GRAND RAPIDS – In an effort to increase collaboration between Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University and the West Michigan business community, Ken Krayer has been named KCAD’s inaugural director of business engagement.
Local companies are becoming increasingly aware of the value of interacting with the next generation of talent before they officially enter the job market, and a growing number of undergraduates have come to see industry interaction as the most effective way to make connections, develop vital skills, and break into their chosen field. In his new role, Krayer will work to leverage the symbiotic potential of a deeper relationship between KCAD and regional industries to create shared value.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to help nurture this collective investment in the future of our region,” Krayer said. “What we have here in West Michigan is an incredible abundance of both dynamic emerging talent and forward-thinking industries. It’s invigorating to imagine the kind of impact we can create by finding increasingly effective ways to converge those worlds together.”
Krayer will work with local companies to create opportunities for KCAD students to gain valuable hands-on experience while working directly with industry professionals in real-world situations. He will also be focusing on bringing more design professionals onto KCAD’s campus for guest lectures, critiques and workshops that can help expand student thinking and develop student talent.
With a wealth of experience in both higher education and professional design, Krayer brings a uniquely comprehensive perspective to his new position. He is most recently worked as an independent consultant, serving clients including Sauder Woodworking, Rhode Island School of Design, and Steelcase, among others. Prior to that he served as director of design for Haworth, Inc, director of design for Details, a division of Steelcase, senior designer for San Francisco-based A+O Studio and exhibit designer for Netherlands-based Studio Dunbar.
Krayer’s teaching career began in 1989 as an adjunct professor of industrial design at California College of the Arts. He taught at the College for Creative Studies, where he chaired both the product design and furniture departments during his five-year tenure, and KCAD, where he currently teaches Design Practice as an adjunct professor in the Collaborative Design and Industrial Design programs.
Krayer will also work closely with Katie Moore, director of community engagement at KCAD, to develop a proposal for the creation of an on-campus center for community engagement that will provide KCAD with additional resources to support its community partnership efforts.