Rico Ruffino


Rico Ruffino
Assistant Professor | North Carolina State University

Rico Ruffino is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University. Currently, he serves as an instructor for Principles of Sustainable Product Development, Product Visualization, and Sustainable Product Development Capstone.

Rico has produced a Sustainable Design and Testing Service Center that aids companies in creating and testing new sustainable product development. He is currently developing a sustainable materials technology design lab within Hodges Wood Products Facility. It will enable students to design and fabricate more environmentally and human-centered products. Some of the critical areas are to utilize technology that will streamline the ideation process to minimize the overuse of resources.

He is a member of the Industrial Design Society of America and the Sustainable Furniture Council. He is actively involved in various working groups exploring sustainability within the furnishings industry.

Education and Training

  • 2011 - CERT Buffalo State College Educational Leadership
  • 2006 -  M.S. Buffalo State College Industrial Technology
  • 2003 -  CERT Daemen College Art Education
  • 2000 -  B.F.A. Rochester Institute of Technology Industrial Design
  • 1997 -  A.S.T. Art Institute of Pittsburgh Interior Design

Research and Professional Experience

  • 2020 - Assistant Professor of Practice Industrial and Product Design, Forest Biomaterials, North Carolina State University
  • 2004 - 2020 Technology Education, Iroquois Central School District
  • 2014 - 2020 Design Director - Aviation and Marine Products, Tiger Performance

Awarded Grants

  • Rico Ruffino (Co-PI): "Valorization of Ligno-Nanocellulose in Packaging (VaLiNa Pack)." McIntire Stennis, NC State University; PI with Lokendra Pal (Director); Co-PI with Martin Hubbe; Co-PI with Hasan Jameel. 2020-2024 - $10,000

Honors, Awards, and Affiliations

  • 2020 - SFC - Sustainable Furnishings Council, High Point, NC
  • 2019 - IDSA - Industrial Designers Society of America, Syracuse Professional Chapter

Referred Publications

  • 2021 - Ruffino, R. "Sustainable design: Aspects of sustainable product development," BioResources 16(4), 6548-6550.
  • 2020 - studentUpdate “Words of Wisdom,” IDSA, December.

Technical Publications and Product Development

  • 2018. Hose Retention Clip, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2019. Universal Cutaway Post, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2020. Emergency Escape Hatch, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2019. Quick Release Safety Hinges, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2020. NVG Universal Mounting Plates, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2019. Ear Cup Mounts, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2020. Peltor Microphone Mount, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2019. Maxillo Face Shield Latch, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2020. Ambient Air Valve, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2020. Respirator Microphone Mount, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2020. Half Respirator Diverter Cover, Aviation and Marine Application
  • 2020. Half Respirator Filter Converter Plug, Aviation and Marine Application
  • S.D Lab - Testing and Service Center:
  • 2022. Eco Chair Project, Sustainable Concept, Sustainable Furnishing Council 15th Anniversary
  • 2021. Sustainable Package Design, Preliminary Design Concepts, Batter Up Company


Statement of Candidacy (At-Large Director, Awards - Board of Directors | 2023-2024 term)

I am choosing to run for the At-Large Director - Awards position in anticipation of affecting a larger population of individuals within the design community, because I feel that design can accomplish effective change. And with that change, I am referring to sustainability that meets the needs of current generations without affecting future generations' needs and resources.

I strive to encourage and build awareness among the current and up-and-coming generation of designers to look at design differently, with a keen eye on sustainability, and for them to focus on designing while questioning to what end, what purpose, the materials and production processes, how the materials and production affect our resources, and whether or not the designs have numerous lives and an end-of-life plan.

I would approach this endeavor by first recognizing everything we're doing exceptionally well and then isolating areas for improvement. I would build awareness and understanding of sustainability and sustainable design with a solid focus on discussing integration into our current programs with the Awards Committee.

  • Build awareness and understanding.
  • Implement actionable tasks for physical outcomes.
  • Support, review, and grow from the current results.

"Alter your Reasoning, modify your Behavior, and transform the World."