Newswise — Two researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been recognized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, known as SME, for their work in leading critical breakthroughs and advancements in manufacturing technologies, processes and education.

Tom Kurfess, ORNL’s chief manufacturing officer, received the SME Albert M. Sargent Progress Award for the fundamental development of large-scale computing capabilities leveraging low-cost, high-performance computing systems to analyze large-scale manufacturing metrology data sets. Tony Schmitz, University of Tennessee, Knoxville or UTK and ORNL joint faculty researcher in machine tools, received the SME Education Award for his manufacturing education leadership and service in machining science and technology, including student mentoring, publications, instruction and outreach.

“I am honored to receive international recognition from SME,” said Kurfess. “I look forward to continuing my relationship with the organization and supporting advanced manufacturing research and development.”

Since joining ORNL in 2019, Kurfess has led initiatives in digital manufacturing technologies with research focusing on the design and implementation of advanced systems by rapidly developing, scaling and integrating new technologies into production operations. Kurfess has expertise in production operations, manufacturing systems and policy issues related to manufacturing. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kurfess also serves as a professor in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he is the HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control. He has been an SME member since 1983 and was president of SME in 2018.

Tony Schmitz, who also joined ORNL in 2019, is a joint faculty researcher in machining and machine tool research supporting manufacturing research efforts in machining dynamics and advises students, fellow researchers and industry who are advancing the nation’s machine tool and machining industry. At UTK, Schmitz founded the Machine Tool Research Center where he focuses on helping student engineers improve component production accuracy, which is a critical need for private and defense sectors. A graduate of the University of Florida, Schmitz has held faculty positions with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of Florida. He has been an SME member since 2004.

“Through SME, I have furthered my commitment to providing education and outreach in support of advanced manufacturing and machining,” said Schmitz. “I appreciate SME’s international recognition for my efforts.”

Both Kurfess and Schmitz work closely with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit