The U.S. Senate today confirmed Arden L. Bement Jr. as director of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The position of NIST director is a presidential appointment. Bement, 69, was nominated by President Bush on Oct. 23, 2001, to be the 12th director of the agency. He succeeds Raymond Kammer, who retired in December 2000. NIST Deputy Director Karen Brown has served as acting director in the interim.
"The addition of Arden Bement completes a stellar 'tech team' for the Bush Administration," said Secretary Don Evans. "He brings a wealth of experience in both the private and public sector vital to this position. With Dr. Bement leading our nation's premier federal lab, we look forward to making the Technology Administration the portal for the technology community to the federal government."
Bement was most recently the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the School of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue University. He has held appointments at Purdue University in the schools of Nuclear Engineering, Materials Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a courtesy appointment in the Krannert School of Management. He was director of the Midwest Superconductivity Consortium and the Consortium for the Intelligent Management of the Electrical Power Grid.
Bement comes to his position as NIST director well versed in the workings of the agency, having previously served as head of the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology, the agency's primary private-sector policy adviser; as head of the advisory committee for NIST's Advanced Technology Program; and on the Board of Overseers for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Bement joined the Purdue faculty in 1992 after a 39-year career in industry, government and academia. These positions included: vice president of science and technology for TRW Inc. (1980-1992); deputy under secretary of defense for research and engineering (1979-1980); director, Office of Materials Science, DARPA (1976-1979); professor of nuclear materials, MIT (1970-1976); manager, Fuels and Materials Department and the Metallurgy Research Department, Battelle Northwest Laboratories (1965-1970); and senior research associate, General Electric Co. (1954-1965).
Along with his NIST advisory roles, Bement served as a member of the U.S. National Science Board, the advisory board for the National Science Foundation, from 1989 to 1995. He also chaired the Commission for Engineering and Technical Studies and the Materials Advisory Board of the National Research Council; was a member of the Space Station Utilization Advisory Subcommittee and the Commercialization and Technology Advisory Committee for NASA; and consulted for the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho Nuclear Energy and Environmental Laboratory.
He has been a director of Keithley Instruments Inc. and the Lord Corp. and was a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee for the Howmet Corp. (a division of ALCOA).
Bement holds an engineer of metallurgy degree from the Colorado School of Mines, a master's degree in metallurgical material engineering from the University of Idaho, a doctorate degree in metallurgical material engineering from the University of Michigan, and a honorary doctorate degree in engineering from Cleveland State University. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.
Bement's family includes his wife, Louise; eight children; 23 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., and grew up in New Castle, Pa.