Early Years, 1967-1986
David Kazmer was born on the east side of Cleveland, OH in 1967. From these formative years, he recalls beautiful sunsets associated with high levels of pollution in the atmosphere, soot deposited on the west side of his garage, and high levels of unemployment and poverty associated with declining manufacturing industries. David's father, Andrew, was a management consultant specializing in mergers and acquisitions of small and medium-sized manufacturing firms while his mother, Dawn, was a trained educator and capable administrator. These early experiences fueled core values regarding the need for manufacturing for wealth creation in concert with environmental protection.
David was fortunate to attend Hawken School, receive a rigorous classical education, and develop strong friendships enduring to this day. He excelled at computer science, beginning programming at 9 years of age on a TRS-80 computer and entering Carnegie Mellon's Early Acceptance program his junior year of high school. He attended the summer session at Carnegie Mellon but believed a career in computer science in front of a green phosphor terminal would be too dull, and so then returned for his senior year at Hawken. While he had played varsity soccer since his sophomore year under his mentor/idol John Tottenham, he was benched by a new coach who was trying to develop a younger team. The player replacing David was later discovered smoking marijuana with the new coach and both were dismissed from Hawken. Still, David was an active player and received Hawken's Coaches' Award, given to that athlete who best exemplifies the school's motto of "Fair Play" towards enabling the mission of the school: that each generation lead the next to a higher plane of life.
In his senior year at Hawken, David worked as a Sears Roebuck catalog telephone operator in a call center, and was invited to Sears management training program. He declined, and subsequently quit once realizing that the fuel and maintenance costs on a Economize van required more that half his hourly wage. He began working for himself, earning $15/hour for database programming in 1985. As a senior project, he took on his first engineering project in designing a flying cut-off shear for reciprocating sawing of continuous roll-formed product. He realized at the end of his senior project that the designs were unsafe and asked them not to be used... he later found out that his direct supervisor had falsified his credentials and so was unable to evaluate errors in the design.
The formal training and informal experiences during these early years provided rigorous thinking and core values that underlay much of his career.
John Tottenham at Hawken (circa 1995), Idol/Mentor
Orttech International Clutch Brake, Used in Designing Flying Cutoff Shears for Continuous Roll Formed Tubing
Early Career, 1986-2002
David Kazmer enrolled in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. Still unsure of the major in view of his computer science experience at Carnegie Mellon, he took liberal arts courses in Psychology and Philosophy as alternative majors. He found that his intuition in these majors was often wrong, and quickly decided to remain in Mechanical Engineering. He worked part-time in Cornell's Plasma Lab of High Energy Physics assisting in instrumentation and experimentation, as well as in Cornell's Theory Center performing 3D animation and visualization of surgery. He was fortunate to study under his advisor, Ken Torrance, a heat/fluids dynamist; Dean Taylor, a leading researcher and educator in computer-aided design (CAD); as well as KK Wang, founder of the Cornell Injection Molding Program.
In 1988, David took a coop position at GE Plastics in their Advanced Application Engineering program led by Gerry Trantina and Mark Minnichelli. There, he performed polymer processing and structural design simulations on state-of-the-art mainframes and supercomputers. After graduating from Cornell, he entered General Electrics' Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) Leadership Program, starting as a Mechanical Engineer within the Solid Mechanics lab of GE's Corporate Research and Development Center. Concurrently, he enrolled in the master's thesis program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and completed his thesis related to radial flow in injection molding. He then transferred to GE Plastics' headquarters in Pittsfield, MA where he worked as a Product and Process Development Engineer. He attended GE Crotonville's Corporate Leadership Program, but was discouraged by GE's lack of value of human resources. For this reason, he took a leave of absence and ultimately resigned.
While contemplating a leave from GE, David Kazmer had learned of Stanford University's Future Professor of Manufacturing (FPM) program and applied. In April of 1992, he received a phone call from Phil Barkan, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Professor at Stanford who had also worked at GE on electromagnetohydrodynamics. Phil's warm voice and encouraging message solidified the decision to attend Stanford. At Stanford under Phil's advising, David researched the interplay between product design and process development, leading to the development of Dynamic Feed Control for injection molding. He was encouraged to join the ASME Design for Manufacturing Technical Committee by his mentor Kos Ishii, a former Toshiba employee and a pioneer in Design for Manufacturing. While at Stanford, David continued his GE relationship at GE Plastics' Commercial Development Center in Pleasanton, California, serving as a Technology Programs Manager to support Apple, Hewlett Packard, and other GE customers while also performing molding experiments for his doctoral research.
Phil and Kos encouraged David to interview at UMass Amherst for Geoffrey Boothroyd's former position to work with other design research faculty including Corrado Poli, Jack Dixon, Jim Rinderle, Sundar Krishnamuthy, and Ian Grosse. His appointment began September 1, 1995, and he taught courses related to capstone design, systems design, manufacturing process design, and lean manufacturing. Concurrently, he consulted with Russell Speight at Moldflow on the development of Intelligent Process Control for injection molding as well as with Mark Moss' team at Dynisco/Synventive on the commercialization of a Dynamic Feed Control system.
