Cars That Matter Ep 30 - Jay Beever, Embraer, and Designing Luxury Pt. 2

 

00:00:02
Speaker 1: From  CurtCo  Media.

 

00:00:06
Jay Beever: To  the  theme  of  this  podcast,  Cars  That  Matter,  from  an  industry  insider  and  many  automotive  design  individuals  can  tell  you  about  the  reams  of  paper  thrown  away  that  had  incredible  designs  on  them.  In  a  sense,  you  have  this  very  noble,  sacrificial,  beautiful  design  or  car  that  could  hit  the  road.  But  it  won't  be  forgotten  because  that  production  vehicle  that  was  slapped  onto  that  front  wheel  drive  drivetrain,  when  it  should  have  been  rear  wheel  drive,  became  something.  But  the  original,  the  car  that  really  mattered,  wasn't  seen.

 

00:00:39
Speaker 1: This  is  Cars  That  Matter.

 

00:00:55
Robert Ross: Welcome  to  Cars  That  Matter.  I'm  Robert  Ross.  This  episode,  we're  continuing  our  conversation  with  Jay  Beever,  vice  president  of  design  operations  with  Embraer  Jets.  So  without  further  ado,  let's  dive  in.  Jay,  you're  an  interesting  guy  because  you're  proof  that  talent  and  innovation  can  cross  pollinate  different  professional fields.  But  let's  start  at  the  beginning,  talk  about  cars.  Where'd  you  start?

 

00:01:17
Jay Beever: It's  such  a  fun  story.  I  think  there  is  something  that can benefit a lot of  people  because  sometimes  we  have  a  mentality  that  we  can't  do  something  if  we're  not  trained  or  degreed  in  a  certain  skillset.  In  that  regard,  I  always  had  a  dream  of  being  a  car  designer,  automotive  designer.  It  started  because  of  my  uncle,  Ed  Richter,  and  his  wife,  Kay.  They  own  Studebakers,  some  very  rare  Studebakers,  like  the  Rockne.  Knute  Rockne,  the  famous  Notre  Dame  football  coach,  and  that  particular  Studebaker  in '32 and  '33,  had  a  version  with  a  rumble  seat.  The  back  of  the  seat  would  open  up  and  you  could  sit  back  there.  Well,  he  owns  one,  in  original  condition.  They  still  drive  it  to  this  day.  And  I  remember  as  a  child  going  to  their  home  and  peeking  in  the  garage,  and  not  only  was  the  Rockne  there,  but  hiding  around  the  corner,  three  cars  wide,  a  Commander  and  another  Studebaker  from  '33,  in  disheveled  but  yet  Al  Capone,  gangster-looking,  need  to  be  restored  in  the  shadows,  beasts.  And  it  was  awe  inspiring.  And  he  had  since  restored  that  Commander  as  well.
 Beautiful  cars,  that  led  to  a  journey  of  understanding  Raymond  Loewy  and  his  influence  with  the  Starliner  and  everything  else  that  he  did,  outside  of  automotive.

 

00:02:23
Robert Ross: Everything  from  the  Coke  bottle  to  steamships.

 

00:02:27
Jay Beever: The  example  of  cross  industry  design  capability  and  how  they  can  learn  from  each  other.  So  those  automobiles  and  being  so  enthralled  with  the  shapes  and  the  forms  and  the  mysterious  nature  of them, of  course,  because  they  were  stuck  in  a  garage,  was  always  a  thrill.  Being  in  the  Big  Three  capital,  Detroit  suburbs,  knowing  some  uncles  that  worked  for  the  car  companies.  And  my  mother  worked  for  Crane  Communications,  and  she  was  a  key  line  artist  which  was  related  to  graphic  design,  but  page  layout  for  making  magazines.

 

00:02:54
Robert Ross: Back  before  digital  publishing,  back when we had  to  use  razor  blades  and  wax.

 

00:02:58
Jay Beever: I've  got  some  razor  blade  stories.  She  would  come  home  and  I'd  see  articles,  and  the  early  days  of  graphic  storytelling  with  pie  charts  and  that  stuff,  before  the  Mac  really  did  it  well  for  us,  I  got  to  watch  all of  that.  And  it  was  all  related  to  automotive.  But  the  interesting  thing  was  I  liked  building  model  airplanes,  World  War  II  model  airplanes.  Give  me  a  B- 17,  B- 29,  B- 24,  I  would  wreck  them,  get  another  kit  and  build  it  again.  Sometimes  melt  holes  in  the  side  of  them,  sink  them  to  a  bottom  of a [inaudible 00:03:24].  So  aerospace  was like  the  carnal  thing  inside  waiting  to  come  out,  but  it was going to  be  cars.  So  I  did,  I  ended  up  in  the  car  business.  I  used  to  take  my  mom's  tape  from  those  key  lining  page  layout  days,  with  Exacto  blades,  and  pinstripe  my  1957  Chevy  Matchbox  car.  And  that  was  six  years  old,  I'm  playing  with  Exacto  blades  if  you  can  imagine  that.

 

00:03:42
Robert Ross: Better  than  matches,  I  guess,  but  maybe  not  much.

 

00:03:46
Jay Beever: Those  always  stayed  with  me.  So  from  a  graphics,  you  can  make  something  look  different,  to  designing  a  car,  all  of  it. It's  really  about  transportation  design  and  being  thrilled  with  things  that  move.  So  that  was  kind  of  the  start  of  it,  but  I  couldn't  afford  design  college.  I  would  have  loved  to  have  gone  to  CCS.  I  spent  a  couple  of  summer  classes  in  graphic  and  other  types  of  design,  like  pottery.  Couldn't  stand  pottery  as  a  kid,  but I  was  learning  Poway  pottery  out  of  Detroit.  I'm  like, " Oh,  why  am  I  being  exposed  to  this?"  But  then  there  was  an  incredible  community college  in  McComb  County  there,  outside  Detroit,  and  they  had  a  great  drafting  program.  My  opportunity  to  get  into  the  Big  Three  was  through  drafting.  Oh,  this  is  great.  Fell  in  love  with  it  in  high  school,  and  now  I can  have  a  career  doing  this?  So  went  into  drafting,  CAD  Design,  hired  at  Ford  Motor  Company  in  1993,  as  an  intern  doing  CAD  computer- aided  design  drafting,  and  3D  modeling.

