Place of birth: Great Neck, NY
How did you get started in toy design: A bit of a "six degrees of separation" story for me. A friend of mine from college( University of Bridgeport) started to work for a toy designer. There he met person who would later leave to open his own studio, AEB & Associates. My friend and I did lots of prototypes, mostly sand toys and ride ons, for AEB over the years. Around November of '93 I got a call to make a car, the Spawn-mobile, for this Canadian guy named Todd who was starting his own toy company, and using AEB as their design team. After a couple of years working freelance, I started working full time at McFarlane Toys/AEB. It was there that I met three of the most talented people in the toy business and the phrase "Hey, let's get the h_ _l out of here" was born, and so was the four Horsemen.
Length of time in the toy industry: 5 years freelance, 4 years Mcfarlane, 3 years Four Horsemen. 12 years total.
Job title and description: Designer/Fabricator/Moldmaker. I think that Cornboy described the designer/fabricator job perfectly. The mold making process is when we take extremely fragile models and create molds and hard castings so we can use them for practical purposes (tooling, paint masters, etc.). It's not a glamorous aspect of the process but can be rewarding to see an exact representation of a piece, down to the most minute detail. After all, a slip up on this job and you can turn hours of hard work into a gooey mess.
Favorite plaything as a child & why: Wow. I'm 45. That's a long time ago. The way I look at it - I'm lucky to have made it out alive. I remember those tin toys with the sharp edges. They would cut you open like a can of beans. The lead toy soldiers were great to chew on, and everything was a choke hazard. It's when we were looking for zero population growth. Actually, I spent many an hour playing with my Tonka trucks or bags of little green army men.
Favorite playthings currently & why: Does snaking out the sewer line with a garden hose count as a plaything? I guess not. I have a '56 MGA antique car. I spend hours daydreaming about what it will look like when I'll have the time and the money to restore it.
Best part about your job: Knowing that in some however small way that the time and effort we put into our work will be appreciated, and also being able to take my dog Casey (the studio mascot) into work with me everyday.
Worst Part about your job: I don't think that there's a worst part of this job. I consider myself a very lucky guy.
Number of figures/playsets/toys you've been involved in: Too many to count.
Stand out toy you've worked on in your opinion: The sword for He-man. it was suggested to give it some "life" so I put a twist-action in the handle. It seems to be a feature that has caught on in the cartoon.
If you could have any super power, what would it be & why: To be able to fly. I could cut my commute time in half.