From the inception of the Forging Industry Educational and Research Foundation (FIERF), the endowed professorship in the department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Colorado School of Mines (CSM) has been held by Dr. Chester Van Tyne. The idea for this endowed professorship was conceived in the late 1980s to grow the relationship between FIERF and Colorado School of Mines to support the forging industry through education, research and service.

After 28 years, Van Tyne is retiring. During his tenure Van Tyne became known to many in the forging industry as a friend, professor, leader of forging tours for students of CSM’s Forging and Forming courses, frequent contributor to FORGE, collaborator and advisor within the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center (ASPPRC), curriculum coordinator of FIA’s popular Die Design Schools, and representative of the North American forging industry at many technical conferences locally and internationally. 

“It has been a true honor to serve as the FIERF professor for the last 28 years,” Van Tyne said. “As I reflect on this time, I have come to realize how special the forging industry is. Although the ability to transform metal into useful shapes and produce components with high performance are truly hallmarks of the industry, the real special aspect that comes to mind is the people in our industry whom I have come to know. From my students at CSM, to operators and engineers in the FIA classes, to owners and managers of forging facilities, to colleagues who I have worked with, to the staff at FIERF and FIA, and to past and present Board Members of FIERF, it has been a true delight to get to know them and the work they do to make life better for people. To me it has been the people in forging that make the industry so special and truly has made my career so great.”

Even as Van Tyne leaves the FIERF professorship and CSM, his influence will live on in the next FIERF professor.

Dr. Kester Clarke recently joined CSM as an assistant professor of metallurgical and materials engineering, engaging in research with the ASPPRC and the Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys. Kester received his PhD in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from CSM in 2008. The advisor for his thesis work on induction heating of steel was Van Tyne. During his graduate studies, Kester served as a FIERF Fellow (2005-2006), presented a paper at the 2007 Forging Industry Technology Conference and contributed to a paper for the 2008 International Forging Congress presented by Van Tyne. After completing his doctorate, Kester worked briefly for Caterpillar before joining Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he most recently served as the technical lead for deformation and thermal-processing capabilities for the MST-6 Forming and Machining team. He is currently a visiting scientist.

The Executive Committee of FIERF’s Board met with Michael Kaufman, Dean of Applied Science and Engineering, Van Tyne and Clarke on CSM’s campus August.

FIERF President Paul Dennis said, “I want to thank Chet for his nearly three decades of selfless service to the forging industry. Chet has been and will continue to be a great friend to the industry. Chet and FIERF formed a partnership that serves as the foundation for our magnet school program, in which key universities work closely with our industry. He has outlined a seamless transition to Kester, who, along with FIERF, look forward to further enhancing the relationship between education, research and industry.”

Clarke is ready to take on the role.

“As a former FIERF Forging Fellow, it is especially exciting to be named as the second FIERF professor at CSM,” Clarke said. “As FIERF professor, it is important to continue to strengthen ties between the forging industry and academia and promote forging education at CSM and across academia. Having a strong foundation built by Professor Van Tyne will be invaluable in my work to continue strong research efforts toward technological transfer to industry and to develop future generations of talented students with interest in the forging industry. I hope to use my experiences with deformation processing of metals in academia, industry and at national laboratories to provide insights into the development of technologies and materials understanding to support the forging industry. I am eagerly looking forward to working with the Foundation and FIA for many years to come.”