 

00:04:35
Robert Ross: And  that's  when  that  stuff  was  really  just  coming  on  board,  it  used  to  be  guys  had  to  draw.

 

00:04:39
Jay Beever Yep.

 

00:04:39
Robert Ross: So  you  were  at  the  forefront  of  that  new  technology  in  many  ways.

 

00:04:42
Jay Beever: Going  back to  the  drawing  real  quick,  I  think  the  thing that helps me  the  most,  even  to  this  day,  is  understanding  what  a  French  curve  can  do,  and  a  large  spline.  One  of  my  projects  at  the  college  was  to  create  an  A- body  car,  GM  car,  body  side,  and  three  different  views,  projecting  the  points  in  three  different  orthographic  views  and  make  the  arc  continuously  perfectly  smooth,  accelerated  curves  where  necessary  in  all  views,  so  that  you  could  inevitably  put  that  on  aluminum  plates.  That  was  a  hard  way  to  go,  but  it  was  fun.
 So  then  we  get  into  Ford  and  they  had  their  own  homegrown  computer  system  called  the  PDGS.  And  that  was  done  on  these  Lundy  tubes  that  were  tube  TVs,  really,  with  light  pens  and  we'd  stroke  the  light  pens  on  the  screen  and  rotate  things  around,  and  there's  a  little  keyboard  tracking  our  time.  Talk  about  hours  disappearing  quickly  when  you're  building  things.  I  couldn't  have  thought  I could  have  ended  up  in  a  better  career  because  I'm  making  something  from  nothing  into  3D  and  having  it  show  up  on  the  road  someday.  So  I  really  liked  that  approach  to  design  and  design  engineering,  though  I  hadn't  had  the  opportunity  to  go  to  an  actual  industrial  design  or  transportation  design  school  like  you'd  find  in  Pasadena  Art  Center  or  CCS.

 

00:05:44
Robert Ross: 15  years  at  Ford,  man,  that  is  a  long  time.  And that was just  the  beginning.  But  obviously  you've  met  a  number  of  fascinating  people,  some  of  whom  we've  had  on  the  program,  as  well.  Proof  that  it's  a  very,  very  small  world,  the  automotive  industry.

 

00:05:58
Jay Beever: Taking  advantage  of  learning  from  people  and  making  sure  that  you  always  feel  that  you  don't  know  it  all,  I  think  is  what  was  important  for  me  because  every  opportunity  to  meet  somebody  new  and  find  a  new  way  of  executing  a  design  or  dealing  with  a  new  personality,  because  interpersonal  skills  as  well  are  quite  a  challenge,  in  any  industry.  You  could  be  incredibly  talented  and  maybe  nobody  likes  you.

 

00:06:18
Robert Ross: Artists  can  be some of the  most  difficult  people  in  the  world.

 

00:06:20
Jay Beever: Right.  So  you  have  to  be  able  to  get  along  with  people too, because  design  is  not  always  easily  accepted.  It  has  to  be  sold  sometimes.  And  if  you  can't  explain  the  benefits,  especially  in  an  OEM  or  corporate  environment,  then  you  might  be  stuck  on  door  handles  the  rest  of  your  life.  Coming up with a  design  is  more  than  just  the  beauty  of  it  and  what  it  does  for  you  emotionally  looking  at  it.  It's  also  being  able  to  convince  others  of  the  longterm  and  let's  say  tertiary  benefits  of  it,  not  just  the  first  read, " I'm  excited.  Now  tell  me  more  about  it." And you  got  nothing.  So  it's  a  bit  of  a  sales  job  as  well  at  times,  and  it  takes  a  lot  of  that.  That's  what  I  think  happened,  most  importantly,  was  going  from  that  CAD  design,  learning  descriptive  geometry,  understanding  how  things  look  in  three  dimensions,  even  though  they're  only  2D,  allowed  me  really  to  understand  what  any  car  could  look  like  in  any  view.

 

 And  that  ended  up  being  quite  a  concierge  assistance  to  those  who  are  really  good  designers  like  Henrik  Fisker,  and  Freeman  Thomas  and  David  Woodhouse  that's  at  Nissan  now.  And  I  mean,  all of  these  guys  I  had  a  chance  to  work  with  and  I  really  cherish  the  ability  to  help  them  bring  their  vehicles  to  life.  From  that  CAD  arena,  getting  into  the  design  studios,  supporting  three- dimensional  CAD  surface  development  design  on  the  exteriors  was  where  I  found  suddenly  myself  in  the  design  arena  I  always  thought  I  wanted  to  be  in,  I  always  dreamed  of.  I  just  took  a  different  road  to  get  there.

 

00:07:37
Robert Ross: Proof  too  that  design  is  not  a  single  handed  exercise.  It's  not  necessarily  a  matter  of  Ferdinand  Porsche,  grandson  of  the  old  man,  sketching  a  9/ 11  on  a  cocktail  napkin.

