Source: Tennessee Today | David Goddard | October 12, 2016
When UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory welcomed Uday Vaidya as a Governor’s Chair in 2015 they felt they were getting one of the top composites experts in the field. Now it’s official.
The Society of Plastics Engineers recently named Vaidya as their 2016 Composites Person of the Year at their annual Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition.
“Being recognized like this a huge honor for me,” said Vaidya. “It’s very humbling to receive any honor, but when it comes from peers within your field it is all the more special.”
First given in 2004, the Composites Person of the Year award publicly acknowledges a contributor who has provided significant aid to the SPE Composites Division, particularly during the prior year, and made broad contributions to the composites industry as a whole.
Vaidya plays a key role in the UT-ORNL partnership, both as the Governor’s Chair for Advanced Composites Manufacturing and through his ties to theInstitute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation.
IACMI—the Composites Institute is a $259 million public-private partnership that was announced by President Obama on a visit to East Tennessee in 2014.
Vaidya’s expertise has been beneficial for UT and ORNL as well as IACMI, particularly in advancing the development of new materials for current vehicles, mass transit, and transportation of the future.
That expertise was a key reason for his latest honor, according to SPE Composites Division Chair Michael Connolly.
“We wanted to recognize his considerable contributions to the composites industry, including numerous patents, publications, and presentations,” said Connolly. “He has a passion for engineering education and has mentored hundreds of young engineers who’ve now made their way into our industry, including over 60 master’s and doctoral students.”
Since arriving at UT, Vaidya has also helped organize a new SPE chapter and overseen the refurbishment of an engineering building for use in composites research.
In addition to his academic career, he has served as either lead or co-investigator on more than 100 projects ranging from defense to industrial composite use and has authored more than 500 journal articles or conference proceedings.