RKS Leadership comes from all over the world. With many different skills and backgrounds.

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Mike Elam

Director of Product Development

Mike joined RKS after relocating from London where he ran Hyphen Design. Mike brings his industrial design and design engineer background to develop mechanical solutions that advance the interaction and usability of new innovative solutions utilizing his haptics expertise.

Ravi Sawhney

President & CEO

Ravi Sawhney has driven RKS to thrive through 36, and counting, years in business. For decades, Sawhney has led his team in wowing industries from consumer products to medical to technology with unexpected and impactful innovation. Sawhney has a track record of incubating successful companies of his own as well as investing in many of the companies that RKS has created designs for.

Lance Hussey

Partner, Chief Creative Officer

As the design guru of RKS, Lance oversees the design of virtually every project that comes in the door and ensures that the design intent is always framed in reference to the clients’ business strategy. Lance has continued to innovate and bring products and services to life for over 25 years.

 
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Amalia Sawhney

Chief Financial officer

Amalia Sawhney has served as RKS’ CFO since 2008, and brings considerable experience and expertise to her executive role at the firm, including finance, accounting, human resources and operations. She brought to RKS more than a decade of experience as a controller, which she obtained while working in the auto sector managing all aspects of accounting, audit, compliance and warranty administration.

Carl Fronhofer

Director of Operations

Carl comes to RKS with over a decade of experience coaching at the highest level of collegiate athletics.  At RKS, he provides leadership and mentoring to RKS’ clients, as well as our skilled team.  Carl attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned degrees in Sociology and Psychology.  Coming from a family of designers, engineers and machinists RKS was a natural fit for him to pin a role as team leader at RKS. 

Ben Azzam

Executive Vice President

Ben’s main focus is to understand the goals and objectives of RKS’ partners to best define how the team can support their strategic initiatives. His business background and experience working in design for over a decade allows him to focus on facilitating long term growth for our customers by leveraging RKS’ services to innovate in new categories, maintain their leadership position, or propel their brand perception.

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Cary Chow

EVP of Client Management

Cary started his career at RKS in 1990 and moved up thru the ranks to VP helping the firm achieve phenomenal growth and recognition within a 10 year time span. He returned to RKS recently and fulfills the role of Exec VP of Client / Program Management ensuring that our clients’ needs and expectations are met. He has run many multi-disciplinary large scale programs across consumer, industrial, and medical segments.

 

About RKS: One of RKS’ first successes came soon after its founding in the development of the production design of the animated Teddy Ruxpin, one of the greatest disruptive success stories in the history of toys. The 1990s brought RKS new challenges and successes, such as working with Alan Kay on early explorations of tablets and how they could affect learning, RKS’s innovation of Pocket Arcades for Sega, and the innovation of a disruptive dental whitening system for Discus Dental that transformed dentistry by offering its patients better, happier smiles. Turning around MiniMed was an important milestone at the time, using design to overcome stigmas attached to their diabetic infusion pump and increasing sales from a falling 40MM to 270MM in revenue three years later, which triggered an acquisition by Medtronic of 3.6B! The ‘90s were also a time of deep introspection about design and humanity leading to RKS’s discoveries of how the world could leverage Joseph Campbell and Abraham Maslow’s work. This thinking lead to the development of RKS’s Psycho-Aesthetics methodology.

After 2000, RKS saw great transformation in who it was, how it worked, and with whom it worked. The firm moved to its new 18,000 sq. ft. facility and became prolific in delivering a stream of award-winning, results-driven, and planet-friendly designs and innovations using Psycho-Aesthetics.

At the same time, RKS began incubating and spread its entrepreneurial wings by taking equity positions and starting new companies such as RKS Guitars, famous for making the cover of Businessweek as the “Best Product Design” and later became one of the more popular Harvard Cases. 

RKS has earned hundreds of awards and achieved global recognition by helping companies emerge with meaningful and disruptive design and innovation in any category. The team has evolved and emerged as a unique hybrid of diversity and talents. Engagements have evolved from innovating for an opportunity to identifying new opportunities through thousands of face-to-face interactions with audiences globally, expanding clients’ abilities to leverage design thinking and market themselves globally. Research has become extremely valuable for identifying people’s needs and aspirations. This methodology has developed highly creative immersion sessions in which clients simultaneously learn about the RKS way of design thinking and can innovate within a team environment.

The awards continue to stream in, but what the team finds exciting is its ability to disrupt, differentiate, create new meaning and value, and build enriched brands that enhance shareholder value in the process.

 

All of that to deliver real value to clients.

Wanna learn more? Check out our work.