 

00:07:49
Jay Beever: It  is  teamwork.  It's  never  only  just  one  person  and  the  more  the  teams  can  be  celebrated,  the  more  everybody  has  an  opportunity  to  enjoy  the  career  and  the  project  that they're  working  on. That  was  always  the  case  at  Ford.  Ford  Motor  Company  is  a  good  family  company,  very  different  than  others  in the  sense  that  they  attracted  talent  that  was  also  talent  that  cared  about  people.  It  wasn't  just  a  machine  pumping  out  designs.  And  in  that  regard,  we  always  felt  like  a  team.  And I think  that's  why  maybe  I  felt  like I was  a  designer  because  they  always  gave  me  so  much  authority  and  credit  when  certain  things  were  done  right  that  it  really  builds  you  up  and  makes  you  feel  like  you're  a  part  of  it,  versus  an  indentured  servant  that  must  do  as  I  tell you  and  disappear  into  the  closet  when  I'm  done  with you, kind of  a  thing.

 

00:08:28
Robert Ross: Ford  really  continues  to  have  that  reputation,  whether  it's  that  ethos  of  being  a  family  company  from  day  one,  but it  just  got  a  note  the  other  day,  they  top  the  automotive  industry  in  a  so- called  brand  intimacy  study.  So  they  beat  out  every  other  brand,  even  including  some  motorcycle  brands  like  Harley  Davidson  and  so  forth.  Ford  was  at  the  top.  So  it  really  proves  that  there  is  a  real  genuine  sense  of  intimacy  or  family  or  something  about  that  blue  oval  that  really  resonates  with  people,  whether  they  work  there  or  whether  they're  behind  the  wheel  of  one.

 

00:08:58
Jay Beever: Having  lived  that,  I  quickly  realized  when  I  joined  Embraer,  I'll  skip  ahead  a  little  bit  here,  when  I  joined  Embraer  and  found  out  Brazilians  are  very  passionate.  They're  very  family  oriented  also.  And  the  company  of  Embraer  has  a  lot  of  similar  characteristics  of  that  of  Ford.  Though  it's  not  family  owned,  I  think  the  overall  national  character  and  feel  comes  through  that  way.  Prior  to  2005,  when  the  2005  Mustang  that  was  properly  resurrected  from  the  ashes  of  what  it  was  in [inaudible 00:09: 21].  We're  in  the  design  studios,  they're  building  number  two  off  of  South  field  in  Dearborn,  Michigan.  I  remember  that  to  this  day,  we  were  trying  to  figure  out  what  should  that  Mustang  be?  We  literally  scanned  a  BMW  3  Series  Coupe,  machined  it  into  clay,  and  then  re- sketched,  re- scraped  manually  in  the  clay  Mustang  lines  on  a  3  Series  BMW  Coupe,  because  that  smaller  proportion  was  really  what  the  original  Mustang  was.  It  was  a  smaller  car.  It  wasn't  a  big  car.

 

00:09:48
Robert Ross: And  by  the  way,  that  3  Series  was  just  the  right  size  back  then.

 

00:09:51
Jay Beever: Just  right  size,  yep.  I  mean,  the  company  is  the  Mustang.  It  is  the  F- 150,  it  is  Bronco,  which  we're  now  seeing  today,  the  excitement  coming  back.  So  that  program,  I  was  leading  the  engineering  design  development  team  for  the  exterior  modeling  and  interior  modeling.  So  anything  that  they  did  in  the  clay,  we  had  to  reproduce  it  3- dimensionally  in  the  computer,  re- machine  it  out  with  these  big  five- axis  tourist  mills,  make  sure  that  we  did  just  as  good  as  the  clay  modelers  and  then  back  and  forth.  And that's  really  the  process.  But  the  point  I'm  trying  to  bring  up  is,  going  through  that  amazing  point  in  my  life,  being  on  the  Mustang  program  and  bringing  it  back,  watching  it  change  to  the  298,  which  was  the  Lincoln  LS  platform.  And  the  whole  reason  that  that  Mustang  shifted  from  the  smaller  purpose  to  a  larger  body  of  vehicle  was  because  of  sharing  top  hats.

 

 Let's  put  more  vehicles  on  the  underpinnings.  Oh,  by  the  way,  the  Lincoln  LS  is  rear  wheel  drive  and  it's  independent  rear  suspension.  And  it's  not  that  bolt- in  phony  one  that  we  have  in  the  Cobra,  today  ON  the  Fox  body.  It's  a  true  independent  IRS.

 

 Okay,  so  the  car's  going  to  get  bigger  now.  So  now  it's  Ford  Thunderbird  T- Bird  size,  because  the  T- Bird  was  also  on  that  same  platform.  That's  all  happening  in  that  same  design  studio.  Oh  boy,  there  was  outcry. " The  car  is  getting  too  big.  It  can't  be  this  way."  It  wasn't  about  numbers  anymore.  People  were  passionate  about  the  car,  rightfully  so.  At  Embraer,  the  reason  I  can  make  this  correlation  is  when  we  redesigned  the  Phenom  300  interior  to  the  300E that  we  have  today,  that  same  passion  came  out.  This  is  Brazil's  pride  and  joy  is  Embraer,  the  enterprise  of  Brazilian  aerospace.
 It's  the  only  aerospace  company.  It's  not  like  the  United  States,  we  have  many  aerospace  companies.

 

00:11:20
Robert Ross: That's  right.

 

00:11:20
Jay Beever: And the  Phenom,  the  most  delivered  private  jet  in  the  world,  small  or  large,  this  is  their  Mustang.

 

00:11:26
Robert Ross: That's  your  300E,  is  that  right?

