Dr. Kurfess began his academic career at Carnegie Mellon University. In 1994, he moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology where he rose to the rank of Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. In 2005, he was named Professor and BMW Chair of Manufacturing in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson, now the Department of Automotive Engineering. In 2012, he returned to Georgia Tech as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control.
During 2012-2013, Dr. Kurfess served as the Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President of the United States of America. In this position he had responsibility for engaging the federal sector and the greater scientific community to identify possible areas for policy actions related to manufacturing. He was responsible for coordinating federal advanced manufacturing R&D, addressing issues related to technology commercialization, identifying gaps in current Federal R&D in advanced manufacturing, and developing strategies to address these gaps.
Kurfess has served as a special consultant of the United Nations to the Government of Malaysia in the area of applied mechatronics and manufacturing, and as a participating guest at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in their Precision Engineering Program. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining. His research focuses on the design and development of advanced systems targeting the automotive sector (OEM and supplier) including vehicle and production systems. He has significant experience in high precision manufacturing and metrology systems. He has received numerous awards including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Young Investigator Award, an NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship Award, the ASME Pi Tau Sigma Award, SME Young Manufacturing Engineer of the Year Award, the ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award, the ASME Gustus L. Larson Award, an ASME Swanson Federal Award, and the SME Education Award. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, the SME and the ASME.