Dr. Craig Benson
Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Virginia
Craig H. Benson is Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia as well as the Janet and John Hamilton Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Benson has a BS from Lehigh University and MSE and PhD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the University of Virginia, Dean Benson was appointed as Wisconsin Distinguished Professor, Chair of the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chair of the Dept. of Geological Engineering, and Director of Sustainability Research and Education for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Benson has been conducting experimental and analytical research in geoenvironmental engineering for nearly three decades, with the primary focus in environmental containment of solid, hazardous, radioactive, and mining wastes; sustainable infrastructure; and beneficial use of industrial byproducts. His research includes laboratory studies, large-scale field experiments, and computer modeling.
Dr. Benson has received several awards for his work, including the Ralph Peck Award, the Huber Research Prize, the Alfred Noble Prize, and the Croes (twice), Middlebrooks, Collingwood, and Casagrande Awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Award of Merit and the Best Practical Paper Award (twice) from ASTM International. Dr. Benson is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, served as President of the ASCE Geo-Institute (GI), and served as Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of ASTM Committee D18 on Soil and Rock. Dr. Benson is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Barbara Boyan, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Engineering
Virginia Commonwealth University
Dr. Barbara Boyan is Professor and the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Chair in Biomedical Engineering and Dean, School of Engineering at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. In addition, she is professor emerita in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where she held the Price Gilbert, Jr. Chair in Tissue Engineering. She is a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and in the American Institute of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering (AIMBE) and in 2012 she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and was inducted into the Fellows of the World Congress of Biomaterials.
Dr. Boyan is recipient of numerous awards, including the Honorary Lifetime Member Award from the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity, the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Distinguished Scientist Biomineralization Award and the American Academy of Periodontology R. Earl Robinson Periodontal Regeneration Award (1997, 1999, and 2001), as well as the Women’s Leadership Forum Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society (2012) and the Sigma Xi Sustained Research Award (2012). She was appointed to the National Materials Advisory Board of the National Academy of Sciences and chaired their Roundtable on Biomedical Engineering Materials and Applications (2008 to 2011). In 1993, she co-founded OsteoBiologics, Inc. (San Antonio, TX), which was acquired by Smith & Nephew in 2007. OBI’s first generation of products is now approved for use clinically both in the US and Europe. Dr. Boyan is also founder of Biomedical Development Corporation in San Antonio, as well as Orthonics, Inc. (Atlanta) and SpherIngenics, Inc. (Richmond). The author of more than 400 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, and book chapters, Dr. Boyan holds 15 U.S. patents.
Vice President Technology
Ed Colvin leads Alcoa Forging and Extrusion’s New Product Development & Introduction team which drives product development from conception to full implementation and supports continuing production. The team organizes AFE’s R&D program for both process and product technology, monitors external trends, and works to anticipate needs to address opportunities and create value for our customers.
Starting in 1985 at the Alcoa Technical Center, he worked on development of aerospace aluminum alloys particularly fuselage skin products. He also led Alcoa’s corrosion research efforts, including projects in the automotive, beverage can, rail car, and chemical industries. During this time, he chaired two ASTM sections that developed corrosion and stress corrosion cracking standards for Aluminum alloys.
In 1999, Ed transferred to Alcoa’s extrusion plant in Lafayette, Indiana progressively taking on operations, quality, technical and customer facing roles including Chief Metallurgist, Application Engineering Manager, Quality Manager and Technical Director Aerospace.
A native of Virginia, Ed received his B. S. Chemical Engineering 1982 and M. S. Material Science 1985 – both from the University of Virginia. He is a named inventor for nine U. S. and international patents and has authored or co-authored 15 publications on Al alloy and corrosion developments.
Dr. Morris Foster
Vice President for Research
Old Dominion University
Dr. Morris W. Foster is Vice President for Research at Old Dominion University and a Professor of Environmental and Community Health.
Dr. Foster received a BA from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 and went on to graduate work in anthropology at Yale University, earning an MPhil in 1984 and a PhD in 1988. Dr. Foster’s initial research was in ethnohistory and ethnography, publishing Being Comanche: A Social History of an American Indian Community in 1991, which won the 1992 Erminie Wheeler-Voeglin Prize as the best book in ethnohistory from the American Society for Ethnohistory. Dr. Foster was editor of the American Indian Quarterly from 1993-1998.
