NMUART Alumnus wins Silver Award at the IDEA Awards

NMU Art & Design Alumnus Thomas Gallagher, and his company ERMA were recently awarded a Silver Award in the Outdoor & Garden category at the prestigious International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA)® , a premier international design competition sponsored annually by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and judged by renowned design experts from around the world.

You can read about the awards at the following web site:


Design Specifications

Thomas wrote about his post college experience

Upon graduation I was offered a full time job at Electrolux selling lawn mowers, chainsaws and products of the like to large retailers such as Lowes and Home Depot. This lasted for several years until I got tired of the inflexibility of the antiquated product development. Beautiful presentations and creative marketing strategies worked well for me, but I felt like I reached my ceiling selling the same thing over and over and needed a something else.

In the peak of the recession I quit my cushy job and started a product development company. We had a great deal of success and two years later sold it. I did this two more times and have been very fortunate to have success each time. I have found a passion for creating things that 1. People want and 2. People will reasonably purchase.  There is a great deal of theory behind this which would be a novel in itself. In the words of Frank Lloyd Wright, “form follows function” keeping in mind that consumers want cool – so it is somewhere in there that I find my niche.

At this point I’ve personally designed and launched 9 core products from the ground up.  This means the entire product development from concept, specifications, prototypes, engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing, television, web, support and service.  I would be remised not to give the credit due to my coworkers. I have a team of two individuals who have worked with me since 2010, one Mechanical and one Industrial Engineer. My ideas and creations would not see the light of day without them. Between the three of us we take 4-5 year product development and shorten it down to 12-18 months.

I have been extremely fortunate throughout my career and owe a significant chunk of my success to my education/educators. There are infinite parallels from Art to Business and Business to Art – I truly believe getting an Art degree was possibly the best decision I ever made for my career.

Design Specifications
Design Specifications

Here is the mover in a television commercial:

You can buy the mover Thomas designed at Home Depot: