The National Institute of Standards and Technology has announced that Michael J. Wozny is the new director of the technology agency's Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory. Wozny comes to NIST after serving as a professor and the co-director of the Design and Manufacturing Institute at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y.
Bringing university, government and industry experience to his new position, Wozny leads one of the few federal laboratories supporting U.S. manufacturers' efforts to develop and apply advanced technology to their products and processes. One of NIST's eight in-house laboratories, MEL is a $40-million-a-year operation and has a staff of about 320 people. The lab's more than 160 scientists, engineers and technicians work in areas ranging from precision machining to computer-integrated manufacturing.
An RPI professor of both computer science and electrical, computer and systems engineering, Wozny was the founding director of the university's Design Research Center. Begun with a $1 million start-up grant from the National Science Foundation in 1977, the cooperative research center attracted strong industry involvement, with more than 150 companies providing multiyear support for center research over a 16-year span. The center recently merged with another RPI program to create the Design and Manufacturing Institute.
Wozny has published more than 100 research articles and papers, mostly in the areas of computer-aided design and manufacturing, computer graphics and geometric modeling, concurrent engineering, and rapid prototyping. These technical interests--along with Wozny's emphasis on coupling federally funded research-and-development programs with industrial R&D--; complement major MEL activities and the laboratory's technology- transfer objectives. MEL scientists and engineers currently are engaged in 30 cooperative R&D; agreements, or CRADAs, with U.S. companies.
MEL has long-standing programs aimed at developing the overall control architectures and other infrastructural components (such as standard interfaces, software tools, communication protocols, and quality assurance methods) necessary for truly flexible, computer-integrated manufacturing operations. As part of the government-wide High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative, the laboratory is now building an Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Networking Testbed, where government, industry and university researchers will develop and evaluate hardware and software tools that enable advanced applications of information technology to manufacturing.
"We have a real opportunity at MEL to make a difference in solving technical and standards-related issues that underpin industrial productivity," Wozny said. "I'm excited about the opportunity and plan to devote my energies toward working with industry in realizing meaningful advanced solutions. MEL has an excellent staff and a strong track record of accomplishments. I hope to foster an even closer relationship between MEL and industry in manufacturing."
Wozny is well acquainted with MEL programs. In 1992, he chaired the laboratory's assessment panel, an outside group that annually reviews MEL's programs. He is also familiar with other federal manufacturing research programs. From 1986 to 1988, he was the director of the National Science Foundation's Design, Manufacturing, and Computer-Integrated Engineering Division, where he initiated new programs of research on manufacturing machines and processes. While at NSF, he also initiated, through the National Research Council, a series of forums on manufacturing that brought together U.S. and Japanese leaders in manufacturing technology. In addition, Wozny has served on advisory bodies for two Defense Department organizations: the Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of Naval Research, both of which support manufacturing R&D.; He also has served on the board of directors of three companies and on many industrial technology advisory boards.
Wozny received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Arizona in 1965. Before coming to RPI in 1977, he had held positions at Purdue University, NASA's Electronics Research Center, Oakland University and General Motors Research Laboratories.
Wozny succeeds John Simpson, who retired as MEL director in March 1993. Richard Jackson, who served as MEL acting director in the interim, will return to his position as the laboratory's deputy director.
As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.