Imagine Rigney: Former LEAHI member becomes Hawaii’s first Product Designer at LEGO!

Imagine Rigney at a LEGO fan convention in 2009.

All his life, Imagine Rigney has always been a huge fan of LEGO, and his dream of what he wanted to do when he grew up was to work for LEGO.  Born in Illinois, his family moved to Hawaii in 2002 and he spent his childhood growing up in Waianae, on the island of O’ahu.

Imagine’s LEGOLand contest entry in 2005.
Photo: Honolulu Star Bulletin.

At age 10, Imagine was selected to compete in a LEGOLand building contest which was featured in a Star Bulletin article.  Although he didn’t win, he was the youngest competitor invited to the contest.

Imagine and his mom, Jessica, joined LEAHI (LEGO Enthusiasts Association of Hawaii) in 2007 and contributed to our local events and displays with many awesome LEGO creations over the next few years. Imagine recalls growing up in Hawaii:

“My friends were from many different backgrounds and so it was an international community for me in my neighborhood. I learned to interact with people with many different ways of speaking and living. It helped me learn that it didn’t matter where a person was from or how they lived, that we could always find a way to communicate and have some fun.  Growing up in Hawaii helped me to just go with the flow. I loved hanging out with my friends in my garage, building with LEGO, lighting off firecrackers on New Year’s, beach days, running around in the neighborhood with lightsabers and foam weapons thwacking each other. We all just got to be kids, and everyone’s family looked out for all of us. It was really nice. That’ll be with me my whole life, that easy, laid-back attitude… Hawaii gave me that.”

“Howl’s Moving Castle” – A creation by Imagine during his time with LEAHI.

One of Imagine’s original LEGO creations while with LEAHI was “Howl’s Moving Castle” – based on the Studio Ghibli film of the same name.  This was an impressive build for a teen fan of LEGO.

Eventually his family relocated from Hawaii to Colorado, where he became a member of CoWLUG (Colorado & Wyoming LEGO Users Group).  Imagine’s building skills fully matured in the following years, with freelance builds and his participation in national LEGO fan conventions. Imagine’s LEGO creations were later nominated by fans and chosen to be displayed at The LEGO House in Billund, Denmark.

Imagine with Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, former President and CEO of The LEGO Group.

Earlier this year, Imagine applied for a job position as a Product Designer for The LEGO Group, and we are pleased to say that he was recently selected for the role.  He has now relocated to Billund to begin his new job, where he will be designing LEGO sets as a career.  Imagine credits his time with LEAHI as being one where he was challenged to build and given the opportunities to learn and grow.

Imagine starts at his new workplace: the LEGO Innovation House in Billund, Denmark.

One of the best things about LEAHI is that it serves as a great incubator for creative minds. We value LEGO as being more of a medium for creative expression than as a children’s toy.  Each LEAHI member has improved their LEGO building skills over time, and this is reflected in their creations.

LEAHI congratulates Imagine Rigney – Hawaii’s first Product Designer at LEGO!  We are proud to have been a part of your journey, and in helping to make your dream come true.  ALOHA!

Photo credits: Imagine Rigney, Jessica Rigney.

See more of Imagine’s creation of “Howl’s Moving Castle” on MOC-Pages.

Imagine’s gallery of LEGO creations can be found on Flickr.