With deep sadness and heavy hearts, the executive team at BlackHägen Design announces the sudden passing of Robert Sean Hägen, the company’s co-Principal, Founder, and Director of Research and Synthesis. Sean passed away on February 25 after a brief illness.
Sean spent 28 years building BlackHägen Design to support clients in developing “mission-critical” products that are safer and easier to use. He was pivotal in the advocacy of human factors and good design practices for medical devices and was at the forefront of patient safety initiatives, helping to found the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Patient Safety Committee. During Sean’s two terms on the IDSA Board of Directors as the Vice President of Special Interest Sections, he led the organization in developing professional continuing education strategies and initiatives. As a lead instructor in the IDSA contextual inquiry workshops, he enriched the education of many of his colleagues. Indeed, Sean loved mentoring young designers and engineers throughout his career and had been looking forward to doing much more of the same in subsequent years.
Jeff Morang, an executive-level human factors engineer and long-term professional friend to BlackHägen, has been promoted to Director of Human Factors Engineering. Jeff joined the company in September of 2022 and has over 18 years of Human Factors experience in corporate and consulting roles. Rich Newman continues his Usability Engineering Test Manager role, overseeing and conducting formal usability testing and other Human Factors activities. Rich has been with BlackHägen Design since 2016 and has 30 years in the medical device industry. Under their leadership, the HFE team will continue to flourish and provide industry-leading professionalism, quality, and dependability. BlackHägen’s Principal, Philip Remedios, Sean’s business partner of 21 years, oversees the entire R&D team and corporate operations.
The team is honored to continue carrying out Sean’s vision for BlackHӓgen Design. His professional focus has always been to make a measurable difference by applying innovative user-centered design, informed through robust human-factors research, that improves clinicians’ user experience with better patient outcomes. He was a brilliant yet humble leader and designer who cared deeply for his colleagues, family, and clients.
Sean will be greatly missed, but his wisdom and legacy will certainly be carried on by those he inspired, led, and nurtured.