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Industrial Advisory Board

The purpose of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Advisory Board is to support the mission of the department with its educational and research programs by sharing its expertise and strategic thinking, by participation in meetings with the department chair and faculty and by external fundraising and personal philanthropy. The Board will be composed of leaders from both industry and academia who have a commitment to the mission and goals of Northeastern University, the College of Engineering and the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department.


  1. The Board will comprise no fewer than 10 nor more than 20 members selected by the department chair to serve three-year renewable terms. Board members will play an important role in identifying and recruiting new members. A balance of members between industrial and mechanical engineering will always be maintained.
  2. Board leadership will be provided by ME and IE co-chairs selected by the department chair.
  3. On-campus meetings will not exceed two per year, typically one meeting in each of the fall and spring semesters.


  1. The Board will provide advice and strategic guidance to the department on matters of curricula, research and engineering practice, both domestic and global. It will serve as a constituent of the undergraduate programs in mechanical and industrial engineering and will assist in establishing, reviewing and assessing achievement of Undergraduate Program Educational Objectives. It will further provide strategic advice to the faculty on graduate level education, especially on the need for and development of professional masters programs.
  2. Board members will facilitate alliances with corporate, NGO and government agencies on matters of faculty and student research and may serve as research partners when appropriate.
  3. The Board will assist the departmental advancement team in identifying and developing individual and corporate sponsors.

