Tom SchlegelChief Innovation Officer
Tom started at Radio Flyer back in 2003 in product development and now leads the Sales, Marketing, Product Development and Customer Service functions as Chief Innovation Officer. For most of his 30 year career, Tom has worked in the toy industry developing, marketing and selling products for companies like McDonald’s (Happy Meal Toys), General Mills, Hasbro, Toys R Us, Ohio Art, and now Radio Flyer. At Radio Flyer, Tom built a talented team of designers and engineers that has transformed the 100-year-old company’s product line developing over 200 new products and winning numerous product excellence awards including two Outdoor Toy of the Year Awards and three Chicago Innovation Awards.
His education is a unique combination of a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. in Industrial Design from the University of Notre Dame. Tom speaks frequently at universities and conferences about product design and innovation including his talk about “Why Failure is Always an Option” at the TED conference in 2010.
Favorite Family Activity:
I live in Wheaton with my four teenage boys and if I’m not watching them play soccer or football, I’m trying to compete with them in a game of pool, basketball or video games. I usually win at pool and lose at video games. Fantasy football is pretty big in my house, too.
Favorite Outdoor Game as a Kid:
Two-hand touch football in the street (not smart, but at least it wasn’t tackle football in the street).
What Makes You Smile:
A powdered sugar mustache on my son while eating French toast smothered with powdered sugar.
Favorite Radio Flyer Product and Why:
Classic Model #18 Steel Wagon – because as a kid, I would deliver the Dearborn Press & Guide newspaper every Thursday after school pulling the heavy stack of newspapers in my little red wagon.
Favorite Sports Team:
Notre Dame Football Team