated strategic objectives.)
Russ’ unique perspective, from “all of the above”, leads him to
bring you his new book in the format of this course —so
you have the inside scoop and a cumulative of broad perspectives.
The intent of Russ’ efforts is the advance of your talent, skills and actions for increased innovation power and excellence in outcomes — which includes addressing the very human characteristics and organizational dynamics jamming these up.
Join Russ as he celebrates with you the joy of your passions,
creativity and power for innovation!
In 2002, Russ Strong won the BusinessWeek and IDSA Gold Award for Design Excellence in Vehicle Category, and in 2009 was the inaugural recipient of the University of Idaho’s Outstanding Alumni Innovator Award. Russ is designer of tractors and ergonomics having won Tractor of the Year Awards at Europe’s Bauma, SIMA, IEMA and AgriTechnica annual shows.
Russ Strong’s views to the future in Ag and Heavy Equipment industry featured as lead, on page 66 and 67, of IVT’s 2013 20th Anniversary Edition article
Russ Strong on LinkedIn
AND, gain access to a great co-instructor and like-minded, innovation-oriented, oceanographer, systems engineer, MBA toting millennial. Along with being an awesome editor, Claire is also here to engage with you in comments and discussion.
Join Russ and Claire. Build your notes and thoughts, engage in discussions -- and establish a rapid and higher trajectory for your growth and success.