Executive Director Selected at Georgia Tech’s Manufacturing Institute

Executive Director Selected at Georgia Tech’s Manufacturing Institute
Tom Kurfess, Executive Director, Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute

Tom Kurfess, Executive Director, Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute

The Georgia Institute of Technology has selected Thomas R. Kurfess as the new executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI). Kurfess is the HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control and professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. He received his S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received an S.M. degree from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science.

“Chaouki Abdallah, executive vice president for research, and I are very excited about Tom taking on this role. Advanced manufacturing is a top federal priority as an ‘industry of the future.’ Tom’s experience and international reputation from his history in academia, industry, and the government will be a great complement to our existing vibrant community of students, staff, and faculty committed to manufacturing research and education—positioning Georgia Tech to meet regional, national, and global needs,” said Julia Kubanek, vice president for interdisciplinary research at Georgia Tech.

“We’re grateful for the efforts of the search committee led by Professor Meisha Shofner and to the leadership of Professor Ben Wang as executive director of GTMI for 11 years until he stepped down at the end of May. We also appreciate Professor Shreyes Melkote for serving as interim director this month while we finalized Tom’s appointment.”

Kurfess first joined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 1994, and has taken on a variety of special assignments in addition to his teaching and research.

His research focuses on the design and development of advanced manufacturing systems targeting secure digital manufacturing, additive and subtractive processes, and large-scale production enterprises. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). He was president of SME in 2018, and currently serves on the Board of Governors of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

During 2019-2021, Kurfess was on leave serving as the chief manufacturing officer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) where he was responsible for strategic planning for ORNL in advanced manufacturing. He was also the founding director for the Manufacturing Science Division at ORNL.

He served as the assistant director for advanced manufacturing at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the executive office of the President of the United States of America from 2012-2013, where he was responsible for coordinating federal advanced manufacturing research and development.

“For decades, Georgia Tech has led the Nation’s academic institutions in the advanced manufacturing sector. It is an honor for me to be tapped to continue our efforts in this area. I am excited to take the helm at the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) in continuing its role as a technology leader in advanced manufacturing for the State of Georgia, the United States, and the world. We will be a conduit enabling the Georgia Tech community in their efforts to accelerate and develop manufacturing technologies and workforce capabilities, providing a forum in which they can openly collaborate, and facilities that are world-class for their efforts. I look forward to engaging a wide range of traditional and nontraditional teams integrating technical areas with business, economic, and policy areas to provide a manufacturing basis for the U.S. and the world that will ensure a strong, just, secure and equitable future for society,” said Kurfess.

“Given that GTMI is one of Georgia Tech’s Interdisciplinary Research Institutes, I look forward to engaging a wide range of traditional and nontraditional teams integrating technical areas with business, economic, and policy areas to provide a manufacturing basis for the U.S. and the world that will ensure a strong, just, secure and equitable future for society.”

The Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) is one of Georgia Tech’s 10 interdisciplinary research institutes, and an integral part of the broader Georgia Tech research enterprise. In 2021, GTMI celebrated its 30th anniversary. GTMI's mission is to convene industry leaders, government partners, and top researchers to collaborate on the grand challenges facing the U.S. manufacturing industry today: accelerating technology development and deployment, creating quality jobs, ensuring global competitiveness, and advancing economic and environmental stability.