RR_Face_Photo2Rich Roland, President and CEO of NEO Products, creating new product design, and production of quality products since 1989.

NEO received multiple grants from the Ben Franklin Partnership & Technology Center, and the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce, in the early 90s for research and development of plastics in stringed instruments. Since then, NEO has brought to market many ingenious stringed instruments.

Roland is an award-winning designer in a wide variety of professional areas including Best Neon Artist in the US 1993 for the Chameleon Guitar and more. He has been a product designer for over 30 years and moved NEO to Wildwood, NJ in 2000. NEO now has offices in Los Angeles where it continues to provide product services for its international client base.


NEO was a Corporate Sponsor and Rich Roland as an individual also supported and helped create the IPD program at Lehigh Univesity from the ground floor: Teaching Staff, Advisor, Lecturer, and Program Curriculum Development Consultant, 1990-1996

So, what is IPD?

It is a set of courses that allows students from any college at  Lehigh to work with students from other disciplines on a real-world  industry sponsored project. Each project team has a faculty adviser and together with an industry mentor, the team follows a proven process  that identifies a problem, formulates it into a business opportunity,  encourages wild ideas to generate innovative solutions, provides the  resources to fabricate, build and test the best solution for technical,  social, economic and personal relevance and value. Undergraduates can  spend two or three semesters on this project and this experience can be  continued into a Master of Engineering in IPD.

  • The IPD program was started in 1990 as a result of a meeting at  Lehigh of industrial leaders gathered to help and advise the Mechanical  Engineering and Mechanics faculty on how to improve the quality of our  graduates who plan to work in industry.
  • In 1994 we launched our pilot which in 1996 received the  American Society of Mechanical Engineers Curriculum Innovation Award.
  • From 1996 to 2001 the program received several large grants from alumni, foundations, state and local government for the development of  infrastructure to support real-world, industry-sponsored projects.
  • From its beginnings in 1990 IPD has grown to include over 300  students from fourteen majors work in 50 teams each academic year.

My father Seth, was a pattern maker and production manager for men’s suits and women’s wear. Here’s a photo of my mother, Fran on the roof of Lane Bryant, NYC in her early 20s when she was Head of Fashion Design and illustration.


A little Family History and Background:

I grew up reading Women’s Wear Daily and in the rag business in Miami Fla.  My Father’s mother was a model back in 1918, and one of the best seamstresses in Philadelphia at the time.  Gram was floor manager in garment factories long before equal rights.

Fran was the American designer for Nino Cerruti and designed Arnold Palmer’s clothing line plus all the sports wear worn by Jimmy Conners, during his winning career, as Head Designer for Robert Bruce, PA.  Yes, Jimmy made more money with endorsements than playing tennis and dressed right.


In the 60s Fran invented the Tulip sleeve, and Bubble sleeves.  Dad was making Spaghetti belts, Ranch Mink and Polka Dotted Bikinis and I had lots of girl friends.


I’ve been making money making art works since I was 12 years old.  I worked in an epoxy factory (labels, lids and cleanup) and cleanup boy for an injection mold Styrofoam factory making coolers and wig heads at 10 yrs. near my dad’s factory in Hialeah Florida for $2 per hour.   I was already servicing Singer sewing machines for dad, and making Spaghetti belts, etc.  God bless child labor when it’s voluntary, educational, and pays well.


Shattered Man - Acrylic, Sold for $100 to a complete stranger in 1963 when I was 13.  It was built from the ground up, hollow with no armature from shattered flat stock.  I created 1000s of silk screened Holiday Cards for $2 each.  The right tools for the right job.  I once engineered a toy product and prototypes for a company that wanted to make ballerinas, etc., with “Snap” Connectors and Coins.

I applaud that new construction toy on TV for $19.95 with all the loops.  You get 2 bags if you buy now! Awesome Toy!

By the time I was 16 in this photo I was showing with the pros in sidewalk art exhibits in Bay Harbor, and got from $150-$600 for Batiks and Metal Sculptures.

On the advice of my parents I turned down a full scholarship to the University of Miami where I would have studied under Duane Hanson.  Instead I went to the Philadelphia College of Art where I was mentored & tutored by Christo and Jeanne- Claude among other greats.

I adore Duane’s work but I’m glad I don’t work in fiberglass if you know what I mean.


My Studio by the Sea, Wildwood, NJ USA


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All products shown in this web site are copyrighted with TMs and or are patented by their respective manufacturers.