Meet the Judges – Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment™ Detroit 2018

Professional and student sketch-battlers will be vying for the title of World Champion Sketchmaster when the Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment™ presented by BASF comes to Detroit.  The “Fight Club of Design” party features a live sketching competition, great music and greater cars on Tuesday, January 16th from 7-11:30pm at world famous Saint Andrew’s Hall.  Over the years the event has been judged by a unique cross-industry of experts and design luminaries such as Camilo Pardo, Ralph Gilles of FCA, Doyle Letson of Ford, Bregt Ectors of GM and many others.  The panel gets to choose who receives the $2500 top prize by BASF.  For Detroit 2018, Jim Fleming of Cadillac will be the Chief Judge, and will be joined by Mark Trostle of FCA and Michael Smith of Ford of Tesla, along with guest judges for each themed round.IMG_1176Jon Adams Photo LtoR Frank Schwartz, Ian Bass student winner, Brook Banham, Destiny Driftmeyer ring girl, Camilo Pardo, Casey Swasenger winner.jpg

Chief Judge Jim Fleming

Jim Fleming was appointed Director of Cadillac Exterior Design in August 2017, during what is arguably the most exciting time in the evolution of the American luxury brand and for the entire auto industry.   A University of Kansas and College for Creative Studies graduate, Fleming’s career path and portfolio include leadership roles and assignments in many of GM’s car, truck, SUV, show car and architecture studios. From the HUMMER H2 and award-winning Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado, to the leaner, lower, wider proportions that define today’s Cadillacs, each program helped defined his drive for innovation and breakthrough design with creative problem solving and customer focus. (Editor’s note, we met Jim back when we worked together on the H2 Black Chrome edition – one of the industry’s first Black Chrome applications).

Inheriting his father’s passion for car collecting, Fleming still owns his first car – a ’69 Camaro Super Sport – and some of dad’s favorites, including a ’38 Packard and ‘59 Cadillac convertible and two vintage (’71 and ’72) Suburbans. When he’s not in the studio, the Missouri native can be found off-roading – crossing the continental divide on his KTM motorcycle or mountain biking the most challenging trails Michigan has to offer.

Judge Mark Trostle

Mark Trostle is Head of Performance, Passenger and Utility Vehicle Exterior Design – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.  Mark attended the College for Creative Studies in Detroit with a focus on Automotive Design. Since joining the Product Design Office at Chrysler in 1992, Mark has held a variety of positions within the organization. Mark is currently responsible for design of Dodge, SRT, and Chrysler exterior brands at FCA. Mark led the design of the 2013 Dodge Viper and most recently the 2018 Dodge Demon.

Judge Michael Smith

Michael Smith is the Recruiting and Talent Manager for Ford Design.  He is responsible for identifying, recruiting, and hiring top design talent into Ford’s design studios including Global Strategic, Lincoln, Ford, Exterior, Interior, Color & Materials, and User Experience.  

Michael graduated from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and began his Ford Motor Company career in 1999.  During his Ford tenure, he has been on the design teams of numerous Ford and Lincoln products: including F-150, Super Duty, Expedition, Navigator, the Super Chief concept truck, and other stuff he can’t tell you about.

Guest Judges


Philipp Siebourg is Director of Car Audio Design at Harman.  Philipp first studied as an engineer but quickly realized he was more interested in being creative and inspirational than doing calculations. Initially a product designer, an internship with BMW made him want to focus on automotive.

Philipp graduated from the Royal College of Art in London with a master’s in automotive design and went to work with Bang & Olufsen.  It was there he developed the ethos that guides his team at HARMAN today. Approaching brand partnerships as equals is incredibly important to the success of the product. It should never be a matter of “we want to be in your car!” It’s about coming to the partnership with a mutual respect for the value both OEM and supplier brings.

TYONEK STUMPTy Stump is Director of Industrial Design, Lacks Enterprises.  Born on the east coast in Baltimore, Ty went to college on the west coast at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco.  Upon graduation he was hired by Fiat Chrysler, and later left to launch Tyonek Stump Design, a small design consultancy specializing in automotive.  His client list included Lacks Enterprises and John Deere Residential Equipment, eventually joining lacks full time.


For the Championship Round, the theme is BASF’s color “Paranormal Red”, and the panel will be joined by Paul Czornij.  Czornij is Head of Design for the BASF Color Excellence Group.  Read more about the rounds tomorrow.

We expect a rather long line at the event and having your tickets in advance will shorten your queue time.  Also don’t forget we support students with deeply discounted advance tickets.

Tickets for the 2018 Detroit event can be found here

Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment Detroit 2018 v9

About BASF

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has nearly 17,500 employees in North America, and had sales of $17.4 billion in 2015. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 112,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of more than €70 billion in 2015. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information at

The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment™ is presented by

            AACS and Middlecott Design.

AACS_diagram_whitelogoAACS (Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, LLC) is a business development consultancy working in all aspects of the automotive industry.  AACS specializes in helping automotive suppliers with their difficult objectives like introducing new technologies, expanding business onto new continents or breaking down walls to bring in new customers. We are experts in customer engagement!

b58cab33960182-56be35ad7e1fbMIDDLECOTT Design is an international design organization based in Detroit, Michigan. As Detroit’s premier design consultancy, MIDDLECOTT will supercharge your brand through its award-winning formula of high-octane design.

For the 2018 auto show edition of the Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment™, we are proud to bring together the Detroit Art and Business Community with assorted engineers, designers and gearheads to celebrate Automotive Design, all the while benefiting Project Beautiful – Inside and Out.  

Slide1Project Beautiful – Inside and Out is a  501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was created “to build confidence and inspire hope as individuals and families …in our community…. rebuild their lives”.   This is especially important for women in shelters and similar situations.  The charity provides some “niceties” in addition to the “necessities” (a roof over their heads, meals, clothing, etc.) which will help build confidence and inspire hope in these individuals when they need it most.

About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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