Legacy Awards

The University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials is excited to announce the inaugural CCM Legacy Award recipients.

The Legacy Award Recognizes outstanding members of the CCM community that have excelled in research, education, leadership, and innovation in the field of composite materials.

The awarded presentations will be held during the CCM’s 50th Anniversary Alumni Reunion on May 31, 2024, in Newark, DE. Registration for this exciting event is open, click HERE for more information.

Michael Bowman

Michael Bowman

Associate Director, University of Delaware Office of Economic Innovation and Partnership, CEO and President, Delaware Technology Park, State Director for Delaware Small Business Development Center

Mike Bowman has played a key role in the success of the Center for Composite Materials (CCM) for over 40 years. He was a key industry leader in the formation of our industrial consortium, Application of Composite Materials to Industrial Products founded in 1978, and instrumental in the growth of the consortium with a focus on solving industry relevant problems and education of students for the composites industry.

He also served as the chair of the industrial advisory board for CCM’s NSF Engineering Research Center on Composites Manufacturing Science which was one of the first and longest lasting ERCs in the nation.

As Vice President and General Manager of Advanced Materials at DuPont, he provided funding for composites research for decades and has hired dozens of CCM graduates.

In the 1990’s, Mike supported the creation of university-industry-government partnerships with CCM leading national initiatives in composites infrastructure program and the creation of new additive manufacturing processes for aerospace applications of thermoplastic composites using automated tape placement processes. Since 2000, Mike continued his leadership serving as past chair of the college of engineering advisory council and more recently as the Associate Director of the Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships to enhance UD’s and State’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. As CEO and President of the Delaware Technology Part overseeing operations the DTP and STAR Campus, he assisted in the creation of over 150 companies, 16,000 jobs and over $600M of investment and grant funding.

Most recently, Mike has been appointed by President Biden to the White House Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Mike’s legacy has benefited CCM, UD, the State of Delaware, and the Nation through promotion of research, education, industry collaboration and innovation of science and technology.

Jon DeVault

Jon DeVault

Jon started his career in advanced composites in 1969 when Hercules entered the graphite materials business. He served various leadership positions including Manager of Marketing, Vice President Composite Structures, Vice President and General Manager Graphite Materials and Composite Structure and finally President of the Composites Product Group. Jon oversaw the development of many products including intermediate Modulus Carbon Fiber, Toughened Epoxy resin systems and the creation of Fiber Placement Manufacturing Technology.

He is the recipient of SAMPE’s prestigious George Lubin Memorial Award for lifetime contributions to the composite industry and SME’s Judd Hall Composite Manufacturing Award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of composite manufacturing.

Jon became very engaged with the Center for Composite Materials (CCM) in the 1980’s serving as a key member of our industrial consortium. In 1995, Jon spent four years at the Department of Defense (DOD) Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) where he was responsible for planning and implementing a strategy to reduce the cost of polymer matrix composites through a $500M DARPA Affordable Composites Initiative. His programs elevated CCM to national stature and a leader in university-industry-government partnerships.

Jon’s programs with CCM led the nation in the first use of composites for infrastructure renewal creating repair methods for wrapping damaged concrete columns and rehabilitation of corroding steel bridge, the first all-composite bridge on the federal highway system satisfying FHWA and State bridge requirements and the creation of all-carbon fiber composite mobile bridging systems for the ARMY.

DeVault’s programs also pioneered the merger of Hercules tape placement technology for thermoset composites with DuPont’s filament winding process for thermoplastic composites with CCM’s process modeling and simulation and AI based control methods. This program led to the development and commercialization of new tape placement heads for thermoplastic composites meeting aerospace requirements.

Jon’s impact on the composites industry and DOD is significant – he oversaw the development and growth of business for intermediate carbon fiber and created an entirely new manufacturing method for thermoplastic composites that remain in use worldwide. He was instrumental in establishing CCM as a national leader in university-industry-partnerships.

Mick Maher

Mick Maher

Maher & Associates

Mick started his career in the composites industry in 1983 serving as a manufacturing engineer, program manager and business development and planning at Martin Marietta, Dupont, Cytec Fiberite and Middle River Aircraft Systems.

