Nagi to join ARI as Interim Director

Rakesh Nagi has been named interim director of the Illinois Applied Research Institute (ARI) in University of Illinois’ Research Park.

A lover of academics, Nagi says he has always been an engineer at heart. During his introduction to ARI faculty and staff, Nagi recounts taking his bicycle apart as a child and rebuilding it to better understand engineering principles. He hopes to bring that lifelong enthusiasm with him to ARI.

“My vision is your vision. I want to go wherever ARI wants to go,” said Nagi regarding his interim role. “I am here to help and ready for us to work together. Once we recognize who we are, we can organize ourselves for excellence and begin to demonstrate our success to our community. I want to ensure ARI is happy, highly functional, and successful.”

“Illinois is amazing—we cannot deny that. We create knowledge for the greater good.”

In regard to the research ARI does, Nagi says the organization plays a unique role in what he calls the ‘knowledge supply chain.’ “We have to work together with student researchers and professors on campus to have a successful knowledge of something. [ARI’s] translational research fills an important void as it considers things that others do not.”

Since August 2013, Nagi has been part of the University serving as the active head of the Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering department within the College of Engineering at Illinois on the Urbana-Champaign campus. Nagi is also a Donald Biggar Willett Professor.

Nagi received his M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1991) degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park. From 1993-2013, he was a Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University at Buffalo and served as Chair of the department for six years (2006-2012). He is a Fellow of the Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineers (formerly IIE) and an NSF CAREER Award winner.

Nagi will be replacing former ARI director Jeff Binder.

Binder recently accepted an associate laboratory director for Energy and Global Security at Argonne National Laboratory, part of the United States Department of Energy.

For media inquiries, please contact Blake Herrman.