 

00:11:27
Jay Beever: That's  the  300E,  and  they're  passionate  about  it.  But  what  happened,  just  like  with  the  Mustangs  that  we  see  on  the  road  today,  or  any  of  these  cars  that  have  a  soul  because  they  mean  something,  they're  worth  the  investment,  that  Phenom  became  that.  It  became  bigger  than  the  mission  because  the  individuals  across  the  company  working  on  it  knew  the  Phenom  needed  to  live  up  to  its  name,  because  it's  not  a  nomenclature  of  numbers.  It  has  a  name.  Phenom.  It's  LeBron  James  with  wings.  It  should  do  something  that  others  can't.  It's  phenomenal.  You  can't  do  less  and  then  not  have  it  be  a  Phenom.  So  it  deserved  and  demanded  the  best.
 And  it  is  the  best.  It's  an  incredible  airplane,  but  it  takes  a  team,  back  to  your  earlier  point.  A  lot  of  engineers,  designers,  executives  that  make  the  right  decision  come  together  to  do  that.  So  I  think  that's  what's  really  exciting  about  the  crossover  between  different  industries  is  every  industry  has  their  queen.  Like  the  747  was  the  queen  of  the  skies.  That  airplane  has  a  history.  It  has  a  story  behind  it  in  every  possible  way,  from  starting  as  a  cargo  plane  and  ending  up  being  a  passenger  plane,  but  has  so  much  muscle  and  horsepower  now it  could  almost  do  the  speed  of  sound,  because  it's  really  over  engined  for  passengers.

 

 I  mean,  there's  so  many  cool  stories,  and  that's  what  I'm  hoping  to  bring  out  in  our  discussion  today  is  some  of  these  inside  stories  that  a  lot  of  people  don't  hear  about,  but  yet  are  in  and  out  of  industries  that  we  all  work  in.  And  also  to  encourage  everyone  to  appreciate  that  there  are  talents  and  skills  they  have  that  may  not  even  be  appreciated  in  the  industry  they're  in,  but  switch  it  to  another  one,  oh  man.  Now  you're  a  rocket  scientist.  You  appreciate  it  a  whole  lot  more.  So  really,  really  cherish  the  opportunities  like  that  to  cross  over.

 

00:12:54
Robert Ross: We're going  to  take  a  short  break,  Jay,  but  we'll  be  right  back.

 

00:13:00
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00:13:33
Robert Ross: We're  back  with  Jay  Beever.  Jay,  apart  from  modeling  automotive  exteriors,  you've  got  deeply  involved  in  the  interior  design  process.  You're  a  various  authentically  driven  guy.  As  I  understand  it,  you  were  able  to  bring  a  lot  of  those  automotive  interior  design  aspects,  the  language  of  auto  interiors  as  it  were,  to  the  aviation  industry.  And  you  went  to  Gulfstream  next,  and  I'm  not  exactly  the  kind  of  guy  that  flies  private,  but  I've  had  an  opportunity  to  hitch  a  ride  on  a  couple  of  occasions.  Well  above  my  pay  grade.  But  when  I  have,  I've  typically  noticed  that  most  of  the  aircraft  private  jets  look  like  something  out  of  a  Sears  and  Roebuck  furniture  showroom.  The  aesthetic  sensibilities  are  definitely  not  to  the  level  of  something  as  costly  and  as  esoteric  and  refined  as  that  jet  would  be  imagined  to  be.  I  mean,  the  people  owning  and  flying  these  jets  are  people  who  drive  the  finest  automobiles  in  the  world.

 

 They  know  what  a  Bentley  interior  smells  like,  looks  like,  how  a  hinge  works,  how  a  glove  box  opens  and  shuts,  what  a  door  feels  like.  And  then  the  poor  devil  gets  in  his $ 10  million  jet,  he  probably  feels  like  he's  slumming  it.  So  it  sounds  to  me  like  you  were  able  to  maybe  bring  a  new  kind  of  aesthetic  sensibility  to  the  whole  private  aviation  arena.

 

00:14:48
Jay Beever: It's  an  inside  out  story.  So  at  Ford,  I  was  in  the  advanced  product  development  studio  in  Irvine,  California.  And that  was  back  in  the  days  with  Freeman  Thomas  and  those  guys,  Henrik.  One  design  director  named  Kris  Thomason,  He  and  I  really  got  to  befriend  each  other  and  appreciate  each  other's  skill  sets.  And  Chris  was  a  really  well- trained  consumer  product  and  graphic  designer  as  well.  So  he  really  brought  different  spin  to  design  than  just  the  flame  curves  and  the  lines  and  all  the  stuff  that  we've  always  fallen  in  love  with  over  the  years.  Gulfstream  was  looking  for  automotive  design  for  their  new  program.  Secret  program,  nobody knew  what  it  was  at  the  time,  this was  2007.  And  they  had  contacted  Kris  and  Kris  had  accepted  the  position  and  he  had  asked  me  to  join  him.  So  I'm  like, " Okay,  this  is  interesting.  It's  East  Coast,  I've  got  family  over  there,  maybe  that  could  be  a  good  move  too.  But  I  love  planes,  I  was  building  them  as  a  kid.  This  might  be  the  transition  I  was  looking  for."

 

00:15:38
Robert Ross: And  by  the  way,  Gulfstream  isn't  exactly  chopped  liver.

 

00:15:40
Jay Beever: No.  So  I  went  with  Chris,  they  listened  to  Chris  and  said, " Yeah,  we  should  bring  Jay  on  too,"  So  I  joined  and  he  and  I  were  given  a  SEAL  team  six,  so  to  speak,  from  internally.  And  they  said, " We  are  soon  to  announce  the  G650.  It's  going  to  be  our  new  flagship.  And  we  know  we need to  do  something  different.  It  can't  just  be  a  G550  interior,  grownup  and  fatter  inside  of  a  650.  There's  something  missing,  and  we  don't  know what  it  is."  That's  what  it  was.  We're  going  to  bring  automotive  design,  but  it's  not  going  to  be  making  a  car  interior  inside  of  an  aircraft  because  an  aircraft  interior  is  environmental  design.  It  should  feel  like  furniture.  It  should  look  comfortable  and  it  should  not  be  taking  your  attention  away  from  conversation,  relaxation.

