Delivering Manufacturing Innovation

NCDMM Honors John VanKirk with the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award

LATROBE, PA – May 2, 2012. The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) announced today that it has awarded their highest honor, the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award, to John S. VanKirk.

John has been an integral part of the NCDMM since its inception and it is for this reason we honor him today. Not only was he part of the original team tasked to stand up the Center back in 2003, but he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2003-2006, and ultimately assumed the position of President and Executive Director in August 2006. John remained in that position until May 2011 when he was called back to Kennametal Inc. to lead its Aerospace and Defense division.

“John’s leadership, collaboration abilities, and devotion to the advancement of innovative manufacturing technologies have been evident in the more than nine years he has been associated with the Center. His vision has continued to drive the Center to provide the technology that keeps or warfighters safe,” stated Ralph Resnick. “We are especially proud of John and know that Larry Rhoades would have more than approved of our choice.”

John has over 25 years of experience in product and process development and ten years in various organic and inorganic business development roles. Mr. VanKirk holds numerous patents for various material compositions, as well as tool holder designs. He has served as the Vice Chair and Secretary for the NDIA Manufacturing Division, and as Director for DSN Innovations, the Economic Growth Connection in Greensburg, PA, the Westmoreland/Fayette Workforce Investment Board, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, the Manufacturing Engineering Advisory Board of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Board of the Refractory Metals Association, and the Technology Issues Committee of the Association for Manufacturing Technology.

The Lawrence J. Rhoades Award was established to honor the memory of Mr. Rhoades whose entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to the advancement of manufacturing processes was known industry-wide. Mr. Rhoades was one of the founding fathers of the NCDMM, and an inaugural member of the Board of Directors where he served until his untimely death in 2007.

The NCDMM delivers optimized manufacturing solutions that enhance the quality, affordability, maintainability, and rapid deployment of existing and yet-to-be developed defense systems. This is accomplished through collaboration with government, industrial, and academic organizations to promote the implementation of best practices to key stakeholders through the development and delivery of disciplined training, advanced technologies, and methodologies.