In one of the programs that Greg Mocko oversees at Clemson University, students from across the country are challenged to design, manufacture, test and fly a hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicle.

It’s a project aimed at resembling how Boeing assembles Dreamliners in North Charleston and is an example of the innovative, industry-focused experiences that Mocko is bringing to his new role at Clemson.

Studio portrait of Greg Mocko

Greg Mocko

Mocko, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, began serving Oct. 1 as the new director of Clemson’s advanced manufacturing track.

The track allows mechanical engineering undergraduates to take a curriculum specially tailored to prepare them for professions in advanced manufacturing, a cornerstone of the South Carolina economy.

Mocko was welcomed to the job by Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

“Dr. Mocko is highly regarded as a leader in mentoring students and in creating innovative programs that give students the opportunity to participate in multidisciplinary, hands-on experiences that prepare them for careers,” Jones said. “I congratulate him and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Angie Leidinger, Clemson’s vice president for external affairs, said that Mocko will help supply the state’s advanced manufacturing industry with top talent.

“South Carolina’s advanced manufacturers need technologically savvy leaders to continue innovating, growing and creating new jobs,” she said. “Dr. Mocko will play an important role in developing the programs and providing the resources that shape students into creative, career-ready professionals.”

Mocko has extensive experience in bringing industry perspectives to the classroom.

The unmanned aerial vehicle project involves teams of students and faculty  who are distributed at 10 universities nationwide and have backgrounds in a variety of engineering disciplines. 

Students are required to work across boundaries to identify a customer mission, create a detailed design, and manufacture and test their solution. Teams ultimately integrate the subsystems and meet in Charleston to perform final assembly and perform test flights at an Academy of Model Aeronautics airfield.

In a separate project in 2016, Mocko led a collaboration with Michelin North America and the University of South Carolina to create “One SC To Sustain.” The project gave students a chance to improve sustainability in the tire industry and work across institutions and disciplines.

Mocko has also been deeply involved in the mechanical engineering capstone design program. Each senior who is majoring in mechanical engineering works on a team project inspired by industry needs.

Daniel Noneaker, associate dean for research at Clemson, said that Mocko is well positioned for success.

“Dr. Mocko has deep experience in bringing together academia and industry to create impactful research experiences for students,” Noneaker said. “These experiences provide students with a taste of what it’s like to work in a real-world setting and often opens pathways to exciting careers.”

Mocko serves as the faculty advisor for Jansen Family Emerging Scholars and the advisor for the Clemson University student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  He won the mechanical engineering department’s Ken Roby Advising Award in 2008.

“He is both enthusiastic and well poised, making him the right person to take this program to the next level,” said Atul Kelkar, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. 

As director of the advanced manufacturing track, Mocko organizes and coordinates the infrastructure required to support synergistic activity within mechanical engineering programs as related to the advanced manufacturing senior track on Clemson’s main campus and at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville.

He also serves as the lead for the mechanical engineering education effort for the advanced manufacturing track. Mocko’s role focuses first on mechanical engineering students.

Mocko’s efforts will align with the Clemson University Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which aims to create a vibrant advanced manufacturing environment through education, research and innovation.

Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, congratulated Mocko on his new role.

“Dr. Mocko brings a fresh perspective and a rich background in connecting students and industry, using innovative advanced manufacturing programs as the bridge,” he said. “He is also highly regarded by his students and his colleagues. With Dr. Mocko in the pilot’s seat, the advanced manufacturing track is well positioned for success.”