Mission Design Solutions
January 22, 2016 • Chantel W.
Mission Design Solutions is a product design and development company specializing in the commercialization of industrial and consumer goods. President and founder Thomas (TJ) Higgins career has spanned the last 30 years beginning in the drafting room and progressively advanced into various leadership roles within design engineering and manufacturing groups. Early in his career he worked his way through an apprenticeship at a small shop as a tool and die maker gaining valuable experience in machining and fabrication. TJ also earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from Central Michigan University. This knowledge and perspective gave TJ the ability to recognize and solve many unique problems associated with product design and manufacturing while working at small and large firms including Tenneco, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, BAE Systems, Applied Materials, and PACCAR (Kenworth Truck Company).
TJ spent several years working in the design studio while at Ford Motor Company and it was there that he began to develop an interest in industrial design and product styling. TJ has always had a penchant for product aesthetic, but it was the industrial design discipline that made him realize that he was not only an engineer, but also a designer. He has maintained a passion for engaging design to the present day. As an experienced CAD designer he has also developed capabilities with digital free form modeling (stylized Class-A surfacing), rendering, animations, kinematic and stress analysisas well as many other advanced 3D workflows. He has utilized these processes to design everything from automotive components and systems to consumer products.
Another one of TJ’s longtime passions is jewelry, as a result he began to take courses in metal smith, stone cutting, and jewelry design. This new interest led Mission Design Solutions to get involved in a partnership to develop specialty tools for the jewelry making and metal smith industries. TJ discovered that there was an opportunity to leverage his industrial tooling experience to provide innovative solutions within this business market.
It was a rigorous and professionally developed engineering background as well as a love of all things beautiful that led him to create Mission Design Solutions, a formative endeavor which fully utilizes the technical processes of engineering and manufacturing, as well as the avant-garde approach to creative design. This marriage of art and technology is what Mission Design Solutions consistently aspires to. They deliver everything from initial brain-storming sessions which include conceptualization through ideation to design integration and manufacturing feasibility. Mission Design Solutions recently completed construction of and moved into a brand new studio and shop where they have ongoing R&D projects with plans to add multi-axis CNC machining and 3D printing for in-house prototype capabilities.
Being located in beautiful Northwest Montana is advantageous in that the company can offer a unique skillset, perspective, as well as the benefit of proximity to their local clients. It enables local firms to keep resources within their own community while benefitting from the level of service offered by a larger firm located in a heavy population center. Mission Design Solutions' goal is to find opportunities, leverage their capabilities, and continue on a growth trajectory which will allow them to be positioned as an employer of choice in the Flathead Valley.
With competency in various CAD software including Pro-Engineer/CREO and CATIA V5 they chose SolidWorks because of its power, ease of use, and competitive cost. They have plans to expand their CAD/CAE capabilities to include SolidWorks Plastics Advanced Simulation.