Q&A with New Academic Director of Professional Master’s in Manufacturing Leadership

Dr. Krista Walton shares her views on the program and her new role

July 12, 2018 | By Gordana Goudie
Snapshot of factory in motion

Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) has appointed Krista S. Walton, Ph.D. as academic director of the Professional Master’s in Manufacturing Leadership (PMML).

Dr. Walton is Professor and Robert “Bud” Moeller Faculty Fellow at the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the College of Engineering. She is also director of Georgia Tech’s Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC), the Center for Understanding and Control of Acid Gas-Induced Evolution of Materials for Energy (UNCAGE-ME).    

“With PMML in its third year, Dr. Walton has precisely the expertise, background, and approach needed to provide engineers with a high-end, holistic education designed to position them for leadership roles in manufacturing,” said Dr. Leo Mark, GTPE’s associate dean of academic programs. “She brings a unique combination of academic research and industry experience to the program, having worked extensively with industry to address key research problems.” 

As academic director of PMML, Dr. Walton will focus on expanding the program’s industrial connections and building a robust community of learners, faculty members, and industry partners in which innovation can thrive.

In a recent interview, she shared her views on the program and her role as academic director.

Why do you think PMML is an important program for engineers in the manufacturing industry?

PMML brings together a unique combination of coursework and projects to provide working engineers with the skill set to quickly rise through the leadership ranks in advanced manufacturing. 

What are you most excited about in your role as academic director of PMML? What do you see as the future of the program?

The research enterprise at Georgia Tech has long benefitted from strong partnerships with industry. As the academic director of PMML, I am excited about expanding these industrial connections to create the next engineering leaders in advanced manufacturing while fostering new and enduring relationships. Being in its third year, PMML has tremendous growth opportunity, and I’m looking forward to working with talented engineers to help them fulfill their leadership potential. 

What is your message to current and prospective learners in this program? What would you like them to know about the program and about you?

This program provides the perfect fusion of engineering faculty-led experiences with the diverse skill sets of professional engineers to create a unique business-focused engineering degree. It is an exciting opportunity for working engineers to expand their skill set and knowledge base, work alongside world-class faculty, and collaborate with other emerging leaders in the field. As a faculty member, I have over a decade of experience partnering with industry to tackle important research problems, and I’m a strong believer that these connections between academia and industry are crucial for accomplishing true innovation.

Dr. Walton’s assumes her role as academic director of PMML effective immediately, succeeding Dr. Norman Marsolan of the Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI), who retired from Georgia Tech earlier this year. Dr. Marsolan was PMML’s first academic director and played an essential role in establishing the program.

For more information, see Dr. Walton’s bio and find out about the Professional Master’s in Manufacturing Leadership.