Gillespie is director of UD’s world-renowned Center for Composite Materials

The University of Delaware’s John W. (Jack) Gillespie Jr. has been named a Fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). Since 1984, just 334 of the society’s 22,500-plus members have achieved Fellow status.

Gillespie will be recognized at a reception on May 6 during the SPE’s 76th Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC 2018) in Orlando, Florida.

To be named an SPE Fellow, one must make outstanding achievements in plastics engineering, science or technology or in the management of such activities. Fellows are selected for accomplishments that have advanced the plastics industry, through publications, patents, and management of groups that have made technological advances.

Gillespie has been doing all of that for decades. The director of UD’s world-renowned Center for Composite Materials (CCM), a position he has held since 1996, Gillespie is now also leading UD’s new Delaware Digital Design and Manufacturing Institute (3DMI). Under his leadership, CCM doubled in size to a center with 58,000 square feet of laboratory space housed in two facilities with more than $25 million in equipment, including a Composites Manufacturing Science Laboratory and an Application and Technology Transfer Laboratory. In 2017 alone, more than 150 researchers were involved in CCM activities.

Gillespie’s career at UD has included a steady stream of accomplishments, such as the creation and commercialization of new processes, automated equipment, materials and composite structures. He is an author on 835 publications in composites science and technology, which includes 19 books and book chapters, 21 patents, 320 refereed journal papers and 475 proceedings papers many co-authored with more than 95 graduate students he has advised.  He has an h-index of 59, i10-index of 297 and more than 14,000 citations on Google Scholar as of February 2018.

To support his research and CCM activities, Gillespie has received more than $190 million from industry and government resources. For example, Gillespie is UD’s principal investigator on an Army Research Lab Cooperative Research Alliance to develop composite materials that can hold up under extreme dynamic environments, which is part of a 10-year basic research consortia renewed through 2022. He is also the Donald C. Phillips Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering with appointments in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

“I have closely followed Jack’s career for more than three decades, and his widespread influence in plastics engineering can not be understated,” said J. Michael Bowman, the state director of the Delaware Small Business Development Center and the associate director of UD’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships. “He developed technologies that have improved the performance of a broad range of products, from airplanes to automotive to orthotics and bridges. Through his leadership at CCM, he also trains the next generation of innovators so that they can push the field even further than any one person could alone.”

Outside UD, Gillespie has served as a member of the National Research Council on Manufacturing and Engineering Design and as chair of the National Materials Advisory Board Committee on High-Performance Structural Fibers for Advanced Polymer-Matrix Composites. He has been editor of the Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials since 1993, and he serves on numerous editorial boards.

He has received numerous awards, including the American Society of Civil Engineers Charles Pankow Award for Innovation for commercializing composite bridge structures.  He is also a fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the American Society for Composites (ASC) and the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE).

Gillespie has been a member of SPE since 1990 and now serves on the board of directors of SPE’s Composites Division.  He is also a member and past-president of SPE’s Joining of Plastics and Composites Special Interest Group.