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About David

David G. Ullman is an internationally recognized expert on product design and decision making best practices.  He recently published the 6th edition of The Mechanical Design Process, the leading text used to teach mechanical engineers the processes of product design.  He is the author of Making Robust Decisions, a compendium of decision making wisdom.


He has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University, and was Professor of Mechanical Design at Oregon State University for 20 years.   He is a Life Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and founder of its Design Theory and Methodology committee. 

He has founded two corporations to commercialize his ideas.  The first company manufactured personal transportation products, grew to seven-digit annual sales, and became the largest manufacturer in its field.  He served as CEO over the first years of the corporation and as chairman of the board for life of the organization.  The products Ullman designed for this company won national awards.

The second corporation Ullman founded developed software, training and facilitation material around his Robust Decisions concepts.


He holds six patents.


Dr. Ullman has been consulting for over twenty-five years. Experiences include:

  • Designing a new-generation electric tricycle

  • Developing a decision support methodology for processing national intelligence information.  Funded internally by a major military/security supplier, this extension of Robust Decision methods offered them the first system that supports intelligence agents reaching critical decisions about national security issues while taking into account the uncertainty that clouds all intelligence work.

  • Assisting a government research laboratory in understanding why their project planning estimates were so inaccurate and suggesting methods to improve them.  This lab develops multi-million dollar satellites pushing the edges of technology.  Some of these projects come in over three times the initial budget estimates.  An effort to understand the causes and remedies of this resulted in suggestions that required fundamental system changes.  These results also led to Chapter 3 and other sections of Making Robust Decisions.

  • Supplying software to a rocket engine manufacturer to assist them in choosing the best possible rocket engine to propose for funding.  Their proposal was successful and they won the support.

  • Advising a CAD company on the strength and weaknesses of computer aided design offerings in preparation for the development of a new product.

  • Facilitating a team of senior managers choosing new product development directions.  From the portfolio of ideas that had been discussed, aided them in choosing which to develop with buy-in and risk awareness.

  • Advising a small company about which products to develop from a portfolio of ideas.  The product chosen with the process proved revolutionary.


Dr Ullman has taught hundreds of courses in his career, both in industry and academia:

  • Most recently he has taught design best practices and Scrum for Allied Motion, Lutron and Omega Engineering.

  • He has taught decision-making courses at: Hewlett Packard, Boeing, Pratt and Whitney, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Harley Davidson.

  • He has taught product design processes to thousands of university students and hundreds of industry professionals at Lucent, Cummins, Sequent, Comfortex, Schlumberger, JPL, Metronic, Tektronix, Mentor Graphics, Novellus, and Freightliner.

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