Industrial Advisory Board

Kemba Solomon


Application Engineering Administrator/Manager

American Honda Motor Co

Atlanta, GA



Muneer Chowdhury

Muneer Chowdhury

Energy and Environmental Efficiency Manager

Bridgestone Americas, Inc.

Nashville, TN

Biosketch: As an Energy and Environmental Efficiency Manager of Bridgestone Americas, Muneer Chowdhury exabit his strengths in management, leadership, problem solving, and planning ensured for the overall direction, coordination, execution of facilitating the Bridgestone America’s energy, quality, and environmental requirements and ensure compliance regarding global regulation, also capital portfolio execution and Engineering functional excellence. He has been proven hands-on experienced in large Manufacturing industries in different disciplines of Engineering, Project Management and Regulatory Compliances fields. Skilled in mentoring and coaching technical and non-technical teammates with had proven ability to transfer technical knowledge and skills to all levels. Ability to handle multiple tasks in a rapidly changing environment.He has been working with nationally recognized energy experts in US Department of Energy (DOE), Oakridge National Lab (ORNL), and several companies like 3M, GE, GM, Toyota, Alcoa, and Nissan. Working with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for environmental regulatory compliance and “Energy Star” program for Bridgestone sustainability initiatives. Successfully managing a Multi Million Dollars Bridgestone Americas Energy and Environmental Strategic Fund (BAEESF). In 2008 he Leads a team who Initiated, designed, and completed a LEED (Silver) certification project for a 20 years old tire plant in Tennessee for the first time in the world and received Bridgestone’s highest “Global Award”.As a global company, Bridgestone announced last year an absolute CO2 emission reduction goal of 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 and he has been playing a leadership role at Bridgestone Americas (BSAM) CO2 emission reduction and energy efficiency improvement. Working on Solar and wind projects implementation throughout BSAM by introducing onsite capital projects and alternative procurement process like PPA and VPPA. Leading BSAM Energy Steering Committee and part of a leadership team of BSAM Energy Strategic committee. Represented Bridgestone Americas to DOE initiated “Better Plants” program and one of the ten original signatory’s members at Washington DC. Also joined DOE initiated SEEA (South East Energy Alliance) program for Bridgestone Americas and served as a founding member for the sub-committee on Policy and Technology. Serving as a Board Member for US Department of Energy (DOE) Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Advisory Board and Frequently participate as a guest speaker at Vanderbilt Owens Executive MBA Class for last 8 years.BS in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 1986. Married for last 27 years and proud parents of three wonderful children.


Geoffrey Nwankwo, M.S., MBA

Geoffrey Nwankwo 

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

ALPHA Oilwell Technologies, LTD

Smyrna, TN

Biosketch: Mr. Nwankwo is renowned for his dynamic leadership and management career with diversified technical & management training and experience in global, billion-dollar organizations with a rich mix of project planning, scope management, risk analysis, project execution, forecasting, personnel management, marketing, and sales in enterprise operations. He is an expert in managing complex enterprise projects comprising multidisciplinary teams in a rapidly changing environment. Mr. Nwankwo has excellent interpersonal skills and cross-functional team interactions coupled with effective leadership and management abilities. He is an action-taker in respond to operational and technical challenges with confidence, determination, and focus. He lives and works in multiple countries therefore understand the importance and benefits of diversified team experiences.


Fred C. Higgs III, Ph.D. 

Fred Higgs

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and The John & Ann Doerr Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Joint Professor with the Bioengineering Department, The Faculty Director of the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL)

Rice  University

Houston, TX

Biosketch:  Dr. Higgs is the John & Ann Doerr Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University, where he is also the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. He is also a Joint Professor with the Bioengineering Department, and the Faculty Director of the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL). Prior to Rice, he was a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) from 2003-2016, where he was the thrust leader of powder mechanics in their Next Manufacturing Center. He is a member of the ASME Tribology Executive Committee and an Associate Editor for the STLE Tribology Transactions journal. His Particle Flow & Tribology Laboratory (PFTL) conducts coordinated high-performance computing and high-fidelity experimentation to predict the behavior of applications with particle media in sliding contacts (tribology), such as additive manufacturing. A Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), he is the past recipient of an NSF CAREER ‘Young Investigator’ award, and the ASME Burt L. Newkirk award (given annually to a single tribology innovator under age 40). Professor Higgs has published over 100 archival papers ranging from Nature Materials to the Journal of Tribology, while generating significant licensable IP in concert. Since 2004, he has been the research advisor to over 120 undergraduate, 30 Masters, 18 doctoral, and 5 postdoctoral research students. He has been married for 16 years, where he and his wife have three children ages 10 and under.