Mark Nichols

Manager: Coatings, Surface Engineering and Process Modeling

Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company,
Dearborn, Mich. 


B.S. (Materials Science & Engineering), Univ. of Michigan, 1987
M.S. (Materials Science & Engineering), Univ. of Illinois, 1989
Ph.D. (Materials Science & Engineering), Univ. of Michigan, 1992

Previous Employment

Ford Motor Company - Technical Leader – Coatings and Corrosion Research, Dearborn, Mich. (2001-2019)
Journal of Coatings Technology and Research – Editor-in-Chief (2010 – present)
Ford Motor Company, Ford Motor Company, Ford Research Laboratory, Ford Motor Company (1992-2001)
Wayne State University – Part-time Professor - Materials Science Department, Detroit (1999 - 2010)

Honors and Awards

MSE Distinguished Alumni Lecture, University of Michigan, 2019
Industrial Excellence Award - American Coatings Association, 2014
Roon Award, American Coatings Association, 2010
Emerging Technology Award, Radtech 2008
Henry Ford Technology Award, 2008
Distinguished Lecturer, Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology, 2001
Technical Focus Lecture, Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology, 2000

How did your MSE degrees prepare you for your career?

My degrees in MSE gave me the foundation upon which I built my career in organic coatings. While I learned almost nothing about coatings in school, the principles, experimental techniques, and theoretical background from my MSE education were easily applicable, and frankly, brought a new way of thinking into the organic coatings field. I was able to approach problems in a way that other coating scientists were not, and it allowed me to make progress on difficult problems. The other non-core classes I took in physics and chemistry also gave me skills and knowledge that enabled me to think about polymer problems from a different perspective and with a different set of base-skills. 

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

As a graduate student, I particularly enjoyed my Mechanical Properties of Polymers class taught by Prof. Yee. My undergraduate Polymer Processing class taught by Prof. Filisko has proven to be invaluable in my work. Friday afternoon graduate seminars were always educational and helpful, as were the student/faculty mixer afterwards.

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

The way our society creates, uses, and re-uses materials will have an ever-increasing impact on our future. A degree in MSE can put you at the forefront of the issues confronting the sustainability of our society, and can enable you to make a meaningful difference in the important technical challenges we face.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I keep two honeybee hives at my house and enjoy observing and participating in that ongoing science experiment. When the weather permits, I enjoy riding my road bike in the country near my house.