Rick Hagee

2008 Mideast District Student Merit Winner

Rick Hagee’s design career really did start with a napkin sketch.

“I first found myself interested in design when I was about 5 years old,” he recalled. “I would sketch on my mom's napkins, coming up with different inventions, city layouts and even roller coaster designs. She would get frustrated with me because she didn't know if she should save the napkins or throw them out.”

Hagee added, “When I got into my high school years, I began to realize that I loved solving problems as well.”

Today, Mama Hagee can rest easy now that her son has launched an award-winning design career which has yielded a handful of solutions to make it easier to keep a tidy house. One universally designed laundry storage system earned Rick Hagee high honors at the 2008 International Housewares Association (IHA) Student Design Competition.

“I took a look at the whole laundry process and quickly noticed that several problems existed,” he said. “Clothes had to be handled multiple times, there was excessive bending over and sorting often caused physical irritation. No product on the market addressed the needs of multiple users, keeping in mind that a child—who produces the dirty laundry—and their care taker—who gets stuck doing laundry—are very different individuals.”

Hagee’s design for the Opus Laundry Hammock, which took second place in the IHA competition, provides the features of hampers, sorters and baskets all in one product and attends to the unique needs of every possible user. He reported, “After being at the 2008 IHA show, I received awesome attention, and many people wanted to make this product a reality. I am working now to make a few small changes I think could really put this product over the edge.”

While Hagee cites his studies at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) with imparting the power of the design process, real world exposure helped him understand how design really works.

“As an intern at Design Central, I felt that I grew much quicker in even a month than I did a year of school,” he said. After graduating from CCAD this June, Hagee will become a full time member of the Design Central Product Design team.

“I love product design and want to have the ability to continue solving problems,” he declared. “Exploiting and solving problems is key. A solution is unlikely to come from divine intervention.”

Rick Hagee can be reached at rhagee@gmail.com.