IDSA Rocky Mountain - Recap of Ronin Motorworks Event

Nov 23 2015 - 11:32am

IDSA Rocky Mountain Chapter held a very successful event at the Ronin Motorworks shop located in the RHINO District in Denver, Colorado. We went over our 50 people limit, and those attended benefited from the fantastic atmosphere and the amazing food catered by a professional chef. We were setup for a FANTASTIC evening.

This event was very impactful as we started off with recognizing the recent death of Nohemi Gonzalez in the Paris attacks and offering the recently published sources for donations to her family and also her “Support International Study” fund.

We discussed the importance of inclusivity as an organization and also a first hand account of the great success of the recent 2nd annual Medical Conference given by Patrick Monahan, IDSA Interim Chair for the Rocky Mountain Chapter. We also tried something new by having IDSA Young Professional Sean Bailey open up a dialog on formalizing mentorship for the local design community in the hopes for creating a pilot program that might be later adopted by other IDSA Chapters. He is currently developing this program as an IDSA sponsored program and is reaching out to the local design community to contribute.

As the energy was ramping up and relevant content being passed along, we had 4 presenters that are all local manufacturers, present their design processes and best business practices. This was incredibly enlightening to hear each presenter give an account of their successes and how to overcome important pain points to create world class products. This event also instilled in the local design community the importance and connectivity that IDSA brings to them.

Tyler Tatro, VP and part owner of EarthRoamer ( lead the charge and provided first hand accounts of their origins, design process and how to design for a small company that produces small quantities of LARGE scaled products. There was great discussions on how to work within the limitations they have and the importance of staying with in a scalable, but sustainable business model. Tyler brought out one of their roamers and we were able to tour the product and experience it first hand.

Grady Barfoot, Senior Designer for Magpul Industries introduced us to the complexities of designing simple parts for their industry leading cell phone case line. He lead us on a journey of his 3 years of specializing in technical design that is a tried and true case study. He dispelled many of the complexities of producing third party products for all the major cell phone brands. Waiting for specs to be available and the process that goes into mold making, material specification and vendor relationships.

Matt Giaraffa, owner of Guerrilla Gravity (, a local and very specialized aluminum bike frame brand, gave a compelling presentation on the issues of being a small brand and growing double in size during a tremendous spike in real estate. As many design resources entertain being entrepreneurs, it was very beneficial for those who attended to learn about Matt’s strategic and slow growth models. His ability to design in efficiencies to help become profitable. Additionally, he was the recent recipient of two grants, one of which was from CHASE that will help catapult Guerrilla Gravity into the next phase of their product offerings.

Shane Korthuis, Senior Designer for Ronin Motorworks ( was one of the original designers brought on to bring to fruition the Ronin Project. In mid 2009, with the demise of the Buell® brand by Harley-Davidson®, the founders of Ronin Motor Works, in a design exercise conducted at Magpul Industries Corp., created the Ronin Concept Motorcycle.  That initial Ronin Motorcycle concept is now brought to life through the design and manufacturing efforts of Ronin Motor Works with a limited release of 47 bikes. Shane was charged during the development of the RONIN to add value to the design by expanding on the UX component. He researched various manufacturing technics found in Japan and created a owner’s box which each one is inspired by each of the different 47 Samurai’s in the RONIN story. The level of detail and quality of the design, spanning from wood selection + finish to a reverse magnetic polarization key in order to open the box. The level of design doesn’t stop there, Shane continued the design language all the way through to the key fob and multi tool. He educated us with all the manufacturing processes and certain discoveries during the development stages.

In the end…this 4 hour long event was a highly successful event to help close out the year. Under the charge of Patrick Monahan, interim Chair of the Rocky Mountain Chapter, there are many more events being planned that will ensure the continued positive momentum currently being created.