Skip to main content
A portrait of Tony Schmitz inside the Machine Tool Research Center in the Dougherty Engineering Building

Tony Schmitz, professor of mechanical engineering in the Tickle College of Engineering, has received the 2023 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the SEC announced today.

Schmitz’s research focuses on machining dynamics, metrology and additive manufacturing. He has a joint faculty appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is a faculty fellow of the UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute and director of the Machine Tool Research Center.

“Dr. Schmitz’s work not only provides creative solutions for today’s complex industrial challenges, but also prepares the next generation of skilled manufacturing engineers and machinists,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor John Zomchick. “His contributions to student learning and research excellence, as well as his commitment to strengthening both the state and national economy exemplify what it means to be a scholar at a flagship, land-grant university.”

Tony Schmitz works with students on the MELD machine inside the Machine Tool Research Center in the Dougherty Engineering Building
Schmitz works with students on the MELD machine inside the Machine Tool Research Center in the Dougherty Engineering Building.

Since joining UT in 2019, Schmitz has brought in more than $20 million in external support and research funding for a variety of initiatives, including the Hybrid Autonomous Manufacturing, Moving from Evolution to Revolution Engineering Research Center, a multi-institutional National Science Foundation center; America’s Cutting Edge, a workforce development program focusing on training the next generation of machine tooling experts, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and now has a presence in five states; and the Southeastern Advanced Machine Tools Network, a DOD-supported consortium seeking to strengthen the nation’s industrial base.

In 2022, Schmitz created the SEC Machining Competition to help undergraduate and graduate students from multiple SEC schools gain real-world experience using industry-relevant machining equipment in a competitive setting.

Schmitz is particularly proud of the growth and development he sees in his students, like José Nazario, who are prepared to graduate and take on important roles in defining and developing America’s advanced manufacturing industry.

“The U.S. has lost its global leadership position in manufacturing. Our goal is to increase US manufacturing capabilities through a comprehensive education-research-training approach that builds on East Tennessee’s strengths, including UT, ORNL, IACMI [the Composites Institute], Y-12, and industry partners,” Schmitz said.

First presented in 2012 and selected by the SEC provosts, the awards honor one individual from each SEC member university who has excelled in teaching—particularly at the undergraduate level—and research.

To be eligible, the faculty member must have achieved the rank of full professor, have a record of extraordinary teaching, particularly at the undergraduate level, and have a record of research that is recognized nationally or internationally.

Recipients are awarded a $5,000 honorarium from the SEC and become their campus nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year award, which will be announced in April.


Kelsie Crittendon (865-974-0312,