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UC design grads shape look of Ford’s new F-150 truck

Three DAAP alumni work side by side to make the truck’s appearance tougher

It’s a treat to find your career unfolding while working with fellow University of Cincinnati alumni with whom you can share stories, recall favorite people and places, and talk about the Bearcats while making a mark in your chosen field.

A trio of College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) design school graduates not only share some of these same undergraduate backgrounds — they shared a vision for Ford’s all-new 2021 F-150, which is America’s best-selling vehicle overall and has been the top-seller among pickup trucks for 43 years running. Ford exterior design manager Kenny Moore ’95, senior designer Josh Henry ’14, and exterior designer Raleigh Haire ’17 are leveraging their DAAP experiences to lead their exterior design efforts at Ford.

Moore, Henry and Haire, who each graduated with bachelor of science degrees in industrial design, had different origins in their design education. Moore remembers a high school counselor telling him the only way he could make money as an artist was in architecture. “I went to UC originally intending to be an architect,” he said. “When attending a foundation course for architecture, I saw people sketching TVs, toys and many other products, and I immediately realized I wanted to change my degree to industrial design.”

Henry working on the Ford F-150 in the lab

Josh Henry (DAAP, ’14) creates a character line with tape on the 2021 F-150 clay model.

Before design school, Henry had trained as an auto mechanic. “Designing cars was something I never even knew existed,” he said. “Trade school made me realize my passion for cars that went far beyond just fixing them.” After scouring the internet for automotive-related degrees, he came across the University of Cincinnati and enrolled in the industrial design program. Henry had a co-op with Sea Ray designing sports boats and yachts.

hair works on the Ford F-150

Raleigh Haire earned his BS in industrial design from DAAP in 2017.

Haire was actually a pre-med student with a degree in biology. After sketching a car on the back of his medical school application, he realized he’d made the wrong decision. That’s when he discovered UC’s industrial design program and its co-op arrangement that allowed him to obtain design experience at various companies six months per year. 

Moore works on Ford F-150 in a lab

DAAP grad Kenny Moore (’95) is an exterior design manager at Ford.

Moore, Henry and Haire all had the opportunity to design products for companies such as Hasbro, Case New Holland Tractors, Crown Equipment, FCA and Audi before joining Ford. When they were tasked with the exterior of the newest F-150, they set out to create an even tougher and more capable appearance by widening its stance, extending its signature headlamps to the bumper, and adding tailgate innovations. The all-new F-150 is designed for the next generation of truck customers who use their vehicles as personal work spaces rather than just modes of transportation. The tailgate work surface, for example, is equipped with a built-in ruler, clamp-down divots to hold tools and materials, cupholders, even a small shelf for tablets.

This philosophy based on the user experience — determining customer pain points and observing how owners interact with the product — has served as the foundation of DAAP’s industrial design curriculum.  And it’s what all three designers continue to utilize on vehicle programs at Ford. They see UC’s industrial design program continuing its leadership in the field, especially with digital tools and virtual reality.

“What benefits University of Cincinnati students is the process of learning all these different ways to design a wide variety of products and why they’re designed that way,” said Haire. “It’s a mental flexibility that you gain.”

The UC Alumni Association exists to serve the University of Cincinnati and its 315,000+ alumni across the United States and throughout the world. Learn more about how to stay connected with your alma mater and get involved in more than 50 college-, interest- and location-based alumni networks, including the UC DAAP Alumni Network and the UC Detroit Network