June 22, 2023
By Ashley Ritchie

Thomas 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 elected as the new president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He began his one-year term as the 142nd president at the ASME Board of Governors meeting earlier this month.

Founded in 1880, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing, and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society.

In his new role, Kurfess will be responsible for leading the ASME Board of Governors, executing the organization’s mission of “advancing engineering for the benefit of humanity,” and achieving its vision of becoming “the premier resource for the engineering community globally.”

“In conjunction with the Board of Governors, the rest of the volunteers and staff at ASME really look towards leveraging and advancing critical technology sectors for the betterment of society,” said Kurfess. “I am very excited to be part of this team that is making such an impact on people’s lives, on our country, and on the world.”

Kurfess also serves as the executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI), one of Tech’s 10 interdisciplinary research institutes (IRIs) and an integral part of the broader Georgia Tech research enterprise. Each of Georgia Tech’s IRIs brings together researchers from different disciplines to address topics of strategic importance.

“Some of ASME’s strategic technical areas, such as advanced manufacturing, clean energy, robotics, and bioengineering, align quite well with what we are doing at Georgia Tech,” he added.

Kurfess first joined the faculty at Georgia Tech in 1994. His research focuses on the design and development of advanced manufacturing systems targeting secure digital manufacturing, additive and subtractive processes, and large-scale production enterprises.

During his time at Tech, Kurfess 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.

In addition, 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.

Kurfess is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of ASME, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). He was president of SME in 2018 and has served on the ASME Board of Governors since 2019.

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.