David Kazmer was fortunate to win several research grants and awards, subsequently being promoted early to Associate Professor with tenure. Missing the resources and faster pace of industry, however, he took a leave of absence from UMass Amherst in 2001 to serve as Director of Research and Development for Dynisco/Synventive. The position proved limiting compared to academia, and so David Kazmer with the support of Nick Schott and Robert Malloy requested the UMass Board of Trustees to transfer the locus of his tenure from Amherst to Lowell's renowned Department of Plastics Engineering. David Kazmer joined the faculty at UMass Lowell in January, 2002.
Professor KK Wang of Cornell Injection Molding Program (CIMP), Mentor
Phil Barkan (1925-1996), Advisor and Friend
Professor Kos Ishii (1958-2009), Mentor and Friend
Upon joining the faculty at UMass Lowell, David Kazmer taught courses related to plastic part design, injection mold design, process control, and manufacturing strategy. He continued to perform plastics research supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and industry; most of the plastics research projects described on this web site were performed during this period. Also during this time, he has authored the books Injection Mold Design Engineering and Plastics Manufacturing Systems Engineering, which are widely used in plastics engineering curricula.
Given Lowell's focus on linking theory and practice in engineering, he increased his research into engineering education, joining a learning community Thinking With Things (led by Sarah Kuhn) and becoming an active researcher in Service-Learning (led by John Duffy). He later Chaired the ASEE's Northeast Regional Engineering Education Conference and, upon John Duffy's retirement, was co-investigator in the NSF's Engineering Faculty Engagement in Learning Through Service (EFELTS) project. He implemented Service-Learning extensively in his courses, and taught the Introduction to Engineering course to all incoming engineering students.
Perhaps because of this leadership, David Kazmer was asked to serve as Associate Dean for the College of Engineering (COE) starting in January, 2011. In this role, he performed a needs analysis of the COE with input from faculty and staff, developed one-way and two-way articulation agreements with community colleges, analyzed curricula and COE performance, developed the Biomedical Engineering Minor and Energy Engineering Minor with broad faculty consensus, developed UML's current doctoral RA/TA funding model, and facilitated the COE's accreditation (ABET) review with 12 supporting organizations. However, David's core values and leadership style (emphasizing open sharing of information and strategic consensus building) conflicted with those of the upper administration (emphasizing control of information and ad hoc access to "elite" resources). David had already given notice to resign in June, 2012 but was asked to resign in April, 2012 over an open dispute regarding faculty resourcing relative to student enrollments.
Around the time of his office move, David herniated two discs L4-L5 and L5-S1 with extreme pain and hallucinations lasting more than a week. While the trauma is believed to have been caused by improper lifting of underlayment during remodeling of a bathroom, the injuries were complicated by heavy lifting and subsequent falls while being injured and moving his office. From 2012-2014, he silently grieved in constant pain due to sciatica, reflecting on (and praying for) wisdom. In the words of his former Dean John Ting, David still suffers from "trying to do too much" for he knows that time flies and there is still so much more to give.
Professor Sarah Kuhn, Founder of Thinking With Things Faculty Learning Community
Professor John Duffy, Founder of Service-Learning Integrated throughout a College of Engineering (SLICE)
Late Career, 2016-
In April of 2016, Dean Joseph Hartman of the COE asked David Kazmer to serve as Chair of the Department of Plastics Engineering, with a unanimous vote of support by the faculty. While he welcomes the possibility of another faculty member serving as Chair, he has committed to serving with his core values of diligence and integrity. As incoming Chair of the Plastics Engineering Department, he thanks Bob Malloy for all his work and leadership. He has known Bob since at least 1991, having been introduced by colleagues at GE Plastics who were UMass Lowell alums. Bob has done many remarkable things including continuous, significant lab renovations as well as leadership with the design of the Saab Emerging Technology Center; formalizing and increasing the Department's endowments and coop program; and significant growth in our enrollments. Bob’s leadership in the industry is well known, and it is largely because of Bob that David moved the locus of his tenure from Amherst to Lowell in 2002.
While it is not possible to replace Bob, the Department of Plastics Engineering is very well situated for the years ahead as plastics continue to provide technological, environmental, and economic advantages. Plastics will remain vital to our well-being across supply chains for civilian and military applications, from commodity to advanced manufacturing technology levels. The Plastics Engineering Department including our community of faculty, staff, students, alums, industry, and other friends are at a critical junction for our department. The Department peaked at 21 faculty members in 2010 with many subsequent retirements (Nunn, Deanin, Schott, Tayebi, Orroth, Petrie, and now Malloy) with another five faculty members expected to retire in the next half to three years (Grossman, Crugnola, Huang, Lai, and Driscoll). Student enrollments have doubled in the past few years, research productivity remains high, and the Department leads the University with respect to industry outreach, technology leadership, alumni/endowment, and many other areas. Accordingly, hiring and faculty development are and will continue to be of strategic importance.
While David Kazmer remains a faculty member and will continue to perform teaching and research, he views his role as Chair as one of a servant, a facilitator to help our constituents succeed. The Department’s success is distinguished by the ongoing involvement and support of our broader community. Please provide your thoughts, and we will discuss them with the faculty, students, and the industrial advisory board. If you know of ways that you can contribute, please contact him directly through the contact form or you can reach out to us at . This email account is shared by the administrative team, and provides a mechanism for logging and responding to department business, from student help to alumni events.