Rudolph W. Krolopp, FIDSA
Inducted into the Academy of Fellows: 1978
US industrial designer born to immigrant parents, Krolopp served with the United States Marine Corps from 1948-1952. He received a bachelor's from the University of Illinois in 1956, joining Motorola as a junior designer the same year. He studied advanced business at Lake Forest College, before becoming manager of industrial design at Motorola in 1960 and later director of industrial design in 1982, a position he held until his retirement in 1997.
Krolopp holds 31 patents and has received 27 national and international design awards, including a Master Design Award, Product Engineering magazine (1961), Wescon Design Award (1970), Design Excellence Award, Industrial Design magazine (1972), Design Engineering Award, National Marine Electronics Association (1972), and Good Design Award, Hanover Fair, Germany (1978).
His best known designs include Motorola's DynaTACTM 8000X, the world's first commercial handheld cellular phone (1983), the MicroTAC cell-phone (1989), and the 3-ounce StarTAC cell-phone(1996).
In 1994, he was associate professor of design at the University of Illinois, and has lectured on design at many other universities, including Wisconsin, Northwestern, Purdue, Kansas City Art Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Carnegie Mellon. He was a guest speaker at Harvard Business school, the American Management Institute, Corporate Design Institute, the Italian-American Design Conference and five national conferences of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA). An active member of IDSA, he served in chapter offices, regional vice president, chaired a national nominations committee, and in 1978 was awarded Fellowship in the Society.
Krolopp has been interviewed on CNN, MSNBC and Fox networks regarding design, and has appeared in numerous design articles in Industrial Design Magazine, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Consumer Daily, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times and the St. Petersburg Sun. Krolopp is mentioned in this NY Times article highlighting the story of the first cellular phone call.
He is married to Dorcas Hall, has seven children and 15 grandchildren. He was a physical fitness instructor at the Oak Park YMCA for 20 years. Current interests are building and flying radio-controlled aircraft, oil painting, tennis, and sailing.