Since 1995, Dr. Foster has been awarded four R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health in addition to other federal funding from NSF, HRSA, and CDC, for a total of more than $12m in independent research funding. He also has held leadership positions in large multi-million dollar institutional grants such as NIH General Clinical Research Center and Clinical and Translational Resource awards. His research in medical anthropology has focused on the involvement of communities and groups in genetic studies, on the relationship between race and genetics, and on the utility of personal genomic information. He has published articles in top tier journals such as Nature, American Journal of Human Genetics, Nature Genetics, American Journal of Public Health, and Nature Reviews Genetics.
Dr. Foster was Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma from 1987 to 2014 and served as Special Assistant to the President, Associate Vice President for Research (Norman Campus), Associate Vice President for Strategic Planning (all campuses), Deputy Director for Cancer Prevention and Control for the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center, Deputy Director of the Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resource, Director for Outreach for the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, and Assistant Director of the OUHSC General Clinical Research Center. Dr. Foster is chair of the Ethics Advisory Board for Illumina, Inc., the leading manufacturer of sequencing instruments, and was co-chair of the Communication Group for the International Haplotype Map Project, a multi-national research consortium.
Dean and Professor, College of Engineering & Technology
Virginia State University
Director, Innovation & Engineering Solutions
Newport News Shipbuilding
VP Technology & Quality Assurance
Dr. Peter Howard is Vice President of Technology and Quality Assurance for Chromalloy. His career with Chromalloy has spanned 20 years and numerous engineering and management positions, including President of OEM Services, Vice President and General Manager, Vice President of Coating Operations, Process Engineer with Chromalloy UK, and Plasma Process Manager. He has also served as a Director of various Chromalloy joint ventures, including Advanced Coating Technologies (Chromalloy / Pratt & Whitney), Turbine Airfoil Coating and Repair (Chromalloy / Siemens), TurboCare (Chromalloy / Siemens), Turbine Repair Technologies (Chromalloy / Rolls-Royce), and Turbine Surface Technologies (Chromalloy / Rolls-Royce). Dr. Howard holds a Ph.D. in Metallurgy from Manchester University, England.
Dr. John J. (Jack) Lesko
Professor of Engineering Mechanics, and Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies, Virginia Tech and VP for Engineering and Business Development, PowerHub Systems
Dr. John “Jack” Lesko is a Professor of Engineering Mechanics at Virginia Tech and currently serving at the Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies. Jack has 20+ years of design and analytical experience as a mechanical engineer, with background in physics, mechanics and system analysis. His research and education efforts have focused on emerging interdisciplinary design involving lightweight polymeric multifunctional materials, structural design and reliability, packaging, and energy systems. His work has resulted in the implementation of in-service structures/systems using new multifunctional composite technologies and systems, and the creation of standards for their design in industrial and international codes.
Jack is also co-founder and a Principle at PowerHub Systems, a four year old start up in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. PowerHub Systems develops, designs, and manufactures battery electric storage and power processing systems for the electric utility distribution systems. These new grid connected and interoperable appliances enable the utility to introduce distributed, bidirectional and renewable aspects of the Smart Grid. Through this startup experience and efforts to grow PowerHub, Jack has become interested in engineering education as it relates to experiential based learning enabled through interdisciplinary entrepreneurial training experiences.
Born and raised in South Africa, Dr. Richard Schmid graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, with an engineering degree in Metallurgy, Minerals Processing. In 1986 he moved to Switzerland joining Sulzer Corporate R&D, Winterthur, working in the tribology group. During his time with Sulzer Innotec, he completed his PhD at the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, on the topic of New High Temperature Abradables for Gas Turbines. Schmid led the Tribology group until 2000 when he moved to the USA as head of the Coatings Solution Organization of the Sulzer Metco division situated in Westbury on Long Island, NY. In 2005 he returned to Winterthur in the CTO function of the Sulzer Metco Division; a position he currently holds. During his time with Sulzer Metco the division has transformed from a purely thermal spray offering to a complete surface solution provider.
