Alumni Profiles: BJ Park and George Hatsopoulos

 

BJ Park
BJ Park
George Hatsopoulos
George Hatsopoulos

 

BJ Park

BJ Park (SM ’61, ME ’63) is a man who holds education in the highest regard. “Education and passion together create the foundation of success in any field,” he says. Interested in textiles and the mechanical properties of fabric, BJ left his home in Korea in 1958 to attend the Rhode Island School of Design for textile engineering, then MIT for his SM and ME in Mechanical Engineering, and finally Leeds University for a PhD in textile engineering.

Park was first introduced to the idea of consumer product testing as a student in MechE. That small seed of an idea later became a highly successful company called Merchandise Testing Laboratories (MTL). Under Park’s leadership, MTL was a global leader in consumer product testing, inspection, and social accountability for products shipped to the US from overseas. Bureau Veritas Group purchased MTL in 2001, and he has served as a special advisor to the company since then.

Park has remained a loyal supporter of MechE in the years since he graduated. In 2001, he and his wife Chunghi Park made their first of many generous donations to MechE for the renovation of classrooms 3-270 and 3-370, now known as the Park Lecture Halls. More recently, they funded a major renovation of the MechE Student Commons, creating much-needed mixed-use space for MechE students.

Park is a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), as well as several other textile organizations. He is also a recipient of the Bronze Medal from the Northern Textile Association and the Harold DeWitt Smith Award from ASTM.

 

George Hatsopoulos

George Hatsopoulos (BS ’49, SM ’50, ME ’54, ScD ’56) is a MechE alum and former faculty member. A man with unusual vision, Hatsopoulos exhibited a rare ability to apply fundamental concepts of thermodynamics in significant real-world applications. Early on in his academic career, he worked on engineering physics and thermodynamics, in the process realizing he could use electron energy as generators, with applications to spacecraft design.

Hatsopoulos left his post at MIT to start ThermoElectron Corporation in 1956, now Thermo Fisher Scientific, a high-technology company that currently employs 30,000 people. As chairman and CEO from its founding until his retirement in 1999, Hatsopoulos has grown the company around many novel thermodynamic applications using new and unique business models. He is currently the director of Tecogen, an energy efficiency company, and its different affiliates.

Hatsopoulos served on the board and chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the National Academy of Engineering. He won the John Fritz Medal in 1996 and the Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy, and Employment in 1997. He is a lifetime member of the MIT Corporation. Hatsopoulos is the principal author of a classic textbook on general thermodynamics and many articles, including some in thermo-economics. He has been a generous donor to his alma mater, endowing the Hatsopoulous Chair and enabling the renovations of the prolific George and Daphne Hatsopoulous Microfluids Lab.