Bill Fortney

Eastern Regional Director for Engr / Teaching Ast Prof in MAE

Dr. Fortney was trained in advanced manufacturing at Purdue University and received his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee. At UT, Fortney’s research focused on systems approaches to organizational improvement and after graduation he utilized Systems Engineering to design and install automated manufacturing systems for MasterBrand Cabinets. Fortney’s Systems Engineering work at MasterBrand’s Crossville, TN plant resulted in a system called “the rough mill of the future” and was featured in the November 1996 issue of Wood & Wood Products. His other roles at MasterBrand included corporate industrial engineering manager and general manager of Kinston, NC Facility. As general manager, Fortney used a Systems Engineering approach to design, create and operate all aspects (human resources, production control, manufacturing) of a new 600,000 Ft2 cabinet facility.

Since MasterBrand, Fortney has been with North Carolina State University developing a new site-based engineering program focused on the unique needs of the Fleet Readiness Center East Research and Engineering Group for the Naval Air Systems Command. His ABET Accredited Mechanical Engineering Systems (MES) BSE program now provides NAVAIR with a steady stream of highly qualified mechanical engineers for their Havelock, NC facility. While creating the MES program, Fortney has spent the last ten years developing techniques to teach System Engineering to undergraduate mechanical engineering students. He has imbedded these techniques within a junior level project based course where students learn and experience the System Engineering approach and within his MES capstone design course.

His twenty minute overview of how the systems perspective and traditional design philosophies together provide students with a powerful set of tools for real world problem solving can be found here.

Outside of work, Fortney enjoys serving at church with his wife and playing with his many grandchildren.


Ph.D. 1994

Industrial Engineering

University of Tennessee

M.S. 1985

Industrial Engineering

Purdue University

B.S. 1983

Industrial Engineering

Tennessee Technological University

Research Description

Helping undergraduate students 1) internalize a systems approach to problem solving and 2) develop the technical savvy and personal traits required to excel in a professional engineering environment.