Vice President of Sales
Rich brings a unique combination of automotive and mechanical engineering, managerial and field sales experience to his role as Vice President of Sales for the Eastern USA. At Sandvik Coromant for over 20 years, his strong technical background keeps him cognizant of the challenges of manufacturing, while his business acumen and leadership experience allows him take a strategic approach when helping customers achieve maximum results.
Throughout his career, Rich has held various positions ranging from CNC machine operator and programmer, to engineering specialist, to key account manager and beyond. His experience in Product Development and Engineering gives him valuable insight to the early stages of the supply chain and provides key value drivers in operational processes which helps business partners succeed.
A graduate of Stark State Technical College and continuing education through the Stockholm School of Economics, his specialized education and executive-level training in global business management and operations has shaped his managerial style. His real-world experience with global manufacturing companies and industrial supply chain management makes him a valuable resource to his field sales team and Sandvik Coromant.
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Vice President for Research and Technology
Amanda Simpson was named the Vice President for Research and Technology at in June 2018, responsible for coordinating external research activities for Airbus in the United States.
Ms. Simpson joined Airbus following government assignments in the United States Department of Defense. She was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, responsible for developing the strategy for the utilization of energy for military operational forces worldwide, and was the senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense for all matters pertaining to energy in our military. Prior to accepting that responsibility, she was the Executive Director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives, an organization developing large-scale renewable energy projects to bring energy security to Army installations leveraging private sector financing. Previously she was the Special Assistant to the Army Acquisition Executive. In that role she was a principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) on all matters relating to Army acquisition, procurement, research & development and logistics. In 2010, Ms. Simpson was appointed by President Barack Obama to the position of senior technical adviser to the U.S. Department of Commerce where she advised on policy and export control issues necessary to protect the security of the United States, making her the first openly transgender female presidential appointee in U.S. history.
Prior to her government appointments, Ms. Simpson was the Deputy Director for Force Protection in the Advanced Missiles and Unmanned Systems Product Line at Raytheon Company Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. She held several program management positions on technology development activities for missile systems sensors and development programs. Previous to her tenure in program management, Ms. Simpson was the manager of captive flight test operations for Raytheon Company and Hughes Aircraft Company, which included the duties of mission director and project pilot on numerous developmental test programs. Her team received the DARPA Award for Significant Technical Achievement in 1999.
Ms. Simpson has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions including the 2004 Tucson YWCA Woman on the Move, 2005 Arizona Human Rights Fund Individual Award, the 2015 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders Women of Distinction Award, and was named an Outstanding Alumnus of Harvey Mudd College in 2018. She is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service and the Department of Defense Pride Civilian Leadership Award. She is a nationally renowned speaker and has presented at corporations, government agencies, civic organizations, conferences and colleges around the country on gender and diversity.
Ms. Simpson earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Harvey Mudd College, a Master of Science in Engineering from California State University, and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Arizona. She is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics where she served on the Systems Engineering Technical Committee.
Ms. Simpson holds both an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and a Certified Flight Instructor license, and has logged nearly 3,000 hours of flying in more than 60 different types of aircraft including float planes, flying boats, unmanned drones and multi-engine jets.
NASA Langley Research Center
Mr. Clayton Turner is the Deputy Director at NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Director, Mr. Turner served as the Associate Director where he was responsible for managing day-to-day operations with a focus on Center commitments. In this capacity he was also responsible for aligning Langley’s institutional resources and infrastructure to meet current and future NASA mission needs, optimizing both effectiveness and efficiency. Mr. Turner has also served as the Director of the Engineering Directorate at Langley.
After graduation from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1990, Mr. Turner began his career with NASA serving as a design engineer with the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment project, where he spearheaded development of the laser aligning, bore-sight limit system. Over the next 24 years, Clayton served in various roles with progressively increasing responsibility where he led the organizations’ engineering contributions to many successful flight projects.
Throughout his career, Clayton has received many prestigious awards such as the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal, the Paul F. Holloway Non-Aerospace Technology Transfer Award, and he is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). In recognition of his commitment to the engineering profession, contributions to the local community, and support of education Clayton was inducted into the Monroe Community College Alumni Hall of Fame. He currently also serves as the NASA Langley representative on the Commonwealth of Virginia, Joint Commission on Technology and Science and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Hampton University College of Engineering and the Old Dominion University College of Engineering.
