Robert Schwartz, FIDSA
Inducted into the Academy of Fellows: 2011
IDSA Executive Director: 1988–1998
Bob Schwartz’s service to IDSA began on the local level in 1982, culminating in a 10-year tenure as the Society’s executive director from 1988-1998. While at the helm, he made IDSA the “voice” of industrial design in the United States, increasing membership by 30 percent and revenues by 300 percent.
Schwartz joined GE Healthcare (GEHC) in December 2007 as general manager, global design. With studios in five countries, Scwartz is responsible for overseeing the global design function encompassing human factors, industrial design, ergonomics, and user interface and design research.
Schwartz joined GEHC from Procter & Gamble, where he was a global design leader working to transform the design function to a strategically relevant capability, which is now made up of 300 global designers and design managers. Before P&G, he was VP of new product development at Levolor Kirsch, a division of Newell Rubbermaid, where he was specifically tasked with bringing innovation to the home decor industry. At Motorola, Schwartz was the director of industrial design responsible globally for all key product lines within the commercial, government, industrial and consumer products businesses.
He has been executive director and COO for the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), where he forged an unprecedented relationship with BusinessWeek magazine to annually publish the Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) and later the Catalyst Awards. He received a United Nations appointment to the People's Republic of China as senior advisor for design and testified before Congress on a bill to establish a US Design Center in the Dept. of Commerce. He was also the director, science and technology programs for AdvaMed, where he forged strong partnerships with the FDA, HCFA and Congress. At AvaMed, he lobbied and directed policy and voluntary standards research for circulatory and cardiovascular devices, health-care information systems and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Before this, he was the head of corporate industrial design and architecture for the American Red Cross, where he implemented new nation-wide mobile blood collection, tissue banking and disaster services systems.
Most notably, Schwartz was inducted into the IDSA Academy of Fellows, at the World Congress of Industrial Design, for his outstanding contributions to the industry.
He has a master's in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design, where he was a Roddy Scholar and a bachelor of fine arts in industrial and graphic design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design.