Gaylon White

Gaylon White, H/IDSA

IDSA Personal Recognition Award: 2010

In the past decade, there has been no stronger or more influential supporter of industrial design education than Gaylon White. It was Gaylon who saw that the connection between materials suppliers and industrial designers didn’t make sense and who put in the work to correct it.

One output from his work is the Eastman Innovation Lab, a series of case studies that has created an ongoing dialogue between industrial designers and materials suppliers for the betterment of both communities. On one hand, Eastman’s Innovation Lab has highlighted IDSA and its members to the public, to the plastics industry and to the manufacturers of products throughout the world. On the other, Gaylon’s work has shown how a manufacturer of materials, through intention and design research, can become a supplier of sustainable manufacturing materials. If you ask Gaylon, he probably wouldn’t distinguish between the two communities, though. He is, ever, a great builder of bridges. 

Gaylon White is also a quiet hero for design educators everywhere. During the early development of IDSA’s Okala Guide, he immediately recognized the potential impact of such a program and worked diligently to secure substantial funding from Eastman. Throughout the years, Gaylon has also helped ensure the continuance of IDSA’s National Conferences, District Conferences and Educators’ Symposium by making Eastman resources available and providing funding—even when money was tight. One year, his budget was cut 70% but he gave what limited funds he had to support our conference.

Gaylon has invested the time, energy and personal career capital to develop and mature a long-term relationship with IDSA. He has taken the time to know what industrial design is about and has actually become a significant consumer of industrial design services. In a letter of support for Gaylon, Notre Dame’s Paul Down wrote, “The surprising aspect in Gaylon receiving this recognition now is that it hadn’t happened years earlier.”