Research Staff

Matt Stremler

Director of Research

Matt Stremler spent many years at CCAM as a Research Manager; leading research in Automation. Now he holds the title, Director of Research where he is meeting the needs of CCAM’s advanced manufacturing members. Mr. Stremler is an experienced research manager for manufacturing processes across many technical areas, including automation, coatings application and surface preparation, computer vision & measurement development, process improvement, etc.

He has extensive technical experience in design, specification, repair, quality inspection, and production process improvement for polymeric coatings.  He is a subject matter expert in aqueous corrosion control for marine and power/propulsion applications.  Mr. Stremler is an experienced team leader for quality & process engineering, research & development, and process improvement

During his 16 years at Newport News Shipbuilding as a Mechanical and Materials Process Engineer, he became a Team Lead for company-wide Coatings Global Processes improvement initiatives.

He holds a M.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from the University of Virginia; and a Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Ben Zimmerman

Research Manager, Manufacturing Processes (Surface Engineering, Additive Manufacturing, & Machining)

Expert in electron beam physical vapor deposition of thermal barrier coatings and has extensive capability with other coatings techniques, such as plasma spray and cathodic arc

Started career at Pratt & Whitney as a Materials Process Engineer and became the Ceramics Coating

Subject Matter Expert; later transitioned to a Technology Development Leader position with responsibility for developing a metal additive manufacturing technology for turbine engines

M.B.A. Indiana University; M.S. Materials Science, Iowa State University; B.S. Materials Science and Engineering, Iowa State University

Tim Bakker, Ph.D.

Research Manager, Intelligent Factory

Extensive knowledge in the development and testing of embedded systems, safety-critical systems, software, and advanced algorithms

Over 4 years of experience in the Semiconductor Industry commissioning advanced vertical diffusion furnaces

Ph.D. Computer Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University; M.S. Computer Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University; B.S. Electrical Engineering, Hanzehogeschool Groningen

Richard P. Martukanitz, Ph.D.

Additive Manufacturing CCAM Fellow

University of Virginia

Dr. Martukanitz supports and guides the development of CCAM’s additive manufacturing program to ensure it meets its research objectives and goals of its members.

Former Director for the Center for Innovative Materials processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) and Head of the Laser Processing Division, Applied Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University

PhD Materials Science and Engineering, Pennsylvania State University; MS Metallurgical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh; BS Metallurgy, Pennsylvania State University

Afroditi V. Filippas, Ph.D.

Data Analytics CCAM Fellow

Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Afroditi (“Vennie”) Filippas earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Patras Greece, her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Accelerating Systems and Applications in Athens, Greece before she became a Research Engineer for Ansoft Corporation. Recenlty Dr. Filippas has served as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and as a Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

“I believe that universities can bring a fundamental science perspective to CCAM R&D activities in such a way as to enhance the ability of industry to investigate novel ideas while maintaining its core focus on applied research. I hope to serve as a conduit for the Virginia Data Analytics university and CCAM community to develop an environment where students, university and industry researchers work together to advance the vision of environmentally and fiscally responsible quality manufacturing practices.”

Lorin S. Sodell

Business Leader for Machining and Factory Development

Mr. Sodell is responsible for the development of CCAM’s machining business. Congruently, Mr. Sodell serves as a Research and Industry Liaison for the College of Engineering and Technology at Virginia State University (VSU).

Former SVP Operations and Manufacturing Executive for Rolls-Royce Crosspointe LLC, established and operated two benchmark greenfield lean manufacturing facilities for strategic aero engine components

MBA, Lawrence Technological University; BS, Mechanical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Huda Al-Ghaib, Ph.D.

Researcher, Adaptive Automation

Previously an Assistant Professor at Utah Valley University where she taught Computer Engineering and Computer Science and developed algorithms and computer software for cancer detection

Research focus was in the development of a high frequency (HF) ultrasonic technology for detecting carcinoma on excised tissue for breast, lymph nodes, and skin specimens in conjunction with the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah

Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Alabama in Huntsville; BS in Computer Engineering from University of Technology

Keith Bourne, Ph.D.

Engineer - Manufacturing Processes

Current focus on selection and implementation of industrial automation systems and programming industrial robot arm-based automation cells

Two years working for Foxconn Electronics, performing mechanical design of electrical connectors and fixturing for their assembly

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois; B.S. Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University

Johnny Capps


Performs tooling installation, designing and building fixtures, advising on production issues and implementing of Lean Manufacturing concepts to reduce set-up and machining time

25 years machining experiences a tool and die maker in the power generation and metal goods industries

Journeyman Tool and Die Maker

Benjamin Chalfant

Researcher, Surface Engineer

Benjamin Chalfant is a chemical engineer with a background in surface chemistry and functional coatings development. At CCAM Ben Joins the surface engineering team as a thermal spray engineer where he supports surface preparation and air plasma spray (APS) applications development.

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University; B.S. Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University

Kevin Childrey

Thermal Spray Coating Process Specialist

Joins Surface Engineering team as Thermal Spray Coating Process Specialist

Previously with Dominion Energy as Control Room Operator Trainee at Surry Nuclear Power Station and Operator at Chesterfield Power Station

At Alstom Power, completed four-year journeyman winder program

Andwele Grant

Researcher, Machining Science & Technology

Research focus on data analytics for manufacturing inspection and friction stir welding

M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Virginia State University

Eric Holterman

Manufacturing Systems Researcher

Over 25 years of experience implementing and managing controls and automation systems in industrial environments using a wide variety of PLCs, embedded systems, distributed systems, networks, and software platforms

Expert on the transfer and management of digital information in the manufacturing, building automation, and data center environments.

