Design | June 17 2016

Designer follows his childhood passion to success

What if?

Chad Vermeulen is a firm believer in the power of “what if.” As a design engineer at FCA Canada’s Automotive Research and Development Centre in Windsor, Ontario, he’s found that asking “what if” can open the door to a host of new creative possibilities. In fact, it became a prime motivator for his now unique ‘partner’ in problem solving; his childhood LEGO® set.

These iconic building blocks, which have challenged and delighted kids for decades, now allow Chad to assemble functioning three-dimensional design parts early on in the design process, before sending them on to the Computer Aided Design system for further analysis and optimization.

It’s not often that a ‘toy’ box becomes a critical tool in an automotive designer’s ‘tool’ box (so far he’s the only one in his department to work with LEGO blocks), but nothing speaks louder than results, and Chad has enjoyed many. These include working on the design of the Stow ‘n Go seating system, a key feature in the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.

Chad’s story kicks off a new feature series we’re calling “The Curiosity Stop.” We’re all curious about something and in the coming months we’ll take you ‘under the curtain’ here at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to explore more of the ‘how and why’ things get done here. Meanwhile, if there’s something you’re just itching to know more about, let us know and we’ll try our best to make it a “Curiosity Stop.”