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 participating 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

John Corliss, Friend

Vice President & Chief Engineer, PEER Consultants, PC

Mr. Corliss serves as the Vice President and Chief Engineer at PEER Consultants where he leads infrastructure development and institutional strengthening projects from design through implementation. In this role, he is also the lead subject matter expert for bench-marking, process improvement, management consulting services as well as disaster response and long-term recovery planning services. Mr. Corliss is a licensed Professional Engineer with a Master of Science degree in both Industrial Engineering and Public Policy & Administration.

portrait of man Garen Demirchian, E’83

Managing Principal, R.G. Vanderweil Engineer, LLP

Mr. Demirchian leads Vanderweil’s Power Group, overseeing all business related to central plants, utility distribution, and electrical transmission and distribution. He began his career in utility engineering and has become increasingly involved in energy production and distribution. He is integrally involved in client projects and firm management. Mr. Demirchian has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University and is a registered PE in 14 states.

Northeastern banner in place of a picture of the person Ronald Fish, E’81

Former President, Starfish Services, Inc.

Mr. 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.

portrait of man Bryan Fontaine, E’82

Former Executive Vice President, Bose Corporation

Mr. Bryan Fontaine served as Executive Vice President at Bose from 2014-2019 where he was responsible for Global Development Engineering, Manufacturing, Global Supply Chain, IT, Legal, and HR organizations. Mr. Fontaine 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, Mr. Fontaine 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.

portrait of man David Furrer, Friend

Senior Fellow Discipline Lead, Pratt & Whitney

Dr. 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. Dr. Furrer is also responsible for manufacturing technologies development and maturation, including computational tools and methods to support legacy and emerging manufacturing process application and design for manufacture.

Dr. Furrer served as the President of ASM International, the materials information society, from 2018-2019. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Doctorate of Engineering from the Universität Ulm, Ulm Germany.

portrait of woman Christine Furstoss, Parent’21

Former Vice President and Technical Director, General Electric

During her 30 year tenure at General Electric, Mrs. Christine Furstoss worked in many different business units, including GE Materials and Processes Engineering, GE Water and GE Power. She was responsible for implementing strategies for growth and innovation in critical manufacturing and material processes. 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 spearheaded GE’s participation in the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation and co-led the Women’s Network’s Women & Technology group. She was also active in GE’s Affinity Networks and worked to promote STEM education in local school districts.

Mrs. Furstoss graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic University with both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Materials Engineering.

portrait of man Louis Gritzo, Friend

Vice President and Manager of Research, FM Global

FM 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. Dr. Gritzo graduated from Texas Tech with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and a 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.

portrait of man Paul Heimlicher, E’81

Executive Vice President, Power Sales and Community Solar, Omni Navitas

Mr. Paul Heimlicher joined Omni Navitas in 2016, supporting the company’s rapid growth in commercial solar power development in the Northeast. Mr. Heimlicher 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, Mr. Heimlicher’s career was focused on the sales management of specialty computer products and services to commercial and industrial customers. Mr. Heimlicher earned a Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University and an MBA from the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College. 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 Babson.

portrait of woman Elif Kizilkaya-Eracar, E’96, ME’98

Chief Customer Officer, Redox

Ms. Elif Kizilkaya-Eracar serves as Chief Customer Officer at Redox, the modern API for healthcare. Ms. Eracar is responsible for all aspects of the customer journey starting with pre-sales consulting, product delivery, on-going solution expansion and customer support. Prior to Redox, Ms. Eracar was the SVP of Professional Services & Customer Support, Privacy Officer for American Well. Before joining American Well, Ms. Eracar worked at Voxware Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based voice and analytic supply chain solutions, from 2000-2007. As Vice President of Delivery and Support Services, Ms. Eracar was responsible for professional services, application development, QA, and customer support, both domestically and in Europe. Prior to her role as Vice President, Ms. Eracar served as Director of Professional Services and Director of Industrial Engineering. 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 Master’s in Information Systems from Northeastern University.

portrait of man Arvind Kumar, ME’87, Former Faculty

Former Partner, Healthcare Advisory, PwC

Mr. Arvind Kumar was formerly a Principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), primarily focused on building PwC’s advanced risk and compliance analytics services within health industries, particularly in the regulatory, patient safety, compliance and technology areas. He managed a team of about 40 data scientists, developers, and project managers.

