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Tom Kurfess

January 20, 2013

Filed under: additive manufacturing,manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 15:54

How many people do you know with four degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology? I know only one: Thomas Kurfess. Tom received a Bachelor of Science degree, two Master of Science degrees, and a PhD from MIT. One of his primary areas of research has been the design and development of advanced automotive systems, and he is a top expert in precision manufacturing and metrology systems.

Over the past nearly 12 months, Tom has served as the Assistant Director of Advanced Manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. It is one of the few positions at the White House focused on manufacturing, so Tom has had his hands very full over the past year. His routine has involved being up at 4:00 am and working late into the night. Yet, I’ve heard him say more than once, “I’m living the dream.” And, he’s right. How many people get to do what he’s doing?

One of Tom’s responsibilities is to coordinate additive manufacturing in Washington. This means he is tasked with orchestrating AM across the many government agencies and projects that are underway, including the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Tom chaired an important additive manufacturing symposium that was held on August 20, 2012 at the White House Conference Center. He did an outstanding job with his opening presentation, as well as his many comments before and after the speakers.

Tom’s work at the White House is expected to end in one month. My hope is that he will stay, if the option presents itself. My second choice is that his position is filled with another capable individual. More now than ever, we need someone like Tom to focus on national policy issues associated with additive and advanced manufacturing.

I’ve known Tom for many years, but got to know him much better over the past four years when he and I worked together on a project. Over that time, I’ve gained a great deal of respect for him as a person, professional, and national spokesperson and advocate for advanced manufacturing. I know that success will come with whatever he chooses to do in the future. We need more people like Tom in Washington to help shape policy in manufacturing for our great nation.