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Clay Simonson

Industrial Designer

Clay Simonson

Industrial Designer

I am an award winning industrial designer. I help create the brand vision for companies like simplehuman, Kitchen Aid, Maytag, Whirlpool, Tommy Bahama, Wilson Sporting Goods, and more. 

The most important thing about my professional and personal life are the people. As an Industrial Designer, my priorities are the team I work with and the people I design for.

The most important skill I practice is being a voracious listener. Most of the problems in this world come from not understanding people and systems from unfamiliar contexts. Listening and observing are the starting points of change; only a good listener can know the right direction to lead.


Frank Yang
Frank is the Founder and Owner of simplehuman, a philanthropist and friend. I've learned from Frank every day for three years. 

"You're a good designer and an even better person. You're the kind of person I can trust with my business, which is hard to find today. Stay at simplehuman and you won't have a boss, make your own role, and work from anywhere in the world."


-Frank asking me to stay at simplehuman after I told him I was planning to move to Chicago. 

"Clay is an obvious talent... He can learn anything fast and has a great eye for design."

-Paul after I joined forces with him to create the future of simplehuman's digital experience and ecommerce. 

Paul Hamburger
Paul is the Co-founder of Smart Design, a great teammate and has one of the most analytical design minds I've ever worked with. 

"Clay approaches projects with a great sense for consumer centric design.  He is able to create design concepts that provide a new and unique way to solve long standing consumer pain points and design them in a way that are easily transferable to production. I would highly recommend Clay to design products to reignite a stale product line or to design new to the world innovation."

-Keegan after Shelterlogic brought me on board to revitalize their product line. 

Keegan Nesvacil
Keegan is the VP of Shelterlogic, the world's largest manufacturer of beach and outdoor furniture. You know them for their brands like Tommy Bahama, Margaritaville, and more. 
Julia Burke
Julia is the lead designer at Pepsi. Julia managed me at Whirlpool's Advanced Design team, the top 6 designers at the world's largest appliance company.  We created the design and brand vision three to ten years into the future for a company that has over 97,000 employees; her team helps create the core emotions and soul of all of Whirlpool's brands like Kitchen Aid, Maytag, Jenn Air and many more. 

We loved having Clay in our Advanced Industrial Design Studio. 


Clay played an active role in defining strategy for a new product territory, designing a new system of soft and hard goods, and bringing to life a future vision in our annual Board of Directors 1600 sq ft showcase. He worked diligently to dramatically improve his storytelling, research capabilities, Keyshot rendering and sketching skills inside and outside of his working hours. Finally, he had the chance to apply all he had learned with our team, as we coached him through his own personal project. 


From the start, Clay proved to be the ultimate team player. No matter the task - from juggling the creation of last-minute assets to tedious prototyping, Clay eagerly sought out any way he could help support the team. 


Clay sets a high standard for himself - always asking great questions because he truly seeks information and critique to help him improve. Along with his undeniable work ethic, Clay’s enthusiasm and passion for every day brings energy to those around him - he quite literally always has a smile on his face. His openness, positivity and willingness to learn/help made him a very valuable intern for our team. 

I would not hesitate to recommend him to any of my peers and would love to have the chance to work with Clay again.  

Please feel free to contact me at ​​ should you like to discuss Clay’s qualifications and experience further. 

Best wishes,

Julia Burke

Advanced ID Studio, Sr Manager

It is my pleasure to highly recommend Jeffrey (Clay) Simonson for an industrial design position.


I have been teaching industrial design for close to 25 years, and Clay is a standout for a number of reasons.


First, and most notably, he is very, very smart and has an exceptionally creative mind. If you want someone who can solve problems, or create innovative solutions, he is amongst the best you can find. Certainly, in the top few of the hundreds and hundreds of people I’ve taught.


Second, he is extremely talented. Not only is his skill level very high, but he is constantly learning, improving, and taking on new skills.


Third, he has a fantastic personality. He is very personable, and a pleasure to be around. He is honest when giving feedback, without making it a personal issue. He has a high energy level, with a magnetic personality, and brings the best out of the other people he works with.


I wholeheartedly recommend Clay and would stake my reputation on him. You should seriously consider snatching him up before someone else does.



Benjamin G. Pratt

Professor, Industrial Design

Ben Pratt
Ben has been a professor at UW Stout for over 20 years. Teaching is what he loves, and he turned down a job at Frog Design to do it. 
Fred Sklenar
Fred has been managing designers for over 20 years working for clients like Nike, Gillette, 3M, and many more. For eight months, I designed point of purchasing products for Fred at Great Northern Corporation. 

Not only did he absorb everything we threw at him, he brought his style of enthusiastic exuberance to every project everyday. 


I have had the pleasure of working with Clay when he spent 8 months as a paid coop intern in my design department. I first met Clay when he was a sophomore at UW-Stout when he requested an interview for our internship. Although we were looking for Seniors or recent graduates, Clay demonstrated both an enthusiasm and professionalism for design that was unique and great to see.  Encouraged to return again for another interview, we hired him at the end of his sophomore year.

Clay is a confident excellent designer who likes to have fun at work and in general in life. 

Currently I am again given the opportunity to work with him now as his professor leading him in his Senior Industrial Design class at Stout. His designing is so much more matured than a year or so ago when he was interning. 

As he enters the work force of design professionally I know for sure he will both continue to grow and create wonderful designs... if you have a chance to work with Clay, I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

Fred Sklenar

Partner & Director, Design Experience 

Laporta Design Group

Clay is one of the most curious and driven designers I know. He has shown the ability to not only pick up new skills but to do it quickly and do it well, very well.

His visual aids such as sketching, product rendering and visually focused boards are simple, concise and direct. He seems to reinvent his talents consistently to grow his overall skillsets.
Every sketch is not the same, every render is put in a different light and every product board has a twist.

His drive to really put in time on a project and take it as a challenge is noticeably something he values. Research is more than a piece of the picture to Clay, it’s a challenge to  really understand how to make a finished product that makes sense, matters and holds real world value, no matter how big or small.

On a personal level Clay has no ego whatsoever. He thrives in positions not everyone would feel comfortable and this affords him a wider range in seeing what value is and can be from
different perspectives in an unbiased light. Clay is a joy to work with and is always up for a adventure in and outside the office.

Cole Money
Director of Design and Product Development
Sea Point Outdoors


Cole Money
Cole oversees design and product development to sell outdoor furniture to Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Wallmart, and more. Cole has been my mentor for the last 5 years. 
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