Craig Blue named Chief Manufacturing Officer at ORNL

July 1, 2024

Defense Manufacturing Programs Director Craig Blue has been named Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Chief Manufacturing Officer. (Courtesy Carlos Jones/ORNL, US Dept. of Energy)
Defense Manufacturing Programs Director Craig Blue has been named Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Chief Manufacturing Officer. (Courtesy Carlos Jones/ORNL, US Dept. of Energy)

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee, has named Defense Manufacturing Programs Director Craig Blue as the company’s Chief Manufacturing Officer. With this additional responsibility, Blue will work to enhance the coordination of ORNL’s resources and capabilities across the laboratory in support of manufacturing activities designed to promote US competitiveness and economic advantage.

“Craig Blue has made a career out of manufacturing excellence,” Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for National Security Sciences, commented. “He is a leader who knows how to bring people together, build programmes from scratch and, most importantly, deliver results.”

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For over twenty-five years, Blue has built teams and programmes reputed to have significantly influenced the field of materials and manufacturing science. Among his biggest accomplishments, Blue lead the creation of the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, or MDF, at ORNL, a research and development facility for advanced manufacturing technology development.

“MDF has fundamentally changed the way our laboratory works with industry, academia and other labs,” said Robert Wagner, associate laboratory director for Energy Science and Technology. “Through the MDF model, we are able to collaborate with partners and rapidly move our research to market.”

Blue helped initiate several national institutes, including the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation; DOE’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at ORNL; Critical Materials Institute; National Alliance for Water Innovation Institute; Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute; and America’s Cutting Edge, a national machine tool and workforce development programme.

As a researcher, Blue has earned eleven R&D 100 Awards, thirty-two patents, and recognition as one of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ (SME’s) ‘25 Leaders Transforming Manufacturing.’ He is a Fellow of SME and the American Society of Metals International.

“Craig’s technical expertise and proven leadership are evidence of how he guides big ideas to achieve real-world impact,” stated ORNL Director Stephen Streiffer. “I look forward to working with him as we continue to drive ORNL’s manufacturing innovation.”

“[My appointment] signifies the importance of translating materials and manufacturing science expertise into real solutions for the country — something ORNL has done better than anyone over the last ten years,” Blue shared. “I’m honoured to steward the next steps in this legacy.”

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