Paul Down, FIDSA
SAGE Section Chair: 2012-2013
Inducted into IDSA Fellowship: 2008
Midwest District Education Representative: 1997–1999
IDSA Education Council Vice President: 2003–2004
In 1982 Paul Down commenced design practice which ultimately led to his roles as a business entrepreneur (co-owner of a sub-s corporation), educator, corporate design manager, and consulting industrial designer. His creative research encompasses the design of consumer products, marine products, transportation and related accessories. Down joined the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Art, Art History and Design in 1983 and continues teaching there today. In 1986 he co-founded Prodesign Incorporated, an Indiana company that designs and manufactures thermoformed products. He subsequently designed and manufactured the first commercially produced jet driven human powered water-craft (Jet Wave), which was featured on the cover of Hammacher Schlemmer 's spring 1987 catalogue. His designs have been featured in promotional publications and at international trade shows for Monsanto Plastics, Ford Motor Company, Stewart Superior, Brunswick Corporation, Auto Car LLC, and General Motors Corporation.
From 1997-1999 he served as Midwest District Education Representative for the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). In 2003-2004 he was elected as IDSA’s National Education Council Vice President. Serving on IDSA’s Board of Directors, Down nationalized the Student Merit Award Program through the establishment of competitive events at the district conferences that enable five district winners to be represented at the annual National Conferences. Down also elevated the Education Council’s Proceedings to peer review status by subjecting papers to an editor and formalized jury process prior to publication at the National Conference. As Associate Professor of Industrial Design at the University of Notre Dame, Down coordinates the Industrial Design Program, directs the IDSA Student Chapter and instructs graduates and undergraduates. He has served on the Department of Art, Art History and Design’s Committee for Appointments and Promotions continuously from 1997 to2007. Recognized as a valued educator, Down has received the 2007 Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as the 2000 Kaneb Excellence in Teaching Award, both from the University of Notre Dame. In 2008, Down was inducted into the Kaneb Educator’s Fellowship, IDSA’s Fellowship and also received the prestigious “Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award” from the National Federation of the Blind for his collaborative design research leading to AdapTap, a patented navigation aid for sight impaired swimmers. In 2010, Down received a research grant from Memorial Health Foundation that supported design activity in the areas of infant nurturing and environmental design.