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Jackson Promoted To Lead NIST Manufacturing Lab

Richard H.F. Jackson, an administrator and mathematician with 24 years of experience at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, has been promoted to director of the agency's Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory. He succeeds Michael Wozny, who has accepted a position in the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, where he will work on manufacturing-related policy issues.

Responsible for MEL's day-to-day operations, Jackson has been the laboratory's deputy director since 1989. Prior to Wozny's appointment in January 1994, he served as acting director. In his new position, Jackson will oversee a staff of about 300 people, including nearly 200 scientists and engineers.

The laboratory works with U.S. manufacturers--especially those that make discrete parts or assemble them into products ranging from integrated circuits to jumbo jets--to develop and apply measurements, standards and other infrastructural technologies. Research programs and technical services encompass manufacturing systems integration, intelligent machines and systems, manufacturing metrology, process modeling and control, and machine-tool performance.

Formally tied to the international measurement system, MEL maintains national standards of length, force and mass, as well as those for vibration, acoustic and ultrasonic measurements. It also develops software testing systems, engineering tools and common methods for integrating manufacturing equipment, processes and systems. Through its measurement-related efforts, MEL provides the technical foundation for industry-adopted standards that underpin many aspects of manufacturing and commerce, beginning with research and development and extending all the way to international trade.

In his research, Jackson specialized in modeling complex operations, addressing, for example, scheduling, routing, and facility-layout problems in flexible manufacturing systems. He has published widely in the fields of flexible manufacturing, technology transfer, mathematical modeling and non-linear optimization.

In addition to his stint as MEL deputy director, Jackson served as director of the Manufacturing Technology Centers program during its first year. Begun in 1988, the program was the forerunner of NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network of locally based centers that provide technical assistance to small and medium-sized manufacturers. For this work, Jackson received the Commerce Department's Bronze Medal.

Jackson has served on several federal committees that focused on technology-related issues. He was the U.S. government's delegate to the international committee that evaluated the feasibility and merits of the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems program initially proposed by Japan, for which he was awarded the Commerce Department's Silver Medal. He also participated in negotiations that helped to define the scope of manufacturing-research collaborations carried out under the U.S.-Japan Science and Technology Agreement.

Jackson earned his doctorate from George Washington University in 1983. He is a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science and Production and Operations Management Society, Sigma Xi and Omega Rho.

Wozny, who came to NIST from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will spearhead Commerce Department-led efforts to develop a national vision for U.S. manufacturing and to outline policies needed to realize that vision. He will work in the office of Mary Good, under secretary for technology.

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.

Released August 28, 1995, Updated November 27, 2017