Q&A | Adele Rehkemper, Department X


At Salt Flats, we build a curated ecosystem of companies, startups and entrepreneurs to provide transformation and corporate strategy. A very valuable part of our ecosystem is Department X, an in-House team of engineers who explore, experiment and execute with our Members in a multitude of services including Prototyping as a Service, Flash Builds and Pilot Sprints.

While Department X comes from diverse backgrounds with different specialties, we’re excited to introduce you to Department X’s industrial designer, Adele Rehkemper.

Q: How did you get started with Department X?

I am very interested in design consulting because it gives me an opportunity to jump from one project to a completely different project. I saw Salt Flats as an amazing opportunity and was lucky to find that Department X was looking for an industrial designer.

Q: What do you bring to the table for Department X?

I am a creative problem solver. I love to disrupt the design world with my thinking. It thrills me to incorporate multi-functionality in the products I create. I always think about the user experience.

Q: What has been one of your favorite projects to date with Department X and what was your role?

Every single project that I have worked on has been a great experience. I love having the ability to design completely different products ranging from: housewares and auto products, to furniture.

Q: What was/​is your field of study? Is this what you originally went to school for?

I am a senior studying Industrial design with minors in German and Art History at UIUC. Initially I was not an industrial design major rather a mechE student. After my sophomore year I realized that industrial design was the perfect balance between engineering and design for me and transferred.

Q: What type of talent should engineering teams look for to provide value for their clients?

I believe that teams that are creating products should be surrounding themselves with empathetic people who are always thinking about the experience between the user and the product.

Q: How do you think we could get more women involved in engineering?

I believe that by creating gender neutral and STEM toys, more girls would be involved in engineering in the future.

Q: International Women’s Engineering Day is June 23. What’s your message to young women engineers who like you, are interested in an engineering field?

You go girl! You can do it! Follow your passion because if you are passionate, you will succeed!

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