 

00:16:22
Robert Ross: And  plus,  it's  got  a  whole  load  of  regulations  and  certifications  that  make  it  pretty  complex  equation,  huh?

 

00:16:29
Jay Beever: And  that  turned  into  the  secret  sauce  for  me  because  I  spoke  the  engineering  language.  I  knew  how  to  make  what  they  wanted  happen  and  I  didn't  need  their  support.  So  I  could  convince  them  sell  on  the  design  because  I  had  already  figured  it  out  three- dimensionally  and  figured  out  how  to  put  it  together,  and  they  appreciated  that.  So  the  execution  of  automotive,  when  someone  says, " Oh,  I  need  automotive  design in  an  airplane."  What  you  need  is  craftsmanship.  You  need  the  tooling.  You  need  the  execution  of  automotive,  which  is  so  good,  but  you  still  want  to  feel  like  an  environment.  And  there's  a  lot  you  can  do  with  that.  Rather  than  building  the  interior  out  in  XYZ  crate  cabinetry  type  designs  you  might  find  in  any  cabinetry  shop,  we're  going  to  use  tooling.  Let's  cut  three- dimensional  tools  and  create  carbon  fiber  substrates  with  shape  to  them,  that  flow  and  compliment,  that  are  gapped  properly.  And  then  when  you're  sitting  in  this  aircraft  for  10  hours,  12  hours,  rather  than  being  underwhelmed  by  the  fact  that  you  can  see  parts  behind  parts,  or  hinges  that  look  like  piano  hinges-

 

00:17:24
Robert Ross: Or  worse  yet,  hear  them  squeaking  together.

 

00:17:26
Jay Beever: Exactly,  because  they  haven't  been  gapped  properly.  All of  that  stuff  meant  something  to  Gulfstream  because  they  were  an  engineering  company.  Aerospace  is  engineering.  As  much  as  they're  sexy,  beautiful  shapes  and  styles  and  designs,  that's  needed  for  airflow  and  aerodynamics  and  lift  and  all  that  good  stuff.  But  on  the  interior,  it's  really  about  how  things  go  together  properly  in  a  low  volume  tooling  environment.  Which  is  another  thing  from  automotive  I  was  able  to  bring  over  is  I've  met  a  lot  of  the  companies  in  California,  like  Metal  Crafters  and  Aria,  these  companies  that  are  masters  at  creating  high- volume  tooling  look  and  low- volume  cost  in  toolings.  We  use  very  much  a  show  card  kind  of  a  build  process  for  tooling  in  aerospace  for  these  interiors,  and  it's  worked  magically.

 

00:18:06
Robert Ross: Well,  obviously  it  worked  well  enough  that  Gulfstream  delivered  what  I  guess  remains  one  of  the  private  aviation  flagships,  their  650,  and  gave  you  an  opportunity  to  move  to  an  even  greater  set  of  challenges  with  Embraer.

 

00:18:18
Jay Beever: That  was  a  special  day.  It  was  disruptive  because  I  really  liked  working  for  Gulfstream.  It  was  the  cream  of  the  crop  and  the  longest,  farthest  flying,  fastest  jets  and  all  that  good  stuff.  But  we  were  always  intimidated  by  Embraer,  and  that  was  because  Embraer  started  the  transportation  industrial  design  revolution  within  private  jet  aerospace  because  they  went  off  and  hired  BMW  design  works  in the  early  2000s.

 

00:18:41
Robert Ross: I  remember  seeing  that  prototype  interior.  In  fact,  we  had [Verina Cluse 00:18: 45]  on  the  program  early  on.  Again,  proof  that  it's  a  very,  very  small  world  in  the  design  community.  That  was  a  bold  move  to  hire  an  independent  third  party  design  firm  to  tackle  that  challenge.

 

00:18:56
Jay Beever: Very  smart  move  too,  because  they  were  breaking  into  a  piranha  infested  market.  When  you  talk  about  customer  loyalty,  oh  man,  it's  hard  to  break  somebody  out  of  their  private  aircraft  ownership  because  you  have  a  flight  department  involved.  You've  got  maintenance  departments  involved.  You've  got  stockpiles  of  parts  in  your  hangar  involved  to  service  the  airplanes.  It's  a  crossover  that  costs  a  lot  of  money, and you have  to  re- type  certify  your  pilots  to  do  a  new  platform.  So  here  Embraer  was  coming  out  of  Brazil,  successful  commercial  aircraft,  80%  of  the  world  regionally  is  flying  on  Embraer  products  and  they  don't  even  know  it,  and  they're  about  to  break  into  the  secret  world  of  private  jets  and  try  to  take  on  the  gorillas.

 

00:19:35
Robert Ross: It's  like  trying  to  take  over  the  Jack  Daniels  market.

 

00:19:37
Jay Beever: Oh,  yeah.  The  F- 150,  the  loyalty  is  there.  So  having  BMW  support  them  with  that  design  was  very  appropriate  because  it  gave  them  a  cachet,  gave  them  a  label. " Okay,  this  private  jet  from  Embraer  is  Phenom,  is  going  to  be  built  like  a  BMW.  Interesting.  All  right,  that's  a  change.  It's  not  the  OEM's  cabinetry  shop.  It's  an  outside  design  company  that  we  all  appreciate."  And  it  got  them  a  lot  of  attention  and  it  was  a  right  thing  to  do.  Well,  that  attention  got  Gulfstream  thinking,  and  that's  why  Chris  and  I  ended  up  at  Gulfstream  was  because  they were going to do  the  BMW  thing  again,  or  Nissan  Design  America  I  believe  they  quoted  with,  and  they  realize, " No,  we  want  this  internal  because  if  we  hire  the  consultancy,  the  consultancy  knows  what  we're  doing  and  therefore  our  intellectual  property  and  our  ideas  won't  be  as  much  of  a  surprise,  and  maybe  some  of the  stuff  that  we  do in a joint  development  way  ends  up  in  somebody  else's  hands  because  we  don't  own  it."

