Gerald "Jerry" Rick Potts, PhD | Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Principal | University of Akron, GRP Dynamics LLC

An accomplished engineer, consultant, business leader, and educator with more than five decades of professional experience to his name, Gerald “Jerry” Rick Potts, PhD has excelled as principal of GRP Dynamics LLC—a technical and business consulting firm—since 2016, a consultant in the field since 1981, and an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Akron since 1972. He previously found success at Test Measurement Systems, Inc., which was ultimately acquired by MESNAC Americas Co. LLC, as a president from 1991 to 2013 and chief technology officer from 2013 to 2016.  He joined the organization after serving for eight years as the president of his own firm, G.R. Potts Associates, Inc.

Dr. Potts has always balanced his hands-on abilities in the field and effective way of sharing his knowledge to shape young minds, launching his career in 1966 as a petroleum engineer for Pan American Petroleum and an instructor of applied mechanics at Kansas State University—where he taught for four years. With particular expertise when it comes to vehicle dynamics, instrumentation, vibrations, and tire engineering, he was active as a research scientist-turned-senior research scientist at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company from 1970 to 1974 and then advanced to the role of team leader there from 1974 to 1978. He then served as a manager at MTS Systems from 1980 to 1983 and an associate professor-turned-adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at General Motors Institute, now Kettering University, between 1980 and 1985. Over the course of his career, he considers his most notable achievement to be developing the solution for eliminating resonant frequency effects in tire dynamic testing, called Dynamic Force Measurement System. He also participated in the invention and development of flat track tire test machines called MTS Flat-Trac, serving as the manager and co-inventor of the machine; in addition, he has several patents in the field.

Contributing articles to professional journals, including Tire Science and Technology Journal, Dr. Potts also lent his prowess and know-how to the Tire Technology Conference held in Hanover, Germany in 2020 with his keynote address titled “The Vehicle Revolution Travels on Tires!” As a testament to his achievements, he received such accolades as the Standard Oil Company Outstanding Educator Award from Kansas State University in 1970, a Technology Lifetime Achievement Award from Tire Technology International in Germany in 2014, and a Fernley H. Banbury Award from the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society in 2022. The former president of the Tire Society, he has also been affiliated with several organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, SESA, ASTM International, SAE International, and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society.

Looking ahead to the future, Dr. Potts aims to continue consulting and teaching. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife of more than 50 years, Barbara, with whom he has four children and eight grandchildren.

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