Dr. Sean Michael joined the Outdoor Product Design & Development bachelor’s degree program at its inception in 2015, and served briefly as its director. He received his PhD in wildland recreation, working in public lands recreation with the Colorado Springs Parks Department, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and parks planning in Washington, Connecticut and Colorado.
Sean’s roots in the outdoors began in the 1970s, including retail sales and trip leadership, and snowboard and climbing instruction. His graphic illustrations have been published in Climbing Magazine, along with Eric Horst’s How to Climb 5.12. Today, his outdoor pursuits include cycling, rafting, snowboarding, vehicle-based exploration, and teaching the next generation of product innovators.
Sean teaches the History of Outdoor Products, and has coordinated the Outdoor Product Design & Development (OPDD) Professional Seminar, which have brought dozens of industry leaders to campus, including LL Bean, Oboz, KLIM, Vibram, Scott, Goal Zero, and many others. He and colleagues teach a 3-week field course on product testing and the public lands economy in Moab, UT. His other classes focus on sustainability and business practices among the design disciplines.
An expert in vehicle-based adventure travel using trailers and off-grid solar power solutions, Sean is a long-time instructor and speaker at Overland Expo, Outside Adventure and other trade shows. For two decades he has authored independent product reviews in the overland/vehicle-based travel market at popular publications including ADVrider, Off-road.com and BMWMOA Owners News. His industry partnerships include well-known global brands such as BFGoodrich, KLIM, iKamper, Cabelas, Warn Winch, TouRIG, and ARB.
He has published and spoken to local, state and international audiences on trail design/planning and crime in parks, and his partnerships have included projects with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy for trail development in Washington and Montana. He is currently on research sabbatical, studying business practices among designers and the history of vehicle-based adventure travel.