About

Sridhar Kota

Sridhar Kota is the Herrick Professor of Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan and the founding Executive Director at MForesight: Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight, a national consortium on emerging technologies and advanced manufacturing.

Professor Kota served as the Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2009-2012. He played an instrumental role in initiating and launching National Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and the National Robotics Initiative.

He is also the founder and CTO of FlexSys Inc., which developed and flight tested the world’s first modern aircraft with shape-changing wings to improve fuel efficiency and noise reduction.

Professional Experience

Academic

  • Professor of Mechanical Engineering (1987-present) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Teaching and Research areas of focus include: Mechanical Systems Design and Manufacturing, Kinematics and Continuum mechanics, Compliant (Elastic) mechanisms, Soft Robots.

Entrepreneurial

  • Jan 2001–Present: Founder & CTO FlexSys Inc., Ann Arbor, MI: Design, fabrication and flight-testing of shape adaptive wings for fixed and rotary wing aircraft, and wind turbine blades. Design of innovative products for automotive, appliance, furniture and medical industries.

Industry

  • As an academic domain expert, served as product design and engineering consultant for numerous industrial firms including Allied Signal, BASF, Bendix, Ford, General Motors, Gillette, Johnson Controls, MEMX, Steven Graphics, etc.
  • Worked as Product design engineer at Piper Industries, Impact Extrusion Division.
  • As the founder and CEO of FlexSys, engaged on numerous design engineering projects with firms in aerospace, automotive, medical device and wind energy industries. 
  • As founding executive director of MForesight, convened industry thought leaders at multiple workshops and roundtable discussions to identify emerging technology opportunities and cross-cutting challenges of national importance to enhance U.S manufacturing competitiveness.

Government

  • September 2009-April 2012: Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Think Tank

  • 2015-present: Founding Executive Director of MForesight: Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight—a federally-funded, independent national consortium (think-and-do tank) focused on enhancing the U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.

Honors and Awards

  • 2017 University of Michigan Distinguished University Innovator Award
  • SBIR Tibbetts Award for Development and Successful Flight Testing Revolutionary Shape-Changing Aircraft Wings (2015).
  • University of Michigan Regent’s Award for Distinguished Public Service (2014).
  • 2012 Mechanical Engineering Achievement Award, University of Michigan
  • ASME Swanson Foundation White House Fellow – 2009-12.
  • ASME Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Educator Award (Society Award 2010)
  • ASME Machine Design Award – highest honor bestowed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in Engineering Design (2004)
  • ASME Fellow (2002)
  • ASME Leonardo Da Vinci Award (1997) -“for significant original contributions to the field of mechanical design through invention of a device with practical applications”
  • Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics “Teaching Excellence Award” for making “ME 450, the Senior Capstone Design Course, the College of Engineering Showcase Course.” (1995)
  • Mechanical Engineering Department Teaching Excellence Award (1993)
  • Society of Automotive Engineers Ralph Teetor Award (1993)
  • Five Best Paper Awards (ASME, AIAA conferences). 22 doctoral advisees
  • Over 200 technical publications; 26 issued patents, 1 co-authored text book