 

00:20:25
Robert Ross: And  it's  inevitable  that  that  happens  anyway,  because  people  are  working  on  multiple  projects  at  once.  It's  like  when  Pininfarina  used  to  work  with  Ferrari  and  Maserati  and  any  number  of  other  car  makers,  all  these  departments  have  been  brought  in- house  now.

 

00:20:37
Jay Beever: And  there's  value  to  that.  It  provides  an  X  factor.  If  you're  sure  of  what  you've  got  and  that  you  can  do  it  better,  and  leveraging  the  talent  and  the  knowledge  within  the  company  to  create  an  X  factor,  you  don't  need  to  have  a  consultancy  because  you  know  what  to  do.  That's  what  Embraer  wanted.  Now  they  knew  what  it  was  like  to  design  through  consultancy,  and  that's  a  hire  and  fire  process.  BMW  was  not  involved  when  I  joined  the  company  because  they  were  already  gone  off  doing  something  else.  What  happened  was  engineering  took  over  and,  bless  their  hearts,  they  made  a  great  engineered  product.  But  when  you  don't  have  the  design  policemen  involved  to  help  nurture  the  changes  that  come,  because  the  changes  do  come,  it's  called  joint  development.  We  need  to  see  what  those  changes  are,  and  then  go  back  to  the  drawing  board  on  some  of  those  and  readjust  it  so  it  works  with  the  theme  and  create  the  plan,  versus  cutting  a  hole  and  sticking  something  in  there  to  resolve  it.  Though  it's  very  robust  and  strong,  it's  not  part  of  the  design.
 So  it  became  somewhat  disconnected.  They  opened  up  a  position  to  find  a  vice  president  of  interior  design,  and  an  executive  recruiter  contacted  me  and  told  me  about  the  position.  I  met  with  Embraer  and  quickly  found  out  that  they  really  had  an  ambition  to  do  things  different  and  were  passionate  for  design.  And  really,  it's  rare  that  you  end  up  with  a  leadership  team  position  as  a  designer.  We're  usually  shunned.  We  don't  need  any  free  thinkers  here.  We  don't  need  out  of  the  box  thinking  here.

 

00:21:50
Robert Ross: I've  seen  how  a  lot  of  the  automotive  OEMs  treat  their  designers.  Sometimes  they  don't  even  want you  to  publish  their  name.  I  mean,  these  guys,  they  don't  want  to  make  them  superstars  because  they  could  be  superstars.  That's  why  so  many  of  these  guys  end  up  on  their  own,  they  eventually  jump  ship  and  say, " You know what? I'm going  to  start  my  own  company."

 

00:22:05
Jay Beever: In  that  regard,  rather  than  start  my  own  company, because there's  a  whole  bunch  of  other  stresses  there. " The  grass  is  greener  on  the  other  side."  Well,  you  don't  know  the  water  bill.  And  then  you  find  out  if  it's  not  so ...  the  wrong  green  is  being  grown,  we're  losing  the  other  kind  of  green  that  we  want  to  hold  on  to, [inaudible 00:22:20].  And  some  people  do  it  very  successfully.  Like  Eddie  Sato,  Sato  Studios.  He's  fantastic,  and  he's  a  great  friend  and  has  done  incredible  things.  So  that  relationship  found  itself  coming  to  life  at  Embraer,  so  when  I  joined  Embraer  as  VP  of  Interior  Design,  in  a  leadership  position  that  comes  with  some  authority,  to  be  honest.  And  when  you  have  an  idea,  not  that  you're  yelling  at  people  and  being  a  tyrant,  but  when  you  want  to  sell  an  idea,  it  kind  of  helps  when  you're  up  on  top.

 

00:22:43
Robert Ross: That's right.

 

00:22:43
Jay Beever: So  some  of  these  ideas  were  a  little  bit  easier  to  push  through,  but  they  were  ideas  that  Embraer  appreciated  because  it's  also  an  engineering  company  with  the  family  spirit  of  Ford,  and  a  passion  for  design,  and  a  history  of  doing  things  first  that  nobody  knows  about  because  they  haven't  marketed  well  enough.  So  here  I  saw  marketing  opportunities.  We  can  design  something  fresh.  We're  going  to  do  it  internally.  We've  got  resources.  Call  the  world's  best  aerospace  engineers  that  have  come  out  of  a  country  that  should  not  be  making  airplanes  because  perception  is  reality,  and  Brazilians  should  not  be  making  airplanes,  the  Europeans  and  the  United  States  should  be  making  them.  Germans  shouldn't  be  making  Porsches  because  Germans  aren't  sexy,  but  Italians  are,  so  Italians ...  all  those  perceptions  could  be  busted,  which  is  called  opportunity,  and  the  ability  to  form  a  team  and  have  things that  really  need  change  and  help,  but  can  apply  all of  these  things  I  learned  from  Gulfstream  and  Ford  and  the  auto  industry  and  drafting  and  CAD.  It  all  came  together.  It  all  came  together.  It's  been  a  wild  ride.

 

00:23:35
Robert Ross: What  a  great  story,  and  obviously  the  ride's  not  over.  We're  going  to  take  a  quick  break,  but  we'll  be  right  back.

 

00:23:43
Speaker 1: A  Moment  of  Your  Time.  New  podcast  from  CurtCo  Media.

 

00:23:47
Speaker 4: Currently  21  years  old,  and  today [ crosstalk 00:23:50].

 

00:23:49
Speaker 5: Felt  like  magic  extended  from  her  fingertips  down  to  the  base  of  my  soul-

 

00:23:53
Speaker 6: You  have  to  take care of yourself because the  world  needs  you  and your [inaudible 00:23:57]-

 

00:23:55
Speaker 7: Trust me,  every  do- gooder  that  asked  about  me  was  ready  to  spit  on  my  dream.

