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Nelson Akafuah

Director-Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD); Associate Professor and Chair-Department of Engineering Technology

220 L CRMS

Nelson Akafuah is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Engineering Technology and Director of the Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD), which houses the True Lean Systems Program at the University of Kentucky.

Nelson is a dynamic management professional with a strong background driving all phases of product development, from innovative design/planning to manufacturing and commercialization, and maintaining an instrumental role in the process, product, and system improvements by applying lean and best practices. He is a strategic team builder who expertly provides staff with the training, resources, guidance, support, and motivation to achieve challenging objectives. He is highly committed to ensuring the continuous delivery of top-quality service in compliance with requirements and corporate policies, procedures, and regulations. He is devoted to knowledge development, staying abreast of industry changes.

Nelson obtained a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.  An Executive MBA from the Jack Welch Management Institute at the Strayer University, an MS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA,  and a BS degree in Mechanical engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi, Ghana.

Nelson worked as a project engineer at Kumasi Institute of Technology, Engineering, and Environment (KITE), an energy consulting firm in Kumasi, Ghana. A mechanical engineer at General Electric Power Systems in Schenectady, NY, and a post-doctoral scholar in the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Kentucky. He has served in various leadership roles, including the R&D Manager at IR4TD and later servings as its Associate Director.

Nelson also served as a faculty fellow in the College of Engineering, leading the creation of the Department of Engineering Technology in the College of Engineering and two Bachelor of Science degrees—a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Lean Systems Engineering Technology. 

Nelson’s research areas include all aspects of paint processes for automotive OEMs and Tier one suppliers, implementing systems/tools to enhance energy efficiency and overall performance levels, and improving operational quality and productivity through lean manufacturing principles.