Thomas R. Kurfess received his S.B., S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from M.I.T. in 1986, 1987 and 1989, respectively. He also received an S.M. degree from M.I.T. in electrical engineering and computer science in 1988. Following graduation, he joined Carnegie MellonUniversity where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor. In 1994 he moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology where he rose to the rank of Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. In 2005 he was named Professor and BMW Chair of Manufacturing in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at ClemsonUniversity’s International Center for Automotive Research. In 2012 he returned to Georgia Tech where he was appointed the HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. During 2012-2013 he was on leave serving 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. In this position he had responsibility for engaging the Federal sector and the greater scientific community to identify possible areas for policy actions related to manufacturing. He was responsible for coordinating Federal advanced manufacturing R&D, addressing issues related to technology commercialization, identifying gaps in current Federal R&D in advanced manufacturing, and developing strategies to address these gaps.
He has served as a special consultant of the United Nations to the Government of Malaysia in the area of applied mechatronics and manufacturing, and as a participating guest at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in their Precision Engineering Program. He is the President for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of SME, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, and on the Board of Trustees for the MT Connect Institute. His research focuses on the design and development of advanced manufacturing systems targeting digital manufacturing, additive and subtractive processes, and large scale production enterprises. He has significant experience in high precision manufacturing and metrology systems.