Jake Faculak, graduating this spring from the Western Michigan University (WMU) Product Design Program, is a motivated designer with special skills in foresight and time management who is looking for a professional career opportunity after graduation. Jake has always been interested in the tool design industry and has a heavy background in carpentry and plumbing. He is excited to try new things, learn about different areas of design, and experience a great workplace culture. Learn more about Jake, view his portfolio, and discover if he would be the right match for your team.
What is the best lesson you learned from your classes, an internship, an instructor, or a mentor?
The best lesson I learned in the Product Design Program is the necessity and importance of process and the steps of design. It is great to be a master of sketching or 3D modeling, but if one does not utilize and think through the whole design process, then more times than not a useless or flawed product is produced. I learned the importance of research and benchmarking and how that leads to narrowing down a problem area and how that leads to concept generation and so on in the design process. Along with that I learned that it is okay to backtrack if necessary. However, along the lines of the design process, the most important aspect I learned was just how individualistic it is. Everyone has their own way they work through the design process and it is, to me, what makes design that much more interesting.
What is the strongest skill you bring to an employer?
Aside from design skills, I think a good strength I have is foresight and the ability to be able to consider possible or known future events and incorporate that into how I handle a work process and make a specific task efficient and thought-out. Foresight to me is what makes efficiency possible and can be what helps keep deadlines and projects on task and has the ability to save time by not repeating steps in any given process.
What type of project or industry interests you?
I have always been interested in the tool design industry; I have a heavy background in carpentry, plumbing, and I grew up in a blue-collar house that placed a heavy emphasis on “do-it-yourself” and work ethic. Aside from a specific industry, being young and not having worked in any design industry I am overall excited to try anything and learn about different areas of design and figure out firsthand what I enjoy designing and what companies are the best to work at.
What project in your portfolio are you most proud of?
I would say the project I am most proud of is always the last one. Every project I work on gets better, at least in my opinion, in how “complete” it is. Each time I complete a project I believe I do a better job at thinking through each step of the process and having a solid foundation for why I generated the product I did. The last project I worked on was a delivery drone for small grocery items. The story I had for this project was the strongest I think I have had as a designer so far in my college career. Also, this project had some very solid Keyshot renderings, again in my opinion and knowing my progression that I have had in that program. However, with each project I can see improvement throughout the whole design process. I am actually very excited about my senior thesis and the direction it is going.
What/who is one person, place, or experience that had a positive impact on you during your time at Western Michigan University or in the Kalamazoo community?
In looking back at my time at Western, my experience as a Resident Assistant (RA) impacted and taught me the most. That job is what I attribute to what taught me time management as well as how to conduct myself when I am in a position with a lot of responsibility. The RA position more or less forced me to become a master of sorts at time management: I learned how to schedule days down to the minute and learned a balance of when I had to work and when I had to spend time in our Product Design studio. That was also the first job I had where I was responsible for other people and their well-being. I learned how to problem solve at a second’s notice and how to work flawlessly as team to help our residents keep their day to day lives running smoothly.