Jack Lesko, professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 1994, Lesko’s research has focused on materials development and manufacturing, and structural design, reliability, and durability. His work resulted in new composite technologies for highway bridges with the first composite bridge in Virginia installed over the Toms Creek Road and has been in service since 1997.  He has obtained more than $23 million in research funding and has published more than 160 peer-reviewed articles. His work has engaged several university departments, including chemistry, physics, civil engineering, and chemical engineering, with applications in civil infrastructure, aerospace, naval structures, and desalination membranes.

Lesko has supported and helped to lead the College of Engineering’s outreach efforts in technology transfer and entrepreneurship, development, and the establishment of international relationships. He was a leading architect of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center and served as the interim director from 2017 to 2019. He also served seven years on the board of directors of the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which was formed as part of a broader statewide initiative to attract Rolls-Royce to Virginia. Lesko has worked to expand faculty engagement with advanced manufacturing research through the partnership.

His work in the dean’s office included the development of the New Horizon Graduate Scholars program and expansion of VT’s presence in the National GEM Consortium which has increased the diversity of the graduate engineering programs.  This program established a multiyear offer system and programing designed to build community among a diverse graduate body.  Through these efforts he also led the development of a faculty-graduate student research mentoring program.  The effort spun out the Graduate Student Success in Multicultural Environments (GSSME) course developed by the Dept of Engineering Education for all COE graduate students formalizing mentor training.

At Virginia Tech, he has been a faculty member in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, the Department of Bioengineering and Mechanics, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering; he has served as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering; and he has served as a faculty administrative fellow and special assistant to the Office of the Vice President for Research.

In the classroom, Lesko has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses ranging across the engineering mechanics curriculum. In addition, he has advised numerous graduate students and has helped them develop successful careers in both academic and industrial settings.

Lesko has recently joined the Roux Institute of Northeastern University as the Director of Engineering Research in Portland, Maine. 

Lesko received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.

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