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INTERVIEW: Freeman Thomas, Director of Strategic Design at Ford Motor Company
Posted By Diane Pham On May 22, 2013 @ 12:08 am In automotive,carousel showcase,Green Transportation,Innovation,Interviews | 1 Comment
Freeman Thomas won his first drawing competition in the first grade—it was a fire truck. Today, Thomas is credited with delivering some of the hottest designs in the automotive industry. A pioneer in his field, he has designed everything from the New Beetle  to the Audi TT , and he’s been steering Ford’s Strategic Design department as Director since 2005. In anticipation of our ‘Design with a Conscience’ webcast —a thought-provoking event, which brought together visionary California architects and automotive designers eager to talk about the intersection of car and building design—we asked Mr. Thomas to answer few questions for us about the future of car design, as well as some of the things that inspire his work. Read on to hear what he had to say, and then find out what was discussed in the webcast here .
Thomas: I have been designing and sketching cars since I was nine years old. After high school I went directly to the U.S. Air Force (much of it in Europe) not really knowing what I wanted to do, only that I was passionate about cars  and cultures. After I got out of the Air Force, I happened upon an interview in a magazine talking about the Art Center College of Design . After reading that article I knew that’s what I was destined for!
Thomas: I always loved Ford growing up. I had worked with J Mays  twice before. We were always a powerful team. Three times is a charm!
Thomas: VW Beetle and the early Porsches.
Thomas: For me it was Erwin Komenda  as a designer/engineer; Burt Rutan , Kelly Johnson  in aerospace. As for architect: Frank Lloyd Wright . He was architecturally-forward and timeless with his vision—he challenged the status quo.
Thomas: Simplicity, charisma, being endearing, common sense, and a timeless design.
Thomas: I’m a car guy! I have a Ford Escape  with Ecoboost  for most days. On other days I love to drive my 356A , my early 911 , or my ’72 Dino GT . It all depends on my mood, what road, how far, and who’s with me.
Thomas: Any car associated with Steve McQueen !
Thomas: The opportunity to challenge the status quo.
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/interview-freeman-thomas-director-of-strategic-design-at-ford-motor-company/
URLs in this post:
 New Beetle: http://why.vw.com/beetle
 Audi TT: http://www.audiusa.com/com/brand/en/models/tt.html
 our ‘Design with a Conscience’ webcast: http://inhabitat.com/design-with-a-conscience/
 cars: http://inhabitat.com/automotive/
 Art Center College of Design: http://www.artcenter.edu/accd/index.jsp
 J Mays: http://inhabitat.com/green-design-predictions-for-2013/j-mays/?extend=1
 C-Max Energi: http://inhabitat.com/tag/ford-c-max/
 Fusion Energi: http://inhabitat.com/tag/ford-fusion-energi/
 Erwin Komenda: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Komenda
 Burt Rutan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Rutan
 Kelly Johnson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly_Johnson_(engineer)
 Frank Lloyd Wright: http://inhabitat.com/frank-lloyd-wrights-iconic-la-miniatura-millard-house-now-up-for-sale-in-pasadena-california/
 Ford Escape: http://www.ford.com/suvs/escape/
 Ecoboost: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_EcoBoost_engine
 356A: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_356
 911: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_911
 ’72 Dino GT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dino_(automobile)
 Steve McQueen: http://www.mcqueenonline.com/carsandbikes.htm
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