College of Engineering / Research / Centers / Center for Polymers and Advanced Composites / Speakers



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Keynote Speaker:

Laura Bogusch

Laura Bogusch is vice president of Materials & Manufacturing Technology and leader of BR&T South Carolina, for Boeing Research & Technology, the advanced central research, and development unit of The Boeing Company. As trusted research, technology and technical leader, BR&T develops innovative technologies that break barriers, enabling the development of future aerospace solutions while improving the cycle time, cost, quality and performance of existing Boeing products and services.


Mick Maher

Michael "Mick" Maher

Mr. Michael "Mick Maher is President of Maher & AssociatesLLC. In addition to these duties, Mr. Maher serves on several corporate advisory boards including the National Academies' National Materials and Manufacturing Board.

The company that he leads is focused on the development and transition of advanced material and manufacturing technolgies that include additive manufacturing, thermoforming of composites, rapid material development, qualification and certification, as well as M&P for hypersonic applications. Mr. Maher has had particular interest in increasing the adoption of composites into the DoD applications and new commercial markets. 

Panel 1, Future of Composites: Materials & Testing


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Dr. John Tomblin, Moderator

John Tomblin is the Senior Vice President for Industry and Defense Programs at Wichita State University (WSU) and the Executive Director of the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR). He is also a Sam Bloomfield Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering.

As Senior Vice President for Industry and Defense Programs, Dr. Tomblin leads and directs critical university initiatives, including but not limited to, industry and defense research and testing, innovative technologies and solutions, industry engagement, and other programs that advance WSU’s mission to be an economic driver.

 Stephen Heinz

Stephen Heinz, Panelist

Stephen Heinz is the Global Director for Composite Product Development at Solvay. His team plays a critical role in defining the future for composite materials and processes in both the aerospace and automotive industries through collaborations with some of the most innovative and inspiring companies in the world. 

Prior to joining Solvay, Stephen spent six years at Boeing Research & Technology leading composites material development activities. He has a B.S. and PhD in Polymer Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. Stephen is active in SAMPE and with many academic institutions. He has a passion for solvng problems (science based or not) and learning new things.

 Uday Vaidya

Uday Vaidya, Panelist

Uday Vaidya has a joining appointment with the Oak Ridge National Lab and The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the UT/ORNL Governor's Chair in Advanced Composites Manufacturing. Vaidya serves as the Chief Technology Office for IACMI.

Prior to joining UT/ORNL, Vaidya served on the faculty at UAB, North Dakota State University, and Tuskegee University. He is an Auburn Alum. Vaidya has 28 years of experience in a broad range of composites for defense, transportation, and industrial applications. Vaidya is the author of the book "Composites for Automotive, Mass Transit, and Truck'.

Byron Vines

Byron L. Vines, Panelist

Byron Vines is currently the Director of NDT Operations for Arcadia Aerospace Industries, LLC. He is responsible for marketing, development and oversight of the inspection program for advanced composite materials and aerospace components. This program currently services several OEM and tier 1 Aerospace Manufacturers. As the Corporate Level III, he is responsible for the daily technical oversight of the company’s nationwide NDT programs and efforts.

Additionally, Byron provides NDT training in the Penetrant, Ultrasonic, Magnetic Particle, Radiography and Eddy Current methods for nondestructive testing. This training is designed to provide NAS410 compliant training to companies and individuals who wish to be certified in the method. Training the next generation of NDT professionals and providing a pipeline of talent to the industry has long been an important goal and endeavor for him. He has held ASNT Level III certifications in the above-mentioned methods since 1988 and has over 35 years’ experience in the manufacturing, destructive and nondestructive testing of advanced composites.

 M Hilburger

Mark Hilburger, Panelist

Dr. Mark Hilburger is a Senior Research Engineer in the Space Technology Exploration Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton VA.  He was recently appointed Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) Principal Technologist (PT) for Structures, Materials, and Nanotechnology at NASA. He also serves as the principal investigator and technical advisor for the NASA Engineering and Safety Center Shell Buckling Knockdown Factor project.

As the principal technologist, he leads the nationwide NASA team to define technology development and implementation strategies for advanced materials and structures to achieve NASA’s mission goals. He also leads the NASA Strategic Capabilities Development Planning for “Advanced Materials, Structures, and Manufacturing” and “Operations in Extreme Environments.” He leads focused technology studies and coordinates with Agency Capability Managers and Program Executives in technology development activities to maintain and advance capabilities.

Equipment & Tooling:


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Ken McClellan

Ken is the National Sales Manager at Ingersoll Machine Tools located in Rockford, Illinois.

Mr. McClellan has over 39 years of experience in the Machine Tool industry operating mainly in Aerospace and Defense-related fields and has held past positions in Manufacturing Engineering, Applications Engineering, Product Management, Project Management, and now 23 years at Ingersoll in Sales and Sales Management.

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Dr. Andrew Purvis

During the past 19 years at Electroimpact, he has helped design, build, and install integrated manufacturing lines for Aerostructure companies all over the world. He currently manages projects involving automated composite part layup and fabrication. The primary technologies he specializes in are flexible manufacturing cells built around quick-change modular process heads. These modular process heads include Automated Fiber Placement (AFP), Automated Tape Laying (ATL). AFP and ATL are the primary additive manufacturing technologies used in the production of large composite parts for the Aerospace industry.

