Laine Mears Avatar

Laine Mears

SmartState Prof. of Auto. Mfg.

25+ years in manufacturing (both industry and academic careers). I am excited about the evolutions I have seen and been a part of in manufacturing, and about helping to define the future, especially fostering the human side of manufacturing.


Dean’s Professor, Automotive Engineering  
Clemson University, August 2015 to Present, Greenville, South Carolina United States
• Graduate Program Coordinator, Automotive Engineering. • Departmental lead on manufacturing activities and programs. • Director, Okuma Education Partner Center (

Associate Professor, Automotive Engineering  
Clemson University, August 2012 to July 2015, Greenville, SC United States
• Founded Automotive Engineering department at Clemson: Part of a team on curriculum development, industrial interaction, and strategy setting. • Head outreach activities for K-12 STEM Education.

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering  
Clemson University, July 2006 to July 2012, Clemson, SC United States
• Conduct research in machining, real-time manufacturing control and automation. • Teach Manufacturing Process Modeling and Selection, Automation Integration, Automotive Manufacturing Processes, and Vehicle Production Preparation.

Graduate Research Assistant  
Georgia Institute of Technology, January 2004 to May 2006, Atlanta, Georgia United States
Research Sponsors: The Timken Company, National Instruments • Develop a machine and control system to automatically detect and center bearing rings for measurement or machining in real-time manufacturing (Ph.D. Project). • Create self-adapting system that learns about its environment and modifies its control scheme based on this knowledge. • Set up distributed communication data structure between deterministic hardware and user interface computer utilizing a Local-Area Network. • Couple motion control and data collection requirements in overall system design.

Assistant Engineering Manager  
Hitachi Unisia, January 2003 to December 2003, Monroe, GA United States
• Accountable for engineering operations for US auto customers (7 products). • Responsible for one engineer and two supervisors, 4 manufacturing lines. • Primary engineering representative for customer audits and customer engineering. • Liaison to customer for planning activities and defect analysis resolution.

Senior Project Engineer  
Hitachi Unisia, October 1999 to December 2002, Monroe, GA United States
• Lead implementation of new product programs, including product design input (Design for Manufacturing), process design, quality planning, equipment specification, line qualification and component supplier evaluations. • Headed introduction of two new Big 3 automotive customers to the company. • Company interface for construction of new 120,000 ft2 manufacturing facility. • Chaired Safety Kaizen team to promote improvements and OSHA compliance.

Manufacturing Unit Manager  
SKF USA Inc., January 1998 to September 1999, Flowery Branch, GA United States
(Manufacturing & Processing)
• Responsible and accountable for performance of three manufacturing channels. • Analyze performance and cost data to drive organization improvement. • Staff of sixty line personnel, engineers, and managers.

Manufacturing Engineer  
SKF USA Inc., August 1993 to December 1997, Flowery Branch, GA United States
(Manufacturing & Processing)
• Design, install and start up new cold rolling manufacturing process. • Installed Statistical Process Control systems and trained personnel in analysis. • Led improvement team in downtime reduction activities. • Designed grinding and rolling machine tooling (parametric design in AutoCAD).


Georgia Inst of Technology  
Doctor of Philosophy, Mechanical Engineering, Jan, 2002 to May, 2006
• General Motors Manufacturing Scholar (2005-2006) • Best Presentation Award, International Conf. on Agility, Helsinki (2005) • American Society for Quality Joe D. Simmons Scholar (2004) • Completed Manufacturing Education Program (MEP) certificate.

Georgia Inst of Technology  
Master Of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Aug, 1997 to Aug, 2001

Virginia Poly Inst & State Univ  
Bachelor Of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Sep, 1988 to May, 1993


  • Professional Engineer
    State of Georgia (PE030834)
    March 2006
  • Certified Manufacturing Engineer
    SME (11820235)
    September 2014
  • Certified Quality Engineer
    ASQ (36420)
    October 1997


Microstructure-Enhanced Sinter Bonding of Metal Injection Molded (MIM) Parts to Solid Substrate  (8871355)    
Inventors: Laine Mears, Thomas Martens.  Issued October 28, 2014  in United States

Novel joining method using combined powdered metal sintering with bonding to wrought substrate; specific strength similar to brazing.


Dean’s Professorship
(2015 - 2018) Selected by college for inaugural fellowship ($15k per year)

MTConnect Challenge First Prize
(2014) Advisor for student winner of US Dept. of Defense / National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining MTConnect Challenge Part II First Prize

Best Paper Award, 3rd place
(2014) ASME Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference

George Stephenson Gold Medal
(2013) Institute of Mechanical Engineers (UK)

McQueen Quattlebaum Faculty Achievement Award
(2013) Clemson University College of Engineering and Science, highest distinction awarded by the College to engineering faculty; recognizes Engineering leadership

SAGE Best Paper Prize
(2012) Journal of Engineering Manufacture

Award for Faculty Excellence
(2012) Clemson University Board of Trustees

Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award
(2011) Society of Automotive Engineers

Award for Faculty Excellence
(2011) Clemson University Board of Trustees

Young Researcher Award for Excellence in Scientific Research
(2011) South Carolina Governor’s Office

Best Organizer of Symposium and Sessions (BOSS)
(2011) ASME Manufacturing Engineering Division

(2010) National Science Foundation

Collaboration Award
(2010) Clemson University College of Engineering and Science; recognizing outstanding interdepartmental collaboration.