Mick became involved with the Center for Composite Materials (CCM) when he joined the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) serving as Chief of the Materials Application Branch and later as Chief of the Composites and Hybrid Materials Branch. During this period, Mick led several centers of excellence at CCM serving as the cooperative agreement manager focused on basic and applied research topics of importance to the Army mission.

In 2011, Mick became the Program Manager for the Defense Science Office of DARPA where he led the Open Manufacturing Initiative to lower the cost and speed the delivery of high-quality manufactured goods with predictable performance. In this program, CCM’s role successfully developed a rapid automated design and manufacturing cell to produce individually customized and affordable composite passive-dynamic ankle-foot orthoses to aid in the rehabilitation of our Wounded Warriors.

Mick also funded the Tailored Feedstock for Forming program at CCM that has led to the invention and creation of a new Aligned Discontinuous Fiber material called TuFF (Tailored Universal Feedstock for Forming) that retains the performance of continuous fiber composites while offering rapid forming benefits. As part of this program, a pilot facility has been established at CCM converting fibers to parts of interest to the Navy, Air Force, Army, and NASA.

Currently, Mick serves as chair of the external advisory board for our NASA University Leadership Initiative focused on TuFF applications for aerospace and eVTOL components.

Steve McKnight

Steve McKnight

Virginia Tech University, Vice President for Strategic Alliances and Professor Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics

Dr. Steve McKnight is one of the Center for Composite Materials (CCM) most accomplished alumni, receiving his PhD degree in material science and engineering in 1995. After graduation he joined the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) as a Team Leader in the Polymers Research Branch and rapidly ascended to leadership positions as Chief of the Polymer Research Branch, Chief of the Multifunctional Material Branch and Chief of the Materials Division. During this decade, Steve actively engaged the Center for Composite Materials (CCM) in collaborative research with ARL scientists and engineers, an in-house residency program and facilities sharing as part of multiple centers of excellence at CCM.

In 2009, Steve became the Director of the Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division of the National Science Foundation (NSF) where he spearheaded initiatives in advanced manufacturing, overseeing operational, budgetary, and administrative functions while managing a diverse research portfolio spanning twenty engineering programs and cross-disciplinary initiatives.

He joined Virginia Tech as a full professor and Vice President for the National Capital Region in Washington DC and later the Vice President for Strategic Alliances.

In 2022, he assumed leadership potions at the U.S. Department of Energy serving as Director Advanced Manufacturing Office followed by the Senior Advisor for the Office of Buildings and Industry. Throughout his distinguished career, Steve has been a champion for interdisciplinary research and education in composites.

Nancy J. Sottos

Nancy R. Sottos

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Department Head of Materials Science and Engineering, Swanlund Endowed Chair and Center for Advanced Study Professor

Professor Nancy Sottos holds the Maybelle Leland Swanlund Endowed Chair and is Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. The Sottos Group develops polymers and composites capable of self-healing and regeneration, self-reporting, and self-protection to improve reliability and extend material lifetime.

She is leader of the Autonomous Materials Systems (AMS) group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, director of the EFRC on Regenerative Energy Efficient Manufacturing of Thermoset Polymeric Materials (REMAT), and director of the University of Illinois BP International Center for Advanced Materials (ICAM). Nancy is also a co-founder of the start-up companies Autonomous Materials Inc. (AMI) and RapiCure Solutions.

Nancy Sottos, as a Ph.D. student, gained fundamental understanding of the interface science between the resin and the fibers under the advisement of Prof. McCullough, late director of the Center for Composite Materials. “Professor Sottos has gone on to make a huge impact with her discovery of self-healing composites which gained national attention and more recently in vascularized composites and frontal polymerization for rapid manufacturing,” remarked Professor Suresh Advani, Unidel Pierre S. duPont Chair of Engineering and Associate Director of CCM.

He added, “Prof. Sottos is the only person in the composites community I know who has been inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences. This dual accolade is an unparalleled honor, and we all take pride in her remarkable achievements.”