Kurfess Named Interim Associate Chair for Research

Tom Kurfess head shot

January 10, 2022

Professor Tom Kurfess has accepted the position of Interim Associate Chair for Research in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering (effective January 1). Prof. Kurfess was selected based on his strong record in research, teaching, and service to the Woodruff School and to the United States government where he has served in high-level and highly visible national leadership positions, helping to shape manufacturing policies and initiatives for the country.

The Associate Chair for Research is responsible for working with the Woodruff School’s faculty to develop a strategic research plan for future growth and investments in the school, as well as identifying new research opportunities, helping to foster strategic relationships with government, industry, and foundations, and synergizing research efforts with other units in the College of Engineering and across the Institute.

Tom Kurfess holds the HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control in the Woodruff School and most recently served as the Chief Manufacturing Officer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 2019 through 2021. During 2012-2013 he was on leave serving 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. In this position he had responsibility for engaging the Federal sector and the greater scientific community to identify possible areas for policy actions related to manufacturing. He was responsible for coordinating Federal advanced manufacturing R&D, addressing issues related to technology commercialization, identifying gaps in current Federal R&D in advanced manufacturing, and developing strategies to address these gaps. Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2020, he is highly regarded in the manufacturing field, from both a research and industry perspective, and among his many accomplishments, he was involved in the creation of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility.

"I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Tom while we go through the process of choosing our next associate chair for research," said Devesh Ranjan, the Eugene C. Gwaltney Jr. School Chair in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. “Tom’s extensive experience both within the Woodruff School and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory give him a unique perspective that will be invaluable during this transition period.”