Hydra Design Labs is led by a team of automotive design experts. These designers lead each client project and oversee the rest of our design team. Each principal designer has considerable experience in OEM automotive studios, designing both vehicle exteriors and interiors on dozens of concept cars and final production vehicles. Collectively, the design experts at Hydra have worked on countless concept cars and production vehicles.
Jon Hull is the founder and president of Hydra Design Labs and one of the firm’s principal designers. Jon has had over 25 years of experience as a professional automotive designer, including in-house design at Mitsubishi Motors, prior to founding Hydra Design Labs nearly 10 years ago. While at Mitsubishi Motors, Jon had the opportunity to work on exterior and interior designs for both production models and concept cars. He also used his expertise as a CAD specialist to help take projects from ideation through design to final surface data. In addition to automotive design, Jon has a background in plastics engineering, which provides the Hydra team with added expertise to help take projects through to final manufacturing. Jon’s design and CAD skills help the Hydra Design team deliver the creativity needed to solve major design challenges while his project management and leadership experience helps the Hydra team meet client deadlines and deliver high-quality work.
Gary Ragle a principal designer at Hydra Design Labs and brings over 20 years of experience as a professional car designer. Gary’s experience in senior designer roles at Mitsubishi and Ford took him from California to Japan to Detroit and more – all of which influencing his unique design aesthetic. Fueled by a passion for American hot rods that has been a driving force behind his career path, Gary is now one of the world’s most in-demand designers of hot rods and custom cars. While his professional career has demonstrated Gary’s immense talent as a designer of modern vehicles, his love of classic cars has been highly influential in his work. The beauty and raw power of classic American hot rods is in the DNA of the many show cars and production vehicles Gary has designed. With an innate ability to distill design down to its essence while always producing something new, Gary greatly strengthens the Hydra Design team with fresh creative ideas and timeless perspective.
Dan Sims is one of the principal designers at Hydra Design Labs. A highly experienced strategist and automotive designer, Dan spent over 20 years in senior design roles at Chrysler and Mitsubishi Motors, followed by more than a decade at Proctor & Gamble where he extended his design expertise into general consumer products. A champion of human-centered design and innovation, Dan leverages ‘Design Thinking’ to uncover deep consumer insights – and translates these findings into boundary-pushing solutions for Hydra Design Labs. Dan’s innovative approach helps Hydra Design Labs deliver functional designs developed with the end-user in mind – a critical part of the product development process for Hydra’s clients.
Mike Desmond is one of the principal designers at Hydra Design Labs and has been professionally designing vehicles for over 25 years. Prior to joining Hydra, he was an in-house designer at Mitsubishi Motors and the Boyd Coddington Hot Rod Shop, and also served as the design director at West Coast Choppers. His love of classic American car design led him to Mitsubishi, which was looking for a designer to bring an American sensibility to their latest concepts. After leading Jesse James’ design team at West Coast Choppers Mike ventured out on his own as an independent designer and began pursuing other creative endeavors. A true creative whose talents extend far beyond vehicle design, Mike is a self-taught tattoo artist whose work is now highly in-demand, and he also became an exhibiting oil painter with gallery shows displaying his works. Mike’s design talent is undeniable and his ability to push the envelope and bring an alternative perspective to a project adds an edge to the Hydra Design team.
Brent Wickham is the latest addition to Hydra Design Labs as lead of the Design Operations team. Bringing over 20 years of automotive design experience to Hydra, Brent specializes in digitally driven design processes and hands-on project management for concept and production. He has led design teams for the last seven years, supporting a variety of global automotive OEM’s in consulting and direct roles including Mitsubishi Motors, General Motors, Volvo and more. A recognized expert in 3D surfacing, Brent has demonstrated his skills across a broad range of interior and exterior surfacing projects within the automotive industry, consumer product and aviation sectors. Brent takes a special interest in integrating new technology into the design process, utilizing VR-based design visualization and UI/UX design across many of his projects – along with pushing the boundaries of surfacing by developing new standards for CAD surface development and release.
Chris Schuttera is a principal designer at Hydra Design Labs and brings 25 years of experience as a professional automotive designer. During that time, Chris has worked at Chrysler, Mitsubishi Motors, and Ken Okuyama Design as a car designer and at C+D Zodiac Aerospace designing airplane interiors. While Chris excels at all aspects of vehicle design, his skills are unparalleled in the field of interior design. Chris’s knowledge of interior design practices and his intuitive ability to rapidly develop themes for even the most complex design challenge is truly remarkable. His love of car culture is a major influence in his life and can be seen throughout Chris’s work as well as his personal life. His creativity, skills, dedication, and enthusiasm for cars has turned Chris into one of the most well-respected designers in the industry and an indispensable asset to the Hydra Design team.
Mark Ferrara is the director of fabrication at Hydra Design Labs. An industry veteran with over 30 years of automotive development both in-house at OEMs like Mitsubishi Motors, Aria Group, Pacific Aerospace Corp. and at his own research and design firm, Mark oversees all fabrication projects for Hydra and translates 3D designs into full-size or scale models and prototype vehicles. This includes precision machining and advanced composite manufacturing for Hydra Design Labs’ automotive projects, along with engineering, tooling fabrication and assembly. As a leading expert in manufacturing processes for both the automotive and aerospace industries, Mark’s meticulous craftsmanship delivers the high-quality standards demanded by these sectors.