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Meet 5 More of Our 35 Under 35 Young Designers

Leah E. Friedman
May 2, 2017

When we announced the first five members of the AutoCAD 35 Under 35 young designers list in April, we were thrilled to be able to share their names with the world. Now we’re proud to introduce you to the next five honorees, a group that includes entrepreneurs, an innovator, a theater artist, and an AutoCAD super expert.

[First Five / Second Five / Third Five / Fourth Five / Fifth Five / Sixth Five]

The May Five


AutoCAD 35 Under 35 Young Designers: Chris and Jon Thornham

Chris and Jon Thornham, 33, founders and designers of Flo Cycling (USA/Canada)

Twin brothers Jon and Chris bring their mechanical engineering backgrounds to the world of high-performance bicycle design. To create their stunning wheels and rims, the brothers used AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor to get the company off the ground. They also currently use computational fluid dynamics software to simulate wind tunnel experimentation at a much lower price point.

“From an aerodynamic and speed perspective, we’ve basically caught up to the leading companies that have been around for 20 years. We’ve done it in a much shorter amount of time because of the design process and the software that we use. People who buy our wheels and compete with them pay much less, but have the same benefits as they do with the much more expensive product.”

Now based in Las Vegas, Nevada, the brothers are natives of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where their love of design was born. To wit: In high school, they placed 3rd in the engineering division of the Canadian National Science Fair by designing a self-casting fly-fishing rod.

AutoCAD 35 Under 35 Young Designers: Oli Cooper

Oli Cooper, 28, project draughtsman at the National Theatre, founder of OCTheatrical (UK)

Over the last five years, Oli has relied on AutoCAD as part of the Digital Drawing Team at the UK’s National Theatre, where he works to create design and construction drawings for the stage. Alongside his role at the National Theatre, Oli operates OCTheatrical, a 3D Printing and Drafting Service, in which he has been exploring the integration of 3D printing to the theater industry. In his off time, he mentors students at his alma mater, the Central School of Speech and Drama, in AutoCAD and production management.

AutoCAD 35 Under 35 Young Designers: Paige KassalenPaige Kassalen, 23, electrical engineer and analyst at Covestro, LLC (USA)

Paige brings her electrical engineering and AutoCAD design experience to her role as an analyst at Covestro, where she’s part of a cross-business unit team exploring new business opportunities for materials in innovative mobility concepts, like autonomous cars and ride sharing. In 2015, Paige was part of the Solar Impulse ground crew. Not content to keep her AutoCAD work to precision engineering, in 2015, she also used the software to create a huge, life-size Lego man for a company Halloween party.

AutoCAD 35 Under 35 Young Designers: Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie Gladfelter, 35, technical product and online manager at CADD Microsystems, founder of TheCADGeek.com (USA)

Discovering a love for design and technology in high school, Donnie went on to be part of the design team for Homestead Preserve, a residential community ranked among the top 100 developments in the world by TRAVEL+LEISURE and touted by Southern Living as “The Number One Mountain Retreat in America.” An Eagle Scout, he has helped thousands be prepared for whatever their projects throw at them as an AutoCAD trainer at CADD Microsystems, his blog (The CAD Geek), six books titled AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, and as a speaker at Autodesk University for the last ten years.


We’ll be announcing the rest of our list in the coming months. Keep watching this space for more on how these innovators are contributing to the future of making things, and how they’re using AutoCAD to do it.

Is there a young designer you think deserves to be part of the AutoCAD 35 Under 35 list? Let us know.

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Leah E. Friedman

Leah E. Friedman is the AutoCAD Content Marketing Manager here at Autodesk, and she truly loves being part of a company that makes software for fellow creatives. A Bay Area resident originally from Philadelphia, she justifies supporting the Warriors by constantly pointing out that they also started out in the City of Brotherly Love.