Paul Down’s career as a business entrepreneur, corporate design manager, and industrial design consultant have led to numerous U.S. Patents. In 1986 he co-founded Prodesign Incorporated, subsequently designing and manufacturing the world’s first commercially produced jet driven human powered water-craft (Jet Wave), featured on the cover of Hammacher Schlemmer’s spring 1987 catalogue. His designs for marine products, the automotive aftermarket, and office equipment have appeared in publications and at international trade shows for Monsanto Plastics, Ford Motor, Stewart Superior, Lowe Boats, and General Motors. In 2003, Down was elected IDSA’s (Industrial Designers Society of America) National Education Council VP and Trustee to the National Design Foundation, holding the highest-ranking education office on IDSA’s Board of Directors.
As Professor at Notre Dame, Down coordinates the Industrial Design Group, instructing graduates and undergraduates. He’s served on the Departmental Committee for Appointments and Promotions from 1997-2010. In 2001, Down obtained a significant research grant from a subsidiary of Coachmen Industries. Recognized as design educator, Down has received the 2007 Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2000 Kaneb Excellence in Teaching Award from Notre Dame. In 2008, Down was inducted into the Kaneb Educator’s Fellowship, IDSA’s Fellowship and concurrently received the prestigious “Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award” from the National Federation of the Blind for his collaborative design research leading to AdapTap, a navigation aid for sight impaired swimmers. In 2010, Down received a grant from Memorial Health Foundation that will support design research activities during his one-year sabbatical.