Board Members

David Furrer
IAB Co-Chair
Senior Fellow Materials and Processes Engineering; Director of Manufacturing Technologies Development, Pratt & WhitneyDr. David Furrer is Senior Fellow Discipline Lead for the Materials and Processes Engineering organization at Pratt & Whitney.  In this role he leads the Pratt & Whitney Materials Discipline Chiefs and Materials Fellows in the development of technical strategies, and engineering standards and procedures.  David supports the development, design and deployment of new materials and associated manufacturing processes.   As Director of Manufacturing Technologies Development, he is responsible for manufacturing technologies development and maturation, including computational tools and methods to support legacy and emerging manufacturing process application and design for manufacture.  He is involved in additive manufacturing process development along with other emerging manufacturing processes.
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Elif Kizilkaya-Eracar
IAB Co-Chair
Senior Vice President, Product and Professional Services at American WellElif Kizilkaya-Eracar serves as the Senior Vice President of Product Management & Professional Services for American Well. As a member of the senior management team, she is responsible for all aspects of product requirements, design and road map. Additionally Ms. Eracar has responsibility over the Professional Services and Customer Support organizations in American Well. Prior to American Well, Ms. Eracar served as Vice President, Delivery and Support Services, at Voxware Inc. Ms. Eracar was responsible for professional services, application development, QA, and customer support, both domestically and in Europe. Prior to her VP position Ms. Eracar served as Director of Professional Services and Industrial Engineering. She was with Voxware for 7 years. Prior to joining Voxware, Ms. Eracar worked as a Management Consultant for Camp, Dresser, and McKee where she provided consulting services in designing and implementing best practices for customers such as New Balance, Christmas Tree Shops, MBTA, New England Electric Systems. Ms. Eracar has a Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering and a Masters in Information Systems from Northeastern University. Ms Eracar is also a Ph.D. student in Industrial Engineering at Northeastern.
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Garen Demirchian, PE
Managing Principal, R.G. Vanderweil Engineer, LLPGaren Demirchian leads Vanderweil’s Power Group, overseeing all business related to central plants, utility distribution, and electrical transmission and distribution. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University in 1983 and began his career in utility engineering. He has become increasingly involved in energy production and distribution, and is integrally involved in client projects and firm management. Mr. Demirchian is a registered PE in 14 states.
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Ronald Fish
President, Starfish Services, Inc.Ronald Fish founded Starfish Services, Inc. in 1984 in Merrimack, New Hampshire and currently serves as President. Through his work with Starfish Services, Mr. Fish has supported multi-billion dollar projects in both a technical and management capacity across 25 US States and internationally. Mr. Fish graduated from Northeastern University in 1981 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
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Bryan Fontaine
Executive Vice President, Bose CorporationBryan Fontaine is responsible for Global Operations and Corporate Development Engineering at Bose. This includes the Global Development Engineering, Manufacturing, and Global Supply Chain, IT, Legal, and HR organizations. Mr. Fontaine has developed a number of strategic initiatives and enterprise wide core business capabilities that have helped the Company navigate through several transformations. Prior to joining Bose in 2004, Bryan worked as the Vice President of Manufacturing at EMC Corporation. Mr. Fontaine holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Northeastern University.
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Christine Furstoss
Vice President and Technical Director, General ElectricChristine Furstoss leads more than 600 researchers and team members across North America, Europe, and Asia. Christine works with GE leadership as well as strategic partners to create and implement strategies for growth and innovation in critical manufacturing and material processes. She joined the GE Materials and Processes Engineering team in 1989 after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic University with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Materials Engineering. Since that time, she has worked in a number of GE business units including GE Water and Power. In 2014, Mrs. Furstoss was selected by the US Secretary of Commerce to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Additionally, she spearheads GE’s participation in the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation and co-led the Women’s Network Women and Technology group. She is also active in GE’s Affinity Networks and works to promote STEM education in local school districts.
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Louis Gritzo
Vice President and Manager of Research, FM GlobalFM Global is one of the world’s largest industrial and commercial property insurers. Dr. Louis Gritzo oversees all activities at FM Global’s 1600-acre Research Campus in Rhode Island, the largest center of its kind in the world, as well as leads a team of experts specializing in fire, explosions, natural hazards, and risk and reliability research. Louis graduated from Texas Tech with his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and minor in applied mathematics in 1992. He began his career at Sandia National Laboratories before transitioning to FM Global in 2008. Dr. Gritzo currently serves on the board of directors at the Industrial Research Institute as well as the governing board of the Global Earthquake Model. Previously, he sat as Chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Heat Transfer Division Executive Committee and on the Research Advisory Committee for the National Fire Protection Association. In 2015, he was invited to be a panelist for two sessions at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Management in Sendai, Japan.
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Paul Heimlicher
Vice President of Power Sales, Omni NavitasPaul Heimlicher joined Omni Navitas in 2016, supporting the company’s rapid growth in commercial solar power development in the Northeast. Paul manages the process of finding and contracting with electricity off-takers in the commercial, municipal, and utility business sectors for the power generated from the company’s portfolio of solar projects. Prior to joining Omni Navitas, Paul’s career was focused on the sales management of specialty computer products and services to commercial and industrial customers. Paul earned his MBA from the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College and his Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University. In addition to serving on the department’s Industrial Advisory Board since 2005, Paul also volunteers as a Capstone Project judge at both Northeastern and at Babson.
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Arvind Kumar
Principal, PricewaterhouseCoopers Arvind is a Principal with PwC’s Health Solutions Risk Assurance practice and leads the risks and controls integration for the Electronic Health Records (EHR) and provider and payer technologies. He has over 30 years of experience in working in healthcare focused on regulatory compliance, data analytics, data governance, EHR and technology transitions and strategic transformation programs. Mr. Kumar has led and managed large scale technology implementations and transformations of clinical and business processes. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Madras and a Master’s of Science in Engineering Management from Northeastern University. He is an instructor at Harvard School of Public Health on Healthcare Informatics.
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Frank Marangell
Frank Marangell recently left Rize, Inc., a venture capital backed 3D printing startup where he served as President and CEO since 2013. At Rize, Mr. Marangell’s role was to lead the company from product specification and R&D to sales and marketing introduction. Prior to Rize, he served as Vice President of Global Field Operations for Stratasys and President of Objet, Inc. Mr. Marangell graduated from Northeastern with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering in 1983 and an MBA in 1989. He is a member of Northeastern’s Phi Gamma Pi Alumni Association and the Huntington Society.
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C. Paul Oberg
President and CEO, EPAC Software Technologies, Inc.Mr. C. Paul Oberg is President and Chief Executive Officer of EPAC Software Technologies, Inc., a leading developer and integrator of Computerized Maintenance Management Systems. In addition, he is co-founder of The Copley Consulting Group, Inc. A Certified Management Consultant, Mr. Oberg has significant experience in facilities and maintenance management, operations improvement, productivity improvement, manufacturing/distribution management, Total Quality Management, Strategic Planning and the design and implementation of manufacturing and maintenance systems. Mr. Oberg holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering as well as a Master’s in Business Administration. Along with his involvement in the department’s Industrial Advisory Board, his professional affiliations include the Institute of Management Consultants, Institute of Industrial Engineers, Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals and American Production and Inventory Control Society. Mr. Oberg is a frequent speaker on operations and productivity improvement, maintenance management, inventory management, and manufacturing and distribution information systems.
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Donald Parent
Principal, New Concepts EngineeringMr. Parent has 35 years’ experience in the engineering, manufacturing and marketing of automated process machinery and in the design of a range of electronic products. He currently provides product development services to small and large companies, expert engineering services and testimony relating to product safety, product liability, patents and intellectual property analysis. Mr. Parent received his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University and a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. In addition to serving on the department’s Industrial Advisory Board, Don also volunteers as a Capstone Project judge.
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Stephen Pritchard, PE
Principal, Renew Energy SystemsStephen Pritchard is a Co-founder and Principal of RENEW Energy Partners, a firm that develops and funds energy efficiency and on-site clean energy retrofits for commercial, industrial and institutional businesses. Mr. Pritchard is an experienced senior executive who has been building and financing projects and businesses in the fields of energy, commercial real estate, and venture capital as well as work in the public sector for over 20 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University and an MBA in Finance from Loyola University in Maryland. Mr. Pritchard is a registered Professional Engineer.
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Robert Sullivan
President and CEO, Heartland Automation Rob is president and CEO of Heartland Automation, an integration and automated guided vehicle supplier to auto and manufacturing companies. Prior to this position, Mr. Sullivan co-founded Symbotic, a Massachusetts robotics company specializing in warehouse and distribution automation. Rob holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Engineering Management from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He holds more than 30 patents, over 20 in robotics and automation.
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Frank Tempesta
President and CEO (retired), Textron SystemsFrank Tempesta recently retired as leader of Textron Systems Corporation, a $2B+ company with 6500 employees, which includes six operating units with locations across the U.S., and in the U.K. and Australia. Textron Systems is a prime contractor in the defense, homeland security and aerospace communities for over 50 years. As a Segment CEO and one of Textron Inc.’s top executives, Tempesta also served on its Operating Committee and Transformation Leadership Team. Tempesta was honorably discharged as a Captain in the United States Army in 1967, having served as a company commander in Vietnam and received the Bronze Star. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University in 1962 and 1964. He is an active member of Northeastern University’s Engineering Dean’s Council and a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He is also a board member of kSARIA Corp. He has served on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, and participated in numerous aerospace and defense associations.
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