Panel 2, Future of Composites: Application

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John Vickers (NASA), Moderator

John Vickers is currently the NASA principal technologist in the area of advanced manufacturing. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Materials and Processes Laboratory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and as the Manager of the NASA National Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

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 Keith J. Roberts, Panelist

Keith Roberts is the Materials and Structures Technology Area Lead for Science and Technology at the U.S. Army’s Aviation and Missile Center(AvMC). He also serves as the lead for the AvMC Composite Materials Working Group.
Keith’s career has spanned composite materials work in commercial aviation, space, and military. He is currently working with a team of researchers from across the country to advance the state of high-temperature composites for missile applications. The team’s mission is to develop materials and processes to improve affordability, manufacturability, and accessibility for high-temperature composites.


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Bob Koon, Panelist

Bob Koon is an LM Fellow in Materials and Processes with a specialty in Composite Materials and Automated Processes. Over the past years he’s specialized in automated fiber placement, innovative low cost composite fabrication techniques, computational methods, material characterization and polymer coatings. Bob received his M.S. in Materials Engineering in 1995 and his B.S. in Chemistry/Materials Science in 1986 at the University of California, Los Angeles. Bob has managed Advanced Materials and Structures organizations and programs at both Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA where he has worked for 21 years, and at Northrop Grumman in Los Angeles, CA where he began his aerospace work in 1985.

 Steven Hayse

Steven Hayse, Panelist

Steven Hayse is currently the Chief Technologist for GKN Aerospace Services Structures (Cromwell, CT) in the area of composites materials and processing. He is also the IP Manager for the site.  In addition, he is an adjunct professor for the Mechanical Engineering Department at UCONN teaching graduate courses in composites manufacturing.

As the Chief Technologist, he supports the global Research and Technology department at GKN Aerospace with strategy, technical insights, and guidance.  He manages the technology roadmap for composite processes used at the Cromwell site, which include Infusion Molding, Resin Transfer Molding, Compression Molding, Autoclave Molding, bonding, and many supporting technologies.  He is heavily involved with New Product Introduction (NPI) activities, working closely with the technical teams and the customer, in a design assistance role, when developing new applications that incorporate Design for Manufacturing sensibilities.  He also provides technical support to the production value streams.  This includes technical guidance for continuous process improvement and problem solving, and identifying opportunities for technology insertion.  In his role as a Level 6 Associate Fellow at GKN, he also serves as a resource to the corporation as a composite materials and process expert, and contributes to design and configuration decisions coming from a base of experience in design at Sikorsky Aircraft, and through his 35 years of experience in the aerospace industry, predominantly in the areas of composites product development, process development, and manufacturing.  He holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from SUNY at Buffalo, and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University.

 Justin Jackson

Justin Jackson, Panelist

Justin Jackson received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Mississippi State University.  He has worked as a materials engineer at NASA for 14 years, working on a variety of space flight programs including the Space Transportation System, Constellation, and most recently Artemis Program.  He has also been heavily involved in several technology focused activities including the Composite Cryotank Technologies Development and the Rapid Analysis and Manufacturing Propulsion Technology project.  Justin is currently the NASA Materials Discipline Lead for the Human Landing System.

 Steven Taylor

Dr. Steve Taylor, Panelist

Dr. Steve Taylor is the associate dean for research in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University.  Dr. Taylor is responsible for leadership and oversight of the college's research enterprise through 8 academic departments, 18 research centers, and the college’s research office in Huntsville, Alabama.  Prior to his current role, he served as head of Auburn’s Department of Biosystems Engineering from 2003 to 2016; he served as director of the university’s Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts from 2007 to 2017; and he has been on the Auburn faculty since 1989.

Taylor is a Fellow in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and he has been recognized with an ASABE Presidential Citation and the James R. and Karen A. Gilley Academic Leadership Award. He is a registered professional engineer in Alabama.

Technical Education Opportunities

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Bill Clifton

Industry experience as a Plastics Engineer, Plant Manager, and Operations Director Five years as a faculty instructor in Plastics Technology and Mechatronics Master's in Management
Bachelor's in Business Administration
Six Sigma Green Belt Certified


Challenges for Future Workforce Development

        JD McFarlan

J.D. McFarlan

J.D. McFarlan III has 34 years’ experience in the development of advanced aerospace defense products.  He is currently serving as Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Vice President for Functional Engineering.  This team provides engineering support for all programs at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.  He previously served for 10 years as Vice President, F-35 Test & Verification.  In this capacity he was responsible for managing the overall flight test program and the contract specification verification for the F-35 program.  This responsibility included planning and executing testing of the F-35 at Fort Worth, Edwards, and Patuxent River Flight Test facilities.  Prior to this assignment he was the Vice President F-35 Air Vehicle Development.  Mr. McFarlan graduated from Auburn University in 1984 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.  Also in 1984, Mr. McFarlan joined the Fort Worth Division of General Dynamics (which subsequently became part of Lockheed Martin in 1995) as a Propulsion Analysis engineer.  J.D. received a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1991.

J.D. has served in numerous positions of responsibility including F-35 Air Vehicle Development IPT lead, F-35 Air Vehicle Development IPT Deputy, Senior Manager F-35 Propulsion IPT, and Program Manager for the F-16 Diverterless Supersonic Inlet Flight Demonstration program.