Kurfess Selected to Lead Manufacturing Institute

Tom Kurfess

June 13, 2022

Thomas R. Kurfess, the HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control and professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, has been selected as the new executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI).

GTMI is one of Georgia Tech’s 10 interdisciplinary research institutes and an integral part of the broader Georgia Tech research enterprise. 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. GTMI celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021. 

“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," Kurfess said. "I am excited to take the helm at 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."

Kurfess' research focuses on the design and development of advanced manufacturing systems targeting secure digital manufacturing, additive and subtractive processes, and large-scale production enterprises.

“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.”

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. From 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 ORNL's Manufacturing Science Division. 

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.

“Chaouki Abdallah, executive vice president for research, and I are very excited about Tom taking on this role," said Julia Kubanek, vice president for interdisciplinary research at Georgia Tech. "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.

“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," Kubanek said. "We also appreciate Professor Shreyes Melkote for serving as interim director this month while we finalized Tom’s appointment.”

Kurfess is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (ASME) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). He was president of SME in 2018 and currently serves its Board of Governors. 

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.

Tom Kurfess