James Yurko

Director, Materials Engineering, Apple,
Cupertino, Calif.

 Lead team responsible for alloy development within Apple Product Design



B.S.E. (Materials Science and Engineering), University of Michigan, 1997
Ph.D. (Metallurgy), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2001

Employment history

Co-founder, Boston Electrometallurgical (now Boston Metal). 2012-2015. Woburn, Mass. Created a start-up commercializing technology reducing environmental impact of metals extraction

Successive roles culminating in Vice-President, Technology and R&D, Materion Corporation. 2011-2015. Elmore, Ohio.
Responsible for materials and process development related to beryllium, beryllium and metal matrix composites, and bulk metallic glasses

Co-Founder and Chief Engineer, Electrolytic Research Corporation (ERC). 2007-2011. Sudbury, Mass.
Led development of sustainable metals extraction technology

R&D Team Leader and Staff Metallurgist, BuhlerPrince. 2002-2007. Holland, Mich.
Led process development of die casting technology

Honors and Awards

National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellow, 1998
TMS Vittorio de Nora Prize for Environmental Improvements in Metallurgical Industries, 2012 
TMS Brimacombe Medal, 2016 

How did your MSE degrees prepare you for your career?

My career is focused on the development and application of new materials and processes. My MSE degrees enabled me with strong materials science fundamentals, but also the problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills necessary to participate on and lead innovation-focused teams.

What were your favorite classes, events, and/or student organizations?

MSE 480 (Materials and Engineering Design) and MSE 489 (Materials Processing Design). Both courses tied together the undergrad curriculum to approach materials design and processing challenges. I started to realize how impactful and interdisciplinary MSE could be after taking these senior-level courses. Michigan Materials Society. The student-led group hosted a weekly speaker series that was an amazing window into the real world of MSE and a chance to network with alumni. Interactions with MSE alumni such as Ray Decker and Chip Keough showed how impactful a career in MSE could be and spawned my passion for metallurgical innovation.

What advice/thoughts do you have for students considering an MSE major?

I feel fortunate to have majored in MSE. I really enjoy the balance of science and engineering and have had the privilege of working on impactful challenges in my career. It's also a smaller field and department and it was easy to bond with classmates and faculty. Even now, when I attend annual materials conferences such as TMS, it's great to catch up with my Michigan and MIT friends who I have known since school.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I'm quite busy with work and family, but I've been enjoying life in California, especially the outdoors. I believe strongly in being active in your local community, and I'm a leader in my son's Boy Scout troop. Of course I love Michigan football and still make it back to Ann Arbor a few times a year for games.

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