Rolls-Royce Head of the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM)
Rolls-Royce North America
Brian Warner is the Rolls-Royce Head for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) in Prince George County, Virginia and was a leader in developing CCAM from the concept phase to the present day. In this role, Brian is responsible for leading new Rolls-Royce and CCAM initiatives while ensuring research activities for Rolls-Royce have a positive impact to the business. Brian collaborates across Rolls-Royce globally and with CCAM university and industry members. Brian served on the CCAM Board of Directors for over 2 years and has served on the CCAM Industry Operations Board for 8 years, including acting as Chairman of that Board for over 2 years. Brian also actively works with Rolls-Royce and Virginia to further develop the Crosspointe advanced manufacturing campus.
In addition to the above, Brian currently serves on the Virginia Board of Workforce Development, Virginia Rural Council Board of Directors, Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP) Advisory Board, and the CCAM Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy (AMAA) Board.
Brian began his professional career in 1985 as a co-op student at Allison Gas Turbines, which was eventually purchased by Rolls-Royce. He has held several leadership roles in his 33 year career covering the areas of manufacturing engineering, project management and engineering management.
Brian received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University) in Flint, MI.
Chief Technical Officer
KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub LLC
Jason Wells is the lead executive for the newly formed Kyocera SGS Tech Hub in Danville Va. and is responsible for developing this advanced technology, research, and specialized manufacturing subsidiary for KYOCERA Corporation. KYOCERA has multiple divisions and a manufacturing footprint that exists in more than 30 countries with 75,000+ employees. KYOCERA is recognized as a global innovator and a technology leader with revenue in excess of $19B.
Mr. Wells has nearly 30 years of experience in all facets of the high end cutting tool market. He has traveled throughout the world and worked for tool manufacturers in China, Korea, Japan, Germany, UK, and the United States, which has given him a unique global perspective of manufacturing. He has had the honor to work for some of the top manufacturing companies within the cutting tool industry, including Sandvik, MAPAL, YG-1, and for more than 16 years SGS Tool Company before becoming acquired by KYOCERA in 2016. His experience includes leadership responsibilities in Sales and Marketing, Operations, Engineering, and Research and Development.
Mr. Wells has multiple Patents within the field of cutting tools. He has authored and had several articles published in various leading trade periodicals such as Cutting Tool Engineering, Modern Machine Shop, and American Machinist. He created and presented unique training programs that has allowed him to successfully train over 500 industry members in the technology of cutting tools and the industries they support. Mr. Wells has also delivered lectures for industry on behalf of organizations such as SME, AMT, and USCTI.
Mr. Wells serves on the Board at the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, the Board of the United Way Danville, the Board of the newly formed CCAM Apprenticeship Academy, and an Industry Technical Advisor for Danville Community College. As a passionate industry member, Mr. Wells is very committed to revealing to youth and parents the opportunities and technologies that exist in today’s modern manufacturing facilities. He often volunteers to work and speak at various youth events to encourage careers in manufacturing. His focus and attention are to mentor and inspire the next generation of cutting tool minds.
Dr. Nezih Yaramanoglu
Director, Cross-Portfolio Technologies & Innovation at Siemens PLM Software
Siemens PLM Software
Dr. Nezih Yaramanoglu is the director for business development with the current scope on Process Industries at Siemens PLM Software Inc. operating from Cypress, CA. Nezih’s focus is Industry Processes and their influences on IT-Solution Architectures.
Nezih has 36 years of experience in IT Solution research and development for production processes. Prior to his current position he was responsible for providing development support in initiating and leading strategic Digital Manufacturing projects. Resulting from these activities he became a co-founder of the e-Factory organization of UGS in 2001. Nezih was the leader of the dCADE PBU of UGS Products organization, which was merged to Unigraphics Solutions GmbH in 1999. Before the merger he was the President & CEO of dCADE GmbH, which he co-founded in 1991. During his career path Nezih has initiated and lead various international research projects with consortia consisting of members from European automotive, shipbuilding and aerospace industries. Nezih’s academic background is Mechanical Engineering with a PhD in Production Engineering from Technical University of Berlin, Germany, where he also received his master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering.