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.
Dean and Professor, College of Engineering & Technology
Virginia State University
Dr. Markus Heinimann
Vice President – Technology
Arconic Engineered Structures
Dr. Markus Heinimann is the Vice President for Technology for Arconic Engineered Structures (AES) and is leading the development and execution of the technology strategy for Arconic’s Engineered Structures (AES) business unit. He is responsible for advancing new and existing material, process, product and manufacturing technologies for metallic materials, machining and structural assemblies to meet the needs of the aerospace, defense and other high-tech markets. Dr. Heinimann has more than 25 years of aerospace experience in engineering and technology development. Previously he was the Technology Manager for Aerospace at the Alcoa Technical Center where he led the technology development for aerospace structures, materials and advanced manufacturing technologies. Before joining Alcoa, Markus held various engineering and engineering leadership roles at Cessna Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas.
Dr. Heinimann holds Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctorate degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University. Markus is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and several committees of ASTM International. Within the ASTM Intentional Committee on Fatigue and Fracture he chairs the sub-committee on Structural Applications. He has received the Award of Merit and title of Fellow from ASTM, and the Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award from Purdue University.
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.
Robert M. Schatzel
Director Component Fabrication & Assembly
Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding
Robert (“Bob”) Schatzel currently serves as the NNS Director of Component Fabrication and Assembly (CFA) responsible for daily operations across all NNS Machine shops, Pipe shops, Electrical, Sheet Metal, Hanger and Pad shops and the NNS foundry. His duties also include putting in place the tools needed for CFA to be successful, provide performance expectations, foster a team environment, develop and execute a strategy for success and remove barriers. Mr. Schatzel is accountable for employee safety, product quality, customer satisfaction (cost and schedule), employee development, risk mitigation and compliance to policy and law.
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.
Head of Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) for Rolls-Royce NA
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.
Dr. Eric Weisel
Executive Director VMASC & Associate Vice President
Old Dominion University
Executive Director of VMASC/Associate Vice President for Applied Research, received a B.S. in Mathematics from the United States Naval Academy, an M.S. in Operations Research from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization Engineering from Old Dominion University. Previously, he served as the Director of Applied Research for the University’s Office of Research. He also served as Chief Scientist for Training and Simulation Solutions at General Dynamics and as the Founder and CEO for WernerAnderson, Inc., a technology research start-up firm.
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.
NASA Langley Research Center
Mr. David Young is the Deputy Director at NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia. Langley, founded in 1917, is the nation’s first civilian aeronautical research facility and NASA’s first field center. Langley is where NASA researches solutions to challenges ranging from global climate change and access to space, to air travel, and future aviation vehicles. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Director, Mr. Young served as the Director of the Langley Science Directorate. In this capacity, he was responsible for a research portfolio that includes satellite and aircraft-based missions designed to improve our knowledge of changes in the Earth’s atmosphere and how those changes affect public health, air quality, our economy, and national security. The Langley science portfolio also includes major contributions to the development and implementation of technologies that enable planetary science, particularly in the areas of the entry, descent, and landing of planetary missions.
Since joining NASA in 1996, Mr. Young has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in a variety of roles. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in October 2012 as Deputy Director for Programs in Langley’s Engineering Directorate, where he was responsible for providing systems engineering and discipline engineering capability for implementing complex missions in support of NASA’s Science, Exploration, Aeronautics, and Space Technology missions. Prior to that, Mr. Young served in a progression of management and technical leadership roles of increasing responsibility at Langley. In 2006, he was detailed to NASA Headquarters as part of the Agency’s Leadership Development Program as a Program Executive in the Applied Sciences Program. In 2007, he served a detail as the Senior Program Advisor for Polar Orbiting Satellites for the Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services of NOAA. Mr. Young’s leadership expertise was recognized in 2011 when he received the prestigious NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and in 2018 when he received the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award.
Mr. Young holds a bachelor’s degree in Astrophysics from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University. His research career has been focused on the generation of reliable long-term records of our planet that are used to benefit the public through informed policy decisions. He is the author or co-author of over 55 peer-reviewed science publications, and he received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 2001 for his pioneering work in Earth Science.
When not at work, Mr. Young enjoys spending time with his wife, two adult sons, and two grandchildren. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, he remains perennially optimistic about Philadelphia sports teams.