Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Leo Ochoa says he has always been aware of the importance of designing responsible products that empower and improve people’s lives.

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Leo Ochoa

What do you do? As a product designer for Philips Sonicare [in Bothell], I help design products that surpass clinical requirements, are beautiful in form and color, and fit with the user’s needs and lifestyle. I also keep a close eye on new technologies and materials to explore how they can enhance the oral-health-care experience.

How did you get started in that field? I’ve always loved understanding how things work [through] architecture, art and design. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I have always been aware of the importance of designing responsible products that empower and improve people’s lives. I first worked in footwear design and development of performance outdoor products. A few years later, I developed a stronger interest in health care and electronics, which lead me to oral health care products.

What’s a typical day like? Every day starts early. I first answer email, then join project meetings or workshops throughout the day. There are always multiple projects running on different timelines, and each project requires a different level of attention. I could be sketching new concepts, creating a 3-D model, testing prototypes in the lab, joining a brainstorm session, or picking materials and colors.

What’s the best part of the job? I get to dream and help design the future, by understanding human needs and finding a creative way to offer a better solution. I also get to interact with creative engineers, marketers and research scientists. Being part of a global brand, I get to see the products I help create have an impact around the world.

What surprises people about your job? Designers do much more than sketch on paper. We are always looking for ways to improve the world and design better products. A lot of our time is spent gathering information to pick the best solution and finding a way to prove it is going to work. Our creative mind is always turned on; it takes a lot of scanning the world to come up with a great idea.

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