Mr. Kumar also spent seven years as an adjunct faculty member in Northeastern’s Health Informatics department. He is a Fellow of the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and also serves on the Boards of Boston Community Land Trust and Alliance for Quality Improvement & Patient Safety. Mr. Kumar holds a Bachelor’s in Engineering from the University of Madras and a Master’s in Industrial Engineering & Information Systems from Northeastern University.

Bob Kursmark, E’81

Consulting Engineer (Part-time),
GE Aviation

Mr. Kursmark retired as the Chief Consulting Engineer and Manager of Systems Engineering for GE Aviation in June 2016. In this role, he led preliminary design for the engine that won exclusive selection on the Boeing 747-8, now in production and service. Mr. Kursmark was honored with the GE Aviation Technical Achievement Award in 2016, the top annual award within the organization.From 2006 to 2014, he served as the Chief Consulting Engineer of Military Systems at GE Aviation.

Mr. Kursmark holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University and a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.

portrait of man Frank Marangell, E’83, MBA’89

President and CBO, BigRep GmbH

Mr. Frank Marangell serves as President and CBO of BigRep America, a technology start-up based in Berlin with offices in Boston and Singapore, which develops and manufactures the world’s largest 3-D printers. Prior to this role, Mr. Marangell was President and CEO of Rize Inc., a venture capital backed 3D printing startup, from 2014-2017.

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.

portrait of man C. Paul Oberg, E’73, P’18

Co-Founder, The Copley Consulting Group

Mr. C. Paul Oberg is co-founder of The Copley Consulting Group, a software solution provider that helps clients improve business processes with ERP solutions and business analytics. 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. Prior to rejoining Copley, Mr. Oberg was Co-Founder and CEO of EPAC Software Technologies, a leading provider of Enterprise Asset Management software. He has also held senior management positions in management consulting, manufacturing and distribution organizations.

Mr. Oberg holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University and an MBA from Providence College. 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.

portrait of man Donald Parent, E’79

Principal Consultant, Parent Technology Group, LLC

Mr. Donald Parent’s 35+ year engineering career has focused on the design and manufacture of mechanical and electrical products and automated process machines. This includes heaters, air blowers, thermal sensors and mechanical actuators for consumer and industrial appliances, as well as automated process machines of various types. At Parent Technology Group, his current work is focused on engineering consulting and expert witness work relating to: Failure analysis and forensics, fires and explosions, and patents and product development.

Mr. Parent received a 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, Mr. Parent also volunteers as a Capstone Project judge.

portrait of man Stephen Pritchard, E’81

Principal and Co-Founder, Renew Energy Systems

Mr. Stephen Pritchard is 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 Maryland. Mr. Pritchard is a registered Professional Engineer.

picture of man sitting in warehous Robert Sullivan, P’15

President and CEO, AutoGuide Mobile Robots

Mr. Robert Sullivan has over 30 years of experience working in high technology companies ranging from burgeoning start-ups to established multinational corporations. He currently serves as President and CEO of AutoGuide Mobile Robots which designs, develops and manufactures heavy-duty industrial Autonomous Mobile Robots and Automated Guided Vehicles.

Mr. Sullivan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Engineering Management from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He has more than 30 patents, including more than 20 in robotics and automation.

business portrait of man Frank Tempesta, E’62, ME’64

Retired President and CEO, Textron Systems

Mr. Frank Tempesta recently retired as leader of Textron Systems Corporation, a $2B+ company with 6500 employees, which includes six operating units with locations across the US, UK and Australia. Textron Systems has been 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, Mr. Tempesta also served on its Operating Committee and Transformation Leadership Team. Mr. Tempesta was honorably discharged as a Captain in the United States Army in 1967, having served as a company commander in Vietnam and receiving the Bronze Star.

Mr. Tempesta earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University. He is an active member of Northeastern’s Engineering Dean’s Council, The Huntington Society and a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He is also a board member of kSARIA Corp and has previously served on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts High Technology Council and participated in numerous aerospace and defense associations.