Interim Executive Director
Dr. Simonton is the Interim Executive Director/Associate Executive Director for Academics at UTSI and an Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Tennessee. His current job duties include program academic coordination as well as the Director of Online Education at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. His research interests include project management, systems engineering, operational research, engineering economics, statistical analysis, logistics, lean six-sigma, and quality. His research continues to be involved in alternative energy research in the areas of electrical generation, biomass gas to liquids, and utilization of stranded or flared natural gases. Resulting from his work in biomass and natural gas to liquid, he has several patents in alternative energy-related areas.
Senior Director for Space and Defense Programs
Dr. LaMattina is the Senior Director for Space and Defense Programs at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI), an internationally recognized graduate education and research institution located in Middle Tennessee adjacent to the U.S. Airforce Arnold Engineering Development Center. Prior to accepting the UTSI appointment he served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Research Initiatives from 2019 to February, 2021 at UT Knoxville.
Before joining the UT family, he served in the same position at The University of North Carolina. Dr. LaMattina has more than 25 years of experience spanning academia, government, and corporate research and defense. He is a creative leader with a strong background in strategic planning, resource management, tech transfer, and workforce development that unites partners from diverse backgrounds to form successful teams that advance research and development with maximum impact. He specializes in research and development, proposal development, teaching and advising, program manager, strategic planning, and more. His technical strengths include manufacturing, solid mechanics, composite materials, and computational modeling, and is an author of over 25 journal articles including two book chapters, one edited book, two journal special issues, numerous conference publications, and more than 25 invited talks.
Dr. LaMattina earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of North Carolina and his MS and BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware.