The External Advisory Board brings together experts and professionals from diverse fields—design, engineering, education, urban planning, technology, and more—to provide knowledge and insight to the Master in Design Engineering program. The interdisciplinary expertise of members reflects the innovation, ingenuity, goals, and values of the program, and provides invaluable support to the collaborative nature of MDE.
"I remember in the first advisory board meeting that we, as advisors, looked at each other and said we would love to be students in the program ourselves. It was remarkable to see leaders of IDEO, frog, and AECOM be provoked with a childlike curiosity to learn again. The ambition and audacity of the program drew this out in them. I know we shared a keen sense that it is critical for the world that we produce designers who can handle the complexity that is rushing our way.”
- Jonathan Hursh, Founder of Utopia-
President of Asia Pacific
Sean Chiao is President of Asia Pacific at AECOM, overseeing strategic growth and business operations in Greater China, Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), a global trustee of the Urban Land Institute, and serves on the Mainland Business Advisory Committee of Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Board of Governors for the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. He’s also a member of the University of South California’s (USC) Board of Advisors for the American Academy in China (AAC). Sean holds a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University and a Master of Architecture from University of California, Berkeley.
Partner, Managing Director
IDEO Palo Alto
Dana Cho is a Partner and Managing Director of IDEO Palo Alto. As the founder of the Smart Space practice, Dana has led multiple, large-scale projects with clients such as Sam’s Club, Mayo Clinic, Four Seasons, Virgin, and The Ritz-Carlton. She has also served as the Portfolio Director of both the consumer brand and healthcare practices.
Dana holds a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of design and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining IDEO, Dana has worked at a number of architectural firms.
Andrew B. Cogan
Andrew B. Cogan is the CEO of Knoll, Inc. Knoll, founded in 1938, is a constellation of design-driven brands and people that works together with clients to create inspired modern interiors. As the CEO of Knoll Mr. Cogan has led Knoll through significant cyclical and secular changes in the economy and the workplace. He has rebalanced the company’s mix of business in terms of office and residential exposure through organic sales, marketing and design initiatives as well as through acquisitions.
Mr. Cogan is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Harvard College class of 1984 where he majored in Social Studies. After Harvard, he was selected to participate in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. He is a Director and head of the Audit Committee of the American Woodmark Corporation and a Director and member of the Compensation Committee of Interface. In addition Mr. Cogan is the Board Chair of the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, which is dedicated to preserving the work of the artist Donald Judd and his contemporaries.
PE, LEED AP BD+C
Fiona Cousins is an Arup Fellow and a member of Arup Group Board, Arup Americas Region Board, and is the firm’s Digital Council chair. She helps lead the sustainability, building engineering, and data strategies teams in Arup’s New York office, and directs technical and research investments for the Americas Region.
Fiona is a mechanical engineer by profession and has spent much of her career engaged in HVAC design, with an area of specialization in thermal comfort and energy efficiency. She has extensive project experience and has worked on a wide range of projects, including the design of museums, archives, trading floors, laboratories, libraries, and performing art centers. She has also worked on planning projects with a focus on energy and sustainability. Fiona is a frequent presenter on transformative sustainable building design, very low-energy design, resilience, and sustainability. She gave the 2016 CIBSE Annual Lecture: “How building services Engineers can save Civilization.” She is also a LEED Fellow.
Managing Director of Macro Trends Group
Bain & Company
Karen Harris is the Managing Director of Bain & Company’s Macro Trends Group. The Bain Macro Trends Group (MTG) is the capability group for developing Bain’s insights about global macroeconomics, macro social trends and geopolitics as they impact the results of Bain’s clients. Karen frequently works with institutional investors to embed macro strategy into their investment strategy and due diligence.
Karen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Committee on US-China Relations, and the Economics Club of New York. She also serves on the Board of Pencils of Promise, a non-profit which partners with local communities in developing countries to build schools, focusing on early education, high potential females, and building young leadership at home and abroad.
Founder and Executive Producer
Jonathan is the founder and executive producer of Utopia, a design and urban planning firm reimagining the future of slums in this century. Utopia is working with city and community leaders to redesign slums into next generation livable microcities. Prior to this he founded INCLUDED, a nonprofit organization that is building a network of one-stop-shop community centers in migrant slums in Asia.
Ana Pinto da Silva
Principal UX Design Lead
Ana Pinto da Silva serves as a Principal UX Design Lead for Amazon. Ana’s work synthesizes her interests in design, storytelling, architecture and emerging technologies with her deep passion for creative collaboration. Ana’s previous experience includes immersive technology envisioning, game development, architecture, and interactive media. She has lead design across a wide array of projects including healthcare, education, civics and workplace productivity. Ana is deeply committed to serving the creative community. She is the founder of the Seattle Pecha Kucha speaker series, one of the longest running PK city series in the world. She currently serves on the board of directors for 4Culture, as board Vice-President for Design In Public, and most recently has been an adviser to the Seattle Waterfront Design Oversight Committee.
VP of Real Estate and Workplace Services
At Google, David leads the team responsible for creating amazing work environments that inspire and energize employees around the globe to be at their best every day. In addition to managing all aspects of Google’s vast real estate portfolio of offices in more than 150 cities spanning over 60 countries, his Real Estate & Workplace Services team designs, implements and manages Google’s innovative workplace programs that help promote employee health, happiness and productivity.
David earned an MBA with a concentration in Real Estate and Construction Management from the University of Denver and a Bachelor of Engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
CEO & Founder
Wolfgang Rieder studied business economics in Vienna with extensive focus on the re-emerging countries of Eastern Europe. After three years as a consultant and various positions in industry, he re-joined his family business. In 2004, he founded fibreC and works on worldwide façade projects spanning all genres of contemporary architecture. As a lateral thinker, he sees an obligation to make the world a better place through architecture and design. He regards currently disrupted value chains as a big opportunity. Contributing and giving back is deeply rooted in Wolfgang’s DNA, and as such, he sees engagement with leading design and architectural schools as part of his societal responsibility.
VP Education Experiences
Randy Swearer is vice president of the Education Experiences group at Autodesk—a software company helping students and professionals “imagine, design, and create a better world.” The Education Experiences group works closely with universities around the globe to support innovative uses of Autodesk software.
Prior to his role at Autodesk, Randy Swearer was Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Philadelphia University, Dean of Parsons School of Design, and co-founder of the Design Division at the University of Texas at Austin. He also served as Deputy Director of the Design Program at the National Endowment for the Arts.
Harry West is the CEO of frog. He lives design and innovation. Working with P&G he helped create Swiffer, with Tetra Pak DreamCap and with BBVA Customer Centric Banking. From consumer packaged goods to financial services he helps companies to see more clearly what people will want and how to transform their business to make that future real. He has led design and innovation at MIT, Continuum, Prophet and now frog, and has degrees from Cambridge University and MIT.