 

00:23:59
Speaker 8: Her  fingers  were  facing.

 

00:24:00
Speaker 9: You  feel  like  your  purpose  and  your  worth  is  really  being  crushed-

 

00:24:04
Speaker 10: Going  to  stop  me  from  playing  the  piano.

 

00:24:06
Speaker 11: She  buys  walkie  talkies,  wonders  to  whom  she  should  give  the  second  device.

 

00:24:09
Speaker 12: Pets  don't  love  humans.  We  never  did.  We  never  will.  We  just  find [crosstalk 00:24:12].

 

00:24:12
Speaker 13: The beauty  of  rock  climbing  is  that  you  can  only  focus  on  what's  right  in  front  of  you.

 

00:24:17
Speaker 14: And  so  our  American  life  begins.

 

00:24:21
Speaker 1: We  may  need  to  stay  apart,  but  let's  create,  together.  Available  on  all  podcast  platforms.  Submit  your  piece  at  CurtCo. com/ AMomentofYourTime.

 

00:24:29
Robert Ross: We're  back  with  Jay  Beever,  Vice- President  of  Design  Operations  with  Embraer  Executive  Jets.  Of  course,  I'm  dying  to  find  out  some  of  the  secrets  from  your  automotive  past,  some  of the  cars  that  never  quite  made  it  out of  the  nest  or  never  hatched  out  of  the  egg.  Are  there  any  stories  you  can  tell  there?

 

00:24:49
Jay Beever: I'm  glad  you  asked  because  to  the  theme  of  this  podcast,  Cars  That  Matter,  from  an  industry  insider  and  many  automotive  design  individuals  can  tell  you  about  the  reams  of  paper  thrown  away  that  had  incredible  designs  on  them,  but  it  was the  right  car  for  the  wrong  time.  And  it  didn't  see  the  light  of  day,  but  then  became  something  else,  inspired  something  else  that  did  hit  the  road.  So  in  a  sense,  you  have  this  very  noble,  sacrificial,  beautiful  design  or  car  that  could  hit  the  road.  But  it  won't  be  forgotten  because  those  who  know  that  production  vehicle  that  was  slapped  onto  that  front  wheel  drive  drivetrain,  when  it  should  have  been  rear  wheel  drive,  became  something.  But  the  original,  the  car  that  really  mattered,  wasn't  seen.
 There was  a  lot  of  Lincolns  in  my  past  when  we were  working  with  the  Lincoln  design  teams  there  in  Irvine,  California,  with  Marek  Reichman  and  David  Woodhouse.  Marek.

 

00:25:39
Robert Ross: Yeah,  he's  at  Aston  Martin  now,  doing  some  great  things.

 

00:25:42
Jay Beever Yes.  Gerry  McGovern,  head  of  Land  Rover  Design  as  well.  He  was Marek  and  David's  boss,  and  I  learned  a  lot  from  the  British  sensitivity  to  style  and  luxury.  And  we  had  some  really  good  Lincolns.  They  had  come  up  with  some  really  good  rear  wheel  drive  Lincolns,  but  the  decisions  internally,  for  the  right  reasons  of  carrying  over  engineering  and  platforms  and  drivetrains,  turned  into, " Well,  we  own  Volvo  Car  at  the  time,  Volvo  Car  company.  Well,  I  think  the  D- platform  from  Volvo,  the  S80,  would  make  a  better  underpinning  for  the  new  Ford  Taurus  than  something  else,  or  for  a  new  Lincoln  MKS."  No,  we  clearly  had  concept  vehicles  out  of  these  Lincolns,  but  there  were  other  Lincoln  designs  internally  that  never  saw  the  light  of  day  that  became  the  sacrificial  inspirations  for  what  inevitably  ended  up  on, let's  say,  the  wrong  bones.

 

00:26:29
Robert Ross: Sure.  I  understand.

 

00:26:30
Jay Beever: The  one  that I'm  very  fond  of  is,  there's  a  designer  at  Ford  named  Bernard.  Bernard  was  incredibly  talented.  He  sketched  up  a  little  B- car,  back  in  early  2000s.  Of  course  we were  in  love  with the  Mini  Cooper,  that  retro- infused  reinvention.

 

00:26:44
Robert Ross: Sure.  Frank  Stephenson's  design.  That  was  really  a  brilliant  interpretation  of  the  original  Mini.

 

00:26:49
Jay Beever: And  Freeman  Thomas  with  the  Audi  TT.  When  Freeman  came  into  the  studio,  we  got  to  talk  about  that  and  learn  with  him.  And in  that  timeframe  with  Freeman,  and  prior  to  Freeman,  was  Henrik  Fisker.  Bernie,  we  called  him,  came  up  with  this  really  cool ...  we  call  it  the  B- rod.  Remember  the  monitor  and  the  Merrimack,  the  very  first  summary  had  this.

 

00:27:07
Robert Ross: Of  course,  yeah.

 

00:27:09
Jay Beever: And  the  union  side  had  this  submarine  and it  had  that  three  box  look, had  a  little  turd  on  top,  and  then  the  front  back.  Well,  Bernie  had  created  this  bold  little  B- car  that  was  better  than  a  Mini  Cooper  and  better  than ...  it's  hard  to  say,  because  it  wasn't  retro  of  anything.  It  was  unique.  It  was  bold,  it  was  exactly  what  Ford  needed,  because at  the  time  there  was  a  European  influence  coming  in and  the  Ford  Focus  turned  into  a  Fiesta,  and  it's  a  B- car  for  Brazil,  and  it's  got  all  these  weird,  crazy  fast ...  they  called  it  flame  design  lines.

