Evans named Charles D. Miller Endowed Chair

Published: Aug 12, 2015 11:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Gail Riese, gail@auburn.edu, 334-844-3447

john evans
John Evans

John Evans, interim director of the Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management, has been named as the Charles D. Miller Chair in Auburn University’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, where he has served as a faculty member since 2001.

He previously held the position of Thomas Walter Professor at Auburn. Evans earned a bachelor’s degree from Auburn in electrical engineering and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Prior to coming to Auburn, Evans spent 17 years in the automotive engineering industry at the Huntsville electronics division of Daimler Chrysler Corporation. His research interests include the development of an automotive engineering education program for manufacturers in the Southeast and the investigation of next generation electronics packaging and manufacturing technologies needed for the advancement of the electronics industry.

As the interim director of the Thomas Walter Center, Evans has been responsible for fostering educational opportunities between the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn. The center’s most prominent program — Business-Engineering-Technology minor — educates students in the development of new products, business models and plans for start-ups. Evans is leading the curriculum development for a new graduate program in engineering management.

He is the founder and director of the Southern Alliance for Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing, a multi-university program to promote research and education for vehicle manufacturing, and is also the co-founder and associate director for the Center for Advanced Vehicle Electronics. Since its inception in 1999, CAVE has received $40 million in research funding. CAVE is a multi-department center at Auburn and is considered the leading harsh environment electronics center in the country.

“John is a talented researcher and educator whose keen understanding of the industrial environment is providing our students with unique perspectives of the interaction between engineering and business,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of engineering. “Charles and Lisa’s generous gift will help strengthen and enhance the instructional and research programs in the college and provide support for John’s outstanding work.”

Evans has advised more than 40 doctoral and master’s degree students, secured $7 million in funded research and holds five patents, with one pending. Among other awards received, Evans was the industrial and systems engineering Faculty Member of the Year in 2012 and Business Engineering Technology Teacher of the Year in 2011. He was appointed to the Alabama Automotive Manufacturing Association board of directors in 2014.  

Miller, the namesake of the endowed professorship, graduated from Auburn in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and later completed the Wharton Executive Program on Financial Management at the University of Pennsylvania.

He is the executive vice president and global head of distribution for Birmingham-based Harbert Management Corporation, a privately owned alternative asset management investment firm with approximately $4.4 billion in assets under management across 10 discrete asset classes. A founding partner of HMC, Miller joined Harbert Corporation in 1985 and played a key role in the company’s transformation from an industrial conglomerate into an institutional investment management firm. His current responsibilities include the management of all fundraising, capital acquisition and investor relations operations.

Miller’s wife, Lisa, graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a degree in sociology in 1981. Lisa serves on the board of directors for the YWCA of Central Alabama and the incoming Senior Warden at St. Mary’s on the Highlands Episcopal Church. She and Charlie have two children: a daughter, Katherine; and a son, Jack.

The Millers support engineering’s Keystone, Ginn and Eagles giving societies, as well as the university’s 1856, Samford and Foy societies. Charlie is also a member on the Auburn University Foundation Board, where he serves as the current chairman of the investment committee, and the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council.