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ORNL’s Kurfess elected to National Academy of Engineering

ORNL’s Thomas Kurfess has been elected to the National Academy of Engineers.
ORNL’s Thomas Kurfess has been elected to the National Academy of Engineers.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 11, 2020 — Thomas Kurfess, chief manufacturing officer and senior distinguished scientist for manufacturing at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for his contributions to innovative digital manufacturing technologies and system architectures.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinction accorded to an engineer. New members are selected by their peers, with this new class bringing total U.S. membership to just over 2,300. New members will be formally inducted at the NAE annual meeting on October 4 in Washington, D.C.

“For me, personally, this is a tremendous honor,” Kurfess said. “There is clearly synergy in the value that NAE places on digital manufacturing and the emphasis we’ve given it at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”

Kurfess, who joined the ORNL research team last year, is responsible for strategic planning for advanced manufacturing and works closely with DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, a premier open-access resource for industry. He is known nationally and internationally as an expert in the design and development of production operations, advanced manufacturing systems and associated policy issues.

“We are proud of Tom’s accomplishment and the wealth of expertise he brings in advanced manufacturing to Oak Ridge,” said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director of Energy and Environmental Sciences at ORNL. “Tom’s deep knowledge of the industry is key to our mission of developing next-generation digital manufacturing systems to enhance energy efficiency and American competitiveness.”

Prior to ORNL, Kurfess was HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.  He has held similar positions in mechanical engineering at Clemson University and Carnegie Mellon University. During 2012-2013, he served as assistant director for advanced manufacturing in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Kurfess is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He earned his PhD, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and a master’s in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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