 

 And  we're  like, " No,  this  can't  be,  we  need  the  B- rod  that  Bernie  has  been  sketching."  So  we  went through and  we  modeled  it  out  for  him  without  permission  from  anyone,  the  design  engineering  team.  We  worked  with  Bernie  and  actually  rendered  out  and  executed  this  incredible  B- car  on  platform,  on  chassis,  new  top  hat,  carry  over  underpinnings.  It  was  okay,  because  the  way  it  was  rounded  off  on  the  front,  from  the  top  it  had  a  pill  shape  with  some  nice  flares  coming  off.  So  it  wasn't  just  a  perfect  square  and  top  view,  like  most  cars  are.  And  inside, there was  a  three  box  design.  We  had  a  two  door,  we  had  a  four  door,  modular  removable  panels,  fenders  and  quarter  pounds  would  be  pulled  off  and  customized  with  new  different  fender  panels  and  quarter  panels.  We  built  in  all  the  weld  joints  and  everything  you  can  imagine.  Because  we  thought, " Okay,  if  we  can't  get  the  design  pushed  through,  maybe  because  it's  already  engineered,  they'll  think  they  have  no  choice."
 So,  Peter  Horbury,  at  the  time  another  great  design  lead  I  worked  for.  Peter  was  in  charge  of  Volvo  cars,  I  think,  and  he  still  carried  over  with  Volvo  into  when  the  Chinese  owners  bought  it.  But  Peter  liked  it  as  well.  We  had the  chance  to  present  it  to  him,  but  it  was  too  late.  The  decisions  had already been  made  on  the  other  vehicle,  but  that  car  mattered  because  it  proved  that with  the  right  amount  of  energy,  you  can  get  people  to  do  things, and  you  don't  have  to  tell  them  to.  Like  that  Mustang  project,  like  that  Phenom  300E  project.  When  it's  right,  it's  right.  But  sometimes  they  don't  make  the  light  of  day.  I  think  Pixar  should  make  another  Cars  movie  about  all  the  cars  that  matter,  that  nobody  got  to  see,  and  bring  them  to  life  in  this  sort of [crosstalk 00:29:07].
Ooh,  we  got  to  be  a  magic  fairy  tale.  I'd  love  it.  A  fairy  tale  for  adult  car  lovers.

 

00:29:12
Robert Ross: Exactly.  All  the  cars  that  were  meant  to  be  finally  get  the  light  of  day  and  end  up  on  the  Hollywood  screen  in  an  animated  satire.

 

00:29:19
Jay Beever: Jay,  it  sounds  like  you  had  an  awful  lot  of  fun  at  Ford  and  in  the  car  business,  but  it  sounds  like  you're  having  maybe  even  more  fun  now  expanding  the  reach  and  breadth  of  your  design  sensibilities  and  doing  it  with  a  company  that  gives  you  the  latitude  to  really  explore  some  uncharted  waters.

 

00:29:34
Robert Ross: It  is.  I  think  if  more  companies  open  up,  like  the  tech  companies  in  Silicon  Valley,  they  get  a  lot  of  credit  for  being  very  liberal  with  their  employees  and  nourishing  creativity  and  having  what  is  not  so  much  a  corporate  life.  Even  companies  that  are  very  engineered  and  deliberate  because  they  have  to  be  for  safety  reasons,  like  Embraer,  there's  a  lot  you  can  do  with  your  employees.  And  even  if  there's  not  a  program  in  place  to  do  something,  good  leaders  can  inspire  their  people  to  come  up  with  stuff  on  their  free  time  even,  or  if  there's  some  dead  time  in  between  programs.

 

00:30:01
Jay Beever: Isn't  it  true?  Some  of  the  best  ideas  have  come  out  of  the skunkworks,  so  to  speak.  I  know  the  Lamborghini  Miura  was  basically  a  project  that  the  Lara  and  (Stanzani)   and  Bob  Wallace  put  together  when  the  old  man  wasn't  looking.  And  they  took  it  to  him  and  said, " We  have  to  build  this  car."  It  turned  out  to  be  Lamborghini's  most  important  car  ever.

 

00:30:17
Robert Ross: And  the  surprise  and  delight  of  a  team  of  people  who  weren't  expected  to  come  up  with  something  incredible,  because  they  weren't  the  sexy  SEAL  Team Six,  skunkworks  team.  They're  just  really  talented  people  that  want  to  prove  that  they  can  do  something  different.  And  there's  so  much  of  that  unleashed  talent  sitting  in  these  cubicles  around  this  country  and  in  these  businesses  that  are  waiting  to  have  an  excuse  to  do  something  amazing.  So  let  them  loose,  come  up  with  stuff.  Most  are  working  from  home  right  now, and if  the  future  is  working  from  home  a  lot,  then  there's  maybe  some  extra  time  to  do  some  neat  things.

 

00:30:49
Jay Beever This  is  really  a  great  conversation  and  obviously  an  open  invitation  to  come  back  and  join  us  anytime,  because  I  have  an  idea  that  you'll  have  a  lot  more  to  talk  about  in  the  coming  year.  Look  forward  to  having you  back  on  the  show.  Jay,  thank  you  very  much.

 

00:31:02
Robert Ross: No,  thank  you,  Robert.  It's been  a  pleasure.

 

00:31:05
Jay Beever: Come  back  next  time  as  we  continue  to  talk  about  the  passions  that  drive  us  and  the  passions  we  drive.

 

 This  episode  of  Cars  That  Matter  was  hosted  by  Robert  Ross,  produced  by  Chris  Porter,  edited  by  Chris  Porter,  sound  engineering  by  Michael  Kennedy,  theme  song  by  Celeste [ inaudible  00: 31:31],  additional  music  and  sound  like  Chris  Porter.  Please  like,  subscribe,  and  share  this  podcast.  I'm  Robert  Ross,  and  thanks  for  listening.

 

00:31:44
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