B.S. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Virginia Tech

Kaushik Joshi, Ph.D.

Data Science Research Engineer

Dr. Joshi’s recent University of Virginia post-doc work was in modeling of structure-property relationships of low cost carbon fiber.

Kaushik received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State, his M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Old Dominion University, and his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Pune University in India.

Jonathan Laurer, Ph.D.

Researcher, Surface Engineering

Jonathan Laurer, PhD is joining us as a Surface Engineering Research Engineer. He was previously with TT Electronics where he created coating formulations for resistor product lines and developed custom materials for scientific, aviation and military applications. Prior to this he was with Lexmark International, where he was the key scientist for inkjet corrosion-protection materials design and accelerated life testing.

He received his PhD and MS in Materials Science and Engineering from North Carolina State University and his BS in Physics from NC State.

Gib Leadbetter

Senior Software Research Engineer

Gib is a software developer and electrical engineer with substantial experience in programming and engineering. Throughout his career at Capital One, NetTalon, Qimonda, DATALINE, CSC, CISCO Systems and GE Fanuc, he has utilized a myriad of programming languages including, but not limited to C, C++, C#, JAVA and others. He has developed software for manufacturing reporting through the Apache Web server, designed middleware communications for Navy destroyers, and implemented software strategies for semiconductor manufacturing. While self-employed, he designed software protocols and redesigned hardware for secure faxing for a small embedded device that is still marketed today

Andrea Marcon, Ph.D.

Advanced Manufacturing Researcher

Research experience in friction welding, machining, and cavitation peening
Skilled in machine design, tolerance analysis, design for manufacturing (DFM), process development, heat transfer, fundamental metal machining processes, CAD, metallographic sample prep, and metrology

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech; M.S. Industrial Management Engineering, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

Yuri Plotnikov, Ph.D.

Researcher, Adaptive Automation

17 years at GE Global Research Center; designed automatic inspections systems using eddy current arrays; designed image processing for crack detection with infrared thermography using inductive heating; researched numerical modeling, theoretical and experimental research of magnetic resonance imaging, transient eddy current techniques, advanced sensors, sensor array technologies, and image processing

Ph.D. in Technical Sciences, Moscow Power Engineering Institute; Joint B.S./M.S. Electrical Engineering, Moscow Power Engineering Institute

Kyle Schroeder, Ph.D.

Researcher, Adaptive Automation

Joining the Automation team with focus on industrial robotics

Four years as a research engineer at SpringActive where he designed combined running and walking control of Ruggedized Odyssey Ankle powered prosthetic ankle and directed composites modeling and testing efforts

PhD & MS, Robotics and Nuclear Engineering, University of Texas at Austin

BS, Mechanical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Romain Simon

Researcher, Adaptive Automation

Industrial controls engineer with 10 years experience in power generation industry with GE Automation & Controls (formerly Alstom Power PAC)

B.S. Automation & Electrical Engineering, University of Strasbourg

John Sions

Material Process Engineer

Brings expertise in materials characterization to aid in the development of innovative materials and manufacturing processes

Leads the Materials Preparation and Characterization Labs, performing metallographic preparation, microstructural analysis and mechanical property testing of materials

M.S. Materials Science, Carnegie Mellon; B.S. Materials Science and Engineering, Virginia Tech

Kyle Snyder

Researcher, Additive Manufacturing

Designed factorial experiments to investigate pore formation in electron beam additive manufacturing of titanium

M.S. & B.S., Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University

Marcus Thoreson

Vision Software Research Engineer, Automation

Marcus Thoreson joins us as Vision Software Research Engineer for the Automation team. He was with HDT Global where he was a Controls and Software Engineer and lead controls engineer on a project to bid on US Army Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) program. He was responsible for designing and developing Vehicle Control Unit (VCU) software.

Marcus received his MS and BS in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Melissa Tsui, Ph.D.

Researcher, Additive Manufacturing

Research focused on synthesis and characterization of magnetic carbides and oxides nanomaterials

At CCAM focus will be on using modeling and simulation for defect prediction, metallography of additive parts, and data analysis from in-process monitoring

Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University; B.S., Chemistry, Virginia Tech

Mark White

Research Engineer, Dimensional Metrology

Research focus on Manufacturing Systems

Previously with John Deere Construction & Forestry (C&F) where he led project design and cost reduction teams

MS, Controls Engineering, BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin

Joshua Williams, Ph.D.

Researcher, Surface Engineering

Materials scientist with research experience in material deposition, high-temperature processing, microstructure characterization methods, and semiconductor physics. Currently leads the thermal spray work at CCAM with efforts in improvements to in situ process monitoring capabilities, coating development, and data analysis.

Prior research work focused on epitaxial crystal growth techniques; crystalline defect analysis by X-ray diffraction; design, fabrication, and testing of opto-electronic devices; and techno-economic analysis of prospective technologies.

Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, Arizona State University; B.S. Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pittsburgh.


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