Principal. A good design often needs to do more than one thing. So does a good designer. IDA Design principal Mitch Bakker has done many things throughout his career, all of which add to the culture of the firm. He founded IDA Design after spending years sitting as head of product design for leading furniture manufacturers. Mitch understands the importance of putting the client goals on par with the designer’s vision and pushes our team toward results that realize both. A highly respected designer in his own right, Mitch remains very hands-on in the design process. His trips to Zambia and Haiti and volunteer work in local ministries have strengthened his faith, deepened his passion, and inspired an ongoing commitment to action in the area of social justice.
Studio Lead. Cara's love for creating started as a child with her grandpa in his woodworking shop. Her travels through Scandinavia sparked her interest in furniture design, and she later studied Industrial Design at Western Michigan University and Denmark’s International Study Program. She has worked in various design roles and industries before coming to IDA, including modular housing, recreational vehicles, residential cabinetry, and hospitality furniture. During her time at Coachmen RV she headed up the Advanced Design Team, where she led design and coordinated development. She brings her coordination and management skills to her role as Studio Lead at IDA, laying the smack down (when necessary) and keeping the entire team on task. Outside the studio, she loves to travel, and even goes above and beyond to help plan vacations for her coworkers.
Design Lead. While in grade school, Zach loved math and science, but as he got older he discovered his aptitude for drawing. When he found the Industrial Design program at Kendall College of Art and Design, he knew he had found the ideal place to cultivate all his strengths. His past product design work includes floor sweepers for Bissell, a bouncy seat for Sassy, and award-winning watches, not to mention several successful commercial furniture products, many with IDA. Zach brings his experience and talents to our studio every day as our Design Lead. His coworkers see him as the perfect mix of hard-working and fun-loving. When not at work he fills his time with activities like designing his home with his wife, Meg, who is also a designer.
Industrial Designer. Every team needs an adventure seeker, and that is what Austin is. Quiet and unassuming, Austin shocks us with the unexpected nearly every day, including his love for things like skydiving, axe-throwing, and bow making. Working in his father's shop as a child, Austin could polish plastic parts faster than any of the employees. His hard-working attitude and determination followed him throughout his schooling and early career. At age 15 Austin had already started his own paintball distribution company and was thinking about his career. Austin studied Industrial Design at Kendall College of Art and Design and rounds out our team perfectly, providing not only true skill but donuts almost every morning and at noon he visits his dog, Otto, at doggy daycare.
Project Manager/Trend Content Strategist. Born to entrepreneurial parents, Grace has always had a natural curiosity to understand how objects, processes, and people work. While at Kendall College of Art and Design she studied abroad twice, traveling to Nicaragua and Costa Rica for months at a time. Grace started as an intern, but when Cara went on maternity leave the team was able to see her skills in organization and discipline. Her transition to Project Manager was a natural fit. Though she is quiet, she can hold her own. Grace keeps busy outside of work as well; on any given day you can find her giving lessons to one of her 20 piano students, spending time in her garden, installing tile in her kitchen, or traveling the country to visit friends.
Studio Manager. It's hard to find something Kori hasn't done. Even around the studio her coworkers say she does "everything but the design work." Raised by missionary parents in Africa, she returned to the US as a child and studied business while working in management at a bank. Kori keeps the studio running smoothly—balancing the books, processing payroll, and making sure all our vendors get paid in a timely manner. Kori is never afraid to throw in a joke or bust out singing as comedic relief when meetings just get too tense or long. On break, you will find her in our window sill soaking up sun. When she's not at work she's an avid runner and puts the whole studio to shame in her favorite purple Nike's.