Skip to main content

Craig Blue announced as ORNL’s chief manufacturing officer

Man in blue suit and tie with glasses and grey hair poses outside in front of trees and a brick building
Defense Manufacturing Programs Director Craig Blue has been named Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Chief Manufacturing Officer. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Manufacturing is a cornerstone of American economic strength and plays a critical role in energy, health, safety, and national security solutions. Over the last decade, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has become an internationally recognized leader in advanced manufacturing materials, processes and technologies.

To help steward the laboratory’s growing manufacturing portfolio, Defense Manufacturing Programs Director Craig Blue has been named ORNL’s Chief Manufacturing Officer. With this additional responsibility, Blue will enhance coordination of ORNL’s resources and capabilities across the laboratory in support of manufacturing activities designed to promote U.S. competitiveness and economic advantage. 

“Craig Blue has made a career out of manufacturing excellence,” said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for National Security Sciences. “He is a leader who knows how to bring people together, build programs from scratch and, most importantly, deliver results.”

For more than 25 years, Blue has built teams and programs that have significantly influenced the field of materials and manufacturing science. Among his biggest accomplishments, Blue spearheaded the creation of the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, or MDF, at ORNL, the nation’s foremost research and development facility for advanced manufacturing technology development. 

“MDF has fundamentally changed the way our laboratory works with industry, academia and other labs,” said Robert Wagner, associate laboratory director for Energy Science and Technology. “Through the MDF model, we are able to collaborate with partners and rapidly move our research to market.”

Committed to collaboration and impact beyond ORNL, Blue helped initiate several national institutes, including the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation; DOE’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at ORNL; Critical Materials Institute; National Alliance for Water Innovation Institute; Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute; and America’s Cutting Edge, a national machine tool and workforce development program.

As a researcher and innovator, Blue has earned 11 R&D 100 Awards, 32 patents, and recognition as one of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ (SME’s) “25 Leaders Transforming Manufacturing.” He is a Fellow of SME and the American Society of Metals International.

“Craig's technical expertise and proven leadership are evidence of how he guides big ideas to achieve real-world impact,” said ORNL Director Stephen Streiffer. “I look forward to working with him as we continue to drive ORNL's manufacturing innovation.”

For his part, Blue sees his new title as a reflection of the laboratory’s investment in manufacturing and its importance to America’s energy, economic and national security.

“This signifies the importance of translating materials and manufacturing science expertise into real solutions for the country — something ORNL has done better than anyone over the last 10 years,” Blue said. “I’m honored to steward the next steps in this legacy.”

The MDF, supported by DOE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office, is a nationwide consortium of collaborators working with ORNL to innovate, inspire and catalyze the transformation of U.S. manufacturing.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit