In five years, Tom McDermott has climbed the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) ladder from senior research engineer to his new position as GTRI Deputy Director and Director of Research. In his new role, which began September 1st, McDermott is supervising all laboratory operations and business development for GTRI’s $131 million research program.
"One of my main objectives is to fully understand the technological developments taking place in each of GTRI’s seven research labs and elsewhere on Georgia Tech’s campus," McDermott said about his new role. "This will help me bring researchers together to form collaborations and create bigger initiatives that will benefit GTRI, Georgia Tech and all of our research sponsors."
McDermott replaces David Parekh, who left to become director of the United Technologies Research Center and the company’s vice president for research.
McDermott joined GTRI after an 18-year career at Lockheed-Martin Aeronautical Systems in Marietta, Georgia. During his time there he specialized in systems engineering and program management, expertise that will come in handy as he continues to help develop and implement Georgia Tech’s new professional master’s degree in systems engineering. The program will combine the systems engineering expertise of researchers in GTRI and the College of Engineering to provide a unique program that provides both academic and experiential learning.
Most recently, McDermott managed GTRI's Electronic Systems Laboratory (ELSYS) as its director. Terry Tibbitts, the current associate director of ELSYS, will serve as interim director.
McDermott considers the growth of the human systems engineering research area -- which documents mental and physical characteristics, capabilities, and limitations among human users of emerging devices -- as one of the major accomplishments during his term as director of ELSYS. During this time, a new division in human systems engineering was created and the scope of the research was broadened to include operational health and safety support.
McDermott also left ELSYS with a focus on training and mentoring programs for younger engineers. "We grew a lot in the past few years and I wanted to help the younger engineers develop theirmarketing and business development skills so they will be highly successful for years to come," said McDermott.
McDermott earned an M.S. degree in electrical engineering and a B.S. in physics – both from the Georgia Institute of Technology. McDermott is married to the former Susan Ellis. They have three children: Christopher (age 18), Anna (16) and Bonnie (13), and live in northeast Cobb County.