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Kenner Products toy designer Jim Swearingen to share career journey of creativity, imagination Feb. 13

Toy designer Jim Swearingen will join the Rotary Club of Florence on February 13 to share an overview of his career with Kenner Products, working on products such as the Star Wars toy line, Easy Bake Oven, and PlayDoh.

Swearingen was born and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and as a child spent many Saturdays taking art lessons at the Cleveland Art Museum, and later in high school the Cleveland Art Academy. With the encouragement of his high school art teacher, he was led to the five-year professional practice program at the University Of Cincinnati.

Jim Swearingen (Photo form Florence Rotary)

Swearingen began his professional career in 1972 at Kenner Products in Cincinnati. Over his tenure at Kenner, he worked on many iconic toy lines including Spirograph, Easy Bake Oven, PlayDoh and more. In the mid-1970s, Kenner’s Preliminary Design Department was formed and charged with developing new product concepts and reviewing television and movie properties looking for great products which lead to Swearingen’s involvement in “The Six Million Dollar Man” television show-based product line.

In early 1977, as a senior designer, Swearingen was instrumental in Kenner’s acquisition of the Lucas Film Star Wars license and the development of the associated Star Wars toy line. In July of 1979, he moved from the Preliminary Design Department to a position as marketing product manager working on the pre-school line and then taking on the Strawberry Shortcake line from American Greetings for five years.

Swearingen now lends his experience and talents as a consultant on special projects including the launch of the Kimmie Cares doll which was developed for moms to play with and talk to their children about cancer and chemotherapy. He was also involved in the development and launch of Hooray! Toys.

Swearingen’s presentation will be held in person at Florence Nature Center’s Evelyn M. Kalb Gathering House located at 7200 Nature Park Dr. in Florence on Monday, Feb. 13. A lunch buffet will be offered beginning at 11:45, with Swearingen’s presentation beginning at 12:15 p.m. Guests are welcome.

The event will also be available via live stream on the Florece Rotary Youtube Channel as well as Facebook Live.

From Rotary Club of Florence

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