Warren DeVries currently leads national efforts aimed at enabling advances in engineering education and research at universities, and fosters innovation in technology-based small businesses.
DeVries serves as division director for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Design, Manufacture and Industrial Innovation. On assignment from Iowa State University where he is a professor of mechanical engineering, he served as chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University from 1996-2002.
DeVries’ academic career began at UW-Madison, where he earned a BS with honors (1971), MS (1973) and PhD (1975) degrees in mechanical engineering. He also earned a BS degree (1971) in Letters and Engineering from Calvin College in Michigan.
Following his doctorate, DeVries’ engineering career began at his Wisconsin alma mater, where he served as a research associate and lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering for two years. He then accepted a post as assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. He stayed there for five years before moving on to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, where he served as associate professor and professor of mechanical engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanics. During his tenure at Rensselaer, he was active in the Center for Manufacturing Productivity. He was one of the pioneers in the Rensselaer Satellite Video Program, and served one year as a visiting scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Forest Products Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1994, he moved to Washington, DC, to accept a position with the National Science Foundation as Program Director for Manufacturing Machines and Equipment in the NSF’s Division of Design, Manufacture and Industrial Innovation. He left in 1996 to accept the department chairmanship at Iowa State, and then returned to the NSF in 2002 on assignment from Iowa State to serve as a Division Director. In the NSF post, DeVries leads a staff of 40 program officers and support staff and manages an annual budget of $160 million. The division supports academic research and educational innovations in design, manufacturing and services at universities, and through NSF’s SBIR/STTR programs, the innovations in technology-based small businesses that bring research results to the public.
DeVries has published numerous articles in research publications and journals, written one textbook “Analysis of Material Removal Processes.” and co-authored the textbook “Microcomputer Applications in Manufacturing.” He also wrote one chapter for the textbook “Handbook of Design, Manufacturing, and Automation” on design principles for machining systems. His research has focused on modeling techniques for accurate prediction and characterization of material removal processes, as well as modeling of manufacturing processes using time series, system identification, and control techniques.
He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and has served on the governing boards of both bodies. He is also a member of the American Society of Engineering Education. He received the outstanding service award from ASME’s manufacturing engineering division in 1997, and was named Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer from SME in 1983. He served as a College of Engineering Fellow at UW-Madison in 1975, as well as a Marie Kristine Kohler Graduate Fellow.