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Innovative design wins IDEA award for Trig Innovation, founded by Jenkins MBA alumn Ty Hagler

Trig Innovation, a virtual product design firm founded by NC State University Poole College of Management alumnus Ty Hagler, (MBA ’11) is among those receiving 2016 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) from the International Design Society of America (IDSA).

Hagler’s firm is receiving a bronze award in the sports, leisure and recreation category for Sanctuary Saddle, a product designed in collaboration with ALTR EGO and textiles students at NC State College of Textiles. Trig also is a finalist in the medical and scientific products category for its work on LifeFlow rapid infuser, a handheld device designed to efficiently administer fluids to patients in critical condition.

Four NC State College of Textiles alumni – Sam Harris, Josh Brackett,  Randall Fulghum and Jake Turney –  worked on the Sanctuary Saddle during the 2014-15 academic year as part of Senior Design, the capstone project course for textile engineering and textile technology majors.

The team’s challenge was to to help find ways to reduce a road cyclist’s fatigue by controlling vibration transfer between the cycling saddle and the body. They researched the full spectrum of potential vibration damping materials, then designed and built a testing instrument. They also developed a standard measure, Coefficient of Vibration Damping, that was used to compare combinations of the various materials. After graduating from NC State, Harris completed an internship with Trig where he further advanced his team’s research and helped with the final selection of the proprietary materials that make up VibeAbide.

Two NC State College of Design alumni, Drew Brisley (BID ’12), industrial designer and Patrick Murphy (BID ’09), senior industrial designer, were on the Trig Innovation teams that worked on the two products.

The dual recognition is a significant achievement considering that only 136 winners were chosen from among the more than 1,700 entries submitted from 30-plus countries for the annual elite design competition, according to an IDSA spokesperson. More than 600 finalists were judged by a panel of 25 design experts from around the world who focus on a product’s design innovation, utility and aesthetics; they determined the 63 bronze, 47 silver and 26 gold winners. View all the bronze winners at the IDEA website. The gold and silver winners will be announced at the kickoff for the 36th Annual IDSA meeting to be held in Detroit on August 17 to 20.

“Good industrial design is more than just the creation of a beautiful object,” states IDEA 2016 Juror Steven Umbach in an IDSA news release. “It means optimizing a situation or solving a problem typically in a commercial setting with emphasis on form, function, manufacturing and business constraints; and especially empathy for the intended user group.”

Trig combined industrial and mechanical design with copious amounts of customer research and ergonomic testing in designing the Sanctuary Saddle to provide maximum comfort and support for cyclists everywhere. The Sanctuary Saddle is equipped with ALTRFIT technology, allowing riders to customize and adjust the saddle width. It is also designed with VIBEABIDE, which eliminates the vibration from riding long distances.

The LifeFlow rapid infuser is a handheld device designed to efficiently administer fluids to patients in critical condition, enabling hospitals and emergency responders to perform rapid fluid resuscitation to patients in shock. Trig’s partnership with 410 Medical sped up the development and launch of the product which is now pending approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Hagler, who is president of Trig Innovation, said he is honored that his company is receiving IDEA recognition this year, adding that this is the first time in recent history that a North Carolina design firm has won and the first time that a fully virtual design firm has won.

“All of the teams involved in the Sanctuary and LifeFlow projects poured their hearts and souls into these devices,” Hagler stated in a news release about the awards. “We are so grateful to work on projects that improve the human condition, whether its pain relief in sporting endeavors or medical device technologies with large-scale impact potential. Thanks to everyone at IDSA for this recognition,” Hagler said.

Trig, based in Chapel Hill, N.C., is a virtual design company that operates through digital collaboration, he said. Each staff member works from his or her home, using virtual communications to work collaboratively with their clients and team members. It also provides employees a strong balance between their work and personal lives. In turn, employees provide consistent and high-quality work, maintaining efficiency and productivity throughout the company.

Trig has been recognized for design excellence in previous years for work on the SimpliciKey Remote Control Electronic Deadbolt as a finalist in the 2012 RESI Awards and a 2011 designSPARK award.

Hagler received his bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Georgia Tech in 2003 and his MBA from NC State Poole College in 2011, with a concentration in innovation management and marketing. He started his company under the name Studio Hagler as a traditional industrial design company while working on his MBA. As he progressed through the MBA program, he said he applied the new skills and knowledge that he was acquiring to set the company on a more innovative course. Approaching its 10th year, North Carolina’s Trig Innovation is focused on excellence in innovation, design and marketing services for entrepreneurs and product development teams around the world. Read more about the evolution of Trig Innovation.


A company dedicated to innovations that improve the riding experience of cyclists worldwide, ALTR ERGO is the making of the award-winning Sanctuary Saddle, offering the custom width-selecting ALTRFIT mechanism and the revolutionary VIDEABIDE Vibration damping system.


410 Medical is a medical device company dedicated to building intuitive solutions that improve fluid resuscitation. The company’s first device is LifeFlow, designed for clinicians to more quickly and effectively infuse patients with fluids in emergency situations.


NC State Jenkins MBA Innovation Management concentration | Marketing Management concentration

NC State College of Design

NC State College of Textiles

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